Moments in Wrestling History: WCW hypes “The Ultimate Warrior” and gives us “The Renegade” instead


For weeks leading up to WCW’s 1995 installment of “Uncensored” we saw Hulk Hogan tease the arrival of “The Ultimate Warrior” to WCW programming, as he dubbed the mystery person “the ultimate surprise” and even went as far as showing off a silhouette of a muscular man with long hair and tassels, giving us every indication that the mystery man would be none other than the late Jim Helwig, “The Ultimate Warrior”.


On March 19th, 1995 WCW was set for another edition of one of its hottest pay per views, “Uncensored” where it was unveiled that the man in question was in fact not the Ultimate Warrior at all, but instead, a Warrior rip off named Rick Wilson, a Killer Kowalski trained product who had spent the majority of his time in Japan’s famed “Wrestling and Romance” promotion and the rest of it working as a male stripper.

Clad in a colorful singlet and a large, ridiculous letter “R” painted on his face, fans couldn’t have been more displeased to see “The Renegade” debut. “This is the man that will lead Hulkamania into the 21st century” boasted Hogan, much to the dismay of the fans. The dismal unveiling of “The Renegade” would forever live in infamy from that moment forward. In what turned out to be a disappointing arrival, the much smaller Renegade was not near the stature of the actual Ultimate Warrior and was very poorly received as WCW was clearly doing their best to try and pass Wilson off as the Warrior with a different name, as WCW even went as far as billing “The Renegade” from “Parts Unknown”, something WWE had used uniquely for the Warrior.

The character was given somewhat of a strong push early on as WCW gave him Jimmy Hart as a manager and swiftly put the world television title around his waist, a belt he acquired by defeating Arn Anderson in a massive upset at June 1995’s “Great American Bash” pay per view.

Unfortunately for Rick Wilson, Vince McMahon and WWE sued WCW over the character, and it wasn’t long before “The Renegade” character was finished altogether. Wilson remained on the WCW scene for another year or so, regularly jobbing on lower tier programs like “WCW Saturday Night” and was also part of a tag team with another wrestler, Joe Gomez, for a brief period.

Rick Wilson was released by WCW at the tail end of 1996 following his last televised match, a loss to “Wrath” on Monday Nitro. It is said that he was incredibly depressed and heart-broken over his release and unfortunately took his life in February of 1999 at the young age of 33 years old.

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