“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper, than something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalised by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honour him and make the running the man did live forever.”– The Ultimate Warrior
I’m a wrestling fan. Have been since I was a little kid. I’m the ultimate wrestling mark, I cheer for the good guys and I boo and jeer the bad guys. Just like they want me too. I’m a sucker for it and I love it. Just like Santa, it took me a while to realise wrestling wasn’t real. (I don’t like to use the word fake, you get hit by a steal chair or take a suplex from the top rope and tell me it’s fake!) And while I’m much wiser these days, I know a match is predetermined, I know for the most part, the 2 guys “fighting” in the ring are probably good mates, I’m still a mark for it. I still want to see good triumph over evil.
These days my views have changed a bit. While I still want the bad guys to get what’s coming to them, I know that the bad guy is working just as hard as the good guy, to make that match entertaining for me. And for that I respect him as much the good guy. And because I’m much wiser to the game that’s a foot these days, the action on the screen , while I enjoy it, is nothing compared to the action behind the scenes. I love reading wrestling biographies, I love reading about how they got to where they are, the stories from the locker rooms, from the road. All all the pranks in between. Reading this stuff, get’s me that little bit closer to my heroes (Currently reading “Undisputed: How to become Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps by Chris Jericho”).
This past weekend was one of the biggest weekends in Wrestling history. It was the weekend of Wrestlemania XXX. Hard to believe I’ve been captivated by wrestling for 30 years. The night before Wrestlemania is always big. It really gets the Wrestlemania ball rolling by having the WWE Hall Of Fame celebrations. And this year’s inductees would be huge, Jake the Snake Roberts, Scott Hall and Mr. T just to name a few. But no doubt the biggest name to be inducted this year, was my childhood hero, the Ultimate Warrior. Born James Hellwig, he legally changed his name to Warrior some years back during a bitter dispute (for real) with WWE owner Vince McMahon. They had been feuding over royalties and other things for almost 18 years. This year olive branches were extended by McMahon and Hulk Hogan to Warrior and the 3 men buried the hatchet. As a result the Ultimate Warrior would cement his name in wrestling forever and he would truly be immortal.
Listening to Warrior’s speech was typical Warrior. He was all over the shop, mainly due to his intensity and the guy had a lot to say. It really reminded me of being a kid, I had no idea what the hell he was talking about as a kid, all I knew was, that I loved it! Good thing was nobody ever knew what he was talking about, we all just loved it.
I watched the Hall of Fame ceremony the day after WMXXX. I got to see my hero 2 nights in a row and it made me feel great.
That was until Tuesday morning when I read a friend’s Facebook status that simply read, “RIP Ultimate Warrior”. At first I assumed my friend had just watched Monday Night Raw, where Warrior was set to make another appearance. Perhaps the WWE would be running an angle where one of the heels had threatened to end Warrior’s reborn career before it got started. I was unfortunately very wrong.
I Googled the Ultimate Warrior to discover the great man had collapsed while walking to a hotel with his wife. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. I was in total shock and disbelief. He looked amazing at the HoF ceremony days before, he looked great at Wrestlemania and he looked full of life on Monday Night Raw. His words on Raw turned out to be eerily prophetic (watch the Youtube video below to see what I mean). Less than 24 hours after making his return to Raw and making that amazing speech, he would be dead.
It’s not quite been a week yet and I have to say I’m still in shock. I was so happy that he was back, so happy he made it in to the Hall of Fame and that his differences with Hogan, McMahon and the WWE had been buried.
He was amazing to watch, he was an enigma and my life was much better off for him being on my TV. Rest In Peace Warrior and thank you.