When I was a kid I was an Ultimate Warrior fan. On one side you had the kids that loved Hulk Hogan and everything he stood for. Saying your prayers, taking your vitamins, yadda yadda yadda. And one my side of the fence we were cheering for the guy that had muscles on muscles, ran to the ring, shook the ropes, and beat guys in less than a minute. Warrior epitomized what a wrestler looked like in the 80's to me. To me there was no Jim Hellwig. This guy didn't wash off his face paint and go home to a family. When Warrior was done with a match he went to some rooftop and screamed at the sky until it was time to wrestle again.
One of my fondest memories as a child was Warrior making a surprise appearance during a pay per view and my brother losing his shit and gorilla pressing me into the air and coming down on these cheap dinner trays we had. It was the ghetto version of being put through a table. It was hard to not look at him and stop whatever it was you were doing. He wasn't known as being the most technical wrestler or the face of the company. But he was the best, if that makes any sense. I knew that if he got in the ring with someone chances are they were gonna get their asses handed to them pretty fast.
Warrior had his issues with many people over the years and views that others didn't agree with but I didn't care. I just wanted to see him beat people up fast. When he retired I didn't shout for him to come back. He was a human version of a tornado. He came, wrecked shit, and left. That is until he appeared in a commercial for a new WWE video game. I was like “Damn. This guy is still in better shape than I have ever been and he's past 50.”
As a wrestling fan you get used to hearing about wrestlers dying. I won't say die young. After having a brother die from a heart attack at the age of 32 hearing people say things like that take on a while different meaning. Warrior died old for a wrestler as sad as that may sound. There are certain wrestlers that die that make me go “Wow. Fuck.” This is one of them. As my friend Hazel said “There was a little part of me that thought he would live forever, through sheer force of will. RIP.” If you ever watched The Ultimate Warrior in the ring or one of his promos that statement makes perfect sense.
His last speech less than 24 hours before his passing.
“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!”