It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post about the passing of one of my childhood heroes….The Ultimate Warrior. He passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 54. Signs are pointing to a massive heart attack, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
The Ultimate Warrior started his wrestling career in the mid 80s. After tag teaming with Sting (together known as The Blade Runners), he entered the World Wrestling Federation as the Dingo Warrior. Of course no one really knew what a Dingo Warrior was, so he became The Ultimate Warrior. His wild persona, face paint, insanely muscular body and smash mouth style made him a hot commodity in the WWF. Pretty soon he was the Intercontinental Champion on his way to challenging Hulk Hogan for the Heavyweight Championship.
Their clash at WrestleMania VI was always one of my favorite matches. Despite being a huge Hulkamaniac, it was an epic sight seeing Warrior be the first person to truly dethrone the Hulkster. This was the highest peak of Warriors career. In the 90s he would have moments of falling out with the WWF and it’s owner Vince McMahon. Warrior would leave the company in 1991, return and leave in 1992 and the same in 1996. During this time he legally changed his name to Warrior and released his own comic book among other things. In 1998 he returned to wrestling, but this time for WCW (World Championship Wrestling)…his run was short lived.
Warrior was a bit of an enigma, both on screen and in real life. He’s gone in public and said pretty controversial things and has had controversial things said about him. Many felt that he was blacklisted from the WWF/WWE because of his comments/actions. But in 2013 The Ultimate Warrior reached an agreement with the WWE which all culminated just a few short days ago when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Saturday night and made an appearance at WrestleMania XXX on Sunday.
Warrior appeared on Monday Night Raw in an unadvertised appearance and addressed the crowd in what now seems like an eerie goodbye message. He talked about his legacy including the following statement: “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized”
Less than 24 hours later, he would be gone. The timing is very shocking and sad (especially after seeing Warrior’s family at the Hall of Fame), but I am pleased that he got one moment to address his fans, mend old wounds with Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan and others, and be honored for his years of service. Thank you Warrior and I hope you’re hanging out with the Macho Man in Heaven.