The Most Hated Man In Wrestling History
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From the very first thrash of a guitar string, and the smash of the symbol for that classic 80s drumbeat. An enormously muscled man screeches around the corner and reveals his neon face paint and wild bush of hairspray. His arms flailing wildly in every direction as he manically screams into the baying crowd. Everything about the Ultimate Warrior was electric. One of the most recognisable faces of the WWE in the 1980s. The face-paint and intensity leading to a huge explosion in popularity on his way to world title glory, leaving a legacy of dedication, hard-work and perseverance.
However, in order to achieve such elevated levels of success within the pro wrestling business, the man under all of the hair and spandex – had to give up a little of himself. Something which in his later years, saw Jim Hellwig becoming one of the most controversial members of the wrestling community. Hellwig and those who were close to the man has spoken about how the lines between Jim the real-life person and The Ultimate Warrior became more and more blurred with every ounce of success afforded him.
Hellwig believed in becoming his character inside the wrestling ropes and out. Something which he continued to strongly base his life around up until his untimely demise. The man was passionate and erratic in equal measure. And for that he has become, if nothing else, one of the most interesting and unusual stories in all of pro wrestling history…
Here is just a taste of what it sounds like inside of this mad man’s head. And, just because it is so insane. I assure you it is a real quote.
"Jumping up on the apron, skirting back and forth on the first apron that I jump up on, turning around, running to the ring post, going around the outside of the ring post, shuffling backwards down a second ring apron, doing a complete 360 with my body, grabbing the ropes, leaning back, shaking the ropes, running in the ring, crawling through the ropes, running in the ring, back and forth hitting the ropes, running up into the corners, standing on the second rope, facing the crowd, raising my arms up over—my head. That would be the Ultimate Warrior ring entrance." Jim Hellwig
When you hear that aloud it sounds almost incomprehensible. But when you see The Ultimate Warrior in action, somehow it all makes sense. Well, sort of. I will explore Hellwig’s tough up bringing and dark past, through his meteoric rise to fame and eventually his downfall. We will uncover the truth behind a man who was both loved and hated for his views on gender and race and find out exactly what led the Ultimate Warrior, into becoming so divisive.
BEFORE THE BODY
Jim Hellwig was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States, as the oldest among five children. His childhood was marked by the challenges that came with growing up in a large family, but he remained determined and focused on his goals. At the age of 11, he began training with weights, a pursuit that would become a lifelong passion for him. When Hellwig was just 12 years old, his father left the family, leaving his mother to raise the children on her own. Despite the difficulties this presented, the young man was determined to succeed and worked hard to help his mother in any way he could. He took on odd jobs to help support the family and developed a strong sense of responsibility and work ethic from a young age.
As he grew older, the young man's passion for weightlifting continued to flourish. Hellwig spent countless hours in the gym, pushing himself to become stronger and more fit. He began competing in local competitions and quickly gained a reputation as a talented athlete. His dedication paid off when he won his first major competition at the age of 18, cementing his status as a rising star in the world of weightlifting.
Despite his success, the young man remained humble and focused on his goals. He continued to train rigorously, pushing himself to new heights of strength and endurance. Slowly growing into the monster of a physique wrestling fans would eventually know in the Ultimate Warrior.
“I set an educational goal for myself to become a chiropractor. I turned my hobby of working out into a successful bodybuilding career. At the tail end of my schooling, the school being in Atlanta and it being a hotbed for pro-wrestling, my bodybuilding success created an opportunity to get into the business of wrestling.” Jim Hellwig
However, Hellwig’s initial career goals saw his future as a chiropractor. With Hellwig enrolling in medical school to earn a diploma.
"I planned to become a chiropractor. I didn’t follow wrestling at all. "I thought I could make some money, come back to the chiropractic later. I decided to go for it." Jim Hellwig
As Hellwig focused on building up his physique, he continued to garner the attention of those in influential positions in the body building industry. Signing a sponsorship with the original Gold’s gym. A hotbed for pro wrestlers at the time.
“In 1984, I won the Mr. Georgia competition. From that, I went to the Mr. America competition that year in New Orleans.” Jim Hellwig
It was during this time, that Jim Hellwig begun to grow closer to some of the wrestlers who he’d workout alongside. Eventually deciding to tag along to a local training session.
"I don’t like the Ultimate Warrior. He wasn’t raised as a wrestler. He wasn’t in the business because he loved wrestling. He was a guy who used to work out, and he thought this was easy money. He had a great body, and his paint looked good, and his hair was long. It all stopped there. Once the bell rang, it was over.” Bobby Heenan
BEFORE THE WARRIOR
"Turned out, within a couple of weeks, I didn’t have the money to float the beginning phases of becoming a wrestler, and the bottom fell out. We lost our place to live, had just enough to eat peanut butter and make midnight snack runs at local grocery stores, eating in the aisles, funny stuff.” Jim Hellwig
One of the fellow performers who had begun their wrestling journey at this same time was Steve Borden, who would go on to don black and white face paint as Sting. Both Borden and Hellwig became a part of a wrestling group known as Powerteam USA, attempting to train in the finer arts of grappling and spandex, whilst contacting show promoters in order to receive a try-out.
“To top it off, as Steve and I later found out, this guy training us didn’t know jack about how the business operated on the inside. Even if he’d had the money to feed us and get us fully trained, his big plan still would have failed. Steve and I stayed positive about it all, and really, our ignorance about things was a blessing.” Jim Hellwig
Hellwig and Borden continued to train together and eventually debuted in the Continental Wrestling Association as The Blade Runners.
“We did everything together. Laundry, gym, groceries—always together. We had one car. I’d sold mine so we could eat in California. We drove to the towns together. Sometimes 4-5 hours one way and with 4-5 guys in the car to cover the cost of gas. We slept in a fleabag hotel until we got an apartment, then we slept on the floor, ate tuna fish out of the can. It was rough, but we stayed positive as we could. I thought a lot about going back to school but didn’t even have the money to get back to Georgia, let alone re-enroll.” Jim Hellwig
Sheer determination and hard-work could only take these young upstarts so far, however. Although both men possessed stand-out physiques, that was where their talents in the wrestling ring ended. Several other performers at the time coming out since and stating just how terrible Hellwig and Borden were when they first started.
“We had a tag team come through that literally had their first couple of matches with us here in Memphis and I went back and told Jerry Jarrett, I said, ‘oh my gosh, these guys are so green. I mean, they’ve got good bodies and everything, but they could barely walk around in the ring, much less have a match with somebody.’ And, of course, it turned out to be Sting and The Ultimate Warrior. But when they came to us, as I think, The Blade Runners or something like that, they were awful, but just because they were so green. They were just getting started.” Jerry Lawler
Back then, the world of pro wrestling was dominated behind the scenes, by old fashioned men with enormous egos, whose size was only matched by its fragility. Being new in the business was tough due to the hard working conditions, long hours, low pay and toll that wrestling takes on your body. But even then, other, longer established stars would not make your first steps in the ring easy ones.
“We came into Mid-South, and Bill Watts had this reputation for roughing up new guys, especially muscle guys, especially muscle guys that wanted to make it in the business and showed deference to him because he was the boss. I’d heard the story through the grapevine about what he did. He wanted me to get down on all fours like a dog, and he was going to show me how to throw a ‘working’ kick to the underbelly – or so he makes you think. Well, I heard about what he did—he would kick the shit out of you and bust your ribs up. It was like a test to see if you would take the crap. And I knew what he was going to do, and I said, ‘Look, if you want me on all fours, you’re going to have to put me there. Of course, he wasn’t man enough to go for that. He wanted me at a disadvantage to begin with. This is something that the whole locker room didn’t expect because guys come into the business, and they really want to make it, and they do whatever it takes. I picked up the phone and called WCCW over in Texas. And that’s when I went over there and started the Dingo Warrior" Jim Hellwig
The two men would later join the Universal Wrestling Federation before eventually disbanding in 1986. Starting their own separate journeys to becoming some of the most beloved performers of their generation.
“And we knew there was nothing we could do about it. It was about paying dues.We sent pictures out to everybody on a list of wrestling organizations we had. We only had ten to fifteen hours of training, and that was lifting each other over our heads and dropping one another on the floor—on the basic gymnastic mats.” Jim Hellwig
An incident that has been reported around this time involves Jim Hellwig harassing a female fan at an event in the late 1980s. According to the fan's account, the Ultimate Warrior approached her and made sexually suggestive comments, including asking her if she wanted to "feel the power" of his muscles. The fan reported the incident to WWE management, but it is unclear if any action was taken against the Ultimate Warrior at the time.
Another incident occurred in a 1992 interview with talk show host Arsenio Hall, where the Ultimate Warrior made sexually suggestive comments about Miss Elizabeth, who was at the time the real-life girlfriend of wrestler Randy Savage. He stated that he wanted to "put his big arms" around her and "show her the true meaning of the word ultimate." This incident caused considerable backlash and criticism from fans and fellow wrestlers, with many calling out the Ultimate Warrior for his inappropriate behavior.
There are also reports that the Ultimate Warrior made inappropriate comments to female wrestlers and other women in the industry. Former WWE wrestler Candice Michelle has stated that the Ultimate Warrior made inappropriate comments to her during their time working together. In a 2014 interview with Wrestling Inc., she stated that the Ultimate Warrior made comments that were "sexual in nature" and that she found uncomfortable.
Another incident involves the Ultimate Warrior making inappropriate comments to female wrestler Jacqueline Moore. In a 2007 interview with Wrestling Observer Radio, Moore stated that the Ultimate Warrior had made comments to her about her body and appearance, and that she found his behaviour to be inappropriate.
It is worth noting that the wrestling industry has historically been male-dominated and has had a reputation for being hostile towards women. However, the Ultimate Warrior's behaviour towards women was particularly egregious and reflected a culture of toxic masculinity that was pervasive in the industry at the time.
Jim Hellwig met a woman by the name of Shari Lynn Tyree around this time.
The couple's serendipitous encounter took place in the bustling city of Dallas, Texas, at none other than the locally renowned Million Dollar Saloon strip club. It was at this seedy establishment that Shari, an ambitious woman with a fierce determination to make a name for herself, was working as an exotic dancer. The pair were married in October of 1982.
So many of the stories of Hellwig’s personal life comes from Ms Tyree. A woman who shared almost 9 years watching her husband change from a man into a monster at home.
The couple's initial meeting at the Million Dollar Saloon was just the beginning of a long and eventful journey that would see them face both triumphs and challenges.
I will be referring to Shari for first-hand evidence when looking into the mental state of Hellwig, as well as quoting from her subsequent autobiographies and tell-all-journals in an attempt to better flesh out the entire story.
THE ULTIMATE DINGO
A fierce lion. A polar bear. A bald eagle. A great white shark. All of these animals are feared and respected apex predators. Dominant over their environment and masters over the landscape.
A dingo is a small, cute dog. Which was first described in 1789 by Watkin Tench in his Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay in Australia:
“The only domestic animal they have is the dog, which in their language is called Dingo, and a good deal resembles the fox dog of England. These animals are equally shy of us, and attached to the natives.”
So when Jim Hellwig first made his way to WCCW in 1986 you can see why he would want such an animal to represent his character.
“So when I went to Texas, I started the Dingo Warrior character, and that really started from being on the rodeo grounds there at the Fort Worth Coliseum, and the crew had all come in, and the locker room all started talking about what I should be and somebody said that I looked like a Warrior. We threw the word Dingo in front of it and I was the Dingo Warrior.” Jim Hellwig
The Dingo Warrior joined forced with Lance Von Erich, the pair forming a tag-team and winning the WCWA titles in November of 1986. Shortly after losing the belts, the pair dispanded and Hellwig had his first taste of independent success. On February second 1987 The Dingo Warrior beat Bob Bradley for the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship.
"He didn't like the locker room. He didn't like the business. He liked to have roid rages at diners. I was there. I'm calling it like it is. I've seen him hurt people. My biggest memory and I'll never forget this, it was somewhere in Indiana. Brian Costello. He worked for Vince, and that stupid Warrior clotheslined him in the face. It knocked him out. Brian came back and collapsed. Tony Garea was like, 'Are you alright? Are you all right?' And I felt bad, and Warrior walked by and looked at him and shook his head then kept on walking like 'you piece of crap'. And he was stiff in the ring, but I knew how to work around that. That didn't bother me. I don't give a crap. I didn't like his attitude. I didn't like him." Barry Horowitz
Hellwig held onto the belt until the summer of 1987. His continued growth in both his ability between the ropes and the size of his bulging muscles had caught the eye of Vincent McMahon and the WWF, who offered him a contract in June.
However, Hellwig’s skills and muscles weren’t the only things that had grown. As wrestling fans around the world would soon find out. The biggest thing The Dingo Warrior had grown was his ego.
THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
Jim Hellwig signed the contract with Titan Sports the holding company for WWF at the time, in June of 1987. Due to his limited skills on the mic and the fact that Hellwig had seemingly only learnt the very basics of in-ring combat, WWF offered a trainee contract with a view to improve their offer when their new signee had shown his own signs of improvement. Hellwig signed for two years initially, being paid by appearance with no base for his take home. He was however paid a portion of merchandise sales and a piece of the revenue for each ticket sold at the shows he participated in.
“So they brought me in for about eight or nine months and kept me down with the C-talent, just testing me, seeing if I was going to listen, seeing if I had what it takes to travel, see where my head was at, if I was halfway together.” Jim Hellwig
Although Hellwig had initially maintained his Dingo Warrior character, that was all soon to change.
“Then came the time when they were going to put me on TV and they told me that they liked the Warrior, but they didn't like Dingo. But for the entire time I was behind the scenes, they told me that they weren't going to use the Warrior thing, because that's what they did back then, they didn't use people's identities that they brought in, they created their own. But since my character was getting over so well, they decide to go with the Warrior thing.” Jim Hellwig
Alongside the new Ultimate name, every other aspect of Hellwig’s wrestling character had to level up. Around this time, Warrior was given the iconic slamming guitar entrance theme, which paired perfectly with his new frantic Ultimate entrance. So now you have the unforgettable look. The heart-thumping sprint to the ring, and manic pulling of the ropes, all perfectly elevated by the classic 80s soundtrack.
Warrior is frothing at the mouth, his eyes bulging out of his head as he is chomping at the bit to get the match started. He heaves his enormous body towards his opponent and smashing them with his forearm. As they crash to the mat, the Ultimate Warrior begins charging around the ring, stomping up and down, beating his chest and screaming like a lunatic. It’s so hard not to get caught up in this kind of enthusiasm and energy. It truly is captivating, even now. But then it happens. The Ultimate Finisher.
THE ULTIMATE FINISHER
The Warrior lifts his opponent high above his head, making it look ridiculously effortless. An impressive feat which is instantly deflated as the opponent is dropped half-heartedly to the canvas as the Warrior bounces off the ropes a few times. Before eventually stopping, hopping in the air and landing from the death-defying distance of around 3 feet onto his enemies back.
To me, this must be one of the greatest disparities between the way in which a pro wrestler is portrayed through their entrance and persona as compared to their move-set and grand finisher. The gorilla press is, for sure, an amazing display of strength and technique, a great call back to Warriors roots in bodybuilding. But the subsequent fall and splash are lacking in both technical marvel and believability.
Sure, having a massive bloke drop me on my face in a wrestling ring and then flop onto of me would probably kill me. Even for these well-trained athletes, it probably still doesn’t feel very pleasant. But is it really enough to win a match? Especially against the likes of Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant and even the Immortal Hulk Hogan. I’m not so sure.
“My response is, look, you guys were in the business for a dozen years before I even got there. A dozen years and you never figured it out that wrestling skills per se were not where it was at. It was about being a gimmick. I got there and in two years I figured it out…It wasn’t part of my gimmick — it wouldn’t fit Ultimate Warrior — to keep doing the wrestling stuff. I was smart enough to know that. Making that decision is up to the talent. In other words, whatever a wrestler decides to portray himself as in the wrestling ring character-wise, he’s the one who develops that.” Jim Hellwig
It has been said by many who wrestled against Hellwig’s different ring personas, that he never achieved great technical mastery within a wrestling ring. Some even complained about feeling unsafe working matches with him. Which was causing other wrestlers to air their grievances with Hellwig in the locker room.
“He just wasn’t an athletic kind of guy to me. He looked like he was clumsy all the time, and he wouldn’t listen. You’d tell him not to clothesline because I got a bad neck. I jumped up on the apron. I told him to come from behind and run me into the post. So he runs from behind and clotheslines me.” Bobby Heenan
Perhaps the reason that The Ultimate Warrior’s matches contained a handful of kicks and punches, a slam or two and a lot of running around. Was in part, to protect those who he faced. Perhaps the gorilla press and running splash served as a way of making sure the Warrior had simple moves he could pull off consistently at the end of his bouts?
“We wrestled twice, maybe three times. Why? We just didn’t have any chemistry. We were in Winnipeg, Canada and I wrestled The Warrior. We come back and Pat Patterson said, ‘I have to tell you that’s the worst championship match I have ever seen’. I said, ‘Pat, you don’t have to tell me. I was in it’. Because he sent me over a three-page letter to memorize and I don’t do that.” Ric Flair
All of this is to say, that I don’t think having a limited move-set and quick, somewhat repetitive matches is necessarily a bad thing. In fact in the case of the warrior, I think it worked to put over the idea that this maniac would run from the back and defeat his opponent in a matter of moments, so the whole roster should be afraid. And I do like that idea. I just wish he could have put a bit more emphasis at the end of his matches, one punctuating slam or powerbomb, or something. Anything other than this drop and flop, this dash and crash of nothingness.
However, the fact that some wrestlers felt unsafe is what I believe to be the real issue of concern here.
“Warrior couldn’t have a long match. He didn’t have the cardio for it. It would have been unsafe for anybody that we booked against Warrior to have him in a long match because fatigue creates mistakes.” Jim Ross
It became the fastest ever Intercontinental title match in WWE history. When in August of 1988 Ultimate Warrior replaced the injured Brutus The Barber Beefcake in a match scheduled to take place at the first ever Summerslam. In under 30 seconds, the warrior made his way to the ring and pinned the Honky Tonk Man to win his first WWE title and in an unexpected moment of delirium, Jim Hellwig had his first taste of success on a big stage.
However, the injury which had side-lined The Beefcake and cost him his Intercontinental title shot was pure fiction. Invented so that Hellwig’s character could fit in and steal the opportunity.
"Honky knew I was getting the belt. Honky also knew that once he dropped the belt to me we were gonna get another four, five-month run around the territory with him chasing the belt. So what it meant for both of us, main events semi-mains, whatever. Good money. Real good money. And by changing it at the last second because Warrior, whatever, threw a tantrum and said he was gonna quit if he didn't get the belt. Honky was so mad. That's why he dropped the belt in ten seconds," Brutus Beefcake
Nevertheless, this crowning moment proved to be pivotal in Warrior’s career as he retained in until the following Wrestlemania, where he lost the belt during his legendary feud with Ravishing Rick Rude. The pair continuing in heated matches throughout the year until Warrior regained his Intercontinental title to become a two-time champion at Summerlam in 1989. Hellwig has since gone on to say that his hard work was to thank for this successful period.
