Welcome to the Ultimate Warrior Memorial Rasslin’ Roundtable. Today some of our wrestling writers have come together to honor and remember the late great professional wrestler Ultimate Warrior. Now without any further delays…
I’ve talked at great lengths about Warrior, the man and the character, but I’ve never really gone into his matches in any sort of detail…
Lots of people will say Warrior vs Hogan because of how huge it was when they were a kid and whatnot, but that kick-out right after the 3 count always sticks out. I never thought of Randy Orton as a Warrior fan, but I’m pretty sure WrestleMania VI was the inspiration for all those rest-holds he uses.
The matches with Rick Rude were all good. Rude’s someone who’s name you don’t see flying around very often, so you should probably check out his stuff with Warrior, then maybe his feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts… I’d like to see him in the Hall of Fame at some point (and, if they ever actually get a hall, all those custom painted tights).
Ultimate Warrior vs Hunter Hearst Helmsley at WrestleMania XII is really fun, if you like to hate on HHH.
Ultimate Warrior vs Andre The Giant at MSG (some time in 1989) is fantastic. Warrior is like New Jack in this one. He runs down, hits some lariats, lands the splash, gets a three count and runs off – all while his music plays. Andre’s reaction to this is superb.
I think Ultimate Warrior vs Macho King Randy Savage (W/Sherri) from WrestleMania VII might be my favourite Warrior match of all time. Nobody really brings it up when they talk about the top Savage matches, but I chalk that up to Savage having very few bad matches during his WWF run.
You could make a highlight reel for Warrior using these 30mins alone. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, either. This is like the culmination of every previous Warrior match. It combined everything Warrior was good at with Savage’s fantastic heel work, and then added 4 extra elbows. Five elbows, people, FIVE! (three wasn’t enough, etc.).
My man Martin Shaw said Pulse was doing a roundtable about memories of The Ultimate Warrior from fans of his. I thought I’d share my five favorite Ultimate Warrior matches.
5) Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man
This is the first Ultimate Warrior match I ever saw. It’s one of the best debuts I think they have ever done in WWE even though it wasn’t his official debut. He had a few squash matches, but this was the first match where the entire character was worked out and shown to the world. The best part was the confusion on Honky Tonk Man’s face after the match.
4) Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude (Cage Match)
For people who aren’t impressed with Warrior’s wrestling ability should watch any match from the Warrior/Rude feud. This cage match was my favorite though. Warrior credits Rude with teaching him a few things as the feud went on, and it shows throughout Warrior’s career.
3) Ultimate Warrior vs. Ric Flair
This was from some house show I saw on Youtube. Try to look for it if you can. It’s hilarious. Warrior refuses to sell anything for Flair. However, Flair has Mr. Perfect at ringside with him. Anytime Perfect would touch Warrior, he would pretend he was attacked with a baseball bat. But anytime Flair touched him…nothing. It’s kind of a mess, but it’s still incredibly entertaining.
2) Ultimate Warrior vs. Goldust
This one was from Warrior’s WWE comeback. It isn’t talked about much, but it’s one of the funniest matches ever. I don’t want to give away the entire match, but it ends with Warrior wearing Goldust’s wig while smoking a cigar in the middle of the ring. You have to look for this if you haven’t seen it.
1) Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage at WM7
The best match in WWE/F history. This is the match every young wrestler who enters WWE should watch to learn what the WWE style is all about. It has everything. EVERYTHING. It doesn’t get any better than this. I’m probably understating it.
The Warrior vs Hogan Wrestlemania 6 Double Title Match was my first Wrestlemania. He captured my heart and imagination with that match.
One of my personal favorite Ultimate Warrior moments was when he was on WCW Monday Night Nitro in 1998 playing mind games with Hollywood Hulk Hogan. He was taunting Hogan from the “inside” of a dressing room mirror.
Hulk could see Warrior. The audience could see Warrior. Tony Schiavone and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan could see Warrior. Eric Bischoff seemed to be the only one who couldn’t see our trenchcoated, face-painted hero from the late 80’s.
Perhaps this was hidden genius on Warrior’s part (he oversaw this portion of the storyline); the fans and the announcers really enjoyed seeing Hollywood come to grips with Immortal vs. Ultimate being a forever struggle — while Bischoff didn’t really have a place on the Hogan/Warrior stage no matter how much he thought he did.
I enjoyed it because it was a silly storyline and since most of my heroes migrated there, I became a WCW kid. The two guys that I had wrestling buddies and action figures of were set to square off once again. Also, Warrior still looked jacked. I could tell Hogan’s skin was starting to sag and silkify, but Warrior didn’t look too damaged from the tanning bed or the gym.
