Speak to me, Warriors!
April 8, 2014 9:51 PM   Subscribe

Less than 24 hours after delivering his first promo on Monday Night RAW in years, which came only days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, WWE is announcing that Warrior, formerly Jim Hellwig, best known as the Ultimate Warrior, has passed away at the age of 54. (And before anybody asks, this appears to be real, rather than of the "ghost Warrior appears in a mirror but only Hulk Hogan can see him" variety.)
posted by mightygodking (55 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:58 PM on April 8, 2014

posted by aoxomoxoa at 10:00 PM on April 8, 2014

posted by dogwalker at 10:06 PM on April 8, 2014

I am not being at all sarcastic when I say that I'll miss that crazy, racist, homophobic, steroid-fueled maniac.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:18 PM on April 8, 2014 [12 favorites]

Holy cow - from the promo (start at 1:20):
Every man's heart one day beats it's final beat; his lungs breathe his final breath. And 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 and his essence, his spirit will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the [?] the man did last forever. You are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:28 PM on April 8, 2014 [8 favorites]

Wow, it's almost like he knew he was going to die. That promo really creeped me out.

posted by XhaustedProphet at 10:32 PM on April 8, 2014

Is there any corroboration? The WWE blog post seems to be the only source cited anywhere.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 PM on April 8, 2014

TMZ corroborates. It's looking like a sudden stroke or aneurysm.
posted by mightygodking at 10:43 PM on April 8, 2014

A sobering thought: "Twelve of the wrestlers from WrestleMania VI have now passed."
posted by Copronymus at 10:52 PM on April 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

And pro-wrestling continues to kill off its performers at an alarming rate.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:00 PM on April 8, 2014


(I still don't really believe it.)
posted by newper at 11:01 PM on April 8, 2014

My wife just mentioned this news to me and my first reaction was that she had fallen for some Internet hoax since the timing seemed so implausible ("How could he be dead? I just saw him on TV yesterday.")

Some brief biographical info:

- Warrior was trained in California by Rick Bassman and Red Bastien, who took four bodybuilder types and turned them into professional wrestlers known collectively as Powerteam USA. One of the other wrestlers who trained alongside Warrior as part of the team was Steve Borden, better known in wrestling circles as Sting

- The first major territory where Warrior worked was Memphis, where he and Borden teamed up as the Freedom Fighters. Their next stop was the Mid-South territory where they wrestled as a heel team known as The Blade Runners, managed by the late Eddie Gilbert.

- Warrior's first run as a singles star was in the Texas based World Class Wrestling promotion, where he was known as The Dingo Warrior. He started as a heel, but eventually turned babyface, a role he maintained for the remainder of his career.

- Warrior debuted for the then WWF (now WWE) in 1987 and quickly became the company's second biggest star behind Hulk Hogan. The Ultimate Warrior's most famous WWF match took place at Wrestlemania 6 at the Toronto Skydome in 1990, where he became the first wrestler to cleanly pin Hulk Hogan since Hogan returned to the company in 1984. For a brief time, this made Warrior the only wrestler to simultaneous hold both the WWF Intercontinental and World Championship (he soon relinquished the less prestigious IC belt)

- Hogan and Warrior attempted to make lighting strike twice in 1998, in the midst of the real life heated WWF vs.WCW wrestling war, when Warrior came out of retirement to feud with Hogan in rival WCW. But times had changed, the feud flopped and Warrior did not last long in the promotion.

- Prior to his WWE Hall of Fame induction over the weekend and appearance on RAW last night, Warrior had not appeared in a WWE ring since 1996, when he left the company on bad terms. In fact, in 2005, the WWE released a DVD collection entitled The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, which did not portray the Ultimate Warrior in a positive light.

- Following his wrestling career, Warrior became known as a conservative activist, and even appeared on C-Span (cue to ~01:43:00 in the video) in 2003 as part of the College Republican National Convention to speak on "Republican principles, personal responsibility, and government participation".
posted by The Gooch at 11:18 PM on April 8, 2014 [10 favorites]

posted by frenetic at 11:26 PM on April 8, 2014

Cardiac arrest, says the Courier Mail.

A sobering thought: "Twelve of the wrestlers from WrestleMania VI have now passed."

