411's Warrior Week: Warrior: The Ultimate Legend Report 4.17.14
Posted by Andrew Shillinglaw on 04.17.2014
Tonight, we get a special documentary on The Ultimate Warrior! Read on to find out the story behind the man that we all came to know and love!
411's Warrior Week: Warrior: The Ultimate Legend Report 4.17.14
The show opens with a Warrior voice over. "They say life is a dress rehearsal. I got to become a character and rehearse what I want my life to be and people look up to me as larger than life. There's a responsibility that comes with that. If you get to do that then you should be able to go out in the real world and handle a simple thing like life."
Warrior: The Ultimate Legend.
There's a car on I95 South in CT… I know this because I'm from there. Warrior is in the car and he's talking about his emotions about coming back. He says there's a real story to tell and he never thought that this would eventually happen. He said he never thought he would go back.
They show clips from Warrior's career set to his GOAT level entrance music. Seriously. Is there a better theme? Austin, Hogan, and Warrior. That's the trifecta.
Triple H says that Ultimate Warrior is one of the biggest stars ever in WWE.
John Cena says he was perfect to catch anyone's eye.
Cesaro said he looked like an action figure.
Stephanie McMahon says he was the most intense and passionate character and even man that there has ever been EVER.
Sting says he wasn't shy about sharing his opinion.
HHH talks about his moral code. Warrior lived by it and didn't care what other people thought.
Vince says he took so much pride in the character. He put everything he had in it.
They show clips from the WWE meetings about building the Ultimate Warrior brand. They say that he is such an iconic brand himself that people are very excited.
Warrior says that this has all just been incredible. The character allowed him to come to life. He got out of the business what it took to make a match and what it took to make a life. He says originally he was studying to be a chiropractor and competing in bodybuilding in Atlanta. He originally wanted to be a body builder. He spent more time at the gym than he did in school but wrestling was always big in Atlanta. And people on TV must make a lot of money. He said when he got out of school he knew he wanted to bodybuild so he moved to California. The owner of Gold's Gym got him into wrestling.
Sting says that he was working at the gym and Warrior came in to train. His physique was huge.
Warrior says Sting was one of the four guys being trained.
Sting says that Rick Bassman came in with this group and that's where it started. They sent out press kits and got a call from Jerry Jarrett. He could only use two guys in the press kit and it was two guys in the far left. And the two guys were Warrior and Sting.
Lawler says that Sting and Warrior looked good but were green as grass.
Zeb Colter says he helped the two of them out. Warrior had the passion, desire, and body.
Sting says Bill Watts called and invited the two of them to Mid South.
Warrior talks about how he and Sting experimented with make up and hair styles as the Blade Runners.
JR says that Warrior had a vision for his future even then.
Zeb says Warrior wanted to do things on his terms.
Warrior said Sting wanted to be told what to do. But Warrior wanted to think for himself. Sting says even then he knew Warrior wanted to go off on his own and that's what Warrior did, he went off to WCCW with the Von Erichs.
They show clips from WCCW of Warrior as The Dingo Warrior.
Warrior says he showed up in Texas and they wanted him to be a heel. But the fans wanted him to be a face so WCCW had no choice. He says if you get over in Texas, you're over. He went to the ring and those fans would just go crazy. And then George Scott came in. He was one of the original guys who worked with Vince on Wrestlemanias. One of the office guys pulled Warrior aside and said he heard George Scott was talking to the office. Warrior knew that Vince was going in a certain direction. When he went to WWE, he wanted to make this turn into something. He didn't just want to be a guy on the card.
They show a clip from Warrior at Wrestlemania XXX. He talks about the characters and larger than life characters over the years in WWF and WWE. He says when Vince stands in the ring face to face with all those talents, he's larger than them and that's cool to see. Vince is an inspiration for the Warrior, more than anyone in the world.
Warrior comes on and talks about going on TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He made his debut on Wrestling Challenge.
