Days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Warrior, better known as the wrestling phenom the Ultimate Warrior, collapsed on the sidewalk outside his Arizona hotel room Wednesday. Despite being rushed to the hospital, he was pronounced dead on arrival of as yet unknown causes. The 54-year-old retired champion is survived by his wife Dana and two daughters.
At first I was having a hard time mourning the passing of the man born James Brian Hellwig. At one time the Ultimate Warrior was, bar none, my favorite wrestler. I was just nine years old when the Warrior managed to do the unthinkable and wrest the WWF Championship belt away from the legendary Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. For me it was the greatest match ever, a meeting of two unstoppable yet benevolent titans in a contest of pure skill and power, not some ham-fisted storyline involving good and evil.
There are no words to describe Warrior's entrance. That simple rock theme, his sprint to the ring, the ropes-shaking -- no one had ever done anything like it before. He was a monster the likes of which wouldn't be seen again until Bill Goldberg.
Then, just like that, he was gone, and the man who replaced him was very different.More »