A true WWE legend, the Ultimate Warrior may also have been one of the most entertaining wrestlers to ever enter the squared circle. Infused with an infectious enthusiasm and boiling over with energy, his demeanor transferred over into the ring with each and every match. Fans would burst into applause whenever Warrior would famously sprint down the warm-up tunnel straight to center stage, and they’d cheer even louder when he pinned his next victim. He was a man who lived his life with the gas pedal pushed all the way down, and wrestling was no exception.
Though he was occasionally embroiled in WWE controversy, The Ultimate Warrior was so dedicated to his persona that he legally changed his name to Warrior. It was a badge of honor his family still carries forward to this day. This was the sort of dedication he brought to the sport, and it’s one of the main reasons why he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
As a lynchpin in the earlier years of the WWE, many of the finer points of The Ultimate Warrior’s life may be unknown to younger generations. Allow us to help. What follows are the 10 stunning things you probably didn’t know about WWE’s Ultimate Warrior.
10 He Was Originally a Bodybuilder
The Ultimate Warrior had humble beginnings. Originally a small child who had little interest in sports, Warrior’s life was changed when he saw bodybuilder Robby Robinson. He was immediately inspired to start lifting weights at the age of eleven. Soon enough, he was on-stage participating in bodybuilding competitions, showing off bulging muscles and developing a stage presence.
9 His Wrestling Career Was Slow To Take Off
Warrior began his career wrestling with The Freedom Fighters. He developed a persona named "Justice" and fought with his friend Steve Borden. Later, the two wrestled as a tag team in the CWA wrestling league based out of Tennessee. There they took the ring under the personas of "Blade Runner Rock" (Warrior) and "Blade Runner Flash" (Borden). The two were slow to take off with the fans and they bounced around a few wrestling leagues, winding up in the UWF.
8 His Matches With Hulk Hogan Are Some of the Most Influential In Wrestling History
Hulk Hogan is considered one of the biggest professional wrestling stars in the history of the sport. He’d maintained his success throughout the 1980s, and by 1990 his popularity was still surging. It was at this time that The Ultimate Warrior was billed as his opponent for the Royal Rumble in Toronto, Ontario.
7 He Was in a Legitimate Feud With Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon, CEO of the WWE, is no stranger to the limelight. Oftentimes, he takes to the ring to perform staged promotional skits. Apparently, the man had a knack for making headlines behind the scenes as well. McMahon was once strong-armed by Warrior in a way he did not much appreciate.
6 The WWE Attempted to Defame Him
In 2005, the WWE released a DVD entitled The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior. The DVD features several big wrestling names, new and old, looking back on Warrior's wrestling career. The clips are filled with negative feedback and belittlement of Warrior's contributions to the WWE and to the sport of wrestling in general.
5 The Origins of His Name Are Disputed
There are two separate versions of the origin behind The Ultimate Warrior, and we'll only give you one guess as to who gives the varying accounts. Ding, Ding! You guessed it: Warrior and Vince McMahon.
Warrior was originally known as "Dingo Warrior" for some time, yet the switch to Ultimate Warrior is where accounts differ. In The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior, it's said that McMahon did not know what a "Dingo” warrior was, and there were already a few wrestlers with the word warrior in their name, so rather than simply create another minor "Warrior" name they should instead create The Ultimate Warrior.
Warrior himself recollects this a tad bit differently. By his account, McMahon instructed him to film a promo following one of his initial matches. Warrior claims it was there McMahon let it be known his distaste for “Dingo”, but that they still wanted him to be “Warrior”. Warrior then replied he didn’t want to be "this warrior" or "that warrior," but The Ultimate Warrior.
4 Various Feuds of His Were Cut Short
Feuds are seemingly the driving force behind some of the excitement of professional wrestling. Though obviously scripted, they are fun and certainly build up the tension when the two wrestlers finally take to the ring. One of the more entertaining of Warrior’s feuds was with the Undertaker, which seemed to really take off after the Undertaker locked him in a coffin. When WWF workers opened the coffin they found scratch marks along the walls. The Warrior was unresponsive.
3 He Created His Own Comic Book
With the flowing locks, bulging muscles, face paint and dangling tassels, every time The Ultimate Warrior stepped into the ring it was like watching a superhero. Apparently, it was precisely the look Warrior was striving towards. In 1996, Warrior wrote and published his own self-titled comic book. Surprise, surprise: he’s the main character.
2 He Died One Day after Predicting an Early Death
The Ultimate Warrior had a few days of whirlwind activity just before he passed away. On April 5th, 2014, the legendary wrestler was admitted to the WWE Hall of Fame. There he gave a heartfelt speech, crediting his family as his greatest accomplishment. He appeared on WrestleMania XXX the following day.
On April 7, he made his first appearance on RAW in nearly eighteen years. Once again, he addressed the crowd in a heartfelt manner, discussing notions of lasting legacy and thanking his fans that have supported him throughout the years. The following day The Ultimate Warrior collapsed on his way to the car.
1 The WWE Respects His Legacy
However stressed relations were in the past, the WWE has proven all that is truly in the past. Following his tragic passing, the WWE honored him with proper respect, organizing moments of silence in future events and playing videos of his greatest moments. The organization was also extremely respectful to the family the legendary wrestler left behind, going so far as sending officials to their home in Arizona to assist in day-to-day things so they could concentrate on healing.
Though the league had taken measures to strike down the character of The Ultimate Warrior in the past, namely with the DVD The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior, it’s clear they respect the influence he had on the sport.
Sources: ultimatewarrior.com, wwe.com, espn.go.com, pwtorch.com, 411mania.com
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