Hogan talks about how Warrior was in great shape, had a great head of hair, and was all painted up. HHH says it just perfectly fit the time frame. And Warrior says it just took off from there.
Hogan talks about the great music as they show clips of his entrances. Warrior says the character got people out of their seats. Kofi talks about his face paint. Cena talks about the energy. Batista talks about the rope shaking. Stephanie says you couldn't help but be inspired by the energy. Warrior talks about the interviews that nobody could understand. HHH talks about how being that was every ten year old's fantasy come to life.
Warrior says that veterans were telling him not to run and shake the ropes. They said he wouldn't be around very long. Warrior says they knew that he was gonna make it and they were just trying to swerve him and the next night he would just do the same thing. But Vince never pulled him aside and that was all he needed to know.
Cesaro said this guy looked like he was a comic book. He was beating guys so fast. He just connected with the crowd. Kofi said you knew he was gonna be legitimate.
They take it back to Summerslam 88. Dolph Ziggler says a really fun thing for him as a fan was to see Honky Tonk Man hearing the music of the Ultimate Warrior out of nowhere. Warrior says people were getting behind him and this was the right time for it to happen. Dolph says he hit a couple of clotheslines and a splash and it was all over. Warrior said the crowd popped and went crazy. He walked out of his building and the fans tipped his car on the side rocking it back and forth. If you can get over in New York, then that's really cool. Warrior says at that point he had no doubts he could be one of the best in the business.
Hogan said he was a marketing dream. Kofi says anyone going toe to toe with Hogan had to be legit. Warrior says one night in Montreal, Heenan pulled him aside and told him he was telling more shirts than Hogan. He said there was a buzz that Warrior was going to wrestle Hogan at an upcoming Wrestlemania.
Hogan says Warrior wasn't ready yet. Warrior said he was out on the road getting over and Hulk was hearing it. Hulk came from that old school of keeping his enemies close. Hogan said Warrior was the first one to really travel by himself. He was one of the first to just really be on his own. Vince says there was always a rivalry because you were competing for your spot and when you do that you're trying to take something from someone else because you don't want them to have what you have. There was a logical rivalry outside the ring and that played out in the ring. HHH says it stemmed from a great place and got to a bad place at points.
Back to Wrestlemania XXX weekend. Warrior says once he got over, he and Hogan would do different towns. Their paths would cross at televisions but it would basically just be a hello. He would just show up and do his job and concentrate on being Ultimate Warrior and that was what Vince was looking for.
Vince says the audience was behind Warrior and the question was when exactly to pull the trigger. Warrior says three or four months before he was at the Stamford office and he went over and saw Vince and Hulk and that was when they first proposed it. It just continued to develop it from there. Hulk called it the sum of all the parts. You had a guy just as tan as Hulk Hogan but wearing NEON. It was a perfect storm. Kofi didn't know who to cheer for. Hulk says that Vince knew that these two entities were monsters so you didn't have to do a whole lot. Cesaro says it was a good guy versus a good guy and that was a dream and what everyone wanted to see. It was amazing when it happened.
Now we take it to Wrestlemania VI in the Skydome. Cena says it was the first time you had to choose between two guys you really liked and Cesaro calls it a dream come true. Dean Ambrose says it was two guys who wanted to be the top guy with big egos on the biggest stage of them all. Sheamus says it was back and forth. Cesaro says everything you wanted to see happened. It was a classic match. They show the clip of the missed leg drop and the big splash to end the match. HHH says to see that moment with Hogan being beat clean for the first time ever, you could see it as real emotion and in a storyline sense. You felt like there was a massive passing of the torch. Sheamus called it the defining moment for Warrior. Sting says it was the ultimate and even he was jealous. Hogan says to this day people tell him that Hogan and Warrior was their favorite match. Warrior says he was just a kid and didn't even realize how awesome it was at the time.