A quarter of the WM VII wrestlers - 14 of 51 - have died. About half from cardiac causes. Between the steroids and the usual pains of show biz, wrestling's a pretty tough gig.

posted by gingerest at 11:28 PM on April 8, 2014

I'm a fan of sports. I've had season tickets to both hockey and baseball. I like watching sports, both real and athletic morality plays. I've worked a few really hard jobs [building trails, stacking 110 lb boxes] and worked with others who did much harder work [setting choke]. Looking at pictures of that improbable physique I remembered this from Lyle Alzado ["an american football player famous for his intensity and intimidating style"]:
I started taking anabolic steroids in 1969 and never stopped. It was addicting, mentally addicting. Now I'm sick, and I'm scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff. We're not born to be 300 lb or jump 30 ft. But all the time I was taking steroids, I knew they were making me play better. I became very violent on the field and off it. I did things only crazy people do. Once a guy sideswiped my car and I beat the hell out of him. Now look at me. My hair's gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold on to someone for support, and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way.
posted by vapidave at 11:59 PM on April 8, 2014 [8 favorites]

That last promo. Oh my. Not that it lessens the pain of his death for his loved ones, but I do feel kinda glad he got one final promo in front of a ring full of fans cheering his name. And the mask!
posted by Hartster at 12:14 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

To my understanding (courtesy of Grantland's David Shoemaker), this particular episode of Raw - the one immediately after Wrestlemania - is the show with the highest ratio of absolute superfans; these are the people who not only travel to Wrestlemania, but who then decide that the best thing they can do with their dollars and time having just seen the biggest show of the year... is to spend the next night watching wrestling too. As he puts it: The remaining cadre of fans who make it to the night-after WrestleMania edition of Raw are the absolute zealots, the kind of people who know all of Dave Meltzer’s five-star matches by heart. So if there's a crowd for an old-school wrestler to cut your last promo in front of, well, there's your crowd.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:19 AM on April 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Correction: In the C-Span video I linked to, Warrior's portion starts at about the hour and 22 minutes mark)
posted by The Gooch at 12:21 AM on April 9, 2014

The Gooch, there's one piece that should be added to your short bio.

In 2005 (and for a couple years afterward), Warrior made some waves with some very nasty comments about homosexuals, African Americans, and the poor in America and in other parts of the world.

Speaking in a public appearance about his opinion about why homosexuals are not as legitimate members of society as heterosexuals...

"Queering doesn't make the world work."

Writing about one of his speaking appearances, where he offended LGBTQ audience members with the way he used the word "queer"...

"One guy without his husband and two physically-repulsive butch-dykes slurping on one another’s tongues (really) on the front row had a real hard time cozying up to my principled heterosexual obstinacy."

Writing about the poor in America...

"They wake up each day filled with self-pity and exasperated anger that no one is doing the doing for them. They CHOOSE to sit and fantasize that someone will rescue them. Life defeats them because they CHOOSE that it will. They are impoverished because they CHOOSE to be."

Writing about African American impoverished victims of Hurricane Katrina who spoke out and demanded that the government do more to respond and help...

This hurricane to them was nothing more than like rearranging the furniture. If we could be shown what general conditions they lived in before the hurricane, we would see that had little respect for what they did have. We would see just how unorganized, unclean and dysfunctionally they lived. They never gave a care for order, cleanliness or function before, but now that they can get someone’s attention who will possibly take over the responsibility of their life for them, they go on these tirades about how their life has been ruined. Their lives were already in ruin -- self ruin. Ruined by the bad choices they made over and over."

The first quote comes from a video of an appearance he made, available all over YouTube.

The other quotes can all still be found on his website, and match sentiments he supported publicly in interviews and speeches.

I don't rejoice when anyone dies and I don't mean to offend with my comment here. But this guy put some pretty unbelievable stuff out there over the last several years. It's something people should know about him, and there's a reason for Parasite Unseen's comment above.

I hope he rests in peace and his family feels comforted, and I hope he had the chance to change his perspective before he passed away.
posted by Old Man McKay at 1:16 AM on April 9, 2014 [13 favorites]

I don't rejoice when anyone dies and I don't mean to offend with my comment here. But this guy put some pretty unbelievable stuff out there over the last several years. It's something people should know about him, and there's a reason for Parasite Unseen's comment above.

It's also important, I think, to note that there are very few wrestlers who remember him during his time in the ring with much affection. You'll certainly struggle to find a positive word about him in the autobiographies of the likes of DiBiase, Hart, Flair and a host of others. To most of them he was someone who had no real wrestling ability (and could be an actual danger in the ring) but who was getting a huge push nonetheless because McMahon wanted a new superstar to rival Hogan and was in love with the world of body building.