“I’d also busted my ass in painful ways they never had. Years of training in the gym, self-discipline in working out and dieting. If they want to criticize anybody they should criticize the promoters who were, in effect, telling them, your little bag of fancy wrestling moves don’t sell tickets t-shirts, posters, dolls, etc. So leave them and your tears at home, instead show up with some muscle and some energy. What, am I supposed to apologize I did what it took, at that time, and they didn’t?” Jim Hellwig
MAKE A WISH
Although fans in arenas across the USA were falling madly in-love with their newfound hero. Behind the curtain, Jim Hellwig had begun to make enemies amongst the WWF roster. In his autobiography, Bret Hart shared a story which is as sad as it is an insight into the mind of the Ultimate Warrior.
“I got to see exactly what kind of champion Warrior was during a show in Omaha. Propped up on a stretcher a few feet outside of the dressing room was a Make-A-Wish kid who looked to be down to his last few hours. There was not a hair left on his head, and not even his Warrior face paint could mask his sad eyes. Sickly pale and barely breathing through a ventilator tube, the boy wore a purple Warrior T-shirt and green and orange tassels tied around his biceps to honor his hero. His mother and father and an older brother and sister were with him, patiently waiting for the promised encounter with The Ultimate Warrior. I bent over to say hello, as did all the other wrestlers on the way into the dressing room. It was odd, but there was Warrior actually sitting with us: He usually kept to himself in his private dressing room. By the time the third match started, a WWF public relations rep poked his head in and politely asked Warrior if he was ready to meet the dying boy. Warrior grunted, “In a fuckin’ minute. I’m busy.” I thought to myself, Busy doing what, talking to a bunch of guys you can’t stand anyway? As the night wore on, the family waited just outside the dressing room door, the boy hanging on to his dying wish to meet his hero. As I was returning to the dressing room after my match, I was relieved to see that they weren’t there anymore; I assumed that the kid’s wish had come true. Warrior’s entrance music played while Jim and I quickly showered in hopes of beating the crowd out of the building. We’d have to hurry since Warrior never went over ten minutes. We dressed, grabbed our bags, and took off. As we rounded a corner down a backstage ramp, we came upon the boy and his weary family, who had been moved there so as not to get in the way of Warrior’s entrance. I thought, That lousy piece of shit. He’d made them wait all night, unable to summon the compassion to see this real little warrior. Hogan, Randy, and countless others, including André, never hesitated to take the time to meet a sick, dying kid. For this, I honour Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, André the Giant but not a little respect do I have for Ultimate Warrior. To me, he was a coward, a weakling, and a phony hero. My disgust for Warrior magnified a thousand times because Ultimate Warrior let a Make-a-Wish kid. It broke my heart.” Bret Hart
THE ULTIMATE FUED
"Back at the beginning of my career, I had to make all these sacrifices sleeping in a car on nights where I’d wrestle in front of 20,000 people because I wasn’t making any money. Then for two years leading up to WrestleMania, I would hear all the background chatter of how popular the character was becoming. Merchandising and licensing are huge in our business, and back then they actually had a guy, Jimmy, who would set up a table and sell merch before the matches. One day Jimmy took me aside and told me how I was selling more merchandise than Hogan.” Jim Hellwig
This is when The true Ultimate Warrior was born. All of Jim Hellwig’s ambition, drive and patience had fully merged with the face-paint, energy and will to win of his wrestling counterpart. The pair has become intertwined in a way which saw wrestling storylines becoming real in his mind.
“After the match, he kinda went off on his own a little bit just to take it all in and just to give himself a big part on the back and say, “Wow, nobody believes in me but he did it. He was rich and now he was the world champion but that was short-lived. Literally two months after, Jim Hellwig left and Ultimate Warrior came home. He became really erratic, he started staying on the road, which he never did before. He was disconnected, something was off.” Shari Tyree
This melding of the two men was seen as purposeful and greatly rewarding by Hellwig.
"The more you gave to your character the more you actually became this character in all different ways - in your interviews, in your ring actions, the way you carried yourself outside the ring... it really meant something.” Jim Hellwig
But it also meant that the animosity he felt for his fellow wrestlers and especially those competing for a position atop WWF’s card as real-life enemies. And especially, especially, Hulk Hogan.
Over the years Hogan and Warrior would go on to clash a handful of times in the ring, each one less magical than the previous, never managing to capture the electricity of that title for title match at Wrestlemania. Outside of the ring however, their real-world feud only grew hotter as the years went by.
With Warrior seemingly jealous of not only the money that his rival was making, but also the celebrity and fame that was afforded the Hulk Hogan over him. In the later part of his life Warrior begun recording and releasing his own YouTube vlog series, where he discussed his controversial ideas on pro wrestling and the wider world. Airing his grievances publicly with performers from his past. And a huge portion of these videos, as well as many shoot style interviews from this time, eventually get around to the topic of Hulk Hogan.
As these videos continued to be released, Hellwig begun to grow more angry and more steadfast in his more radical ideas on how Hogan had treated him and how their business relationship had fared. Beyond that, Hellwig continually threw accusations at Hogan of being a liar, a pervert and a poor father and husband, threatening to expose his mortal enemy as the fraud that the Warrior believed he was. This led to Hogan making similar accusations about Warrior and the pair’s families begun being involved in the insults.
It wouldn’t be until years later that the two men would seemingly reconcile their differences and make amends for the years of pointless abuse and fighting.
“I went right up to him, I shook his hand and said, ‘Brother, I know I’m not supposed to talk to you, but I just want to let you know I love you. And if you ever want to be friends I’d love to be friends with you. If we could ever do business that would be great. But I just want to tell you that I love you so much. And whatever I did … please forgive me. And then I noticed that there was a WWE camera that peeled around the side. I had no idea that they had a camera following him. So that was real, bro. And I’m so glad I got to talk to him.” Hulk Hogan
But of course, the story isn’t that simple, whenever Terry Bollea is involved, there is always going to be a grey area for what is true and what is a lie, made up to further his own public perception.
“I’ve been really quiet since the passing of my husband and the father of my girls,” Mrs. Warrior said in a statement. Someone sent me what Mr. Bollea had to say in video interview with Grantland and I would just like to ask him to stop. He is the only person in the WWE Universe who did not give a call or send a card. My girls asked why he didn’t check on us like everyone else and I explained simply there isn’t a camera at our mailbox or in the house when we receive our calls. I would ask respectfully Mr. Bollea, for you to understand my girls hurt and just let some time pass before you say anything more.” Dana Warrior
Perhaps these two old men were made for one another. Mortal enemies from the first time they locked up in the ring until the day that one of them eventually died.