Warrior says that the saying that it's not the destination but the journey is true for him. He was so emotional when it happened but in a day or two he was just thinking "What's next?" He knew it was a big thing to have the strap but he was going to keep pushing himself to be the best that he could in any way that he needed to.
Backstage at the Hall of Fame, they show Warrior and Sergeant Slaughter. Sarge says this is long overdue and gives Warrior a gift. Warrior says that no matter what happens during the day, there's an energy in the locker room that's great. He says Sarge was like that and has been in the business for a long time and he always respected the guys who have been in the business for a long time. When he had to drop the belt to Slaughter, it was going to set up the retirement match with Savage. He liked it and thought it sounded really good.
So now we're at Wrestlemania VII. Warrior says the person he enjoyed working with the most was Savage. His intensity was always through the roof. He said it got him jacked up for his match and that's what it's all about. Warrior says it would not have been cool with another character as over as Warrior to ask Randy to put their foot on his chest instead of covering him. That meant a lot to Warrior but they had a great deal of respect for each other.
Cena says you just had a man who lives life a certain way and maybe that philosophy didn't mesh with the WWE business model. Warrior says when he disappeared in 91 at Summerslam, he didn't know it was his last match. Sarge talks about Vince taking him aside and saying that Warrior just held him up for 500,000 in cash. He said they had to have the match but Warrior was fired. Warrior came through the curtain after the match and Vince handed him a suspension letter. Vince says that continuing to promote the Warrior brand was very important at the time but sometimes things don't work out as they're planned to be. But when you're invested in a certain brand, you have to get your money out of that as good business.
At Wrestlemania VIII they show Warrior's return. He says the deal was when he came back that Ultimate Warrior was gonna be the champion again. Eventually the belt was going to come back around to him. They show an old clip of him saying basically the same thing. Warrior says he got focused real quick because he wanted to get back into rock hard shape. At this time the government was cracking down on steroids and these were things that couldn't just be taken out of talking about anything.
Vince says Warrior has always been honest to a fault. He and Davey Boy Smith were experimenting with growth hormone. It wasn't anything where Warrior broke the rules because nobody knew anything about growth hormone. But Vince knew it wasn't right and Warrior was offended by that. It caused a rift and Warior would miss some dates because he felt like it was the only leverage he had over Vince. Warrior felt that Vince would wake up, realize he was wrong, and settle but Vince goes on to say that it didn't work out like that and instead resulted in suspension. Warrior says in 92 he got a letter that told him not to come back and in 96 it was the same thing, he returned. Warrior says every time he returned it was the same and Vince asked if he missed it. And Warrior says it was always great but he always got caught up with something else.
They show clips from backstage at the Hall of Fame/Wrestlemania with Warrior and Scott Hall talking about the NWO. Cesaro says when Warrior came back in WCW, the one huge match that never got a rematch was Hogan and Warrior and they wanted to recreate that nostalgia. Warrior said Hulk called him up a few times and Warrior just said it had to be right. Hogan says he sat and talked with Eric Bischoff and convinced him to bring Warrior in.
Sting says he thinks Warrior was pretty excited. WCW was a big company and was very successful at that point. Everybody saw opportunity. Warrior says it was a short term deal for a lot of money. It was all based around Warrior working against Hulk. Hogan says that the NWO had a true stranglehold on WCW and it never allowed Warrior to take off. Cesaro said he was still Warrior but was doing the things like appearing the mirror. It was new but it wasn't as iconic. Warrior says WCW was a whole different operation. Sting says it all just kind of fell apart and Warrior came in right when all of that was happening. Warrior says there was nobody like Vince taking control. Sting says wrestling can be pretty brutal and that's why it didn't take off. Warrior says they used Turner's checkbook to buy him to come back and lose a match to Hulk. Hulk says the match didn't deliver like it should have. They show a clip of the fireball not working. Hogan says it's probably one of the worst matches he's ever had but it's his fault. Warrior says it was horrible and repulsive once he realized what was actually happening. He said if he had known, he never would have went back.
