Induction: The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior: A Lesson in Professionalism from WWE’s Spiteful Owner

94 Submitted by on Thu, 25 July 2013, 20:00
WWE, 2005

Some of the biggest news in the wrestling world as of late is the Ultimate Warrior’s promotion of the upcoming WWE 2K14 video game. I suppose the Warrior is a forgiving man, or else he was afraid of what would happen if he refused the endorsement.

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That’s because, allegedly, the last time the Ultimate Warrior was offered an opportunity to work with WWE, on a retrospective DVD about his career, he turned it down and ended up paying for it. Either that, or the chairman decided one day in 2005 to tear down the legacy of a former draw just for the hell of it. Simply put, Vince McMahon can’t stand wrestlers who won’t play ball (although I hear Sid used to tick him off, too) and, for all the hype we hear about him being a great businessman, he will often go out of his way to humiliate former employees who have fallen out of favor with the company. How else do you explain, “The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior”?

sduw99 That’s a pretty bold claim to include in a DVD title to begin with. The commercial for the video calls Warrior, “the man who self-destructed under the pressure of superstardom, never to be seen again.” “Never to be seen again?” Was he abducted by aliens or something? (I’m not denying this, but if so, the aliens returned him to Earth soon after to film his own workout video)
And don’t tell me no one in WWE has heard of his speaking gigs! Talk about queer things to gloss over.
Right off the bat, someone at WWE has confused “not cooperating with WWE in exchange for money and attention” with “self-destruction” and falling off the face of the earth.
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 sduw02 The way the “star” is discussed on this disc makes it sounds like the Warrior is dead and the participants on this DVD are delivering the world’s worst eulogy. They are so overwhelmingly negative about the man and so eager to distance WWE from him that, combined with the fact that he’s never shown in the present day and is referred to almost exclusively in the past tense, a non-wrestling fan could be forgiven for confusing the Ultimate Warrior with Chris Benoit.
Actually, Edge, Christian, and Chris Jericho, all WWF fans when the Warrior made his mark, share a few good memories of the wrestler, but everyone on the DVD whose livelihood no longer depends on in-ring work but on being on Vince’s good side treats the Warrior like the wrestling equivalent of penile cancer. Here are a few basic facts about the Ultimate Warrior that are hammered home throughout the documentary: sduw03
sduw04 First, pretty much everything anyone ever liked about him was due to someone else’s work.