THE ULTIMATE HEIST
“Warrior was the toughest one, without a doubt—quick and easy answer. I can think of guys in my head. I can see pictures now of guys in my head. Well, it might have been a bad day, or this is, you know, whatever, but overall, you knew that anytime the Warrior was going to be in the building, be prepared for anything negative because generally, that’s what you got.” Jim Ross
In 1991, ahead of Wrestlemania 7 Ultimate Warrior had decided that he was worth as much, if not more as Hulk Hogan to WWF and demanded to renegotiate his contract ahead of the up-coming show. With a focus on a large pay-day for his performance at Wrestlemania in-line with his bitter rival. On top of that, he declared that he believed he should be paid for his travel, a larger portion of merchandise sales and a guarantee that he would get a certain number of appearances per year.
“It can’t be smooth, it can’t be professional. There’s gonna be something. Something has gotta change to make Warrior happy. They could have shared those philosophical thoughts, Vince and Warrior, many times prior to that Sunday. And then boom, Warrior gets you by the short hairs” Jim Ross
Warrior stated that if Vince McMahon did not agree to his terms, then he would not appear at the advertised Wrestlemania 7.
“Ultimate Warrior basically came to me and figuratively held a gun to my head and said, ‘Hey, I’m not going to perform unless you pay me x number of dollars. My responsibility is to present what I have advertised. My responsibility is to the audience.” Vince McMahon
Vince felt responsible for the fans getting what was advertised and eventually gave in to the terms surrounding Warrior’s big pay-day.
“So I reluctantly agreed to Warrior’s demand, knowing what I was going to do as soon as he came out of the ring.” Vince McMahon
However, this attempt to hold his boss ransom, backfired for Warrior. With Vince serving him his papers of unemployment soon after.
“It gave me great pleasure to fire him and to let him know why I was doing it.” Vince McMahon
In the years since, the documents sent between Warrior and Mr. McMahon have been released showing just how much satisfaction the company took in enacting their revenge.
“Your principal complaint apparently is that you are not being compensated at the same rate as Hulk Hogan, although ‘Hulk’ is a living legend, is still much better known to the public, has wrestled longer, is the WWF champion, is in much greater demand for personal appearances, is a bigger star and draw at WWF events, is more dependable and is far more revered and respected by WWF fans and by the public at large. You have become a legend in your own mind; you are certainly not entitled to vent your feelings by breaching and threatening to breach your contract.” Vincent McMahon
The letter continues.
“I regret the turmoil you’ve put yourself though and your agonizing over what you feel is fair compensation. And even though we have a difference of opinion over some of these matters, I am resolved to work with you in the same honest and equitable way that I always have. Furthermore, I would like to express to you my deepest appreciation and admiration for you as a performer, as a member of the WWF family, as a man and as my friend.” Vince McMahon
Like many professional wrestlers of his time, the Ultimate Warrior was rumoured to have used steroids to enhance his performance and physique. In 1991, he was named in a federal investigation into steroid use in professional wrestling, known as the "Steroid Trial." The investigation found that several wrestlers, including the Ultimate Warrior, had purchased steroids from a physician named George Zahorian.
“I don’t think it would be a surprise to know he took steroids for a long time and I don’t know if he ever stopped using them.” Bret Hart
It has also been reported that Jim Hellwig was accused of leaving a stash of steroids in a Matiott hotel room in Maryland in February of 1991.
Many other wrestlers have since spoken about the Warrior’s use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs.
1992 saw a brief return to Vince McMahon and WWF for the Ultimate Warrior when he appeared to face Sid Justice who was delivering a severe beating to Hulk Hogan during their match at Wrestlemania 8. However, he was soon suspended as he had reportedly failed several drugs tests, seeing the Warrior disappear from our screens almost entirely over the next 3 years.
While the Ultimate Warrior denied the allegations of steroid use, he later admitted to using steroids in a 2005 interview with WWE.
In 1993 Jim Hellwig filed paperwork to legally change his name to Warrior, with his wife and children also taking the word Warrior as their surname.
By 1995, the steroid trials had been and gone and WWF was in a serious state of decline.
“Vince called me at the end of 1995 and wanted me to come back to wrestling because the business needed a lift, he had had the time to reconsider how he’d wronged me in 1992, using me and Davey Boy Smith as scapegoats to take the heat off his back when he was federally prosecuted over the steroid stuff.” Jim Hellwig
Before he was willing to commit to coming back, Warrior needed certain reassurances from the company that he felt had wronged him in the past.
“I need a special contract. I got all these other projects going on. I can’t just up and leave these things.” I said, “This is what I’ll do. I’ll come back. I’ll be the wrestler. I get to plug into your merchandising and networking with my other Warrior projects. And there’s got to be a distinction between my new intellectual properties that I’ve developed, and those that represent who the wrestler is. So, we had our distinct agreement and four months after I came back, they just started violating it.” Jim Hellwig
In his time since semi-retiring from WWF during his suspension in 1992, Hellwig had focused his creative energy into several new projects and business ventures, including his up-coming comic book and tie in film, a chain on bodybuilding gyms and even the short-lived Warrior University, a wrestling school. All of which he cared about continuing and was sceptical of WWF’s feelings towards wrestlers making money outside of the company.
“They didn’t give a shit. And it turns out they never were going to live up to it. Screwing me again was premeditated. Not being a technical wrestler is kind of a silly bad wrap I get all the time from guys like Bret Hart and industry pundits.” Jim Hellwig
During this time away from WWF Hellwig reprised his Dingo Warrior character for a single match in 1993. In April the same year he travelled to Europe to take part in the World Wrestling Superstars tour of Germany. Warrior wrestled a handful of shows before eventually re-signing for WWF officially in 1996.
Ema Jim Hellwig no longer existed. All there was became The Warrior. And with it a commandment from high above. A set of rules which any true warrior should live by. Commandments which came to be known as destrucity.
"Destrucity: tri-fold in its definition, therefore meaning... 1. The name of the Galaxy in WARRIOR wherein the "Terrain of Testament" lies. 2. The Living of one's life in the Way of a Warrior according to a Warrior's 8 Disciplines. Those are as follows: 1) Physical, 2) Beliefs, 3) Moment of Mastery, 4) Attitude, 5) Commitment, 6) Association, 7) Integrity, 8) Wisdom. 3. The creating of a truce between one's Destiny and one's Reality. Promising to stay true to what one is destined to be, yet accepting what is the now... one's reality." Warrior
Now, I have no clue what most of that means and it makes me laugh a little. But if we look deeper, these seem to go further than simply explain how Warrior lives his life, or how he feels other should and begins to verge on the obsessive. It is also an insight into how Warrior views his role in wrestling as well as how that has meshed into real-life.