Back to Scott Hall and Warrior. Scott says he didn't even know about the DVD. Oh, THIS DVD?
Warrior says there's a lot that happened. He thinks a lot about that DVD and how to handle it in the right way. They show a clip of Bruce Prichard trashing Warrior on the DVD. Warrior says that DVD hurt his feelings. It hurt on one level and on another it made him want to fight back. He says they said Warrior was a flash in the pan and couldn't do promos. It totally delegitimized the character. Vince says Warrior was misunderstood and therein he was a loner outside of those who really understood him. Warrior says he said a couple years ago to Vince when he was first offered the Hall of Fame that it didn't fit what they did with the DVD. He said they took so much time beating him up and he was wondering where the other self destruction tapes were. Why was it just him that got one? It had been a long time and his life was good. He didn't need the WWE at that point. JR says he doesn't know what the other guys said on the DVD but he imagined that some of the things he said would piss him off and he was sure that they would hear about them.
Vince talks about Warrior suing them for infraction of intellectual property. Stephanie says that her mom spent a significant amount of time in Phoenix for litigation. Hogan says they asked him about holding Vince up for money and he said they should have broken his legs, that would have been the old school way. He said he got pulled in for deposition and was going to play it neutral. The first question was asking Hogan if he wanted to break Ultimate Warrior's legs. They played the tape for him in court. He says they were being very aggressive with him so he said right then and there he thought nothing of Warrior and was leaning towards Vince because of what had just happened there in court.
Vince says on the day that the trial started, Vince tried to shake his hand. But his hand would not move. The next thing he said was that he didn't want to shake Vince's hand and that he'd been disrespected enough. It bothered them so much that when the judge came into the court room, it was the very first thing that came up. He says it was the most powerful thing he ever did, not shaking Vince's hand. He says if he crosses paths with someone with that disrespect he's not going to shake his hand. Vince says the settlement was dropping the charges and there would be no suit. They would just move on. And that's what they did.
HHH says he had a massive hole in him from the way he left the business. He needed to fill that hole to live his life the way he wanted to. Within two days of HHH calling, Warrior was at the office. It had been eighteen years since he'd been in WWE, and HHH wanted him to meet with everybody. They show footage of HHH showing Warrior the live feed of the performance center. HHH says they got down to talking and it allowed them to open it up a bit more. It just took off from there into the Hall of Fame and WWE Legends deal.
Hogan's first thought was that Warrior deserved it. He came in the middle of Hulkamania and made an imprint. He's part of history. Cena said "Woah, the Hall of Fame is gonna be interesting." He didn't know what Warrior would say. Warrior said he wanted to say much more than just stories from the road because his career means more than that.
They show footage of Vince and Warrior greeting each other. They hug and exchange pleasantries. It actually stands as a touching moment.
Vince says he saw the person that he knew and loved for so many years. He kept shedding off this angst minute by minute. It was a wonderful thing to see.
They show Vince walking Warrior through his steps and cues for the Hall of Fame.
Stephanie says that HHH told her that Warrior wanted Linda to induct him into the Hall of Fame. He wanted somebody who really had a personal connection to him and that was Warrior. Warrior started telling stories about staying at the McMahon house and how her brother would just relentlessly tackle him all the time. Warrior says Shane would just tackle him and yell "for the belt for the belt!" Warrior says he had a very personal relationship with the McMahons. He would stay at their house even if they weren't there. Stephanie says her mom took care of Warrior and helped him through a troubled time. Warrior really felt a personal connection to Linda so that's why he asked for her to induct him into the Hall of Fame.
Vince says he always thought of himself and WWE as "The Little Engine That Could." And he thought of Warrior the same way. They show a clip of Warrior reading "The Little Engine That Could." He hands the book to Vince in gorilla. Vince says when Warrior gave him that book he was trying to figure out what it meant. Warrior told him that it was something he said many many years ago. Vince says to know that someone took to heart those words and wanted to give back, you don't know what you have until you don't have it. And at that point Vince tears up.
