Where were you the day the Ultimate Warrior died? It’s hard for me to even type the words, knowing he was someone we just watched not 24 hours before his death on television – looking like a man at peace within the ring that made him famous. The death of Warrior, which comes shortly after he gave an outspoken look into his future demise, was pure “Warrior” with all the WWE fans watching the night after a very successful WrestleMania 30. It also shows that superstars in this business tend to fade off once they leave the squared circle in a way that can only be described as the soul-stealing of a business that sucks you in and makes you accept harsh realities that only the strong can survive.
[adinserter block=”1″]I’m not implying that Warrior or Chris Adams or Randy Savage weren’t strong – they all passed away in different situations. But it is a fact professional wrestling does something to these men and women – demons that creep into the very skin of our superstars – and makes them a forever character, not the person they were first introduced to as performers. He isn’t the first to suddenly lose his life in wrestling, but along with Savage – who died of a heart attack – he is certainly one of the biggest names we wrestling fans have lost over the past decade or so.
He was a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion and won the WWF Championship when he pinned Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VI making him the only wrestler in the history of the company to hold both the WWF Championship and the Intercontinental Championship at the same time.
He was very bit of flash and strength that Vince McMahon wanted from his performers – running to the ring at full speed, appearing to be “on” even before the bell sounded and never losing a step of motion. He personified the next step of wrestling’s transformation after the installation of Hulkamania as a trademark of the business.
To put into context what Warrior’s loss means to the business, all you have to do is look at the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014. There is a sense of irony that two of his class mates – Jake Roberts and Scott Hall or Razor Ramon, are notorious for their battles with substance and alcohol abuse and fought the good fight to get themselves clean and on the road to recovery. While someone might think it is cheating death, I see it as the constant state of what we watch and what we read.
Wrestlers are constantly breaking laws, violating abuse policies and continuing to draw a paycheck. By the looks of things, Warrior was a healthy man when he collapsed Tuesday night. But we really do not know the man behind the muscles, the rope-shaking and the cryptic messages he delivered to the heavens with the millions of fans watching.
Admittedly, I was never a fan of Warrior or his antics or anything he did. As a tag team star in the early 1980s with Sting in the UWF, he was a more refined wrestler. As the Dingo Warrior in World Class Championship Wrestling – aligned with Gary Hart – he was a beast who beat on opponents in squash matches. It took Vince McMahon and a circus of like-minded characters to bring out the best in him. As a performer, he was one of the best. I just did not appreciate the cartoonish appearance and the way he dealt with business in the ring.
[adinserter block=”2″]Even with all that said, it is sad the wrestling community loses another one of its own – at a time where things were as happy as they could be. Now, the WWE deals with another loss, one so great that it will take plenty of time to heal. And it will take plenty of time for fans to get answers as to why this happened in the first place.
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
[amazon_link id=”B00HRYH7G2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection DVD[/amazon_link]
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