WWE Self-Destruction Of Ultimate Warrior
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Characters
–The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most recognizable stars in the WWE for a time in the early 90’s. This is his story.
The Warriors wrestling career, from mid-1980’s to about 1998.
The Film (1:34:44)
We look at the muscle-bound stars of the 80’s, and the early days of Jim Hellweg, from the Bladerunners tag team with the wrestler who would become Sting, to the Dingo Warrior in WCCW to finally the WWE as first the Dingo Warrior then the Ultimate Warrior. They joke about the Dingo part of the name, and wanting to get rid of it. They wanted to get rid of the Warrior part too, since there were already the Road Warriors and Kerry Von Erich than the Modern Day Warrior. Vince said he’s more than those warriors, he’s the Ultimate Warrior and thus his name was born. Steve Lombardi makes his prerequisite DVD appearance, saying he wrestled him about 50 times and maybe got knocked out two or three times.
Christian and Chris Jericho both talk about his entrance music and how he ran to the ring and Jim Johnston talks about writing the music as Edge muses Warrior was probably tired by the time he ran to the ring. They show him wrestle a match, with his belt on!
One of Warrior’s first feud was with Hercules, and Ross says those matches were hard to watch, and DiBiase agrees. Ted actually says he can’t have a great match on his own. They talk about the Weasel suit match which Heenan started in the AWA. Heenan owned the suit and suggested doing it in the WWE. He would’ve preferred Hogan but got Warrior instead. Warrior was over at the time so he had no problem with it. Heenan says he was hard to work with since he wouldn’t listen.
We joke about Warrior’s origin, the parts unknown, where Christian says the foreign object comes from. Jericho says it comes from an island off Costa Rica coming from the Spanish Parte Anuey. We see a Warrior promo about taking the belt back to Parts Unknown. Warrior wanted to keep a superhuman aspect to his character according to Steve but Heenan says he was too stupid to know where he was from.
One of Warriors biggest, most memorable moments was his dismantling of Honky Tonk Man at Summerslam. Honky held the IC title for over a year, and fans hated him. Hogan credits Warrior’s ascension due to where the wrestling business was at the time. We then talk about one of the more memorable parts of Warrior’s character, his promos, which usually made no sense and were just the rants and raves of a crazy man. Flair didn’t know what to make of the promos. Edge remembers the Wrestlemania VI promo where he would take care of Hogan’s plane and take it into a nosedive. Christian has the whole thing memorized.
Warrior would feud into the late 80’s with Rick Rude, and how Rude worked very hard to making the matches decent. Rude won the IC title at WMVI and Heenan complains about being press-slammed at the end because Warrior didn’t care. Warrior then feuded with Andre the Giant, and it really solidified Warrior’s status in the eyes of the fans. It has been said that Andre did not like working with Warrior and did not like the man Hellweg at all and having to knock the lights out of the Warrior to teach him a bit. Now the smearing starts, as Heenan and DiBiase says he didn’t appreciate anything about the business or the history of it.
We move to the 1990 Royal Rumble, and the start of the Warrior/Hogan feud, leading to the Ultimate Challenge at Wrestlemania VI, with both Warrior’s IC title and Hogan’s WWE title being at stake in a title vs. title match. Hogan passed the torch that night, but Hogan says that when he saw the people follow him leave the ring instead of the champ, he knew it wasn’t going to work. Hogan says he didn’t want to say I told you so, but…
So Warrior was to lead the WWE into the next century and Lombardi actually has nice things to say about his start as a champion, being a total package. His first feud after being champ was against DiBiase, and Ted says he didn’t have any in-ring problems with Warrior. The DiBiase feud led to one with the Macho King Randy Savage. Savage caused Warrior to lose the title, leading to a retirement match between the two at Wrestlemania VII, where Hogan tells us Savage was very detail-oriented and made the match easy for Warrior, leading to his best match ever. They mention Slaughter beating the Warrior for the title after the retirement match, which doesn’t make sense. They really didn’t mention the title loss too much, and Slaughter says he had to treat Warrior like a wild horse to tame him in the ring.
