While we are a mere few weeks away from the Super Bowl, we are also just a few months away from Wrestlemania. Both events represent the mecca of their respective genre.
In the 29 years its been existence, WWE's Wrestlemania has essentially morphed into the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, not only from the standpoint of sheer magnitude of the event itself (This year's Wrestlemania will sell out the Superdome in New Orleans.), but also the events surrounding the pay per view card.
While Super Bowl has its radio row, various parties, and announcement of that year's Hall of Fame class, Wrestlemania has various parties, a fan fest, and the actual induction of the WWE's Hall of Fame class, which is gradually unveiled and announced over the preceding few months on WWE television.
2014's WWE Hall of Fame class started off with a bang this past Monday, as WWE (somewhat surprisingly) announced that The Ultimate Warrior would be its first inductee in the Class of 2014.
I say parenthetically that it's somewhat surprising because the relationship between Warrior (which is now actually Jim Hellwig's legal name, Hellwig being the man behind the character) and WWE has been hot and cold going back to virtually the beginning of his career there in late 1987, when he entered the company under the name "Dingo Warrior," his gimmick in World Class Championship Wrestling based out of Dallas.
Incidentally, my favorite moment from Warrior's WCCW career probably didn't occur in the ring. It occurred in these magical thirty seconds in this car commercial for a Dallas area automobile dealership:
Warrior's WWE career really took off at Summer Slam 1988, when he was the last minute replacement for Brutus Beefcake as challenger to then Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man and ended Honky Tonk Man's 15 month reign as champion in 27 seconds:
The next major uptick in Warrior's WWE career occurred in early 1990, when during his second Intercontinental title reign, he was plugged into a program with then heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan and the two entered a rare-at-the-time babyface versus babyface feud which was heavily promoted with an appearance onThe Arsenio Hall Show
...and maniacal promos like this one where Warrior, for some reason, wants to crash Hulk Hogan's plane (not exactly babyface behavior)....
....before culminating in this match at Wrestlemania 6 at Skydome in Toronto...
The match itself was actually pretty good (and heavily, like move by move, scripted, with almost no improv), as you can see in the above video.
Hulk Hogan then left the company to go make movies, and Warrior was left to carry WWE (then WWF) through the summer and fall of 1990. Eventually, he would lose the heavyweight title to the American turncoat edition of Sergeant Slaughter at Royal Rumble 1991 and enter a feud with Macho King Randy Savage, which culminated with the second watchable match of Warrior's career, a retirement match against Savage at Wrestlemania 7...
The balance of Warrior's WWE career involved random feuds with Papa Shango, the Undertaker, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, all of which were more watchable for Warrior's insane, meandering, nonsensical promos than for the matches themselves. (Warrior would return briefly in 1996 and go to WCW in 1999 in his final two stints in the big leagues, each as ugly as they were unmemorable.)
So why not just cut to the chase?
The most fun part of the Warrior character was the nonsense he spewed in promoting matches. Eventually, the only thing to do is just go ahead and search "Ultimate Warrior insane" on YouTube, and have literally hours worth of guilty pleasure viewing. Enjoy these, and congratulations to the Ultimate Warrior, and all of his little warriors out there. The heavens and the earth can sleep tight tonight.
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