"But the reason why I think there's such a nostalgia for those characters back then - not just The Ultimate Warrior - was that the guys themselves were charged with developing their world, their wrestling comic book world. In comic books, every character exists in this comic book world, and the wrestlers were the same thing. They were responsible for creating that world and putting it out there - having the confidence to go forward and do that and behave in a certain way.” Warrior
With these ideals came the production of The Ultimate Warrior graphic novel, written and produced alongside a handful of talented artists. A vehicle for these ideas to be shown to a young audience through the medium of super hero violence and over-the-top storylines, a further blurring of the real man and the character behind it all.
The Ultimate Warrior would eventually return in March of 1996 at Wrestlemania. The feeling of his remarkable victory over Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental title all those years ago, attempting to be evoked. But sadly, falling short, once again. This time Warrior was the older veteran, returning to squash an up and coming star in Hunter Hurst Helmsley. The match ended with Warrior receiving the pedigree finisher and standing up immediately to finish the short bout in his old familiar fashion.
"I'm pretty sure I was doing Gorilla this night. Yes. Not happy about it. Vince watched it on air live, (he) wasn't really happy with it. I was just pissed off about it. I felt that it was abusing the fact that Vince wasn't there backstage, and it was not; it wasn't good. I didn't think that it did really much for Warrior. If Warrior just beat a piece of sh**, then he just beat a piece of sh**. If he beat a guy that, you know, was out there and gave him some kind of challenge, then it would have been a bigger win. So, for me, I just was not happy. I knew it beforehand, and I was not happy with it when they went to the ring, and I was even less happy when they came back. So, I didn't like it. I hated it," Bruce Prichard
And not everyone was happy about it. The match originally being planned to showcase both wrestlers, before the script was changed by Warrior.
“We thought if anybody could lead Warrior to a big match and give him a big win, [Triple H] was it. It was never meant to be the short match that it became. Warrior changed it that day. I think Gerald Brisco was the agent and Warrior was like, ‘Nah, this is the match we’re gonna do’. Went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and at that point, it’s get the match in the ring.” Bruce Pritchard
“For the last 2 1⁄2 years I should have never had the questions I did. To stand and make a videotaped apology for something I never did made me realize all we have is business. Once again I went without sleep, if ever I do so again it will be because I elect to, not because my wandering mind says to do so.” Jim Hellwig
It was at this time that the Warrior’s demeanor backstage was said to be at it’s most confrontational and unpleasant.
“Warrior was alleged to have rudely snubbed a boy who asked for an autograph. The child turned out to be the son of the general manager of a TV station with whom the WWF did business. Vince McMahon explained the circumstances, in quotes from a 1999 deposition. The general manager picked up the phone and called WWF syndication salesman Joe Perkins and said ‘Goodbye.’ Perkins tried to talk, tried to calm the general manager down, who had been embarrassed in front of his son. And Mr. Hellwig agreed to, at the very least, do a videotaped ‘I’m sorry,’ type situation, which he objected to, obviously. It wasn’t uncommon, you know, for Mr. Hellwig from time to time to refuse autographs from kids or from anybody. He didn’t like to do that and was often rude to fans.”
After the underwhelming return, Warrior begun to no-show events he was scheduled for and once again had his contract terminated by the company.
By 1998 World Championship Wrestling was running into full gear and signing many famous faces from WWE’s past and present roster. When Hulk Hogan’s NOW needed a new faction to feud with, and that faction needed a recognisable name. The Ultimate Warrior was given the call. However, the character seemingly still belonged to WWF and Titan Sports, who defended their ownership of the copyright.
“When I back to work in WCW in 1998, the reason I went back as ‘Warrior’ was because as soon as WWF got wind of the fact that I’d been approached by WCW to go to work there, they filed a motion to stop it saying that I didn’t own the rights to the character to be able to do that. The lawsuit didn’t start as a thing about who owns the rights to anything or me changing my name to Warrior so I can continue to be a wrestler. That’s all just silly stuff. That’s just all urban legends that have been out for years. It started as a breach of contract.” Jim Hellwig
“So, they filed a motion to say that I couldn’t do that and what I did was I went and proved, because of my performances in the business as Dingo Warrior, that I did own those. And the judge agreed that I did. The look, the style, the initial beginnings of Warrior, of Ultimate Warrior as he eventually became, certainly started with Dingo Warrior. Vince had Pat Patterson and Bruce Prichard file false affidavits saying that they came up with “Ultimate”, which is another one of those urban legends that isn’t true. They didn’t, I came up with it. My first promo I did, my first television appearance in Green Bay, Wisconsin, down in the little studio room when I was cutting a promo about what I was. I said, ‘I’m not this kind of Warrior, I’m not that kind of Warrior, I am the ULTIMATE Warrior” Jim Hellwig
“That’s why today I have ‘Ultimate’ too because it all came out in the settlement of the trial, of the litigation.” Jim Hellwig
Famously appearing as a figment of Hulk Hogan’s imagination in a whacky segment featuring a two-way mirror. The feud culminated in a match between the two at the Halloween Havoc pay-per-view event in 1998, which was widely regarded as a disappointment due to Warrior's apparent lack of in-ring conditioning and the confusing storyline. His poor reception led Warrior to take his frustrations on those backstage, never managing to find friends in the locker room.
"Warrior was weird. I didn't share a lot of conversation with him, but I remember when he came into WCW, he was referring to himself in third person around the boys. He was calling himself Warrior. He's talking about himself to the boys in conversation." Disco Inferno
Following the Halloween Havoc match, The Ultimate Warrior continued to make sporadic appearances in WCW, but never regained the momentum or popularity that he had enjoyed during his prime in WWF. He was often criticized for his limited in-ring ability and his inability to adapt to the changing style of professional wrestling in the late 1990s. Almost all the wrestlers who knew the Warrior during this period struggle to find much pleasant to say about his attitude and work ethic.
"Warrior was kind of weird, bro, because when I met him in WWE, he was a tremendous ass and then, when I met him in WCW, he didn't even recognize me because he was okay, dog. Hey, K-Dog, mother***ker, you were rude as s$$t when I met you in WWE, now you're like, hey K-Dog, he was always kind of weird." Konnan
Warrior has since gone on to say that he feels he was only ever contracted to WCW in order for Hulk Hogan to get his win back, as retribution for Warrior success at Wrestlemania. In 2000, The Ultimate Warrior was released from his WCW contract, and although he would make a handful of appearances over the next 14 years for smaller wrestling shows, this effectively ended his career as a professional wrestler. Warrior’s time in the public spotlight was however, only just beginning…
THE ULTIMATE HOMOPHOBE
Throughout his wrestling career The Warrior had been known to be outspoken behind the scenes about his personal beliefs on same sex marriage and all that surrounds those issues. In some occasions allowing his personal beliefs to seep into interviews when he was meant to be portraying a character.