We move to Summerslam 1991 where Warrior told Vince that he won’t work unless he gets X amount of dollars (Vince doesn’t remember the number) and hypothetically put the gun to his head. Slaughter says that Hogan told him and Sheik to break his leg or take him in the locker room to rough him up. Vince didn’t want a lawsuit and he agreed to give Warrior the money, to his dismay, but he wanted to be responsible to the audience to provide the audience with what he promised (really?). Slaughter was worried about how the match would be and Hogan was very mad at Warrior at this point, but they stayed professional and worked a decent match. So as soon as Warrior came to the locker room, Vince was very happy to fire him. Vince is sure to point out that he paid Warrior what he promised him just to live up to his word. Slaughter and Hogan both said they had their complaints with money but dealt with it the right way. Ted was disgusted by it, too.
So Warrior was on hiatus and Vince actually gave him a second chance, and Warrior came back at Wrestlemania VII, an event my cousins actually attended. Ted couldn’t believe it. Hulk says he liked Warrior coming back since he liked Jim. Funnily enough, when Warrior returned he had a shorter haircut and wasn’t as built since he didn’t hit the gym as much, leading to rumors that the original Ultimate Warrior died and this one replace him, and Edge endears himself to me by mentioning the Paul (McCartney) is Dead rumours back 1967. When Warrior came back he had a feud with Papa Shango which led to Warrior being “cursed” and vomiting all over people. Jim said it wasn’t an artistic success at all. Vince says Warrior was very guarded and wouldn’t let people get to know him and Lombardi mentions again he didn’t have a love for the wrestling industry.
Warrior left again in 1992, with rumours that he was about to mention Nailz, which Bruce Pritchard denies. It was due a violation in the drug policy according to McMahon. In 1993, things got weirder. Jim Hellweg got his name changed to just Warrior to try and put one over as Vince, which didn’t work since the WWE already had intellectual property on Ultimate Warrior. Ted, Heenan, and others question what the hell he was thinking.
Warrior returned, again, in 1996 and Vince again claims responsibility to the fans. Unfortunately it was too long and his huge fanbase was not there when he returned. HHH had the dubious “honor” of being the one Warrior fought in his return match. HHH, with his title belt, says that Warrior is one of the most unprofessional guys he’s ever dealt with. Warrior no sold the pedigree, probably the only one do that, and beat HHH in convincing fashion. HHH said Warrior ruined the experience of his first Wrestlemania. Warrior feuded with Lawler prior to King of the Ring and Lawler painting a portrait of the Warrior in the buildup. So they had a promo, and Warrior came out with a hat on, which Lawler says took away impact on the match.
Warrior would prove unreliable and would miss house shows, and his suspension on WWE TV due to this. Vince says you can’t miss shows, and Warrior says his father passed away (which was true, according to Vince), but Warrior hadn’t spoken to his father in years and had no relationship with him. I think that’s Vince’s own reason to rationalize his firing. So Warrior was let go for the last time, and again Vince claims the audience, that he was doing a disservice to the audience by promoting someone who didn’t show. Shortly afterwards, Warrior sued the WWE for the rights to his name. With this DVD out on the stands, I am guessing he lost.
So Warrior did independent shows and Hogan came up with a scam to bring in a Warrior look-alike in WCW called Renegade. Bischoff said it wasn’t a means to bring Warrior into WCW, but that’s what it looked like when Warrior was brought into WCW. Warrior had a good initial response, but called out Hogan, mentioning their previous WWE WM match, a big no-no according to Hogan, mentioning that Warrior beat Hogan already. Warrior rambled for about 10 minutes and they said ratings plummeted during that time. Their match is one of the worst in history, which Bischoff agrees to, and Hogan actually takes some of the blame, too, blowing the fireball spot. Warrior was meant for a WCW push, but he was asking Bischoff for way too much money.
They end with the Warrior’s legacy, and how he regrets leaving the WWE. He has taken up speaking and he actually goes to universities to speak. Ross says he would like to hear that, and wonder if he can even understand it. Heenan says he is one of the only wrestlers he knows of that no one likes. Flair says he won’t say if Warrior is a flash in the pan and leaves in a funny spot. Vince says the fans would remember him more fondly than the wrestlers, and the wrestlers who watched Warrior as fans have nicer things to say about his career, including Jericho calling him underrated for his wrestling skills.
