Pro wrestling legend the Ultimate Warrior passed away suddenly on Tuesday, April 8th. The exact cause of death is unknown, though an Arizona police officer indicated that a heart attack was likely. Throughout his career, the Ultimate Warrior was a part of several highs and countless lows. In commemoration of his life and career, here are Ultimate Warrior’s five greatest moments.
Conquering the Champion
The Ultimate Warrior’s defining milestone came in 1990, when he conquered Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 6. At the time, Warrior’s popularity was so immense that it rivaled Hogan. So much so that Vince McMahon had no choice but to ask the mighty Hulkster to drop the WWE Heavyweight Championship to Warrior. In front of over 63,000 fans, the painted beast scored the first clean victory over the iconic superhero.
Welcome to the Hall of Fame
For more than 25 years, the Ultimate Warrior and the WWE shared a love and hate relationship. Arguably, it was infused with more love than hate. But time heals all wounds and both sides made amends. Days before his death, the Ultimate Warrior was honored by the WWE in the form of an induction into their 2014 Hall of Fame. The next evening, Warrior appeared in front of over 70,000 supporters at Wrestlemania 30. His career finally came full circle.
In the late 80’s, the Honky Tonk Man was a hip swiveling bad guy whose sole purpose was to wreak havoc on the WWE. He was also the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. That all changed at Summerslam 1988. After a near 15 month rule as champion, the Ultimate Warrior bombarded Madison Square Garden and dethroned the champion in a mere 31 seconds.
Appearance on WWE Raw
Two days after the Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, he surfaced on their flagship program, WWE Raw. It was his first appearance on WWE Raw in almost 20 years. He donned a painted Warrior mask and orated in his deep Warrior voice. What he said was oddly prophetic. He reminded the fans that one day he will die, but he will exist on in the people he energized. At the end of the promo, he shook the ropes in true Warrior fashion, one last time.
Although Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter were the headliners at Wrestlemania 7, the night truly belonged to Macho Man Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior. The two scuffled in a career ending match, one that stole the show. Despite being crushed by no less than four diving elbow drops, the Warrior was able to humble the Macho Man. It was the finest moment and greatest match in his career.
Despite a relatively short career, the Ultimate Warrior became an unstoppable force. The impact he made on the professional wrestling world may only be dwarfed by the impact he made on his legion of devotees. His untimely departure is confusing and tragic, but he held out long enough to make appeasement and say what he desired. Truly, he was an ultimate warrior.