Following Bruno, now Ultimate Warrior is heading into the WWE Hall of Fame

The past couple of years have seen some long-time grudges being forgiven by the WWE.

Last year, Bruno Sammartino’s entry into the WWE Hall of Fame marked the end of a cold war between the WWWF icon and Vince McMahon. Now, word that the Ultimate Warrior is heading into the Hall of Fame also strikes me as reconcilliatory.

Warrior was certainly a unique character even by wrestling standards, both in the ring and outside. He was a limited worker, and had a promo style that had its fans and detractors. But for a a few years, he was a huge star. I remember my friend Diamond Dave dressing up as Warrior, complete with face paint and tassels, for many of Warriors matches at the old Boston Garden.

Warrior got most of his fame in the 1990s leading up to and following his title vs. title match with Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VI. By defeating Hogan in a classic, he became the first man to simultaneously hold the Intercontinental and WWF Heavyweight Championships. That many seem insignificant these days, but back then, it was a huge deal.

However, Warrior’s best matches came before his victory against Hogan, when he fought Ravishing Rick Rude across the WWF circuit in 1989 in matches for the Intercontinental belt. Rude was the perfect opponent for Warrior because Rude was an awesome talent in the ring, he sold well for Warrior’s offense, and was also the type of heel whom you wanted to see get the shit kicked out of him.

Warrior also had a memorable series of bouts in fall 1989 against an aging Andre the Giant, during which Warrior would beat Andre in about 30 seconds at house shows, which was got people buzzing because Andre was so rarely pinned in the 1980s.

Vince and Warrior have been at odds for years over alleged payment issues and general personality clashes. It was well known last year that Triple H served as the intermediary between Bruno and Vince to get Sammartino into the Hall of Fame.

It will be interesting to hear whether HHH took a similar role with Warrior, because Warrior dissed Triple H at WrestleMania XII in 1996 by insisting on squashing a much younger Triple H in a comeback match for Warrior. It was a bone-headed, arrogant move by Warrior, so it would be hard to blame Triple H if he continues to sting from that match. If HHH put that incident aside, I’ll be impressed.

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: Ultimate Warrior dies: “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat” | Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Pingback: Mr. T — the newest member of the Hall of Fame — worked because fans believed he was a tough guy | Boston Garden Balcony
  3. Joe Lowry

    Speaking of the WWE Hall of Fame…As we begin the season of seeing who is to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame I am wondering who might be next? I did have somewhat of a premonition that Jake “The Snake” Roberts could be next up. Reason being is his involvement in last weeks Retro Raw program. Anyone else know of potential candidates for this years WWE Hall of Fame class??

    • bostongardenbalcony

      I’m trying to think of wrestlers who were fixtures in New Orleans for Bill Watts in the pre-expansion days who might be able to add some local flavor to WrestleMania this year, but most of the big names (JYD, Watts, Ladd) are already in the hall. I don’t think the Freebirds are in, maybe they are up this year? A legitimate choice.

      • Joe Lowry

        Interesting note, I was just reading the bleacher report online and they had put a list out back in January of 2012 of their version of the top 20 wrestlers who are not in the WWE Hall of Fame but should be. Some were already inducted and some were borderline. But three did stand out. 1. The Fabulous Freebirds. You had mentioned them previously and they would seem like a good lock being from the south and so forth. 2. Rock n Roll Express. At the height of their mainstay they were hotter than any other tag team out there. Very popular and I am sure worthy of a nod into the hall. 3. The Honkytonk Man. What better way to segway into the Warriors entry in the WWE Hall of Fame than Honkytonk? After all it was The Ultimate Warrior who beat him for the WWF Intercontinental belt at Summerslam 88. And if memory serves me right, is HonkyTonk man still the record holder for the longest tenure of the Intercontinental strap? Not to mention tag team gold with Greg Valentine aka “Rythm and Blues.” I think 2 out of those 3 nods should warrant at least a consideration, agree?

  4. Joe Lowry

    Congratulations finally to James Brian Hellwig aka The Ultimate Warrior on his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame. I also find it great that the WWE has been recognizing true hall of famers (i.e. Sammartino, Backlund, etc.) Regardless of there past conflicts whether personal or professional. To me The Ultimate Warrior changed the sport of pro wrestling. He no doubt helped elevate it to the “Sports Entertainment” era. As Hogan began his descend as world champ, the WWF needed someone who could carry the belt/company so to speak. (Although brief) I remember that classic Wrestlemania match up in Toronto’s Skydome when Warrior defeated Hogan. It was unbelievable at the time that the WWF had an Intercontinental Champion defeat the current World Champion. (Gee, how many times I had wished Muraco would beat Backlund) To witness the crowds reaction was mesmerizing. Who else could forget Warriors ring entrance. Talk about high octane. This man ran to the ring faster than I have ever seen. It was high energy all the time. As a fan growing up I did not know how to react to this man who was massive in nature. He stood alone like no other. He was built like a human brick house. Obviously during the WWF steroid era, I believe The Warrior had to have indulged a little bit. This man was so ripped I think he used to pop blood vessels just waiting to be introduced. His wrestling style was very one sided. He would beat you with raw power. Not much of a scientific grappler, the Warrior gained his victories with sheer strength. Hence why his match with Hogan was very even. Between the two of them I am not sure if they would last ten minutes with the likes of Backlund or Sammartino in a “wrestling” match..LOL. None the less The Ultimate Warrior literally stormed his way into the WWF at the right time. It wasn’t long before he struck WWF gold. He defeated the Honky Tonk Man in record time at 1988’s Summerslam to become the Intercontinental Champ. Two years later at WMVI at Toronto’s Skydome he beat Hogan to begin his reign as WWF Champ. That title run only lasted nine months as he was defeated by “American Turncoat” Sgt. Slaughter. Hats off to The Ultimate Warrior for his induction. I wonder if he will run from the back of the arena when he gives his acceptance speech??

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