This was quite the feature. It’s a little different from any of the other ones I’ve seen, since the subject really had no input in the feature. You can see why, it started off well enough, but then it just descended into a total bashing of the person of Jim Hellweg as a person. Bobby Heenan was especially rough on him, he didn’t have a single good thing to say. This was really something else. It was just a WWE deconstruction of Ultimate Warrior. Even a decade after Warrior last worked for a major company you can hear the disdain some people have for him. True, Jim is eccentric, but he wasn’t given an opportunity for his side of the story. I doubt he would ever appear on something like this, though. This is just a remarkable feature, to see how the ones who worked with him had nothing really good to say, while the fans who watched him (like Edge, Christian and Jericho) were much more favorable. Just a remarkable feature.
1) Ultimate Warrior vs. Terry Gibbs (2:38)
This is from Wrestling Challenge 10/24/87 and is Warrior’s WWE debut. Warrior doesn’t even get theme music. Gibbs attacks from behind, and that goes nowhere. Warrior leapfrogs(!) Gibbs, then works the arm. They show a Warrior promo while he’s wrestling, and it’s the first of many non-sensical ones. Warrior with a press-slam and a splash and that’s all she wrote at 1:37. Total squash, as Gibbs got a total of one offensive move and it was an attack from behind. Still, I got to see a Warrior leapfrog! 1/4*.
2) Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man(c) for the Intercontinental Title (4:16)
This is his famous match from Summerslam 08/29/88. I don’t think they talked about it quite as much as they should’ve in the main feature. Basically this asshole heel who everyone hated had been ducking opponents left and right and had been leaving matches and getting counted out to retain his title. This went on for 15 months and when Brutus Beefcake went down with an injury, he was matchless for the first ever Summerslam. He called out any challenger and after anticipation built for a few minutes, out runs Ultimate Warrior to a huge pop. He slams Honky, shoulderblocks him, clotheslines him down and hits the splash and that’s all she wrote. In 30 seconds Ultimate Warrior started his ascent to the WWE title and got himself incredibly over with the fans. Say what you will about him as a person, or as a wrestler, but the crowd ate this squash up. Usual squash match rating, ¼*.
3) Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan(c) for the WWE Title (31:05)
This is from Wrestlemania VI (04/01/90) and is probably the height of Warriors career. I reviewed this about three weeks ago for the History of the WWE title review, so I am just cutting and pasting. Monsoon and Ventura call the action. The crowd is split between Hogan and Warrior. Warrior was the IC champ at the time and it was booked as a champion vs. champion match, but surely Hogan wasn’t going to win the IC title. They jaw to start then engage in a shoving match before locking up, with Warrior tossing aside Hogan. Hogan returns the favor on the next lock-up. Warrior wants a test of strength and Hogan obliges. Warrior gets the upper hand but Hogan makes the comeback. Hogan knocks him over and drops the elbow for one. Shoulderblocks don’t go anywhere so they criss cross and Hogan gets the slam, but Warrior is right up. They criss cross again and Warrior gets a slam, which Hogan sells. Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the outside and Hogan’s knee is hurt. Warrior brings Hogan back inside and works the knee over a bit, but Hogan takes control. He sends Warrior to the corner, follows with ten punches, slams Warrior, drops two elbows and covers for two. Hogan tries a small package but it only gets a two. Hulkster works over Warrior in the corner, then clotheslines Warrior for two. Backbreaker also gets two. Hogan works in the reverse chinlock and Warrior is out. Hogan knees him in the back, and hits a side suplex for two. Warrior is completely blown up now, and Hogan has to dead lift the Warrior. Hogan puts Warrior in another reverse chinlock, but Warrior elbows out of it. Warrior off the ropes and both guys hit each other with a clothesline and they are both out. Both men get up, and revive, and Hogan’s blows have no affect on Warrior. Warrior clotheslines Hogan a few times, sends him to the turnbuckles, and suplexes him for two. Warrior bearhugs Hogan (what about the knee?) but Hogan resists and breaks free. Warrior goes off the ropes, misses Hogan, and knocks out the referee. Warrior goes to the top for a pair of double axe-handles, but misses a flying press of the ropes. Hogan covers, but there is no ref. Hogan tries to revive the ref and Warrior casually suplexes him and gets his own over. Hebner eventually revives but Hogan kicks out at a slow two count. Hogan rolls up Warrior but Hebner is still slow and weak and we only get a two. Hogan clotheslines Warrior to the outside but Warrior takes control outside and slams Hogan into the steel post. Back inside, Warrior clotheslines the Hulkster down, then actually bodypresses Hulk, the splashes him. He covers, but Hogan is up at two and he is full of energy. Hogan is up and ready. He tosses Warrior to the ropes, big boot, but the leg drop misses! Warrior follows with a splash and Warrior is your new WWE champion at 22:51. This was quite an incredible match, with Hogan actually carrying most of the action. At the time, it would be the best WWE Wrestlemania Main Even ****. Hogan presents the belt to Warrior and they embrace. Hogan leaves the ring as Warrior celebrates.
