I was never an Ultimate Warrior guy. Actually, I was just about the opposite: The cresting of the Ultimate Warrior’s run in the WWF coincided with me turning away from wrestling. I don’t know why, exactly. For me, he felt like Poochie–a product being foisted on the audience in a transparent attempt to freshen up the franchise with an eye towards a post-Hogan future. And he just didn’t do anything for me either in the ring or on the mic. The whole gimmick felt forced.
But that’s just me. Friends of mine today who were just a shade younger loved the Warrior. He hit them at exactly the time wrestling loomed largest in their lives. For them, he wasn’t an arriviste. He was a legend.
In any case, it’s bizarre and sad for Jim Hellwig to have died a day or so after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and appearing in the ring to give his speech. Bizarre enough that my first reaction was to suspect it might be a work. (And my third reaction, was to briefly consider if the entire HoF induction might have been a trap Vince set to lure the Warrior out of the shadows and finish him!)
Update: For example, Galley Relative X, who’s about five years younger than me, sends in the following:
Circa 5th grade, I wrote a “story” for writing class that was about . . . wait for it . . . WWF wrestling stars taking part in the writing of the Declaration of Independence. The relevant point: at one point in the story the hero–The Ultimate Warrior–was running from door to door in ol’ Boston warning people that “The Henan Family is Coming! The Henan Family is Coming!” Needless to say, he saved the day.