This had my young mind ready to enjoy another colorful, fast paced match in which Hogan was the clear-cut bad guy.
Intense, upbeat and just the right amount of insane, I will always remember Warrior’s pro-wrestling career with fondness. Yes, even the WCW stuff.
I began watching his new DVD last week leading up to WrestleMania XXX and of course, the Ultimate Warrior’s WWE Hall Of Fame induction. I don’t have the words yet to describe how Warrior’s sudden death is effecting anyone who’s ever been a wrestling fan. I’m not going to lie and say I grew up an Ultimate Warrior fan. I was more interested in the Intercontinental title and Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels, to name a few. They were the guys I could relate to since I wasn’t a 6 ft 2, 275 lb body builder and I never would be. But I saw the appeal of Warrior. He was flashy, highly energized and would plow over the competition. He was Goldberg before Goldberg ever thought about wrestling (and with a more colorful ensemble). I found it odd that the Warrior chose now to mend fences with the WWE. First it was the video game. Then the DVD. The Hall of Fame. And finally him announcing he signed a new contract with the WWE. All of this was in a 12 month span. I don’t know if Warrior or his family knew something everyone else didn’t and I don’t care to speculate on it. What I will say is that in the past three days, and especially on this DVD, Warrior appeared to be a man who had made peace with himself, God and did all he could to mend fences with past adversaries. It’s devastating that his family lost a husband and a father and we all lost one of the biggest characters in wrestling history. The only irony or maybe divine intervention is that he made it through this past week and definitely left us on a high note. Rest in peace, Jim Hellwig.
Growing up at the tail-end of the Attitude era, I didn’t grow up watching The Ultimate Warrior. I only knew of him as the guy who beat Hogan at WrestleMania 6 as a sort of passing-of-the-torch moment that didn’t actually pass the torch. The next year it wasn’t Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter for the belt; it was Hogan vs. Slaughter. WrestleMania 8 didn’t even have The Ultimate Warrior on the card, but he did return here to help out Hulk. Any way you look at it, the ball was passed to Warrior, but it didn’t stay that way for long. Despite all of that, in that day and age people were either Hulk fans or Warrior fans and to be on the same level as Hulk in terms of popularity is incredulous.
Although Ultimate Warrior wasn’t known as much for his matches, there was no denying that he had a certain aura about him. That aura seemed to stem from three different parts. The first being his fanatical promos such as the one from WrestleMania 6 about Hulk Hogan being the pilot of his plane and turning the control into a nosedive to turn himself into ‘total self-destruction’ and be close to Parts Unknown. Yes, you read that statement correctly. Ultimate Warrior had a certain way of words when he spoke. It’s very confusing, scary, and exciting all at the same time. When you watched Warrior do the promo mentioned above, Warrior fans were pumped to see Warrior force Hogan to turn that plane into a nosedive… whatever that meant!
The second piece of Warrior’s aura is simply his entrance. From the fantastic theme song to his non-stop movement until he entered the ring, the mere emergence of The Ultimate Warrior evoked some sort of emotion from you. The beat hits and out runs The Ultimate Warrior at full speed with his arm pumping into the air. He jumps on the apron and runs along it. He pumps the ropes until they appear as mere noodles being shaken. It’s an amazing entrance that would make nearly any opponent think twice about the entity he’s facing. Warrior probably has one of the greatest entrances of all time. It’s completely original and doesn’t require a lot of special effects (although there was some thrown in there from time to time).
The third piece of Warrior’s interesting aura is simply his appearance. He had a huge head of hair befitting of the 80’s, tassels on his upper arm and knees, and face paint all in very colorful styles. Not to mention the guy was 6’2″, 275 pounds, and JACKED. If his promos and entrance didn’t impress you, then his physique and unique look definitely had to tell you that The Ultimate Warrior was something special.
As a fan that went back to watch some of his older material, the Randy Savage match at WrestleMania 7 and his work with Rick Rude will always be my favorite moments of Ultimate Warrior. Not to mention the squash that ended the longest Intercontinental Championship streak of all time of The Honky Tonk Man.
Whether it’s his matches, his promos, his look, or his entrance, The Ultimate Warrior will be forever remembered in the hearts and minds of WWF/E fans.
Thank you for reading and tell us how The Ultimate Warrior affected you and the most vivid memories that you have of him.
Tags: Andre the Giant, bobby "the brain" heenan, curt hennig, Eric Bischoff, goldust, Honky Tonk Man, Hulk Hogan, mr perfect, randy orton, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Tony Schiavone, triple h, Ultimate Warrior, WCW, WWE, WWF