4) Ultimate Warrior(c) vs. Ravishing Rick Rude for the WWE Title in a Steel Cage Match (14:45)
This is from Summerslam 08/17/90 and Warrior’s first big feud as WWE champion would be against the man who defeated him for the IC title already, Ravishing Rick Rude. Warrior begins the match by climbing over, right into the arms of a waiting Rude. Warrior smashes his head into the ring and Rude falls down off the top of the cage into the ring, then follows with a double axe-handle off the top, then tosses Rude face-first into the cage. A ref is in the ring, meaning you can win by pinfall, too. Warrior sends Rude to the cage a few more times, then a blind charge misses and he eats cage. Rude starts his ascent to the top. Warrior catches him and tosses him off and Rude is cut open already. Warrior is sent into the cage multiple times and Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior powers out of it, clotheslines Rude down and goes for his splash. He hits Rude’s knee and then hits the Rude Awakening. He goes to the top of the cage and hits a double axe-handle and Warrior is done. Rude, against the ranting of Heenan, goes back to the top of the cage instead of leaving and another axe-handle attempt hits the fist of Warrior. Warrior crawls to the door but Heenan shuts the door in his face. Rude covers for two. Double shoulderblock knocks both men down. Rude heads for the door, and Warrior pulls him in by the tights, giving us a Rude ass-shot. Heenan tries to pull Rude out, so Warrior brings Heenan in. Atomic drop sends Heenan out. Rude clotheslines the Warrior down but he starts getting the power from Parts Unknown, ducks a clothesline, then responds with clotheslines of his own. Gorilla press and Warrior climbs up and over the top of the cage to retain the title at 10:01. This was very watchable, Rude bumped like crazy to make it worthwhile, and this probably was Warrior’s best title defense. ***.
5) Ultimate Warrior vs. Macho King Randy Savage in a Retirement Match (27:48)
This is from Wrestlemania VII (03/24/91) and is probably one of my most favorite matches. Macho King has Sherri with him, and Elizabeth is at ringside. Warrior has his overcoat on, and surprisingly doesn’t run to the ring. Both wrestlers gauge reaction from the crowd, and Macho actually gets a face pop, though Warrior’s is much louder. Lock-up and Warrior tosses Macho aside. Warrior shoulderblocks Macho and he bails, but comes back in and is quickly clotheslined down. Atomic drop for the Warrior, and Sherri interferes, but Warrior tosses Savage into her. Savage gets wrapped up in the ropes then takes a punch to the gut from Warrior. Warrior puts his head down for a back body drop but gets kicked in the face and clotheslined down. Warrior goes for a body press from the top, but Warrior catches him. He stands Savage up instead of slamming him, and smacks him. Savage bails and tosses a chair in, but does that to turn Warrior’s back and attack from behind. Warrior has none of that and slugs Savage down. Savage is sent to the corner but a Warrior blind charge misses and Warrior flies to the outside, where Sherri gets in a shot on the Warrior. Savage sends Warrior to the ring post where again Sherri gets in another shot. Bodyslam by Savage, then a kneedrop gets two. Savage tries for a backslide but its reversed. Savage responds by spitting in Warrior’s face, then bailing. Sherri distracts Warrior but Warrior is wise to Savage attacking from behind and clotheslines Savage down. Warrior tries for a shoulder block (while Savage is on the ground?) but misses and Savage gets a two-count. Savage with a reverse-chinlock, but Warrior breaks free. Double clothesline sends both men down, and Sherri tries to revive Savage. Savage tries to bodyslam Warrior but Warrior reverses it to a small package, but the ref isn’t there due to Sherri’s distraction. He finally shows up and gets a two count. Warrior argues with the ref as Savage gets a high-knee, knocking the Warrior into the ref and knocking him down. Savage holds Warrior as Sherri comes off the top rope with her shoe, but Warrior evades and Savage gets the heel. Warrior goes after Sherri, and comes back and Savage school boys him for two. Warrior is up right away and rains punches down on Savage, who