R.I.P. Ultimate Warrior and WWE legends' react

The Ultimate Warrior RIPThis one is nuts. Just days after being inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame, The Ultimate Warrior is dead at 54.

Warrior, of course, was a major player in the late 80s through the mid 90s in the WWF. With his colorful face paint, manic intensity and ripped physique, fans took to him very quickly.

The Ultimate Warrior vs The Honky Tonk Man Summerslam 88WWF owner Vince McMahon realized he had something special with Warrior and booked him to be the guy to finally end The Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental title reign.

Not long afterwards he received the highest honor of being selected the guy to get a legit clean pin fall against Hulk a Hogan at Wrestlemania 6. Hogan vs Warrior Wrestlemania 6

To a generation of Hulkamaniacs, myself included, the only way Hulk could lose the belt was by some chicanery like Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase pulled off so this was shocking and as stunning as The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania ending.

Warrior had three of the biggest moments of any wrestler’s career book-ended between Wrestlemania 6 and 7. In another stunner, he lost his coveted WWF title in a massive upset to Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble to the Iraqi turncoat Sgt. Slaughter due to major interference from Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Ultimate Warrior vs Randy Savage from Wrestlemania 7The two agreed to settle their differences in an retirement match at Wrestlemania 7. Ultimate Warrior was by no means the best wrestler even during that era when the emphasis was more on looks than actual wrestling skill, but he was involved in two of the Top 10 Wrestlemania matches of all time.

From there, Warrior went on to feud with The Undertaker, but was betrayed in one of the best turns ever by Jake “The Snake” Roberts. For reasons only Warrior knew, he left the WWF shortly afterwards only to return to aid his ally/rival Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 8.

ultimate warrior and randy savage summerslam 92This Warrior comeback was highlighted by a Summerslam 92 matchup against his old rival, “The Macho Man” for the WWF title. This time, Warrior wasn’t able to get the victory thanks to interference from Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect. The WWF had set up a (no pun intended) perfect matchup for Survivor Series 92 where Flair and newcomer Razor Ramon would take on the Ultimate Maniacs — Warrior and Savage — but Warrior left the company again prompting Mr. Perfect to come out of retirement. Even as a non-insider fan back then I was always mad at Warrior for making Flair’s executive consultant.

In the mid 90s, Warrior made another comeback with the most significant moment squashing up and comer Hunter Hearst Helmsley. This time Warrior aligned himself with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson to take on Vader, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, but again a problem with McMahon led to Warrior leaving before the big ppv match.

ultimate warrior - the self destruction of the ultimate warrior dvdWarrior had burned so many bridges in WWE that they made a smear campaign DVD entitled “The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior,” featuring numerous superstars ripping him for his lack of passion for the business and general petty stuff.

But as time seems to for most things, Warrior and WWE mended fences and he was prominently featured in the fantastic WWE’14 and its “30 Years of Wrestlemania Mode.” The restored relationship led to Warrior finally being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this past Saturday.

ultimate warrior wwe hall of fame induction

And here’s some reaction from his fellow stars



I’m glad that unlike Savage, Warrior got to have his moment of glory at the Hall of Fame, go in the ring one last time and bury some old grudges. For whatever it’s worth, it’s good that most people’s last memory of him will be a fond one.

Here’s the Warrior’s last promo from this past Monday’s RAW. It somehow makes that RAW even more memorable in hindsight…

“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a 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 and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend markers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. Ultimate. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!”

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