This post is a little delayed but I wanted to get my thoughts out on this and share a little story from my childhood.
After enjoying a weekend seeing one of my favorite childhood wrestlers celebrate his career, a tragedy happened. The Ultimate Warrior was inducted to the WWE Hall Of Fame the Saturday before Wrestlemania 30, then was presented at Wrestlemania (which was the first time in nearly twenty years) and then had a great five minute speech in the middle of the ring on Monday Night Raw. I have to imagine that those three days were wonderful for Warrior, he got to celebrate a time in his life with his wife and young daughters who never saw those years.
On the Tuesday following Monday Night Raw, he and his wife were walking to their car where he collapsed. Warrior died that day.
I couldn’t believe my eyes in reading the texts I received and articles I was reading online. The thing that kept going through my head was how odd the timing was. For many years there was a riff between WWE and The Ultimate Warrior to a point where WWE put out a DVD called “The Self Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior”. So to see the two parties come together celebrating how important he was to the wrestling & the fans despite what people think about him was nice to see.
I have been a wrestling fan mostly my entire life and whenever he came on primetime or saturday mornings I would get so excited to see him. His entrance is legendary, running to the ring, around the ring, then in the ring. Even shaking the ropes violently. It was exhausting just watching him. In the ring I don’t remember very long matches but I didn’t care as long as I saw that gorilla press followed by the splash. The face paint, the tassels, hell everything about the Warrior’s presence got this little nine year old boy excited about wrestling. How great is that, I mean he got me excited about professional wrestling.
I remember drawing his mask on my school papers and anywhere else I could. Wrestlemania VI is one of my biggest wrestling memories of my whole life. It was Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior. The build up for this was HUGE. Warrior was the intercontinental champion and challenging the Immortal Hulk Hogan. Pay Per Views were tough to get back then and they werent even called pay per views. The name escapes me at this point but at the time I lived in Tampa, Florida.
My parents had just gotten divorced and I was desperate to see this match. My mom, I don’t know how she did it, but got tickets to see the event at the Sun Dome on a screen where it was being shown live. That morning my mom got sick but being the great mom she is, she took me anyway feeling sick the entire time. At 36 this means much more to me than it probably did at nine because I was just concentrated on seeing the match of all matches. During the main event I remember the feed cut off for about 30 seconds and that was the longest 30 seconds of my life. When it continued my little eyes watched The Ultimate Warrior win the Championship. I was elated.
Its still one of my favorite Wrestlemania’s even though it is largely criticized.
I had followed Warrior over the years on his site where he would post and sell his artwork. Including being a terrific entertainer, turns out he was a fantastic artist. Even though he has been out of the picture for quite some time, I am sad. I am sad especially for his wife and daughters. At the Hall Of Fame you could see the Love that the four of them shared. I hope they can find peace and closure somehow during this terrible moment in their lives.
Goodbye Warrior, your theme song will be in my head for the rest of my life.