Indeed barely a month ago I was at a Q&A with Bret Hart here in London and when he was asked for his opinion on Warrior he shrugged and said that whilst he appreciates his place in the history of the era he doesn't see him as any kind of talent: “he was just a bodybuilder who could shake the ropes and throw a half-decent clothesline.”

Worse, perhaps, from their perspective he seemed to believe in his own hype and generally had zero desire to get better. More often than not, the Warrior’s in-ring performances were the result of other wrestlers having to work hard to put him over – which is often painfully obvious rewatching his matches on the WWE Network now, but which certainly wasn’t obvious to us kids at the time. God I loved Ultimate Warrior as a child, and I certainly wasn’t the only one. To many of us he just seemed back then to be the greatest wrestler that had ever existed.

Hell, these days most wrestling fans will happily admit that whilst his match against Hogan is one of Wrestlemania’s classics,that is at least in part because it is so much the exception rather than the rule when it comes to quality for both men. More, that it is as much iconic because it seems to perfectly encapsulate that whole era in a single match as anything else.

Does this mean he shouldn’t be considered a legend, or didn’t deserve his entry this year into the Hall of Fame?

No. He is a legend – it just needs to be remembered that this is more due to a combination of circumstance and his own very genuine charisma both in and out of the ring, rather than through any real wrestling talent. Arguably more than any other hall of famer Ultimate Warrior is a man who can be said to have stood on (and jumped off of) the shoulders of giants.

As you say, he was also more than a little bit of an arsehole outside of the ring as well. It’s not unusual for old wrestlers to find some other passion outside of the ring after their careers end, something to fill the void left after a life built so much around one purpose. For a surprising percentage like DiBiase) that’s religion, but unfortunately for Warrior it was some seriously right wing conservatism with some thoroughly distasteful views.

To the inner ten year old in me though, and to many of my generation both here in the UK and in the US as well, he will always be the muscled man in tassels, shaking the ropes and taking names. It’s Warrior we’ll remember not Hellwig, and I think it is thus entirely fitting that his story, in wrestling terms at least, had just come full circle. He had been inducted into the Hall of Fame and had stood out there on that Wrestlemania stage one last time in front of the fans. Time heals old wounds, and by most accounts there was something of a rapprochement back stage between him and various people, like Jake “the Snake” Roberts who were there that night as well.

Between that and that final, near-perfect, promo on RAW last Monday I think Warrior has gotten to go out with something that so few old wrestlers actually manage to get – closure.

Rest in peace you crazy, rope-shaking, move-fluffing, absolute legend.

Thank you for becoming the person we all loved you for being just one last time. That's how you would have wanted us to remember you, and now it is how we always will.
posted by garius at 3:09 AM on April 9, 2014 [20 favorites]


I feel like this is the rare wrestler-dying-young that wrestling didn't kill (another was Andre the Giant). Steroids killed Hellwig, but he would have dosed up if he'd never stepped into a ring, and he wasn't wracked with pain and pills from a lifetime of bumps and travel. He was a guy who spent a few years in a physically tough business and then stopped.
posted by Etrigan at 4:05 AM on April 9, 2014

He looked wobbly when he walked to the ring on RAW Monday night. I want to think he was ill for some time and this past weekend was the result of a wish granted to him by the WWE.

Survived by a wife, daughters, and millions of Little Warriors who grew up into sad adults this morning.

posted by kimberussell at 4:12 AM on April 9, 2014

posted by PenDevil at 4:38 AM on April 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

// . \\
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:14 AM on April 9, 2014

The timing is just so damn bizarre. I guess I should be getting used to figures from my childhood passing away, but this just seems so sudden, so damn shocking. He might not have been a 'real' wrestler, technically speaking, but he knew he was in the business of creating a spectacle.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:39 AM on April 9, 2014

posted by drezdn at 5:55 AM on April 9, 2014

I remember about ten years ago he had this offer on his website where you could hire him as a life coach. Part of the package is that he would call you at whatever hour you requested and motivate you in the only way he really knows: yelling at you. I wanted to hire him to call my friends at 5:00AM and just start screaming, but you know, homophobe, bigot, whatnot.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:13 AM on April 9, 2014

How do we know this struck deep? Even the Iron Sheik broke character. His typical musings about the Warrior were somewhat less charitable.

