The Steel Cage

TSC: The Ultimate Warrior

I was watching some old tapes (yes, I said TAPES!!! VHS goodness baby!) and although I consider the Ultimate Warrior a huge star, it really emphasised to be just how big a star he was in the World Wrestling Federation throughout his tenure there.
Over the years, so many people have labelled the Ultimate Warrior a flash in the pan, somebody who only made it big in the WWF for a short period of time but was quickly forgotten, and I’ve always argued that. So, I delved into the Outer Reaches of my Mind where I bumped into Damien Demento (who says Hi, by the way…he’s keeping himself well, his Mum just bought a new Puppy) and decided to pull up some of the old memories and work out for myself if, infact, Warrior WAS just a flash in the pan who I had always looked upon through rose tinted glasses.
Warrior came into the WWF in early 1988 and was thrown into a feud with super worker Hercules. They clashed at WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City in a ‘grudge match’. It was a bit crap. Warrior was mainly used as a guy who would squash jobbers on WWF Superstars of Wrestling or WWF Wrestling Challenge. He was getting over quickly with his power based style, great look, colourful outfits, face paint and ranting promos.
Leading into SummerSlam 1988 in MSG, longest reigning and greatest Intercontinental Champion of alllllllllll time, the Honky Tonk Man, was gearing up to defend the IC championship against long time rival Brutus the Zociac Bootyman Beefcake. WWF top brass realised they were onto something with the Warrior though, so they filmed an angle where Bruti got injured and replaced him with the Warrior, unbilled on the card.
At SummerSlam, Honky was in the ring demanding somebody come out to face him, anybody, he said. Warriors music blasted, he legged it out, whipped Honky’s arse and 1-2-3, we had a new IC champion, dethroning the longest tenured IC champion ever in less than 1 minute! The Warrior had truly arrived.
Over the next 18 months, Warrior feuded with Andre the Giant whom he pinned in less than a minute every night all around the loop. He also ran into Rick Rude who he had one of his most memorable runs with. Losing the IC title to Rude at WrestleMania V, this would be one of only three pinfall losses the Warrior would EVER suffer in the WWF. (The second being to Sgt Slaughter in 1991 and the third being to Owen Hart in 1996). He regained the title at SummerSlam a few months later and was then pushed into the biggest feud and most memorable match of his life, vs Hulk Hogan.
At this stage, Hogan was still seen the unbeatable champion and figurehead of the WWF. That Warrior was chosen to be Hogans successor really puts into perspective how big a star he was. At WrestleMania VI in Toronto, in a memorable match (the GREATEST match of all time, in my opinion), the Warrior scored the clean 1-2-3 on Hulk Hogan and raised the WWF Heavyweight championship. Hogan lifted Warriors arms high and handed him the belt, passing the torch and NOT stealing any spotlight regardless of what people (Hogan himself even) might say. Warrior was now the man in the world of wrestling.
Moving back into a feud with Rude, Warrior headlined all the episodes of SNME leading into SummerSlam 1990, and went on last in a cage vs Rude, getting top billing over the huge return of Hogan. He headlined the Survivor Series as well, sharing the ring at the end of the night with Hogan but with his music playing, not Hogans. He was being booked as the man, without question.
Onto the Rumble and the Warrior dropped the title to Slaughter and was moved into a deal with Macho King Randy Savage. This produced one of the greatest matches in history at WMVII as the Warrior retired Savage in the middle of the ring. After this, he was paired up with the Undertaker in an attempt to garner the newcomer some much needed credibility leading into Takers title series with Hogan who was back on top after toppling Sarge at WMVII.
The Warriors last action in 1991 was being paired back up with Hogan as a team for the main event of SummerSlam. Warrior then left the company until the following April where he returned to save Hogan and was put into a feud with WWF Champion (and unretired) Randy Savage, producing more great matches and angles.
After Warrior left again, this time right before Survivor Series 1992, his star never rose to the heights it had. His comeback in the WWF in 1996 lasted several months and was forgettable, and his WCW run in 1998 was also forgettable, even though he was still hugely over and booked as a main event guy.
I think his initial WWF run from 1988 – 1992 was so memorable and successful that he cannot be classed as a flash in the pan. If he is a flash in the pan, then so is Steve Austin and the Rock, because their runs weren’t any longer and in the Rocks case, he was no more successful than the Warrior. Austin drew more money sure, but for his time the Warrior was a big draw, was huge over and was a very successful WWF champion and IC champion, during times where both belts meant alot more than they did in the Austin era.
For close to 5 years, Warrior was a mega star. People still talk about him today, because he was memorable and revered. He was never jobbed out and suffered 4 pinfall losses in his entire career as that character. He left the business on his own terms, never returning to be watered down in stupid segments like Steve Austin, for example.
These are the reasons I think that when people call him a flash in the pan, they have no idea what they are talking about.

3 replies on “TSC: The Ultimate Warrior”

I completely agree with you. I just wish he wasn’t such a jackass. He just had it all tooooo soon. I think that went a long way in making him into more of a jackass. I will never forgive his no-shows. I specifically went a WWF card in Savannah, GA (1996) to see the Warrior, but he no-showed the card. The card was otherwise not worth the price of admission.

The Ultimate Warrior is an asshole who envies Hogan’s popularity. Hogan was still the WWF’s top player, even after he lost the title to Warrior as well. Stone Cold Steve Austin is far superior to Warrior when it comes to popularity, and could kick Warrior’s ass anytime he felt like it. Quit being such a Warrior ass-kisser.

Wild Bill, I agree with you in that his attitude after winning the WWF title wasnt stellar, and he became difficult to deal with, I dont believe he had it too soon however. He was in the WWF for 3 years and worked from through the Intercontinental Title ranks before challenging Hogan. The Warrior was so over, it basically dictated to Vince what to book for the WMVI main event.

I feel bad that he no-showed a show you went to though, as I do for anybody who attends a show inwhich the person they paid to see doesnt show up. Thats not cool at all.

D, you should really drop the attitude. I’m not kissing Warrior’s ass in the least, and if you knew anything about me, you would know NOBODY appreciates Hulk Hogan more than I do.

Austin’s popularity was amazing, I wouldnt say otherwise.

As for your childish and flat out ridiculous comments about Austin being able to kick Warriors ass anytime he felt like it, please, stop being such a prat will you? Such an immature comment.

I expect you like to tell people your Dad is bigger than their Dad aswell, right? Grow up.

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