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WWE’s Tribute To The Ultimate Warrior Is Bizarre

I know I am not the only one thinking it so I’ll just say it. The WWE’s reaction to the death of former champion Ultimate Warrior is one of the most bizarre things I think I have ever seen in over 30 years as a pro wrestling observer.

[adinserter block=”1″]Vince McMahon has poured his heart out through WWE programming in honoring the late Jim Hellwig. The tributes to the Warrior are unprecedented in company history as the WWE has spent almost two weeks memorializing Warrior through content on their website, television shows, social media, and network. Classy yes, but it makes absolutely no sense at all.

It hasn’t even been a year since Vince McMahon welcomed Warrior back into the WWE family. Warrior returned first through promotion of the WWE 2K14 game and later officially at the Hall of Fame. The return ended close to a 20-year absence from the company. If you followed any of the tributes to the Warrior, you would never know that he and McMahon spent more time fighting outside of the company than he actually did wrestling for the WWE.

I don’t mean this as any disrespect to the Warrior but I can’t figure out why he is being treated as if he had the impact on the WWE and the business that Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Graham, or even Ric Flair had. This is a man that headlined only one WrestleMania (two by his logic), held the WWE title for less than a year at a time when short babyface title reigns wasn’t good business, and had numerous outside of the ring issues with the company. He certainly was a big star and he is unquestionably iconic, but these tributes are painting a picture that just didn’t exist.

If you take a look at Warrior’s WWE timeline in and out of the company you will see that his first and biggest run was only four years with two other runs that lasted under a year each. Yet he spent five years in court on one occasion against the WWE and had several other disagreements along the way. Think about that for a second. He spent more time fighting with Vince McMahon than he did wrestling for him. Granted he had every right to defend himself but hundreds of loyal WWE employees have passed away since the company’s inception with none getting this kind of treatment. It makes no sense.

Either one of two things are going on here. Vince McMahon is older and somehow or another relates to how the Warrior passed away. Vince certainly practiced a similar lifestyle and maybe he is seeing himself in all of this. I am certainly no psychologist but try and give me a better explanation. If Vince has turned into such a softie over the years than why wasn’t Randy Savage given more than a 5-minute video on television? I am sure he has softened a bit but he certainly hasn’t turned into a pushover.

Now the cynic in me thinks otherwise. The WWE recently released numbers on the WWE Network and those numbers were met with the stock absolutely plummeting. I hate to say it and I hope this isn’t the case but maybe Vince is using this as some kind of marketing ploy. All of the attention paid to Warrior would certainly connect with some fans that probably aren’t watching the WWE anymore. A full “Warrior Week” on the network doesn’t come cheap. As much as I would hate to accuse anyone of capitalizing off of someone’s death, quite frankly that is the only thing that makes sense and hey, maybe it isn’t even done intentionally. There is also a brand new Ultimate Warrior DVD to promote (produced and set for release way before his death). This is just how Vince McMahon’s promoter mind works.

[adinserter block=”2″]I don’t know if we will ever truly know the motivation behind these tributes yet unfortunately it will take the deaths of more legends to unravel the real agenda. We’ll see how the WWE pays tribute to the next fallen icon. Does someone like a Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bruno Sammartino, or Steve Austin get a bigger tribute or is this the standard? I hope we don’t get those answers any time soon but there is now a standard that the WWE has set with the Warrior.

Once again I am not saying it’s wrong because he certainly was an icon and a big star, it’s just strange. Whatever the motivation, I am glad Warrior’s fans, friends, and family have this final opportunity to memorialize their fallen hero. It just may be the weirdest thing I have ever seen and I know I am not the only one thinking it.

[amazon_link id=”B00HRYH7G2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection DVD[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B0009E32TI” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s[/amazon_link]

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The reason why he got such a big tribute is because even though Vince was at odds with him over the years there was always mutual respect between the two…Warrior and VInce have both been quoted saying exactly that. That and the vast majority of the wrestling community respected him and loved what he did for the business especially in such a short time. You don’t skyrocket to the top like he did without having the respect of the locker room and the management…it just doesn’t happen. And furthermore it has been revealed that he knew he was dying…his family knew and Vince knew. Vince is paying out his full 3 year contract to Dana and the two girls, as well as giving ALL revenue from Warrior merchandise and ALL warrior royalties to them forever. Vince didn’t have to do any of that…that’s a character move. I think whatever was said behind closed doors between the two buried the hatchet they’d long carried and Vince did the right thing by giving him a proper tribute. It was beautifully done. The video crew followinghim was initially planned as a way to make a DVD about him rejoining the company and such…but when he passed Vince had to change plans and it is strictly a tribute so that his wife and daughters can have something great to remember their father/husband during his last few days of life…and to provide another stream of income for the family from now on…again…a class move. Vince may be ruthless…but he takes care of his own…he offers free rehab to anyone in the WWE family wrestlers, staff, anyone at all employed by WWE and their families…but no one ever mentions that.

  2. I’d say it’s a combination of many things. Ok, sure, on some level, there’s some promotion at work, but at the same time, this is the first passing of a major superstar since the WWE Network premiered–they actually have a place now to give people a timely and proper tribute.

    The size of it is probably a result of some timing as well. Judging by the amount of backstage footage of Warrior at Wrestlemania Week they shot, I’d bet they already had the idea of producing a quick one-off doc like the recent Daniel Bryan Road to the Championship package. A large portion of the rest of the Warrior Week stuff is literally lifted from the DVD. I don’t want to take any credit away from the work they’re doing on the tributes, but a lot of it is recycled.

    I do think we will start to see more of these kinds of tributes for the bigger name superstars. You know Hogan will get a month-long one.

  3. Great blog. You’re not the only one who is a bit suspicious of this huge send off that Warrior is getting. I am not saying he doesn’t deserve it. However, with the fact that he and Vince had such a stormy past , I find it odd that Warrior is getting this huge tribute.

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