THE STORY AND CAREER OF THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
Article written by Dylan Devine (8/2/20)
The Ultimate Warrior is one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. He has a very interesting and controversial story, and today I will be covering it all.
WCCW debut as Dingo Warrior
In 1986 Jim Hellwig made his debut in the then promotion World Class Championship Wrestling under the name “Dingo Warrior”. The most notable accomplishment from his time in WCCW was a Tag Team Championship reign alongside Lance Von Erich.
New beginnings in WWF
In June of 1987 Jim Hellwig joined the World Wrestling Federation. This is where he got his iconic name, The Ultimate Warrior. When he debuted for the WWF he was put in squash matches where he would quickly defeat a variety of jobbers. He started to become over with the fans due to his high energy and iconic entrance where he ran full speed to the ring and shook the ring ropes.
Intercontinental Championship run
A little less than a year after Warrior made his debut in the WWF, he defeated The Honky Tonk Man at SummerSlam 1988 and became the new Intercontinental Champion. Warrior went on to feud with Rick Rude for the title and ended up losing it to Rude at WrestleMania 5. A few months later the two faced off in a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam where Warrior ended up winning back the title. Warrior then began a feud with Andre the Giant. This feud reached it’s climax at Survivor Series where the two captained their own separate teams in a five on five match. Warrior’s team won this match and he was the lone survivor.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship run
Warrior ended up receiving a main event push in the WWF in 1990 and was put in a program with Hulk Hogan. The two faced off in the main event of WrestleMania 6 in front of 67,678 fans in the Toronto Skydome for Hulk Hogan’s WWF World Heavyweight Championship and Warrior’s Intercontinental Championship. It was a winner take all match called “The Ultimate Challenge”. Warrior won the match becoming the first ever wrestler to hold both the WWF Championship and Intercontinental Championship at the same time. He went on to feud with the likes of Rick Rude, Mr. Pefect, and Ted DiBiase before beginning his big feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Warrior and Savage had a match at WrestleMania 7 in a “career-ending” match where Savage’s career was on the line. Warrior ultimately won the match forcing Savage to retire from the WWE.
After his WrestleMania match with Savage, Warrior was apart of programs with guys like the Undertaker and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. This is where things begin to get interesting. On July 10th, 1991 Warrior sent a letter to Vince McMahon regarding his contract with the WWF. He requested a whopping $550,000 for wrestling at WrestleMania 7 along with wanting a guaranteed number of working days, travel accommodations, and a higher percentage of merchandise sales. He said to McMahon “Whatever your decision, I can and will live with it. Till then I remain home with one who cares.” The WWF and McMahon agreed to Warrior’s requests three days later. One month later Warrior was given a letter telling him he was suspended from the WWF for threatening to stay home and for not showing up at SummerSlam. McMahon later came out and said the only reason the company agreed to Warrior’s requests was to make sure he would be performing at SummerSlam, which he didn’t. Warrior refused the suspension and ultimately ended up leaving the company. He sent in his resignation to the WWF which was declined as he was under contract until September of 1992.
WWF return at WrestleMania 8
Warrior ended up making his return to the WWF at WrestleMania 8 assisting Hulk Hogan as he was getting jumped by Sid Justice and Papa Shango. This didn’t last very long as Warrior was only back in the company for seven months before leaving.
Warrior returned to the WWF at WrestleMania 12 to face Hunter Hearst Hemsley. He went on to have feuds with Goldust and Jerry “The King” Lawler. This was the last time we saw Warrior in the WWF for quite some time. He was set to team with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson to face off against Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Vader at In Your House 9, but his contract was terminated by the WWF due to missing several house shows. Warrior claimed that the reason he no showed the house shows was because McMahon breached his contract by selling his merchandise without giving him a percentage.
His time in WCW
Warrior’s time in WCW was nothing special at all. He debuted and formed the “One Warrior Nation” stable also known as the OWO which was going against Hulk Hogan and the NWO. He only participated in three matches in the WCW before departing from the company and retiring in 1998.
After his very brief run in WCW, Warrior pretty much was done with in ring competition. He made one special independent wrestling appearance, but that was it. Retirement was a very up and down time for Warrior. The WWE released a DVD titled “The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior” in 2005 where the company, wrestlers, and backstage personnel basically trashed and talked down on Warrior for an hour and a half. Over the coming years he would release YouTube videos calling out wrestlers and just going on long crazy rants. There was an 18 year beef between Warrior and the WWF that nobody thought would ever end. But that all changed in 2013.
WWE Hall of Fame
On February 20th, 2013 Warrior spoke positvely about McMahon for the first time in years on his YouTube channel which was a shock to fans. Along with this he announced he would be appearing at WrestleMania 29. This didn’t end up happening, but a few months later a commercial was released advertising Warrior as a pre-order bonus for the WWE 2K14 video game. A near year later it was announced The Ultimate Warrior would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014. During WrestleMania 30 weekend Warrior made amends with many of the people who had done him wrong over the years. He was finally home in the WWE and made peace.
Final appearance and tragic death
Warrior made his first appearance on Monday Night Raw in 18 years the night following WrestleMania 30. He delivered a very strong and emotional promo for Warrior Nation. Little did everyone know that this would be the final time we would all see “The Ultimate Warrior”. The following day Warrior tragically passed away at the age of 54 after collapsing walking to his car outside of his hotel alongside his wife. Autopsy revealed cause of death was a heart attack caused by atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Warrior left behind two loving daughters and his wife, Dana.