The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior
Produced by the WWE and Sony Video
By Jon Minners
Say what you want about the Ultimate Warrior; he’s crazy; he’s an asshole; he can’t wrestle; hit title run was a failure; you can say it all, but when it comes down to it, the Ultimate Warrior is one of the most unforgettable stars of my generation; who could probably run out the gate to a WWE ring right now and still get some type of positive reaction from the fans.
From the banging guitar beat to the most unconventional ring entrance; an actual sprint to the ring, to the signature arm bands and face paint – all color coordinated – to the long rocker hair and tremendous physique and over the top interviews; the Ultimate Warrior was one of the most electrifying wrestlers in WWE history and probably the most controversial to boot.
I remember the Ultimate Warrior from his days as the Dingo Warrior in World Class Championship Wrestling and I liked him a lot then and was excited to see him enter the WWE as the Ultimate Warrior against one jobber after another; one of which against Terry Gibbs, from Wrestling Challenge on 10/24/87, is included on the disc. Warrior had a great run, feuding with Hercules and then surprising everyone at Summerslam by showing up to answer The Honky Tonk Man’s challenge and win the IC title on 8/29/88. Warrior dominated, losing the belt to Rick Rude before winning it back in 1989’s Summerslam spectacular. His supremacy was only mirrored by Hulk Hogan and fans wanted to see the battle between the two giants of wrestling. The epic battle, actually one of the Warrior’s best matches, changed the way wrestling matches could take place as the two were both faces and both champions during their clash at Wrestlemania VI in 1990. Hogan passed the torch to the Warrior in one of the matches that make this DVD one to own, before Warrior went on to beat Rick Rude again at Summerslam in another match shown on the DVD. Warrior would lose the title to Sgt. Slaughter at the next Royal Rumble before battling Randy Savage in another great feud at Wrestlemania VII, which is the second reason to buy this title. The retirement match was another Warrior classic. He could actually wrestle if push came to shove, but the strangest part of this match was that the Warrior would end up leaving the company and Savage would return as an active wrestler. Warrior left under dubious circumstances.
While the DVD showcases the Warrior’s successes, it really took great pleasure at depicting his faults. From the VH1 Best Week Ever style presentation making fun of Warrior’s Parts Unknown birthplace where wrestlers like Chris Jericho speculate where Parts Unknown is, to Christian’s dead-on portrayal of Warrior’s nonsensical, total out there promos that someone thought were good for television. Watching these promos just made the DVD so enjoyable to view. I could watch just those special moments over and over again. Look for a great extra on Warrior University. Hilarious.
However, things get serious when the WWE attacks the Warrior’s character. Bobby Heenan explains how dangerous and disrespectful Warrior was in the ring, sharing stories from his own battles where Warrior almost injured Heenan to battles he had with Andre the Giant, when the 8th Wonder of the World decided to teach the Warrior about respecting people in the ring. HHH has some very choice words for the Warrior. Gene Okerlund even gets in on the fun and Vince McMahon explains the situation that occurred which led to the chairman of the WWE looking forward to firing the man who was once his future star.
The disc looks at Warrior’s return and surprisingly addresses the rumors that Warrior’s real persona Jim Helwig was dead and a new Warrior took his place. I was shocked they even discussed it. They also talk about the ridiculous angle with Papa Shango that had Warrior vomit and have ooze drip from his head, leading to an absolute disaster of a match. Then there is the discussion about the second time he ended up out of company, the fact that he legally changed his name to Warrior and then sued the WWE over use of that name. But the Warrior was actually brought back a third time and as WWE stars state, three strikes and your out. Warrior starts no-showing events and would come up with a number of excuses to explain his absence. Unreliable, unpredictable and unforgivable; the Warrior was dropped for the final time only to show up several years later for the competition.
Eric Bischoff discusses the reasons why he brought Warrior to WCW, and he and Hulk Hogan both discuss why their rematch in WCW was so much worse than their first classic encounter, address rumors on why he was brought into the company and why Bischoff once mocked the Warrior with the tragic Renegade character. It’s all here - the explosive, yet short career of the Warrior; all in a nutshell and this DVD does a good job at looking at a career that was really built on two great matches, a good look, strange promos and a lot of controversy. Controversy sells and that’s what makes this DVD worth watching; even owning.
However, I had some issues. First, how could the WWE forget the moment when Undertaker locked him in a casket? That was better than watching the Papa Shango fiasco. It was really well done. Next, when Warrior came back the first time, he developed a team with Randy Savage patterned after the Mega Powers; called the Ultimate Maniacs who were supposed to battle Ric Flair and Razor Ramon before his second disappearance. They never even discussed the rematch he and Savage had at Summerslam in Britain. And while they do discuss how he used to team with Sting as the Bladerunners in the early part of both their careers, they never show the match when Sting and Warrior teamed up against the NWO in WCW. Those moments would have rounded out Warrior’s history better and it was unfortunate that they were ignored or forgotten.
Still, the DVD is well produced, contains great insight into the Warrior’s career from the people he encountered at various stints and its only true fault is not being able to get the Warrior’s side of the story. Aside from that, this is not as emotional as the story of LOD or Jake the Snake Roberts, not is it as epic as Bret Hart or Ric Flair’s story nor is it as complete as the Undertaker’s history, but for a true wrestling fan whose adrenaline rushes every time he hears the Ultimate Warrior’s music, for the fan who just wants a good laugh or for the fan who wants to witness firsthand how success can get to someone’s head, the Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior is definitely a DVD worth buying. Just check your sanity at the door.
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