JR Remembers The Ultimate Warrior

After returning from a great week in New Orleans not only for our show Thursday night but for all the WrestleMania activities, it was great to arrive home but then the news broke of the shocking death of the Ultimate Warrior at the age of 54.  Here are my thoughts.

I met Warrior in 1986 in the Mid South territory when he was known as Rock, the tag team partner of Sting of the Blade Runners. Bill Watts booked the rookie duo into his territory to become the Mid South's version of the Road Warriors.

Even though the pair had a short run in Memphis prior to arriving in Oklahoma, Watts booked them largely upon the recommendation of his old friend Red Bastien who, along with Rick Bassman, trained them in California.

At that time 'Rock's' real name was Jim Hellwig and he departed Mid South under not so positive circumstances. Watts was a disciplinarian and felt that a rookie should be seen and not heard. Warrior did not share in that philosophy.

Off to Dallas Warrior went and came in contact with several veterans in World Class who loved Warrior's look and intensity although the muscular rookie he was not a polished, in ring technician but he obviously had the potential to be a marketable "attraction."

Warrior had a vision then of what his character should be in order to maximize its potential. In an era where many old school wrestling people were not always positive regarding 'wrestling characters' that were 'out there' Warrior needed a visionary with whom he could share his creative vision.

That person was Vince McMahon who was more than happy to bring Warrior to WWE and to work with the larger than life, painted face super hero in further developing the TV persona that would influence countless young fans in the late 80's and early 90's.

Warrior was always somewhat of a loner and was always a unique thinker even as a rookie in Mid South. His promos always told a highly unique and memorable message even if one did not fully understand what Warrior was saying.

For some reason, the younger fans of that era did seem to relate to the super hero with his infectious energy and one of a kind delivery.

The most memorable moment for me this past weekend in New Orleans was the interaction at the WWE Hall of Fame between Warrior and his two daughters who accompanied their Dad on stage just before he gave his induction speech. The love and bond between a father and his daughters was obvious and heart warming.

In an arena full of Warrior fans, many of who were reliving their youth with their hero, Warrior made it clear that his greatest accomplishment was not being the Ultimate Warrior but instead being the father of his two daughters.

In a career and life often marked by controversy, the beauty of the weekend was seeing Warrior come home to WWE accompanied by his family and that they were able to enjoy the celebration together.

I live with this mantra daily, "Tomorrow's aren't guaranteed for any of us."  Today, that philosophy is more meaningful than ever.

RIP Warrior

1959-2014

     

  

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Hey J.R., Yeah the Ultimate Warrior huge fan. I'm having a gathering/memorial with friends, family and others on Sunday afternoon in my area and wanted to get your opinion of a good location?... Do you think our National Park would be good?... Any suggestions for a better place? Thanks, Danny Wissert

Ant true true tribute to the man known as warrior should take place in parts unknown. Yes ! Yes ! Yes ! Thrown in the yes comments cause the Daniel Bryan marks will be upset a death of a man will upstage the spotlight that for some reason thinks he deserves it. Regardless of his ridiculous political philosophy it's tragic he is gone. R I P jim

Hi Jim Ross, this is the first time I've visited your site. I've always been amazed of the negative comments aimed at the Ultimate Warrior, even in his passing you join that club who make a slight on his reputation " For some reason, the younger fans of that era did seem to relate to the super hero with his infectious energy and one of a kind delivery." The reason was simple and should be a loud powerful message to all those who have some influence in pro wrestling today that it is they who are missing the point. Pro wrestling is entertainment, people want to be out of their seats,and the warrior brought energy and excitement like no other before or since. He is the only wrestler to have ever surpassed Hogan for popularity, and he did it at the height of hulkamania! The falsehood preached these last 18yrs that he was given a massive push and thats the only reason why he succeeded is complete nonsense, look at the push the The Rock got , we all remember the awful Rocky Maivia yrs before the Rock got it, or Austin, there would be no Stone cold had Vince not played heel, the character simply wouldn't have worked, or how much has Cena been pushed, or HHH been looked after, yet none of them could surpass Hogan, the Warrior did. The Rock yrs later got the crowd turned on him by an over the hill Hogan, and Austin didn't even want to risk the chance of that happening, without hogan's stamp the Nwo Hall & Nash would never have gotten over, and yet the Ultimate Warrior surpassed Hogans popularity at Hogans peak. I know this because I was a kid growing up at that time, and the Warrior was exciting, refreshing, he was a guy who had the superman comeback that Hogan had, but he didn't say the uncool eat your vitamins, etc . He represented that bit in every person of when your being wronged that you want to be able to become an ultimate warrior, that person who takes on everybody and wins like in the Schwarzennegar movies of that era. Pro wrestling is entertainment and watching someone have 1000 holds or 5 variations of suplexes, or an atomic drop, elbow drop, sharpshooter didn't & still doesn't get fans off their feet like a war painted warrior charging to right wrongs, the press slam always got fans popping far more than any superkick, pedigree or even leg drop. When Hogan left the wwf in 1992 who did Vince turn to, and when Hogan arrived in wcw in 1994 who did he quickly try to recreate using the Renegade character, and when Hart, Michaels, luger, Austin hadn't worked out fully who did Vince bring back in 1996, and when WCW was starting to fail who did they turn too in 1998, and the Goldberg success whose character traits did he happen to have - explosive entrance, a running spear, jackhammer & slam, not to far from running shoulder, press and slam. They all knew if you wanted an instant impact he was the go to guy, even in the years of dispute the wwe produced more replica's of the ultimate warrior than any other figure/collectable. He wasn't the most technical gifted obviously but why would a 275lb warrior have finesse?? It wouldn't be believable 275lb war painted warrior charges to the ring, shakes ropes, calms down and performs drop toe hold, doesn't quite sound right. That aside he still had some great matches, Wm6 & 7, matches with Rude too, yes the opponents were good but a guy has to follow well however good the lead, you can also put two of the greatest leaders ever together and get boredom wm 12 ironman anyone? The Warrior committed to his character and that made his character believable and unique, a far cry from the cookie cutter wrestlers of today, today with the odd exception, its hard to remember where one match ended and another begun so similar are the character traits and look of today's stars. He along with Hogan and Savage are the big reasons that WWF/E became as big as it is and paved the way for the Undertaker, Austins and Cena's that have followed. He deserved his long over due place in the hall of fame, and in a business that has spent some years now pushing the' its sports entertainment' he probably encompassed that term more that any other superstar past or present.

Sucks that he's dead huh. I guess it makes us remember how fragile life is. I grew up in the early 90s and always thought Warrior, Savage, and Hogan were the "Big 3" best of all time. That's the perspective from a 90's kid haha. (I bet a steak dinner if you pole similar people in my age demographic they'd say the same)... RIP Warrior. Thanks for the memories.

Erm; that should say "Poll". :D

WWE should make a Ultimate Warrior championship belt to honor the Life and Legacy of the man. Maybe have a tournament for him to be the Ultimate champion. Me and lots of Warrior friends of mine all agree on it. Anybody else?