  • His facepaint? Rip-off of the Road Warriors.
  • His electrifying entrance? That was all because of Jim Johnston’s music.
  • The name “Ultimate Warrior”? Bruce Prichard says that was all Vince, thank you very much.
  • His ability to pop a crowd? One wrestler implies that Warrior merely took advantage of the huge crowds that had already been drawn to the arenas by Hulk Hogan (Care to guess which wrestler that was, dude?).
His popularity in general? That was just due to the general “rebellious spirit” of the 1980s, where an over-the-top raving lunatic would be accepted en masse. I mean, between Ronald Reagan and Clara “Where’s the Beef?” Peller, it was just a crazy, tumultuous time.  sduw05
sduw06 (“Mean” Gene Okerlund offers up his own explanation for Warrior’s popularity: his package. Thanks, Gene, but I prefer to keep Warrior’s parts unknown.)
Oh, but anything wrong with the Warrior was Hellwig’s own fault, like his nonsensical promos. It’s not like Vince could have ever put his foot down and instructed Warrior to change his style if he thought there was something wrong with it at the time.  sduw07
sduw08 Second, he never appreciated anything anyone ever did for him and had no respect for the wrestling business. Want proof? He sued the company in 1996 for the rights to his name and character, much to the shock and chagrin of the wrestling personalities now on Vince’s payroll. The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, who in 1996 left for WCW to portray “Trillionaire Ted,” was particularly appalled at Warrior’s disrespect for intellectual property.
Likewise, Ric Flair, who brought the NWA world title belt onto WWF television, lost a lot of respect for Warrior for trying to promote himself with an image created by the wrestling promotion that made him famous. At least, he thinks he lost respect for him, but he can’t be sure because he literally had not heard the story he’s providing insight into until he got to the studio for the interview. Kudos to WWE for getting the inside scoops from the experts! sduw09
sduw09 Less blatantly sycophantic wrestlers and fans might be more understanding of the Warrior’s lawsuit, considering that he had already created the very similar “Dingo Warrior” character in WCCW and was a local celebrity before joining Vince’s company, but I guess lawsuits over the rights to names and trademarks are a sore spot for the WWF – I mean, WWE.
Third, he sucked at wrestling enough for the interviewees to mention it in every other sentence. No argument here, but why they would ever include bonus matches of a guy they think sucked, let alone dedicate an entire DVD to him, is something only the gods in the heavens above can explain. sduw10
sduw11 Also, he was a wuss. I kid you not, at one point, J.R. mentions in passing that Hellwig left the UWF because “the territory was a little bit too physically intense.” He then started wrestling for World Class, where I can only assume the ring was made of feather pillows.
If The Ultimate Warrior ever gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, which, thanks to his involvement in the new WWE game, is no longer a pipe dream, it’s going to be a wee bit difficult to account for this DVD. sduw11
sduw12 All throughout the “documentary,” while Hellwig is demonized, Vince McMahon is spoken of in the most glowing of terms. Ted DiBiase praises McMahon for giving people second chances, while VKM himself repeatedly states that he always acts in the fans’ best interest, even if it means swallowing his pride (unlike that awful, awful Ultimate Warrior). Why did Vince repeatedly bring back Warrior? Why, “for the audience” of course! I bet he even wanted to give away all the live event tickets and pay-per-views for free just so as many people as possible could enjoy the Warrior, but Federation President Gorilla Monsoon wouldn’t let him!
Don’t worry, though, as it isn’t just Vince who gets gushing praise in this video. No, the other wrestlers get to pat themselves on the back, as well. For instance, Sgt. Slaughter says that it takes a truly talented wrestler to carry the Warrior to a great match, and he was that talented wrestler. Whatever match he’s talking about must have happened on a house show or something. sduw13
sduw14 The one and only thing that Warrior ever gets credit for on this DVD is his physique (and I’m sure if Vince had started shilling for ICO-PRO in the 80s, all the participants in this doc would be heaping praise upon the supplement for transforming a doughy Jim Hellwig into the herculean Ultimate Warrior). Not once is the word “steroids” ever uttered, however, even though it’s a valid criticism of Warrior’s legacy and one based in fact; he has openly admitted to steroid use without even being subpoenaed to appear in federal court. Do you think the total avoidance of the steroid issue has something to do with Hulk Hogan being on board for commentary, or is it a more general white-washing by McMahon of the WWF’s Anabolic Era?
Saint Vince does get to plug his drug-testing policy from the 1990s (without mention of why he was pressured to institute it in the first place), but even then, the dreaded s-word is never mentioned. Instead, Warrior is said to have been released in 1992 after an unspecified drug violation. As much sense as it would make for the Warrior to be fueled by coke and speed (and it would make a lot of sense), I’m pretty sure that would violate one of the Eight Disciplines of Destrucity. sduw15
warrior no sell Aside from being a junkie, scamming the generous but naïve McMahon, and being the worst wrestler in history, one of Warrior’s most egregious offenses was ruining Wrestlemania XII for Vince’s now son-in-law. As much as the modern WWE tries to portray this squash as a bad thing, anyone who remembers Triple H’s World title runs from 2002 to 2005 cannot help but smile at seeing the Ultimate Warrior no-sell Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s pedigree. It almost makes up for spoiling Mr. Fuji and Super Ninja’s Thanksgiving.
And speaking of the Warrior’s 1996 return, the documentary blames his relative lack of fan support on his many betrayals of the fans’ faith (even though, given the young age and lack of Internet access of the average Warrior fan, they were more likely to believe that their hero had merely been SUMMONED BY THE GODS ABOVE TO DO COMBAT THROUGHOUT THE GALAXY than to think his leaves of absence had anything to do with drug tests or money disputes).
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Could you really expect fans who couldn’t tell the Ultimate Warrior from Batman to read the dirt sheets?

