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.