With the tragic death of the Ultimate Warrior this week, two of our resident wrestling fans and contributors, Jarred Collins and Aaron Collier, share their memories of the Warrior, thoughts on his recent WWE Hall of Fame induction, and their love for his Wrestlemania VII match with Macho Man Randy Savage.
From everyone at Monsters of Geek, we send our prayers and thoughts to the Hellwig family.
The Ultimate Warrior was always one of my favorite wrestlers. While most people were cheering for Hogan, I always felt myself pulled toward the Warrior. Many of his matches lasted seconds and he was blown up by the time he finished his warp speed sprint to the ring. He was the 80’s version of Goldberg or Goldberg was the 90’s version of Warrior.
My earliest memory is of his feud with Rick Rude as both produced some incredible matches together. His match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI is an underrated classic as well.
But in my opinion, his finest performance was at Wrestlemania VII against Macho Man in a “Career vs. Career” match. (A sad side note about the match is that all involved except the referee have passed on). The match showed the heart of both wrestlers. Warrior is only one of two wrestlers to get up from the Macho Man’s top rope elbow drop, but he is the only person to get up from 5 elbow drops!
His interviews were something you either loved or hated. You might not have been able to understand them, but there was no one who put more passion into it.
His Hall of Fame speech showed his heart. He was able to tell everyone his love for them.
His fans showed their love for him and he was appreciative and showed his love for them. He was able to put his love for the sport out there and about how it gave him the ability to live. The most moving part of the speech, and the part that I find myself dwelling on the most, is him expressing his love for his wife and how important is was for him to be a father to his daughters.
I was looking forward to seeing what his future contract with the WWE would bring. I believe it would take Warrior Nation to another level. Warrior is gone from us way to soon, but, more importantly, he is gone way to soon from his family, friends, and newly reunited friends.
I pray for everyone effected by this tragedy.
We will always remember you. Rest In Peace Warrior!
I wasn’t an Ultimate Warrior kid.
My guy was Hulk Hogan. Red and yellow through and through. Jumping to my feet when “Real American” came blaring over whatever arena WWE had traveled to that evening.
But, as most kids do, you can root for more than one good guy and Warrior was my second guy. I remember his intro music being different for the time. Chugging guitars seemed to shoot the Warrior straight through the curtain and around the ring. All of this sprinting culminated with him jumping up on the ring apron and shaking the ring ropes with violent strength as the fans in attendance, and this little boy up past his bedtime, would cheer in excitement for the strength of the Ultimate Warrior. The music would go down, Warrior would press-slam his opponent, do a big body splash, and the Warrior’s music would play again and he would sprint right back out of the arena.
The match I remember the Warrior most for is his “Career vs. Career” match against “Macho King” Randy Savage. After Warrior refused to give Savage a title match, Savage cost the Warrior his WWE Championship against Sgt. Slaughter, who had turned his back on America and became an Iraqi sympathizer, at the Royal Rumble ending the Warriors 8-month title reign which setup the match for Wrestlemania VII.
The match had so much on the line and it was back and forth from the beginning. I had never seen the Warrior wrestle for so long. He was showing heart and determination and I was rooting for him. I didn’t want to see him lose. He could never wrestle again! (Of course, this is never the case, but to a 6-year old his fragile ecosystem now depended on this match). Warrior won and it was one of the matches that molded me be the wrestling fan I am today.
When you are a kid, the good guys are perfect. They do no wrong. In real life, some wrestlers are legit nice people, some are not. For years Warrior fell into the the later category.
For the longest time, everything that was said about the Warrior by his fellow wrestlers were far from good. Some where completely negative while others were just indifferent about him.
When Warrior was announced as the newest inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame for 2014, I wondered how the fans and other wrestlers would react. Warrior had such a negative reputation and his crazy rants and raves didn’t help to negate those feelings. Warrior was the very definition of a “polarizing figure.” I didn’t even know how to react to his induction. His body of work deserved to be recognized with the induction, I just didn’t know how I felt about the Warrior himself.
Then came his induction speech. Where you saw the Warrior became Jim Hellwig, husband and father. You saw the Warrior want to make amends with both his fans and his colleagues of the squared circle. He became the Warrior of old. The Warrior that wanted to inspire people. And he did just that as his appearance at both Wrestlemania and Monday Night RAW the next night showed the fans decided to embrace him.
But what about his fellow wrestlers?
After his unexpected death, a lot of Warrior’s critics told stories about forgiveness they both gave and received during their time with Warrior. They talked about having talks with Warrior and how Warrior saw this as a healing moment for both himself and his former colleagues. Some people never get the chance to forgive and be forgiven. Warrior took his chance without knowing it would be his last.
That is when I decided to be a Warrior guy. In a business that produces it’s fair share of jerks and real life bad guys, Warrior showed two aspects that all true good guys show: Love for his family and forgiveness to others.
You can’t ask for much more from the good guys.
Rest in Peace, Warrior and Godspeed.