In one such occasion he made several homophobic remarks in a 1991 interview where he spoke of homosexuality as “detestable” and “not normal”.
Another incident occurred in 1996 when Warrior was invited to give a speech at the University of Connecticut and spoke on his beliefs once again. Most famously stating that “queering doesn’t make the world work.”
In another bizarre outburst Warrior responded to a wrestling fans request for an autograph by calling him queer and refusing to sign for him. These comments were met with widespread condemnation and backlash, both from fans and from the wrestling industry.
When asked to be a part of a WWE talk panel show via email, the Warrior was offended by the proposed hosts, stating: “Of course, I do NOT accept this brainless, disgraceful invitation. FUCK NO, I do not. You can rescue yourself, Vince. Do your own damage control. I've no ear for your begging anymore. Only if you were on fire would I help you — it'd just be too hard to resist pissing on you. Order the queer and the cripple who host the show to read what I have written here and here, and while they do that have them hold up mirrors looking at themselves so they can know exactly the kind of people in your organization I'm writing about. No apologies — I don't discriminate for the handicapped who sign on to behave degenerately.”
When visiting a local cinema he later wrote in his review of the experience: “One guy without his husband and two physically-repulsive butch-dykes slurping on one another's tongues (really) on the front row had a real hard time cozying up to my principled heterosexual obstinacy. So, in an act of pure selfish pleasure the guy got himself physically thrown out by the masculine security guard, unmistakably loving every single masochistic, man-handled moment of it. And the dykes, well, they ran out screaming and yelling like speared wild boars that I was a homophobe for making my remarks.” Jim Hellwig
In addition to this incident, there are several other instances where the Ultimate Warrior expressed homophobic views. In his book "One Warrior Nation," he wrote about his belief that homosexuality was a "destructive and selfish lifestyle," and he frequently used homophobic slurs in his interviews and public appearances.
The Ultimate Warrior later apologized for his remarks, but his comments had already done significant damage to his reputation and to the LGBTQ+ community.
2005 and 2006 were years filled with numerous legal battles for the Warrior and his businesses. The years saw him in court to defend his honour over the WWE documentary “The Self-Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior” which was inflammatory and a little bias to say the least.
There was also a proposed second Ultimate Warrior documentary which delved deeper into the athletes use of steroids and mental struggles, which never made it to air after the director was taken into a legal battle by the Warrior.
Then the gaming creators THQ caught a legal dispute from the warrior over his likeness in their video games.
“I probably have five or six more years where I could come back as the Ultimate Warrior physically because I know the kind of discipline I have, but I don't think that's ever going to happen. It's not going to happen with Vince McMahon. They can have all of the anniversaries that they're going to have, the big one at 25, the big one at 30, but you're never going to see me walk through the ring ropes and wave to the crowd. It's never going to happen. I don't need it. I'm not so starved for that type of attention that I have to do it and I would go back on saying that I never would. I just won't do it.” Jim Hellwig
However the Warrior wasn’t always the one making the accusations. When he made a deal to sell a wrestling memorabilia collector around 30,000 dollars’ worth of his old gear and costumes, the trade went sour and ended up in court.
Christopher Elias of Santa Fe had contacted the local sheriff to inform them that Warrior had failed to deliver the agreed upon merchandise and scarpered with the money.
"Elias says he paid Warrior nearly $30k for the gear and the autographs, but claims the wrestler went MIA and never sent Elias any of the promised merchandise.” Santa Fe Sheriff Department
When questioned about the incident, Warrior’s team responded: "Earlier this week, Mr Christopher Elias used TMZ.com and the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department in an apparent effort to gain publicity for himself at the expense of professional wrestling legend The Ultimate Warrior. The matter that has arisen between Warrior and Mr Elias is in relation to a simple contractual dispute, the facts of which will speak for themselves. Mr Elias's allegations of criminal fraud are completely unfounded, ill-advised and unfortunate. This is a purely civil matter that is in the process of being resolved by our attorney."
The case was settled away from public eyes and the court and the story fizzled out.
All of which must surely have drained the very life out of the warrior and further soured his opinion of the wrestling industry and it’s related operators.
Regardless, Warrior mustered up the energy to build to one last return to the ring in late 2005, something which, at least in the WWE never happened.
THE ULTIMATE CONSERVATIVE
As Warriors polarizing views drove him further away from the more PG attitude in pro wrestling at this time. So, he made his move further to the right and became a conservative public speaker.
Perhaps in an attempt to garner attention online and perhaps because of the real hatred in Warriors heart. The longer he continued to speak, the angrier, twisted and filled with spite his rhetoric became. Seemingly going after the disenfranchised and minorities with the focus of his distain.
He lashed out at black rights advocate Martin Luther King in a video diary on YouTube stating: Martin marched a few times from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL. It's only about 40 miles and he walked along paved roads with security escorts and modern comforts and conveniences. He wrote a few jailhouse letters, plagiarized a great many speeches, and played up his last name "King" as if he was ONE. He led his best rally amid the monuments of Washington, DC. He preached proper, righteous behavior while he at the same time committed adultery many publicly verifiable times — oh, and he had "a dream." One to see a race of people freed completely from discriminate oppression.” Jim Helwigg
And continued his attack on minorities in the wake of hurricane Katrina, where he spoke negatively of the survivors saying: “Anyone who expresses sentiments like "How could they let this hurricane come here and do this to our lives?" is a kook as far as I am concerned. Those that somehow believe people are directly to blame for the happening of a natural catastrophe don't deserve to be heard. In fact, they should to be told to shut the hell up. These kinds of people contribute nothing toward repairing things to a better state. Truth is, these people thrive on despair and disarray. Chaos -- mentally and physically and in the way they conduct their lives -- is nothing new to them. They forge their whole lives in and around it. This hurricane to them was nothing more than like rearranging the furniture. If we could be shown what general conditions they lived in before the hurricane, we would see that had little respect for what they did have. We would see just how unorganized, unclean and dysfunctionally they lived. They never gave a care for order, cleanliness or function before, but now that they can get someone's attention who will possibly take over the responsibility of their life for them, they go on these tirades about how their life has been ruined. Their lives were already in ruin -- self ruin. Ruined by the bad choices they made over and over. Beginning with the choice to sit on their ass expecting someone else to hand them a wonderful, beautiful, healthy and wealthy life. And excuse me for being the one to say so, but if you have a dozen kids and no husband to be a father, there are some 'holes' in your life plan that should be sewed up.” Jim Helwigg
He also made racist remarks, using racial slurs to describe African-American wrestlers. In a statement, WWE denounced the Ultimate Warrior's comments as "abhorrent and unacceptable."