He got his victory lap this week, a celebration of his better days, even if the crowd was largely in "what is he SAYING?" mode for his last in-ring speech.
posted by delfin at 6:31 AM on April 9, 2014

A commenter on Deadspin in a thread comparing how Warrior looked compared to other HoF entrants:

Jake (Roberts) and (Scott) Hall looked incredible this weekend. DDP really is a fucking saint.

posted by Ghidorah at 6:32 AM on April 9, 2014

So, I kinda hated him when he came into the wrestling scene. Admittedly, I wasn't much into wrestling at that stage, I was more the early 80s with Hulk, Iron Sheik, Rowdy Roddy, etc etc (You know, when they even had the cartoon)...

But there was something I hated about that guy. I'm not sure what it was. Don't get me wrong, I thought he was better than Big Boss Man, who some little kid on my bus thought was the greatest guy EVER... But still, never liked the guy.

In fact, I didn't like him so much that when "Welcome to the Jungle" became a hit, I didn't like it, because I had this association in my mind with the Ultimate Warrior for some reason.

Then of course, all that shit is left behind, I forget about it, but post-9/11 at some point, I run across the drunken ramblings of a pseudo-intellectual conservative with his fan base. At first, I'm surprised, then mildly respecting, then realizing no matter how "smart" he was, he was still a bigot fuckhead, and I still don't like him.

I won't get all celebratey like I did for Falwell, Thatcher, etc... Because his impact on the public is more about his wrestling than his politics. But I don't particularly mourn him. I guess that's my Ultimate Warrior story.
posted by symbioid at 6:33 AM on April 9, 2014

posted by Atreides at 6:34 AM on April 9, 2014

I feel like this is the rare wrestler-dying-young that wrestling didn't kill

Agreed. This wasn't Chris Benoit, who spent a relatively long career literally jumping off the top rope and landing on his head six nights a week. Warrior suffered one bump we all remember (the sceptre) but otherwise his career wasn't comparatively all that physically punishing. And as you say, the steroids predated wrestling. He was a physique guy. Al things considered, he survived wrestling in pretty great health.

His promo on Monday night made me a little sad. When he came out, the crowd wasn't quite dead by normal standards...but yeah, by night-after-WrestleMania standards, they were dead. Probably some didn't recognize him, but mostly they weren't interested. They wanted to see Daniel Bryan. They were hoping for an appearance by the Undertaker. They were not psyched up for an Ultimate Warrior moment.

Then he did his promo, and it went okay. He got some response. But it was very 1980s. I remember thinking the same about Undertaker's promo a week earlier, that it was very '80s and should have been pretaped in front of a logo backdrop. (Which, it turns out, may have been intentional in Undertaker's case.) It was nice that Warrior was able to mend fences with Vince...but watching Monday night's promo, it was clear he no longer had a place in this business. Some legends can return for sporadic appearances to put guys over. By contrast, it was clear Warrior's time had passed.

I'm shocked and saddened. This has been one roller-coaster WrestleMania season, and now real life intrudes. Whatever else he did and irrespective of what occurred behind the scenes, Jim Hellwig gave me some serious childhood entertainment. He was a memorable character for a lot of kids, and that right there is a major contribution to culture.
posted by cribcage at 7:00 AM on April 9, 2014

I thought he was better than Big Boss Man, who some little kid on my bus thought was the greatest guy EVER...

In fact, I didn't like him so much that when "Welcome to the Jungle" became a hit, I didn't like it,

What was this, the bus to wrongness school?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:02 AM on April 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

I remember WM VI so well. My friends and I all watched it someones house, maybe as part of a birthday party.

posted by chunking express at 7:15 AM on April 9, 2014

Who was this gentle stranger with pecs like melons and knees of fringe?

posted by charred husk at 7:15 AM on April 9, 2014

I thought he was better than Big Boss Man, who some little kid on my bus thought was the greatest guy EVER...

What was this, the bus to wrongness school?

Back in the late '80s, I happened to be at my local airport picking up my grandmother when a parade of wrestlers went by, leaving town after a card the night before (this was back when you could wait for people at the gate). I begged my mom (who had no idea who these people were) to give me a buck to buy a notebook and a pen at the gift shop so I could grab autographs. Mr. Fuji (carrying his hat and cane), check. Jake Roberts (sitting in the airport bar, highly amused that I walked right in there), Earthquake (walked right by, total dick move)... and the only one, the only one who smiled at me and asked if I got to the matches the night before, who gave me more than a quick smile and a signature -- Ray "Big Boss Man" Traylor. Tired, about to cram into another damn plane to go to another damn mid-week gig and get booed (because he was a megaheel at that point) by kids like me, and he took the time to really engage a fan.

