Real Name: The Warrior (formerly Jim Hellwig)
Date of Birth: 16/06/1959
Hometown: New Mexico
Other Names: The Dingo Warrior, Justice, Rock,
Official website url: http://www.ultimatewarrior.com
Debut Year: 1985
Trademark Moves: Gorilla Press Slam, Big Splash
Titles Held: WWE World Championship ,WWE Intercontinental Championship, WCCW Texas Heavyweight Championship, WCCW World Tag Team Title
- Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania VI )
- Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (Wrestlemania VII )
- Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (Summerslam 1992)
He is probably one of the most unique and talked about wrestling superstars of all time. A former World Champion who at one point was one of the biggest wrestling stars in the WWE. His trademark face paint and colourful attire made him instantly recognisable, his fast paced and hard-hitting style made him a huge hit with the WWE fans all over the world, he is the man they call…The Ultimate Warrior!
The Warrior’s wrestling career started in the mid 1980’s, when he wrestled under his real name of Jim Hellwig. Warrior began training with Ric Bassman, who was planning on taking a group of bodybuilders and turning them into a group of professional wrestlers called “Powerteam USA” . The group never lasted long, and the members disbanded, apart from two, Jim “Justice” Hellwig and Steve “Flash” Borden, who decided to form a tag team together.
Like many other wrestling greats of today, one of the first territories Hellwig & Borden worked in was the Memphis Promotion operated by Jerry Jarrett, who promoted the tag team as the “Freedom Fighters”. After working for Jarrett, the pair eventually moved to the UWF promotion (Universal Wrestling Federation) in the Mid South, operated by Bill Watts. By the time Hellwig and Borden arrived in the UWF, they were renamed “The Bladerunners”, Hellwig became known as Rock, and Borden became Sting (the name he still has to this day). The team of “The Bladerunners” spent most of their time as a “heel” tag team, until eventually, a reported contract dispute caused Hellwig to have a falling out with Bill Watts, which lead to Hellwig and Sting, splitting as a tag team, and Warrior leaving the UWF all together.
Warrior left the UWF, and headed for World Class Championship Wrestling, which operated out of Dallas and was promoted by the leader of the legendary Von Erich family, Fritz Von Erich. Warrior wrestled under the moniker of the Dingo Warrior, a gimmick that would plant the seeds for his evolution to the Ultimate Warrior a few years down the line. While in the World Class territory Warrior’s initial run was as a heel, managed by Gary Hart and then later Percy Pringle III, but Warrior turned on Pringle and became a face. While in WCCW Warrior claimed some championship gold, by winning the WCCW Tag Team Championships with Lance Von Erich, and later by winning the Texas Heavyweight Champion from Bob Bradley.
Warrior was making a name for himself in World Class Championship Wrestling, and promoters from around the world started to take notice and tried to sign him. One promoter in particular was New Japan Pro Wrestling legend Antonio Inoki, who wanted to sign Warrior to become a big star in Japan and work as a monster heel. However, Warrior chose not to go to New Japan Pro Wrestling, and he signed with Vince McMahon and the WWE.
The Dingo Warrior made his WWE debut in early 1987; his main job for several months was to beat jobbers on non-televised matches while he honed his skills as a wrestler. In September of 1987, The Dingo Warrior lost the Dingo, and started using the more marketable name of The Ultimate Warrior. The Ultimate Warrior made his TV debut in October 1987 during a 20 Man Battle Royal Match, his character was an instant hit with the fans.
Warrior’s first main feud was with Hercules, the feud began when Hercules interfered in a match Warrior was having with Harley Race. For the next few months, Warrior and Hercules feuded with each other, and the feud culminated at Wrestlemania IV when Warrior made his WWE PPV debut by defeating Hercules. For the next few months, Warrior feuded with the likes of Bobby Heenan and Andre The Giant. Warrior’s first taste of WWE Championship gold came at Summerslam 1988 when he defeated the Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Championship belt.
For much of 1988 and 1989 Warrior embarked on a vicious feud with “Ravishing” Rick Rude, some highlights of this feud included the Pose down between the pair at the 1989 Royal Rumble, and the match Warrior had with Rude at Wrestlemania V, a match where Warrior lost the Intercontinental Championship. However, Warrior would not be beaten, and he soon regained the Intercontinental Championship belt at the Summerslam 1989 after he got his revenge and defeated Rick Rude.
Warrior’s popularity was sky rocketing, and he was becoming one of the WWE’s biggest attractions, Warrior was coming a very close second behind the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan in terms of popularity, and it was almost inevitable that these two WWE Superstars would meet up in the ring at some point. During the 1990 Royal Rumble, Hogan and Warrior finally ended up meeting each other face to face for the first time during the 30 Man Royal Rumble match, where Hogan ended up eliminating Warrior and winning the match.
The events from the Royal Rumble set up one of the biggest matches in WWE History, as Intercontinental Champion – The Ultimate Warrior faced WWE Champion – Hulk Hogan in a match that that took place in front of 65,000 fans in the Toronto Sky Dome at Wrestlemania VI. The match was an epic, and it is still regarded as one of the best Wrestlemania matches ever. After a blistering match, Warrior emerged victorious and became the WWE Champion, and Hulk Hogan graciously handed over the WWE Championship to Warrior.
As WWE Champion Warrior’s first major program involved his long time rival, Rick Rude. Warrior and Rude had several matches between April & August, with the climax of the feud occurring at Summerslam 1990, when Ultimate Warrior successfully defended the WWE Championship against Rude in a Cage match.