During this period Warrior was involved in several highly viewed shoot interviews where he spoke negatively about many fellow wrestlers.
This led to backlash from the industry as a whole, spearheaded by Kevin Nash, who said: "Never realized I had a problem with Jim (Warrior). Seemed to get along fine in Scottsdale. Come on my clown, turn that frown upside down. A true warrior never turns down a challenge. Put up a 100K. I'll do the same. 3 rounds. mma rules. winner take all. I'm talking shoot, not sports entertainment. Jim Hellwig needs to put up or shut the f**k up. Day before Mania in Miami area. Warrior will have to pass all hiv and hep a b and c tests. I'll do the same. I'm tired of this guy talking sh** about the boys & me. When they stop it or you tap, i'll quit, or you can apologize like the c**t you are." Kevin Nash, unfortunately that fight never happened.
HALL OF FAME
Olv Perhaps the Warrior could sense his own impending doom. Perhaps he just had no more hate left to give. But over the next 2 years he wiped away the face-paint and a semblance of the original Jim Hellwig shined through. Partly spurned on by his relationship with his wife and two young daughters, Warrior attempted to make amends for his wrongdoings in the past and reconciled with many whom he had caused pain on his journey.
He even managed to mend the bridge which led the way back to WWE, with Triple H now a high ranking member of the decision making team, putting aside his own feelings about their squash match at Wrestlemania, bringing Warrior and Vince McMahon together once last time and inducting him into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2014.
Perhaps fitting for a man who saw himself as part pro wrestler and part comic book hero then, that only a few days later, after finally making amends, the Ultimate Warrior died. But not before giving one of the most heart-felt and memorable last speeches of all time.
time. During his acceptance speech for the Hall of Fame, Warrior spoke of how he believed there should be a new Jimmy Miranda Award created in the honour of backstage staff should be created. Although this never came to be, with the help of Warrior’s wife Dana, an award and statue was created to honour those who have faced adversity and fought through it.
And let me just state that I believe it is both heart-warming and a decent thing for WWE to do in order to shed a light on certain struggling people and those like them as well as share some of the media attention with several charities who aim to change the world for the better. However, with everything we now know about the Ultimate Warrior and the man under all of that hair, doesn’t naming an award after him seem problematic?
Okay. So perhaps you disagree or think that the name of the award is irrelevant compared to those who it is designed to help. Again, okay.
But just to make things worse, the announcement for the #UnleashYourWarrior campaign, an initiative to support those suffering from breast cancer just so happened to coincide with the death of legendary wrestling figure Bobby The Brain Heenan. Why is his death significant to WWE’s latest award? Well it meant that comments made by Ultimate Warrior about Heenan were circling the web and over-shadowing WWE’s big announcement.
"As for you, Booby Heenan, it's just too difficult to keep a straight face talking about the pure two-faced bag of shit you are (and have always been), what, with you also actually wearing one as a piece of body jewellery. You are dying, dis-eased on the inside, and no more time is left to get back any of the integrity that matters the most on death's bed...”
Sadly, Bobby Heenan died of cancer. Which makes Warrior’s next comments all the more terrible.
“Imagine what it will be like, lying there taking in your last breaths, knowing you whored yourself out your whole life, and had to, in your final years, be faced with emptying your own personal shit bag affirming to you the true value of what you achieved in your life. Not even Vince could come up with a better finish than this. Karma is just a beautiful thing to behold." Jim Hellwig
WWE attempted to fight the backlash for the awards new name stating "WWE's 'Unleash Your Warrior' breast cancer awareness campaign and annual 'Warrior Award' recognize individuals that exhibit the strength and courage of WWE's legendary character The Ultimate Warrior. Any attempt to distract from the mission of these initiatives and take the spotlight away from the honorees is unfortunately misguided." WWE Statement
Put simply. We are going to name the new award after whomever we wish so don’t think about it or you are the bad guy.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
So he was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Then celebrated the next night at Wrestlemania on the Sunday, before appearing in a WWE ring for the first time in 18 years on the Monday. It was on this edition of Raw that The Ultimate Warrior spoke to the fans and said:
“Every man's heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breath their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper than something that is larger than life, than his essence, his spirit will be immortalized. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, of those who honor him and make what that man did live forever.” Ultimate Warrior
And that’s the truest and most understandable statement he ever uttered within a WWE ring. Perhaps it shows that through it all, Warrior was simply trying to live his life in order to entertain fans with captivating and memorable way possible, in the best way he knew how which was with his incredibly hard-earned physique.
“It was really surreal because he made it to RAW on Monday and then the next day, he died. So a very set of surreal circumstances surrounding the last time I was around The Ultimate Warrior.” Dutch Mantell
The very next night it happened. He passed away on April 8, 2014, due to a heart attack in Scottsdale, Arizona. The WWE honored his memory with a ten bell salute and a video tribute on the April 14 episode of Raw.
"WWE is shocked and greatly saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever. Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history." WWE
"We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans," WWE statement.
Warriors death was mourned by many wrestling fans. However, his controversial legacy continues to be debated by those who remember his impact on the wrestling world.
James Brian Hellwig and also The Ultimate Warrior, had a controversial life both in and out of the wrestling ring. He was undoubtedly one of the most recognisable faces of the late 1980s and early 1990s as a charismatic and energetic wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Some critics argue that Hellwig's problematic behaviour had tarnished his legacy and that his controversies overshadowed his achievements in the wrestling ring. While he was undeniably successful as The Ultimate Warrior, his controversial legacy remains a point of debate among fans and critics alike.
Despite the controversy, Hellwig's impact on the world of professional wrestling cannot be ignored. He inspired a generation of fans and wrestlers alike with his unique style and larger-than-life personality. He also helped to popularize professional wrestling in the mainstream, paving the way for future generations of wrestlers and fans.
In conclusion, Jim Hellwig's life was a complex and controversial one. While he achieved great success in the wrestling world as The Ultimate Warrior, his problematic behaviour and controversial views have led to a mixed legacy. His impact on the world of professional wrestling remains the subject of debate among fans and critics, but there is no denying that he left a lasting impression on the industry.
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