It was announced this morning that The Ultimate Warrior (real name as Warrior, that he changed to in the early 90’s, and was also known as James Hellwig) at the aged of 54. This comes after his recent appearances at the weekend starting at the WWE’s Hall of Fame, where he was the star name placed into this years HoF, as well as appearing at Wrestlemania 30 and finally on Monday night RAW, he passed away walking from his Arizona hotel room to his car with his wife on Tuesday night when he collapsed and was later pronounced dead at hospital.
The WWE released a statement on their website saying:
WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior.
Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter.
We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans.
In what would be his final address to the WWE fans and what will be eerie speech 24 hours later when Warrior would be announced as dead, Warrior said this on Monday Night Raw:
No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own.
‘Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath.
‘And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something that’s larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers – by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honour him, and make the running the man did live forever.
‘I am the Ultimate Warrior, you are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever.
Warrior would begin his WWF/WWE career in 1987 and was known for his high energy entrance which would become well known with the name Ultimate Warrior as he would run down the arena at full speed, around the ring and then shake the ropes violently up and down when he entered. He other trademark would be the masked shaped facepaint that he had applied onto himself to add a distinctive look to the character.
At the first ever Summerlsam PPV in 1988, Warrior would win his first championship, the Intercontinental Championship, against the Honky Tonk Man, which he beat within 30 seconds. He would then enter his first long feud with Ravishing Rick Rude for the championship that would last from the Royal Rumble to Summerslam in ’89 when Rick Rude would win the belt from Warrior in Wrestlemania 5 and then Warrior would win it back at Summerslam.
His most famous moment in the WWE would come in 1990 when he would face off against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 6, in what was built as the ‘Ultimate Challenge’ as both Hogan’s WWF Championship and Warrior’s Intercontinental Championship were on the line and the winner took all. Warrior would pin Hogan with a Warrior splash to become the first wrestler to hold the Intercontinental and WWF Championship at the same time.
He would also then have a feud with Randy Savage that led to their match at Wrestlemania 7, in a ‘career ending’ match, with Warrior victorious, Savage had to retire (which of course didn’t last long).
Warrior made his last appearance in the WWF in ’96 and it would be 18 years until he would return again in 2014 to be put into the WWE Hall of Fame.
I am stunned at this news, considering that Warrior looked healthy enough for a guy his age and coming from wrestling in the 80’s but looked sorted of worn out by the time he appeared on RAW, but not to an extent that you would expect this. Now his speech about final beat and breath now is just eerie looking back on it. I grew up just missing out on the infamous Warrior vs Hogan bout at Mania 6 but was able to catch up on his matches during my teens and also his often completely off the wall promos that he would have been famous for (“Load the spaceship for rocket fuel! Load it with Warriors!” being a favourite). I’m glad he at least got to be put into the Hall of Fame at the weekend when he was still alive to patch up ruined connections and heal old wounds. Just a damn shame that this has happened now. No word on what was the cause and too early to guess at this stage though people will look back at the weekend to try and connect some dots, such as his mannerisms on RAW and also clutching his chest a few times at Wrestlemania when the Hall of Fame inductee’s were introduced.
Warrior is survived by his wife Dana and their two daughters, Indiana Marin ‘Indy’ Warrior and Mattigan Twain Warrior.
As the his final words on RAW will ring true today, that the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will live and run forever with all the Warrior fans.