James Hellwig, famously known as WWE Legend Ultimate Warrior died Tuesday at the age of 54 after reportedly collapsing in Arizona. I was a WWE fanatic during the 1980s and 1990s, and the Ultimate Warrior was one of its biggest stars during that era. He was the first WWE Superstar I remember racing to the ring with colorful face paint and shaking the ropes violently. He not only had the best entrance in sports-entertainment, but physique. The Ultimate Warrior was ripped to the bone. He looked more muscular than all the wrestlers on the WWE roster did.
The Ultimate Warrior first rose to fame at the inaugural SummerSlam on August 29, 1988 at Madison Square Garden. I was there live with my big brother when he beat The Honky Tonk Man in twenty-seven seconds for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It was the beginning of a new era in the WWE. The Ultimate Warrior would go on to have epic rivalries with André the Giant and “Ravishing” Rick Rude. Many WWE fans felt that Ultimate Warrior had the potential to become the successor to Hulk Hogan, and he would get his chance.
The Ultimate Warrior had his most famous match at WrestleMania 6 against Hulk Hogan. Billed as “The Ultimate Challenge,” The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan battled for both the WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship. It was the first time that WWE’s top babyfaces collided. The Ultimate Warrior was victorious and became the only wrestler in WWE history to hold the WWE Intercontinental and World Championships simultaneously. The victory cemented the Ultimate Warrior’s legacy forever.
The WWE inducted Ultimate Warrior into their Class of 2014 Hall of Fame on April 5, 2014. It was well deserved for a superstar that made a significant impact in sports-entertainment. Ultimate Warrior appeared at WrestleMania 30, and the following night on Monday Night Raw, where he delivered a promo. It was his first appearance on the show since 1996. It would also be his last appearance on live television. He died less than twenty-four hours.
The Ultimate Warrior will forever be remembered as one of the most iconic figures in WWE history. He will continue to run in our hearts, and we, his fans, will celebrate his life and career.
Thank you, Warrior, for the ultimate memories!