WWE Home Video pretty much always delivers solid behind the scenes looks at the larger than life stars of the WWE, but this comprehensive look at the life of The Ultimate Warrior, perhaps the WWE’s closest character to a ripped from the comic books superhero, may be its crowning achievement. Some of that is undoubtedly due to the fortuitous decision to look back on his career as he prepares to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and his shocking death two days later.
The film has a number of talking head segments featuring Warrior’s wife, Dana; their two daughters Indiana and Mattigan and a number of WWE personalities including CEO Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, John Cena, Stephanie McMahon, Linda McMahon, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Kofi Kingston and Sting.
After the now-infamous smear job of ‘The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior,’ (see here: The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior) which didn’t include any involvement from Warrior, this production offers a far more fair and balanced look at the Warrior’s career. Warrior is able to tell his story covering his early days to his tenure with WWE culminating in defeating Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 6, his disappointing stint in WCW and post-wrestling career and it’s clear he’s at peace at this stage in his life. Warrior understands his significance to the wrestling business, but isn’t so lost in his legacy that he can’t look back on his career objectively and see his mistakes and situations he wish he’d handled differently.
He’s warm, reflective and at peace with his place in life. The film deftly balances two major themes of strength: having the fortitude to chase after one’s dream and digging even deeper to forgive those who’ve wronged you in the past.
To WWE Home Video’s credit, a chapter is devoted to the initial DVD and the resulting pain and hard feelings it caused Warrior, which paints WWE in a rare negative light on their own video productions. This segment is especially crushing as we see the extent Warrior’s love and respect for the McMahons.
It makes the work done on both Warrior’s and WWE Executive Vice President Triple H’s part to reconcile feel like such a triumph. Vince McMahon seems far less the head of a multimillion dollar corporate empire and much more a man genuinely affected by the loss of his friend. It’s a side to McMahon most of us have rarely seen and it reinforces the sentiment of how strong the bonds are within the wrestling community beyond the money, arguments, titles and epic matches.
By far the most enjoyable segment is Warrior’s homecoming where he returns for his Hall of Fame induction and Wrestlemania 30. It’s a treat watching him reconnect with stars like Razor Ramon, Sgt. Slaughter; mending fences with old rivals like Hulk Hogan and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and greeting current superstars such as Shemaus and Daniel Bryan.
In a nice epilogue, we’re shown how Dana and the girls have been embraced by the WWE family in the wake of Warrior’s passing. It’s hard not to get choked up as Triple H, Stephanie and WWE Divas Natayla and Alicia Fox welcome Dana and the girls with Natayla helping Mattie kickstart her own career in another emotional highlight.
Warrior’s story plays out like a true hero’s journey in which the bronzed, muscular conqueror wins not from holding the prized title over his head, but from finding peace and contentment with his family and serving as an inspiration to millions.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pics courtesy: WWE.com
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