sends him to the turnbuckles. Savage with a bodyslam gets two. He heads to the top, and hits the flying elbow drop. He goes back again, and hits another one. Still not enough, Savage gets the flying elbow drop hat trick. He goes for a fourth one, all while Warrior is lying there, and hits a fourth one. Savage goes up for a fifth time, and hits a fifth time! Savage covers but Warrior still has it in him to kick out. Imagine now if someone kicked out of not one Pedigree, but FIVE. Savage doesn’t know what to do and Warrior starts reviving. He clotheslines Savage down, press-slams him, then hits his splash, and Savage kicks out! Warrior looks to the heavens wondering why Savage kicked out, and he starts leaving. He stands on the apron and Savage helps him leave, knocking off the apron to the mat. Savage has Sherri hold Warrior onto the steel barricade, then goes to the top rope, but as he tries his axe-handle, Warrior knocks off Sherri and punches Savage on the way down. Warrior sends Savage back into the ring, lifts up Savage, and hits him with a flying shoulderblock, sending him to the outside. Warrior brings him back in, and does it again, then he goes for the shoulderblock hat trick, and again Savage goes out. Warrior pulls him back in, puts a foot on him as the ref counts the pinfall. We’re done at 20:51, and without a doubt this was Warrior’s best match, as he actually looked motivated, didn’t seem to be completely blown up 2 minutes into it, and Savage just crafted an excellent match. ****1/2. Unfortunately, they don’t show the post-match activities when Elizabeth and Macho King reunite, so you’ll have to wait until Wrestlemania Anthology.
6) Jerry Lawler Story (0:47)
Jerry tells a story about wrestling the Ultimate Warrior in Memphis. Warrior injured Lawler with a crazy move and Warrior never worked for the promotion again.
7) Warrior University (1:42)
This is a commercial for Warrior University, and Vince talks about the gym that was used for the University and a credo that was pages long. Vince calls it strange and says he doesn’t think anyone graduated from it.
8) Christian Impersonates Ultimate Warrior (0:57)
They give Christian a paper to read from but he doesn’t need it, he has them memorized. He does the Wrestlemania VI promo. It’s hilarious.
9) Ted DiBiase Story (0:47)
Ted tells a story about an autograph signing with the Ultimate Warrior. DiBiase says his stipulation for showing up at the signing was that he appear alone and he threw a hissy-fit. Ted tells us, “you reap what you sow.”
The audio and video both did their jobs, I don’t know why I keep this section since I say the same things every time. The video and audio quality were very good on the extras though sometimes the music on the feature drowned out the guys speaking, which was a little annoying.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is a single-disc collection so the only liner notes needed are the chapter listings as well as the listed extras.
D) Easter Eggs
1) Choose the Path of the Warrior 1 (0:54)
To get this commercial, go to the stories section of the Extras. Highlight Warrior University and hit right three times.
2) Choose the Path of the Warrior 2 (0:44)
To access this, got to the last page of chapters and highlight “The Name Change.” Hit left three time.
The WWE ads starts this collection off (WWE 24/7, WWE Home Video, History of the Undertaker DVD, The Road Warriors DVD and finally the don’t try this at home PSA). WWE has been known to put out very good two to three disc collections recently, so you may question why this is one-disc. Well, what other Warrior matches could you put on there that are watchable? You have his first match, and arguably his three best WWE matches as well. Throw in the match that vaulted his career and there’s not much else you can put on here. Some Warrior promos would’ve been nice, but they covered it well in the main feature. The main feature is the reason to get this, just to see how much Warrior is still hated by many he worked with. It is WWE trying to absolutely bury the Warrior character and Jim Hellweg once and for all. It almost bordered on slanderous, and is just a total hatchet job on the Warrior. Highly recommended.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever