Wednesday 9 April 2014

Ultimate Warrior: My Thoughts By Shaun Nichols

As everyone is now fully aware the Ultimate Warrior has passed away and according to TMZ he collapsed walking to his car and was sent to a local hospital but unfortunately never recovered.

He had made his return to the WWE at this year's Hall of Fame ceremony as the main event speaker, appeared at Mania but also unusually also did a promo at the following night's Raw.

His appearance on Raw of course was his last ever performance in a wrestling ring and it's strange to say considering what happened less than 48 hours later but he looked pretty well. Stuart may have been a fan of that interview and reminded him of years gone past but not for me.
The Warrior put on his trademark coat, bizarrely put on a Warrior style mask and indicated that the spirit of the 'Ultimate Warrior' had taken over the body of the man who had come out to his ring music do polite applause. I wondered what was happening as he snorted, declared that he was the Ultimate Warrior and pointing into the crowd and stated that they were the fans of the Ultimate Warrior, that he would live forever and that some of the people in the back may have Warrior spirit.

After watching it, I texted a mate and I quote said "Warrior's promo on Raw is fucking awful. It's worse than when Hogan or Piper get hopelessly lost".

Now I understand that in the context of his death that won't be a popular view, but at the time I was simply hoping that he would enjoy the rest of his life but not be appearing on my television in the near future.

Strangely when you think of how famous he was and it would be foolish and impossible to deny the mark he made on the people who saw him. When wrestling gets talked about at work, people who used to watch it but haven't in years always mention the Warrior, Hogan or the Undertaker first. People like Steve Austin, The Rock, Flair, Savage, Shawn or Bret never it seems obtained that level of mainstream recognition in the UK as those who were stars in the very early 1990s.

The Warrior though when you actually take time to think about was a major star for 3 years, from SummerSlam 1988 to SummerSlam 1991. That was it, from beating the Honky Tonk Man who was the longest I-C Title champion in history in what seemed like to seconds. Now that's how you make a star, all the way through the infamous Mania match with Hogan. I don't doubt that it should enjoy its legendary status due to the emotion and the crowd reacting to it, after all it ended Hogan's 5+ year reign but it wasn't in my opinion a good match.

The Savage match at WrestleMania VII was an awesome match which was undoubtedly a milestone in both men's careers as it carried a tremendous story that had strong emotions. Which I believe gave Warrior his biggest win, Savage had to 'retire' but got his girl back. It was great, but Warrior really had nowhere to go after that which could even remotely follow it.

His comebacks in 1992, 1996 and finally in 1998 when he went to WCW to give Hogan his win back, followed a similar pattern. They all had initially a lot of interest but quickly cooled and especially the last two runs saw the fans really not caring about him within a few weeks.

He was like many before him and no doubt many after him, he was a product of his era. In the 1980s in the WWF they were looking for larger than life cartoon characters. He was one of the best, easily recognisable, had his unique charisma and was adored by his fans in a way that few other wrestlers could come close to experiencing.

It is always sad when people are taken too soon and I am sure that he will be greatly missed by many wrestling fans all over the word. I can't honestly say that I am one of those fans but I like everyone else find it truly unfortunate that when he had his peace and again taken his place at the WWE table he had it taken away from his so swiftly.
RIP Warrior.

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