The Big Boss Man may not have been more than a midcard heel, but Ray Traylor was a goddamn superstar, and I will handcuff your soul to the ropes and beat it with a nightstick if you disagree. And some time this year, I'm going to be older than he was when he died, goddammit.
posted by Etrigan at 7:15 AM on April 9, 2014 [21 favorites]

I hope he and Fred Phelps get on famously wherever folks like that end up.
posted by NiteMayr at 7:17 AM on April 9, 2014

I think Big Boss Man compares to Cena in one respect, at least during his time as a face: how over he was with little kids. They went absolutely bananas for him. If merchandising back then had been where it is today, I wonder if WWE wouldn't have had serious second thoughts about turning his character heel.

And the same goes for Ultimate Warrior. He may not have been a great worker, but he was unquestionably and by far the favorite wrestler among the ages 4–11 demographic.
posted by cribcage at 7:29 AM on April 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

As someone who was at WrestleMania and all the surrounding events this weekend, seeing Warrior live on a WWE stage 3 times (Hall of Fame, WM, and RAW) and then dying only a couple hours after I got home last night was a jarring thought. I'm glad that he had time to make peace with the 'E and Vince, and while yes, he was not a 5 star technical wrestler, he was entertaining and that's what he'll be remembered for.
posted by deezil at 7:36 AM on April 9, 2014

The world of wrestling will not see his like again. I can't decide whether that's a good or bad thing. I guess it's both and neither.

He was a very specific kind of crazy that worked in a very specific way at a very specific time, as far as wrestling goes. He looked great, he would blow you away with his promos (by doing this kind of rhetorical rope-a-dope where he would just yell multisyllabic nonsense until your brain shut down), he had one of the best entrances in the history of the sport (that music! shaking the ropes! the running!), and yeah, he'd be completely out of breath when he actually got into the ring and barely knew a wristlock from a wristwatch, but for a guy who was very much style over substance, at least he brought a whole hell of a lot of style. In the world of sports entertainment, he was incredibly entertaining.

Oh, he was crazy as hell outside the ring, too; he may have been homophobic, but it never really bothered me because he'd also talk about Foke and Destrucity (not a typo) and Warrior Wisdom and whatever the hell else, so his problematic opinions just came off to me like a homeless guy yelling about how Jews and queers are putting reptilian DNA serum in the water supply. I never really thought of Warrior as being in his right mind.

In the end, I'm glad he was able to mend fences with Vince and get a send-off in front of a packed arena, even if his run at the top was barely a memory to most people in that arena. I'm glad he had the chance to spout nonsense one last time.

May he rest in Ultimate Valhalla, which, I mean I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like but I expect it'd be extraordinarily loud and would not make a damn lick of sense.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:40 AM on April 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

he had one of the best entrances in the history of the sport (that music! ...

Was the Warrior the first guy who really got that "music pop" where you knew from the first chord, Oh shit, here comes that guy? I feel like even though there was theme music before then, it didn't have that thing that would eventually become Steve Austin's broken-glass sound.
posted by Etrigan at 7:47 AM on April 9, 2014

If you haven't seen it, The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, it's kind of a remarkable piece of work. It's a total "fuck you" from the WWF/WWE to one of their former stars...
posted by ph00dz at 7:52 AM on April 9, 2014

posted by Renoroc at 8:04 AM on April 9, 2014

I was never a fan of the Ultimate Warrior, but I liked his father, the Penultimate Warrior.
posted by Woodroar at 8:15 AM on April 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

The weird thing is that just yesterday we were watching Tosh.0 (which in itself means that something was seriously wrong in our household) and there was a whole segment in which Tosh dressed up like the Ultimate Warrior. Do you think this insult to the universe precipitated the Ultimate Warrior's ultimate downfall?

posted by Madamina at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2014

posted by mediocre at 6:56 PM on April 9, 2014

I had high hopes that Helwig would make an appearance in whatever program WWE has planned for Sting as a sort of "former friend from the past shows up to wreak havok" type of angle.

I am sort of embarrassed to admit that moments ago when I first read this news the first thing I did was haul ass to a Metafilter tab to see if it had been turned into an FPP yet in hopes that I would get to do it.
posted by mediocre at 6:57 PM on April 9, 2014

Garius - Thank you for your post. Warrior (Jim Helwig legally changed his name, to Warrior by the way) was as imperfect as any man and used his place in the spotlight to say things that were ultimately unflattering. And no one ever accused him of being a talented in ring performer. I mentioned in the Wrestlemania thread how Hogan/Warrior from Wrestlemania 6 is universally considered an all time classic despite it being, on paper, one of the worst performed matches in history. Made classic by the emotion behind it and its place in professional wrestlings history as part of the dying gasps of kayfabe.

