Definitive Video Anthology of the Ultimate Warrior, 1959-2014
Jim Hellwig was never an easy man to work with, and nobody knew this better than WWE chairman Vince McMahon.
Photo by DianesDigitals Hero of the WWE's steroid era, will be missed.
Hellwig, whom all of you know better under his WWE moniker of the "Ultimate Warrior" (and who, going forward in this piece will be referred to as "Warrior," seeing as Hellwig legally changed his name to "Warrior" in the mid-90's in order to protect his gimmick), was probably best known for three things --
1. His superhero physical persona, which included face paint, arm tassels, and muscles the size of large briskets.
2. His meandering, rambling, nonsensical interview style.
3. Leaving the wrestling business multiple times over various business disputes, most of them with McMahon.
Until the past year or so, that was the legacy that WWE was essentially painting of the man from "parts unknown," and with WWE as really the only artist left in the wrestling business to paint legacies, that was going to be it.
Finally, though, thankfully for the legions of Warrior fans out there (all once known as "little Warriors"), the two sides made peace in the past year and Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at Wrestlemania this past weekend.
The two sides had even agreed to work together going forward, with Warrior signing a WWE Legends contract. After so many years and so much animosity, the hatchet was finally, unequivocally buried between Warrior and WWE.
And that's what makes Tuesday night's news that the Warrior died suddenly at age 54 in front of a restaurant in Arizona so simultaneously sad and eerie, like the wrestling gods chose Monday's episode of RAW, where Warrior made what now amounts to an in-character (again, meandering) eulogy, as his final, glorious chapter.
Prior to Monday night, Warrior had not been in a WWE ring since mid-1996. In fact, he had been repeatedly poked fun at on WWE programming through the years, and his relationship with McMahon was frosty to nonexistent. Hell, even when WWE took advantage of their ability to still make money off the Warrior brand through DVD sales, they entitled his anthology "The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior."