from a great week in New Orleans not only for our show Thursday night but for
all the WrestleMania activities, it was great to arrive home but then the news
broke of the shocking death of the Ultimate Warrior at the age of 54. Here are
I met Warrior in 1986 in the Mid South territory when he was
known as Rock, the tag team partner of Sting of the Blade Runners. Bill Watts
booked the rookie duo into his territory to become the Mid South’s version of
the Road Warriors.
Even though the pair had a short run in Memphis prior
to arriving in Oklahoma, Watts booked them largely upon the recommendation of
his old friend Red Bastien who, along with Rick Bassman, trained them in
At that time ‘Rock’s’ real name was Jim Hellwig and he
departed Mid South under not so positive circumstances. Watts was a
disciplinarian and felt that a rookie should be seen and not heard. Warrior did
not share in that philosophy.
Off to Dallas Warrior went and came in
contact with several veterans in World Class who loved Warrior’s look and
intensity although the muscular rookie he was not a polished, in ring technician
but he obviously had the potential to be a marketable
Warrior had a vision then of what his character should be
in order to maximize its potential. In an era where many old school wrestling
people were not always positive regarding ‘wrestling characters’ that were ‘out
there’ Warrior needed a visionary with whom he could share his creative
That person was Vince McMahon who was more than happy to bring
Warrior to WWE and to work with the larger than life, painted face super hero in
further developing the TV persona that would influence countless young fans in
the late 80’s and early 90’s.
Warrior was always somewhat of a loner and
was always a unique thinker even as a rookie in Mid South. His promos always
told a highly unique and memorable message even if one did not fully understand
what Warrior was saying.
For some reason, the younger fans of that era
did seem to relate to the super hero with his infectious energy and one of a
The most memorable moment for me this past weekend in New
Orleans was the interaction at the WWE Hall of Fame between Warrior and his two
daughters who accompanied their Dad on stage just before he gave his induction
speech. The love and bond between a father and his daughters was obvious and
In an arena full of Warrior fans, many of who were
reliving their youth with their hero, Warrior made it clear that his greatest
accomplishment was not being the Ultimate Warrior but instead being the father
of his two daughters.
In a career and life often marked by controversy,
the beauty of the weekend was seeing Warrior come home to WWE accompanied by his
family and that they were able to enjoy the celebration together.
with this mantra daily, “Tomorrow’s aren’t guaranteed for any of us.” Today,
that philosophy is more meaningful than ever.