WWE Hall of Fame Class 2014: The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior is the first inductee in the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame. The Wrestling legend is set to receive the WWE’s highest honor in 2014. Warrior as the hallmark inductee will be a draw for several reasons.
Despite a tumultuous run that saw a few ugly departures, which were vividly shown in the controversial The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVDs, the Ultimate Warrior is truly one of the biggest stars in WWE history.
The Ultimate Warrior was the most intense, colorful, competitive and outspoken Superstar in sports entertainment history, and his contributions to WWE were extraordinary,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon in a statement after it was revealed that Ultimate Warrior is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. “We are thrilled to induct The Ultimate Warrior into the WWE Hall of Fame.”
This marks the second year in a row the WWE has extended the hall of fame moment to a former legend. Thanks to some great work by the executive brunch of WWE, the longest-reigning WWE champion of all-time, Bruno Sammartino, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. Not only did Sammartino and McMahon have their share of issues that needed to be ironed out, the 78-year-old was quite critical of the modern day wrestling product.
While it’s been nearly two decades since Ultimate Warrior brought wrestling fans to their feet with his unrivaled energy and passion, seasoned wrestling fans won’t need to be reminded of his best moments and will be thrilled to welcome him into the Hall.
Warrior’s mysterious nature made him beyond human, which plays to his advantage. He hailed from Parts Unknown. He wore face paint. His promos were intriguing to say the least. He never stuck around for too long, obviously not by design, but as a result, his legacy was idealized by casual fans unaware of his reported backstage episodes.
Warrior’s brief WWE career, although anything but ideal, was loaded with main event feuds against wrestling icons from Hogan to Randy Savage to Ravishing Rick Rude to the Undertaker. It’s only fitting that one of those legends inducts him into the Hall of Fame, and Hogan is the one who makes the most sense.
His WWF television debut came on October 25th 1987 on WWF Wrestling challenge where he defeated Terry Gibbs. His Pay-Per-View debut came at WrestleMania IV where he faced off and defeated Hercules Hernandez.
Less than a year later at the first ever SummerSlam Pay-Per-View, The Warrior defeated The Honky Tonk man in 27 seconds to win the Intercontinental championship, kids you will have to take my word for it here, back then this was a huge deal.
Warrior’s chief moment in his professional wrestling career happened against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI. During Hogan’s original nine-year string of WrestleMania runs with the WWE, the Ultimate Warrior was the only wrestler who beat him clean in a main event.
Both Hogan’s WWF championship and the Warriors Intercontinental championship were on the line. The Warrior won and to this day he is the only man to hold both championships at the same time. The intercontinental championship was vacated and Warrior remained the WWF champion.
The mere positioning of Warrior as the guy to carry the company forward from Hogan elevated him into rarefied air. Hogan wasn’t just the biggest name in wrestling, he also rivaled the biggest names in pop culture at the time. Yet it seemed that Ultimate Warrior would now be the big man in WWE after his win at WrestleMania against the Hulkster.
He semi-retired in 1992 only doing Independent shows and autograph sessions, before returning to the WWF in 1996 defeating Triple H at WrestleMania XII. He didn’t do a great deal else before departing the company for a second time.
Warrior retired from professional wrestling in 1999 and embarked on a public speaking career. Warrior was described by WWE as having been “the ultimate archetype of strength and intensity”, and “one of the most intense and physically impressive competitors to ever appear in the WWE”.
His entrance music, his larger than life persona and his athletic prowess stood out. His was a career which definitely deserves the WWE Hall of Fame.