It is all too easy to threadshit when it comes to something as potentially divisive as the death of a mentally unstable man with some ludicrous political leanings who also entertained a generation of kids many of whom I am sure never learned of his views. Your post was honest about his troubles, but not in a disrespectful manner; while still maintaining the "respect for the recently deceased" of these sorts of topics.

I know it seems silly to thank you for such a thing. But it is all too easy to either come off as threadshitting or to be overly sensitive to the "respecting the recently deceased" informal rules of politeness when honestly addressing something like this. And you deserve commendation for balancing the truth of his legacy behind the scenes with the intense love that he generated with millions of fans worldwide.
posted by mediocre at 7:15 PM on April 9, 2014

I promise not to lead this into an off topic discussion about current wrestling storylines. But I am not familiar with the current product, as I have not regularly viewed WWE in about ten years. So I am pretty unfamiliar with all this NXT/Nexus stuff and Daniel Bryan's popularity and why his Wrestlemania victory was so emotional for the fans. Looking at a couple recaps, it looks like WWE has turned HHH's backstage politicking and burying of talent he did behind the scenes in the 90's and 2000's into a storyline. And HHH is basically operating in the character of a booker for WWE and refusing to give him a chance because he is bad for business being a small guy. Is this the gist of it? I think its funny if so, that they actually turned HHH's real life backstage power into a storyline and gave Bryan a sort of everyman character.
posted by mediocre at 7:49 PM on April 9, 2014

The WrestleMania thread might be the better place to talk about it, but yeah, that's the current booking by/of Triple H. Like they always say, the best characters are just the actual people turned up to 11.
posted by Etrigan at 8:30 PM on April 9, 2014

The thing about the Ultimate Warrior is that I'd doubt there's many, if any, actual wrestling a fans who don't also know about what a complete asshole the guy was, abominable political/homophobic/racist opinions included. No one here is mourning that asshole.

What is hitting people so hard is that the Ultimate Warrior was a larger than life figure from many people's childhood. He was a real life cartoon, and I can honestly say I don't personally recall how poor of a wrestler he was. I remember the running, the rope shaking, the press slam, and the outright lunacy. It was fun to watch as a kid, and a part of that's gone away, a childhood icon is gone.

No one here is mourning a bigot. We're mourning an icon of our youth from before we were old enough to draw that kind of distinction.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:20 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

No one here is mourning a bigot. We're mourning an icon of our youth from before we were old enough to draw that kind of distinction.

It's kind of funny, that one of the guys we'd most like to separate into "Ring Name" vs. "Actual Name" is the one who actually changed the latter to the former.
posted by Etrigan at 3:49 AM on April 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

WWE's official tribute.
posted by mediocre at 3:18 PM on April 17, 2014

Today I watched the tribute documentary that WWE produced. It's basically the Self Destruction DVD 2.0—which is to say, this is the documentary I think Vince now wishes he had produced in 2005 instead of that one. It isn't whitewashed. In fact, it contains clips from the 2005 film. But it does a better job of portraying Warrior as a human being. Obviously that's easier to accomplish if he's participating.

I get a little rankled by people who reduce Warrior's life to the queering comment. First of all, it was an offhand remark he made interacting with a, shall we say, lively group of students at the University of Connecticut. Second, who fucking cares; he was a retired pro wrestler who had been totally marginalized by that point, speaking in a small, closed forum. Third, if you want to condemn Warrior using his own comments...boy, did he ever give you plenty of ammo. He said tons of things far more vile than that one, things he actually intended for wide dispersion. That one was small potatoes. So if you're lasered on that remark, then I think it's likely you have no familiarity with the man or his career and your ears just perk up whenever a particular litmus test gets mentioned. That's the opinion equivalent of a frozen dinner.

That aside, I defy anyone to watch the new documentary and not feel just the slightest bit dust-in-my-eye toward the end, when you see him with his daughters during WrestleMania weekend. I have to agree with Triple H, who apparently said it even before tragedy struck a few days later: giving that experience to a father and two little girls...it makes the whole thing, it makes just about anything, worth it. They got to experience the spotlight that had defined his life, holding his hand, with him beaming not because he was back in the spotlight but because his daughters were with him. The guy had his faults but all of the bullshit aside, ultimately we're all human beings, parents and children alike, and is there anyone who wouldn't move Heaven and Earth to give that gift to a couple of kids about to lose their dad?
posted by cribcage at 9:23 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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