This Tuesday Jim Hellwig, the wrestler known as The Ultimate Warrior passed away at the age of 54. My condolences go out to his wife and his two daughters.
The Ultimate Warrior wasn’t just a wrestling legend. He was an ICON. A Wrestling GOD. If you grew up during the mid-1980s and early 1990s you knew who The Ultimate Warrior was. With his big heavy metal hair, ripped muscular physique, and colorful facepaint he stood out from all the WWF Superstars from the first day he debuted.
When you heard that heavy metal music start and saw him run down the aisle into the ring and start shaking the top ropes, you weren’t just watching a match, you were watching an EVENT. I can still remember watching his first matches on WWF Superstars on Channel 9 on Saturday afternoons. The Ultimate Warrior didn’t just squash jobbers, he squashed jobbers with STYLE.
Most Ultimate Warrior matches didn’t last that long, but man, you sure remembered them. The one move I remembered him using in his matches was that gorilla press slam. I’d never seen anyone just pick up a guy, hold him over his head and then drop him like that at 13. I still remember watching him destroy the Honky Tonk Man in 30 seconds to win the Intercontinental title like it was yesterday.
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the trinity elite Main Event WWF Superstars up there with Hulk Hogan and the late Macho Man Randy Savage. His feuds with Ravishing Rick Rude, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Macho King Randy Savage are cornerstones in the WWF’s history during the 1980s Rock N’ Wrestling era.
The legacy of the Ultimate Warrior can still be felt in the ring to this day. Batista pays homage to him every time when he shakes the top rope before going for his finisher the Batista Bomb.
I was a big Ultimate Warrior fan from 13 onwards and my cousin was when he saw his first wrestling matches 5. He had the first Hasbro Ultimate Warrior action figure and he even had an Ultimate Warrior towel set! When I had money, I wanted to buy the WWE Legends Ultimate Warrior that came with the Intercontienental Championship, to remind me of that classic Honky Tonk Man squash match but I couldn’t find it due to Mattel’s crappy distribution. One of these days I plan on owning that figure.
When I heard about the death of the Ultimate Warrior I was shocked. His death hit me pretty hard. Just as hard as when I heard about Michael Jackson’s and just recently Harold Ramis’. These men were icons of my childhood. The heroes I grew up looking up to. Hearing about them pass makes me realize how little time I have left on Earth and how little time I have to make an impact on others while I’m here.
Reading about the last days of The Ultimate Warrior showed me how God works in mysterious ways. Jim Hellwig had issues with lots of people in the wrestling business for years. But over Wrestlemania weekend while he was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, he able to make peace with all those people as he saw them one last time.
I’d have to say that’s a blessing from God.
Listening to the speech he gave on Monday Night Raw this week before he passed, I’d have to say in his soul he knew he was leaving this world. And it was his way of saying goodbye to the audience.
I had to write this blog to say Thank you to the Ultimate Warrior. Thank you so much for so many great childhood memories Jim Hellwig. May you Rest in Peace.