HHH says he walked over to him while Warrior was watching the video package on himself with his daughters. He leaned into his ear and said this whole process was worth it for that. They show Linda introducing Warrior at the Hall of Fame. Stephanie says you could tell how proud he was when he walked out on stage. He was proud of them and proud to be their dad. He was proud of his wife and mom. He acknowledged them all and brought them flowers and it was an incredible moment for him to become a hall of famer. They show the end of Warrior's Hall of Fame speech.
Vince says he loved the speech at Hall of Fame. You could see how Warrior was shedding things that bothered him and getting rid of them. You could see Warrior accepting all this and realizing that he made the right decision. And it was a wonderful thing.
HHH said he went to Hogan and asked him personally to not speak to Warrior until after Hall of Fame. He didn't want to ruin the moment. Hogan says at Wrestlemania, he saw Warrior. HHH said Warrior wanted to stop Hogan but he was in a conversation and didn't want to be rude. Hogan says he ran up to Warrior and said that he loved him. He wanted to apologize. He wanted Warrior to know how sorry he was. And they show video footage of it. And it is heart wrenching. HHH says that they both said that a couple of sentences in they realized that the cameras were on but they knew it was okay because it was going to go to a good place. Hogan said he wanted Warrior to know that he was telling the truth when he apologized. HHH says Warrior expressed in a long text message that he felt he had closure on everything.
They show a clip of Warrior from Raw the night after Mania. He says that it's been an incredible weekend. Stephanie says that Warrior's mood and temperament was effusive. He was just over the moon. They show a clip of somebody explaining the Raw promo to him. Stephanie says he wanted that feeling of being in front of the crowd and being the Ultimate Warrior again. Sting says he could see it on Warrior's face that it meant a lot. Stephanie says that Warrior had the chance to show his wife and kids who he really was. She says that Warrior is a hero to many and an inspiration to us all.
They show Warrior's daughters. One of them says it's all amazing. He was gone for eighteen years and they're still loyal. Stephanie says that she got an incredible picture of them after Raw and after she took it she heard Warrior say to Vince, "I've always thought of you as a father." Vince says it was a wonderful thing and it was a culmination of an incredible three days and more. And that may have been the last picture that Warrior ever took.
They show Warrior walking backstage with his daughters. HHH says it was cool to see that you couldn't wipe the smile off Warrior's face all weekend. Warrior says it feels awesome to be back and be back home. He says it's just really cool and he's looking forward to the future.
They explain that less than 24 hours after Raw, Warrior suffered a severe heart attack and passed away. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. They show news clips about the Warrior's passing. HHH says he had his phone in his hand and that's why he felt it. When he looked down it was his assistant telling him that Warrior just passed. HHH said he was just blown away. He was the one to tell Vince and that was a hard conversation because he knew how much it meant to both of them. He knew that Warrior looked at Vince as the father he didn't have. Vince says the first time you hear something like that it's surreal and somehow you don't believe it. It's difficult to accept. The news of it was just unbelievable. He said the timing was unbelievable and it was almost as if it were destined to happen that way. Sting quotes those cryptic lines from the promo. And then he says it happens to him. It was prophetic in a way. He says it's all this great stuff and just like that, everything changes.
Vince says Warrior was never one to garner sympathy. He would want everyone all over the world to celebrate his life and who he became. He would want people to celebrate the character. And that's what he got and that's what he deserves. Hogan says Warrior was a perfect example of what wrestling should be. Warrior himself says that Ultimate Warrior is one of a kind. It shows that you have a spirit inside of you that's Ultimate too. Cena says he hopes his legacy will be that of motivation because he knows that's what Warrior probably would have wanted. Cesaro says Warrior's legacy is his fans and it's like he said in his promo, his fans are the ones that keep the spirit alive. Warrior says he will inspire generations to come for a long time and he's proud of that. That's what Ultimate Warrior gave him. He gave him a great life.