Warrior held on to the WWE Championship right on through to the 1991 Royal Rumble, where he lost the belt to the Iraqi “Sympathizer” Sgt. Slaughter, after “Macho King” Randy Savage interfered and cost Warrior the match. Savage’s interference set up a “Retirement Match” between Warrior and Savage for Wrestlemania VII, where the losing man would have to “retire” and would not be able to compete in the WWE ever again. The match at Wrestlemania VII was yet another epic, and Warrior and Savage had a match that not only stole the show, but a match that is still remembered as one of the greatest bouts from Warrior’s career.
After Wrestlemania, Warrior teamed with Hulk Hogan in an attempt to beat Sgt. Slaughter, Gen. Adnan and Col. Mustafa, and the pair were victorious at Summerslam 1991 when they took on Slaughter’s team in a 3 on 2-handicap match. Summerslam 1991 was the last major appearance Warrior made for the WWE for a number of months, its thought that Warrior wanted more money from Vince McMahon, and McMahon refused and subsequently fired Warrior.
Warrior was not seen in the WWE until Wrestlemania VIII when he made a surprise return, coming to the rescue of Hulk Hogan after Hogan was double-teamed by Sid Justice and Papa Shango in the main event of the night. During his return Warrior once again got involved in the WWE Championship picture, facing his old foe, Randy Savage at Summerslam 1992, however Warrior was unsuccessful in capturing the gold after Ric Flair inferred in the match.
Trouble soon hit Warrior’s second WWE tenure, as Vince McMahon wanted him to work with lower card worker Nailz, Warrior was less than happy to be involved in a program with Nailz. Warrior left the WWE once again in November of 1992 after having a contract dispute with Vince McMahon and the WWE. By this time, Warrior had developed a reputation of being difficult to work with and it seemed his WWE release was inevitable.
In 1993, Jim Hellwig legally changed his name to The Warrior, now while it has never been confirmed as to why Hellwig changed his name two theories have been speculated. Firstly, Warrior’s father left him and his mother along with his brother and sisters when Warrior was a youngster, and its thought Warrior didn’t want to carry the Hellweig surname down to his children, so he changed it. Another theory is that Warrior changed the name so he could own the Warrior trademarks, and so he could also go on to use the Warrior name in other ventures outside of the WWE.
Warrior stayed away from the WWE and the wrestling business for over 3 years, and apart from staring in a less than memorable movie called “Firepower”, Warrior stayed away from the public eye for the whole time.
However, during the period of 1993 to 1996 Vince McMahon lost a number of his biggest attractions including Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage as they headed to Ted Turner’s – World Championship Wrestling, which left the WWE with huge voids to be filled. Therefore, in an effort to fill that void, McMahon turned to the Warrior once again.
After much hype, Warrior returned to the WWE at Wrestlemania XII when he defeated Hunter Hearst Hemsley in memorable fashion. During his return to the WWE, Warrior fought the likes of Goldust, Jerry Lawler and Owen Hart, but things never worked out, and Warrior only lasted a few months with the company before he was released from his WWE contract. By this time Warrior had again developed a reputation of being difficult to work with, plus its rumoured that Warrior was missing shows he was scheduled to appear at, and this lead to his release, and yet another disappearance from the wrestling world.
About 2 years passed before Warrior returned to the wrestling world, but this time, he did not return to the WWE, he went to Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, in which he worked a program with Hollywood Hogan. Warrior participated in the 1998 War Games match, captaining his own team. Warrior also teamed with his old team-mate Sting on an addition of Monday Nitro when he and Sting faced Bret Hart and Hollywood Hogan. The culmination of Warrior’s feud with Hogan came at Halloween Havoc 1998 when Hogan defeated Warrior. Not long after Halloween Havoc, Warrior was released from WCW as contract disputes could not be solved between WCW and Warrior, and once again he disappeared from the wrestling scene. Warrior’s run in WCW was less than impressive, and it’s thought the only reason he was brought into the company was so Hulk Hogan could gain a measure of revenge on Warrior after Warrior won the WWE Championship belt from him in 1990 at Wrestlemania VI.
Since his WCW stint, Warrior has never actively been involved with any major wrestling organisation, and has stayed away from the wrestling world. The only involvement Warrior has had with the WWE is with a number of lawsuits, which the pair have filed against each other regarding the usage of the Ultimate Warrior name.
Even though Warrior’s last match was in 1998, he still makes wrestling news headlines today. Whether its regarding a possible return to the WWE, or him joining a rival promotion ,or even his controversial comments from his website regarding his hate for the WWE and his former colleagues , not too many months go by without Warrior’s name appearing somewhere in the wrestling news world.
Today, Warrior makes a living by being a motivational speaker and giving various talks and after dinner speeches across the United States. He also gives talks at University Campuses, and with his Conservative views, his talks have made headlines in the wrestling world and the mainstream press in the United States for all the wrong reasons.
Warrior, or The Ultimate Warrior will always be remember by wrestling fans as one of the biggest stars of the 80’s and early 90’s. His unique character entertained fans at a time when wrestling was at a peak, and his larger life character was able to connect with the fans and become an instant hit. Although Warrior’s career may have been controversial at some points, he still is one of the biggest wrestling superstars in WWE history, and will always be remembered. A return for Warrior to the Professional Wrestling world is just as unpredictable as Warrior’s character was, and while its doubtful, I wouldn’t totally surprised to see him again return one day.