The Ultimate Warrior on 1990 Episode of Arsenio Hall Show
When you go to a concert to see a legendary musical act, sometimes the regular show just isn't enough.
You need an encore.
And I feel the exact same way about YouTube tributes to wrestlers who pass away at a very young age. The jabronis, they get their requisite four or five videos, then it's time to move along. But the beasts, the immortals, well, for them sometimes just one blog post with a video career timeline just isn't enough.
I see you, Ultimate Warrior.
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Indeed, the trip down memory lane in yesterday's post was fun, but somber. The reasons for said trip into the video wormhole were obviously tragic, with the Ultimate Warrior (nee James Hellwig) dying suddenly Tuesday night in Arizona.
If there were some sort of power rating to rank the watchability of WWE superstars, past or present, on YouTube, Warrior would have a score equivalent to a 10 win SEC team in the college football Sagarin ratings -- plentiful highlights, numerous memorable moments, and a zillion guilty pleasure moments that you have to be a wrestling fan to appreciate.
(That last part is no joke. Try explaining the Ultimate Warrior to a non-wrestling fan, then play one of the YouTube clips of his meandering promos. Seriously, the Ultimate Warrior might be the only person who becomes more confusing and more difficult to explain by supplementing a verbal explanation with video footage. I played the promo of Warrior telling Hulk Hogan he was going to send his plane into a nosedive for my cohost Ted Johnson, a non-wrestling fan, and he got the same look on his face that a McDonald's worker gets when you custom order a Quarter Pounder with Big Mac special sauce.)
So rightfully, we give the Ultimate Warrior one more morning in the YouTube sun, unearthing this appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show just prior to winning the WWF heavyweight title from Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. Enjoy....
A few observations from this video:
1. The Ultimate Warrior was always highly criticized for "blowing up" early in matches, which is wrestling speak for quickly getting winded and running out of gas. As you can probably tell, bulk was more his thing than cardio when it came to working out. Well, in this video, he became the first talk show guest to "blow up" coming out for an interview. Watch him, he can't stop panting.
2. Warrior does the entire interview in character, snarling, snorting, and growling at Arsenio amidst a few rambling references to little warriors and people making the sacrifice for the power of the warrior. Or something.
3. Warrior's hair. Wow.
4. Arsenio is outstanding in this interview, playing perfectly off the lunatic fringe of the Warrior with hilarious body language and facials.
As you probably know, Warrior went on to win the title from Hogan at that Wrestlemania, and would head into the summer reprising his feud with Ravishing Rick Rude, culminating in a match at 1990's SummerSlam. Apparently, somewhere along the way, after winning the title, not only did the Warrior get a championship belt, but he also gained literacy and serenity, as this appearance on Live With Regis and Kathie Lee indicates....
Definitely, a different guy than the Arsenio footage, almost like a dog who'd been neutered. On Arsenio, Warrior was still humping leg and circling the room like a caged beast. On Regis, he was calm and obedient (at least until he started flipping over furniture at the end).
And thus ends the encore post of our Warrior tribute.