sduw17 Not mentioned is the years-long “New WWF Generation” campaign by Vince to re-condition fans to accept younger, smaller, more agile wrestlers instead of the musclebound dinosaurs of the past, a dictum McMahon conveniently ignored when the chance for an Ultimate cash-grab arose in 1996. Also ignored is the fact that on the same night that the Ultimate Warrior returned, the WWF hosted a “geriatric match” between spoofs of 80′s “has-beens” Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. At the end of the match, the pitiful geezers of the bygone era (and contemporaries of the Warrior) both dropped dead. (Luckily, we were spared an “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up: The Hulk Hogan Story” tape by Coliseum Video). Fans were receiving mixed signals, to say the least.
One of the most frustrating qualities of this DVD is that a lot of aspects of Warrior’s career that are ripe for comedy are squandered. For instance, the wittiest put-down Bruce Prichard has to make about the name “Dingo Warrior” is that “no one knew what a dingo was.” It’s a wild Australian dog, Bruce. Once you know that basic animal fact, the name “Dingo Warrior” starts to be much funnier. On a side note, can you imagine the business they could have done if they had had the Dingo Warrior eat Ricky Steamboat’s baby? sduw18
warrior snake bite And there were plenty more missed opportunities for Wrestlecrap. For instance, no one mentions the head-scratching “Ultimate Love” segment with Amanda Ultimate Warrior or the Ultimate One’s title defense against Phil Collins. No one brings up the time the Warrior had to contend with the combined forces of Jake Roberts’s cobra and really obvious video editing.
And did you know that The Ultimate Warrior’s feud with Papa Shango had great build-up, but was ruined by the Warrior’s terrible matches? Yes, the consensus among our interviewees is that the voodoo curses, black goo, and projectile vomiting were A-OK, but Jim Hellwig dropped the ball when it came to in-ring work. That’s because, as Vince says, Warrior took shortcuts to fame and didn’t work on his craft. McMahon, who tried to get a new wrestler over by making him a voodoo priest, would never have taken the easy road to success! sduw19
sduw20 No, according to this DVD, the only bad creative decisions ever made relating to the Ultimate Warrior were in that other company. Take, for instance, The Renegade, the Warrior rip-off who had a nearly identical persona, physique, face paint, ring gear, and music, yet ultimately (ha!) flopped, unlike Jim Hellwig. Since this DVD has already explained that there was absolutely nothing special about Hellwig, I can only attribute this wrestler’s failure to WCW’s lack of Vince McMahon (and Sgt. Slaughter).
As for the decision to bring Warrior into WCW just so Hogan could beat him and appease his ego? Just a delusion of Warrior’s Kool-Aid drinkers, says Eric Bischoff, ridiculing the idea that he would waste all that money (of Ted Turner’s) just to make Hogan happy. Ticker-tape parades, the hiring and pushing of Ed Leslie and other Hogan buddies, staging the first Nitro at the Mall of America to promote Hogan’s crappy restaurant? Sure… sduw21
sduw22  …but not deliberately jobbing out the Warrior. That would be a financial blunder on par with holding a yearly pay-per-view at a biker rally with zero live gate just because Eric loves motorcycles.

 

In the end, this DVD release is so biased and relentlessly negative that it actually makes the viewer feel sorry for a guy who called Darren Drozdov, “the cripple” and laughed at The Renegade’s suicide. Hell, I’ve just spent a whole article tacitly defending the former Jim Hellwig, and I write for a site called Wrestlecrap. What sets this self-serving 93-minute-long burial apart as Wrestlecrap in its own right is the blatant hypocrisy of most everyone involved (e.g. a grown man and near-billionaire dedicated his vast production resources to a revenge piece against a former employee he deemed “unprofessional”), the fact that fans were charged money to view a propaganda film, and the continuance of WWE to take credit for everything good that ever happened in wrestling while blaming all the bad on people who don’t have the platform to defend themselves.

