Wednesday, 9 April 2014
The Ultimate Warrior
Only four days after he was inducted into his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame on a Saturday evening, news broke of the death of James Hellwig, the Ultimate a Warrior at the age of 54. Whilst the cause of death was not reported, his use of stimulants during his initial run of WWE will no doubt have a factor.
Considering the number of appearances he had made over the weekend, and his presence on the Wrestlemania XXX pay per view and the live Monday Night Raw telecast, it makes the sudden death all the more shocking and saddening.
Along which the death of Macho Man Randy Savage last year, the work of wrestling has lost two of its biggest and recognisable icons; and while their deaths are not comparable to those of Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero and even, Chris Benoit where we lost those superstars during their prime. The death of the Warrior is all the more prophetic as their was a lot of talk about legacy over the weekend.
Legacy is important to the WWE - their new tag line being 'Then, Now, Forever' - and three superstars talked about their legacy over the pay per view. John Cena said he was fighting Bray Wyatt for his legacy after 12 years of competing. And in the match between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, two legacies were effected. Brock Lesnar's is enhanced by becoming the only man to defeat the Phenom at the Show of the Immortals, and the Undertaker chose his last match to be that of a defeat.
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the WWE's biggest stars during the late 1980s and early 1990s due to his physical presence, high intensity and hysterical microphone promotions. He was much mimicked but equally adored. Warrior was larger than life in every sense of the word, it is a shame at the stimulants that helped him become larger is the item attributable to his unfortunate death.
Whilst Warrior will never be recognised as the greatest technician in wrestling history, his style nonetheless transcended, you need only look at he fan reaction when he won his first Intercontinental title against the Honky Tonk Man at Summerslam 1988; the crowd erupts in rapture.
He was engaged with some great matches, two that come to mind are the Intercontinental title match versus Rick Rude at Summerslam 1989 and the Career Ending match versus Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII. Two matches where two better wrestlers carried Warrior to create good chemistry.
For me though I am glad that the Ultimate Warrior was allowed to make peace with the WWE and Vince McMahon, have one more moment in the spotlight to add to his legacy and hopefully he passed