The Ultimate Warrior died suddenly on Tuesday evening, April 7th. His untimely death at the age of 54 rocked the entertainment community. Known for his outlandish promos and colorful wardrobe, the Ultimate Warrior captured the imaginations of children worldwide in the late 80s and early 90s. Throughout his lengthy career, the Ultimate Warrior remained one of the most popular and iconic figures. Coincidentally, the real life hardship and triumph of his career played out like the very wrestling storylines he was involved in.
It was a tale often told, of the creator butting heads with the monster he created. And that was no different between promoter Vince McMahon and the Ultimate Warrior. Their disagreements led to an early departure for the popular wrestler in late 1991. The Warrior returned for brief appearances with the WWE in 1992 and in 1996. But after his last WWE tenure in 1996, Warrior left the company for good, and lawsuits from both parties soon followed.
The bad blood between the WWE and the Ultimate Warrior was brought to a higher level when the WWE released a DVD entitled “The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior.” The DVD painted the wild man as an incoherent and rambling loon. His wrestling skill was the butt of several jokes, and he was deemed by his creator, a failure. The Warrior took exception to the DVD, and filed lawsuits, and blasted the company every chance he had.
As YouTube became a much bigger entity in the world of internet browsing, the Ultimate Warrior went on a rampage against the WWE and several of his former colleagues. Warrior often blasted the like of Hulk Hogan and Jake Roberts, running them down for their drug use and the way they chose to live their life. Warrior showed the world he was above all that.
But time heals all wounds. And when the Ultimate Warrior and the WWE were able to mend bridges, the man who spent the last decade in darkness, was cast into the light. A new DVD was produced and released just weeks before Wrestlemania 30. The DVD showed Warrior in a positive light, and expressed to new fans just how powerful his presence was.
The last few days of the Warrior’s life played out like a dramatic wrestling storyline. At the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, the Ultimate Warrior was finally honored by his fans and his peers. He stood at the podium and was finally accepted by the family of colleagues that ostracized him many years ago. The smile on his face was a smile of acceptance. As the Warrior spoke, he talked of his love for his family and mentioned burying the hatchet with many former wrestlers. On Sunday evening, Warrior stepped out in front of over 70,000 fans at Wrestlemania 30, and delighted in the fact that his character was now immortal. He triumphed over a troublesome career.
The Ultimate Warrior looked worse for the wear on WWE Raw come Monday evening. Breathing heavy and looking tired, many onlookers felt like something was wrong. And it was possible, in some magical Hollywood type of way, that Ultimate Warrior knew his demise was imminent. As the Warrior took the microphone and addressed the fans, he spoke of death and how he would one day soon die. Now looking back, it was a very prophetic promo.
The death of the Ultimate Warrior was so tragic, one would think a screenwriter penned it. Here was this ostracized madman, finally being honored and accepted, only to be dead one day after his reverence. Here is a man who suffered from strained friendships, finally closing old wounds with bitter enemies. Like any good movie, the man, the Warrior, held out long enough to make peace with those he touched, those he loved, and within himself.