In short, the entire point of the DVD is to show the world (and the Warrior) how great the WWF was for turning a total zero into a star. Vince isn’t even shy about wanting more credit.

Somehow, though, even without appearing in the DVD to tell his side of the story, Warrior manages to get the last laugh on Vince and company with this final screenshot.

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The Ultimate Warrior is totally out of (WWE’s) controooooolllll!


 

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Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He currently runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws and Hasbro WWF figures.
94 Responses to "Induction: The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior: A Lesson in Professionalism from WWE’s Spiteful Owner"
  1. Down With OPC says:

    Warrior! Come out to play-ay!

  2. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Outstanding job, Art! You put a ton more effort and made better points than the people behind this one-sided hack-job of a DVD ever did.

  3. ScMcS says:

    Thank you for finally inducting this. I’ll be honest… I loved the Warrior DVD when it came out. I think I was 19 or 20 at the time, so being able to “haw haw” at the Warrior, who was universally hated at the time (his public speaking appearances, for instance), was the “cool” thing to do. It’s been, what, 8 years since that came out, and thankfully, I matured a bit. Yes, while SOME of the points made are honest truth, that doesn’t make it right to fill 90-minutes with slanderous comments, especially the last half hour which comes across as B.S. Remember how WWE edited an old advertisement listing Warrior as WWE champion, in 1996, as evidence for their side when he no-showed a few dates?

    • Owen Money says:

      I was about to mention that, I’m surprised it wasn’t in the induction. If anyone wants to see it, it’s on Botchamania 79.

  4. Down With OPC says:

    Oh, what about the time Warrior came out wearing a hat? That just killed all the mystique about his character, Jerry Lawler.

    • ScMcS says:

      Yeah, everything from 1996 on was just dog piling bullshit. Not ONE thing comes across as credible reasoning. Just nitpicking every little thing possible. You almost forget he kinda screwed Vince over in ’96 by no-showing dates, until you see and hear stuff like this.

      “Boo! We were building the company on his previous success!”
      “Boo! He wore a hat!”
      “Boo! the crowds didn’t react well to him because he didn’t care!”

      • Falcone says:

        To be fair, the agent of the gods of the narflarx system or whatever wearing a Baseball cap is kinda dumb in hindsight.

        It’s like, what if Umaga just one day came to the ring to confront Jeff Hardy wearing a pair of Crocs?

        • Justin says:

          While we’re being fair, I remember as a kid watching the WWF, and saw something about charity work they were doing. I was wondering for a while which wrestler one of them was – big guy, sunglasses, looks like a football player who just walked in off the street. Found out not long after it was Papa Shango in street clothes. So, while the hat might have ruined that bit, the Federation airing a video package totally breaking kayfabe when dealing with their Voodoo priest should have done the same.

        • Thomas Moffatt says:

          The Warrior Hat segment is WC worthy in it’s own right…

        • Cerith Burrows says:

          Undertaker came out on the Smackdown following Wrestlemania 20 (so, just after he became the dead man again) wearing a bandanna, you can try and say the character was still “transforming” or whatever, but it still looked silly.

  5. Lee W says:

    As mentioned in the first wrestlecrap book, the mature wrestling promoter is, indeed a rare beast

  6. Mister Forth says:

    A great induction. It needs the Someone Bought This where Warrior signed it with “This DVD Sucks.”

  7. Clifton Knight says:

    I agree with Art on this review, but one part of the DVD I loved was Christian’s parody of the Wrestlemania VI interview. Also, most of what Jericho said was pretty humorous as well. The DVD was full of hypocrisy though. I wonder if WWE will release a more positive DVD about him now that they’re on slightly friendlier terms now.

  8. James S says:

    This is without question propaganda, but it’s hilarious propaganda :)

  9. Greg says:

    I hate Hellwig more than just about any other guy in the business. He is literally a walking bag of douche. I’ve been wanting someone to legit pummel him into a coma for a long time now. Hell, I’d bet Droz could still kick Hellwig’s sorry ass, even in a wheelchair.

    • VDM says:

      Sorry, hating the Warrior don’t make the world work.

    • Owen Money says:

      Yes, he’s a prick. That doesn’t, however, justify this DVD. WWE should have been the bigger party here, the best way to show what a piece of scum Warrior is would have been to allow him to hang himself with his own rope. Instead, they just produced a pile of biased, self-indulgent drivel that ended up backfiring massively on the company and increasing sympathy for the man who said Heath Ledger did his family a favour by killing himself so his daughter wouldn’t grow up with the shame of knowing her dad was a pussy, and released a comic book where he kills kids and rapes Santa Claus in bondage.

    • outlawtotheend says:

      That’s my take on it, too. Despite all the problems pointed out in this column (and I have problems with some of the problems!), it doesn’t change the fact that the Warrior made tons of money by doing very little work in a business he didn’t care about, then turned around and bashed all of the guys who made it possible for him (I include Hogan and Vince in there).

      One more thing, and maybe someone can help me out: I agree completely that Sarge was talking nonsense about a good match, but that brings up a sticky issue: Warrior wouldn’t have a rematch with Hogan (which would have done crazy money) or, God forbid, job to him (payment for Hogan doing him a solid), but he had no problem jobbing to Sarge, who was already well past his prime. Makes no sense, but this IS Warrior we’re talking about.

  10. cavalier says:

    Appreciate this so much. Was such a horrible thing for the them to put out. It deserves all the vitriol you can muster.

  11. Daniel Evers says:

    “lawsuits over the rights to names and trademarks are a sore spot for the WWF – I mean, WWE”

    Indeed. In fact, WWEs obsession with Trademarks is the only true reason why I slighty dislike the promotion x.x

  12. Doc Arkham says:

    “Yes, the consensus among our interviewees is that the voodoo curses, black goo, and projectile vomiting were A-OK, but Jim Hellwig dropped the ball when it came to in-ring work.”

    Funnily enough, I turned off WWF the night he started puking black paint, and didn’t turn it on again until Tony Schiavone started ragging on the fact that Mick Foley was gonna be champion. How many years was that?

  13. Mark Cardoso says:

    You know the “SCREWED!: The Bret Hitman Hart story” footage is still out there. Apprently Hogan blames Bret for WCW going out of business. Think Bret saw the DVD and called Vince right away?

    • James says:

      Source?

    • Alan says:

      I heard that WWE was going to put the “Screwed: The Bret “Hitman” Hart” DVD out in 2005 also, until Bret decided to mend fences with Vince, and then they ended up putting out his well-known 3-disc set instead. Time to hit Google to try to find this “documentary”.

    • Falcone says:

      There’s also the ‘Pedophile – The Randy Savage Story’, and ‘Traitor – The Shane McMahon Story’ sitting around Vince’s office somewhere, just waiting for release.

    • Owen Money says:

      Anyone but Hogan was responsible, right?

      In fact, that’s probably the best thing about the Warrior DVD – that it eventually led Hart to take control of his own DVD for fear of it becoming yet another one-sided attack and ended up making it one of the best wrestling DVDs of the past decade.

  14. DrewVonAwesome says:

    As mean spirited as this DVD was, I feel like it can at least be partially forgiven for Bobby Heenan’s story involving Warrior and Andre… seriously one of the greatest wrestling stories ever.

    • Owen Money says:

      The one about Warrior stiffly shoulder-barging Andre in consecutive nights and Andre teaching him a lesson the next evening by sticking his fist out for the Warrior to run face-first into? Then the next night Warrior gently nudged him instead? Yeah, that’s a good anecdote that’s also on an episode of Botchamania, not sure which one.

  15. theJawas says:

    I hate this DVD, other than the Christian WM6 promo. The whole hatchet job really goes off the rails on the 1996 part. First, fans didn’t react to Warrior because they had been burned by him too many times, and they had forgotten him over the years. HOWEVER, when he no-showed, all the kids whose dads took them to see the Warrior were so sad when he no-showed. You can’t have it both ways, WWE.

  16. LockDown5625 says:

    I didn’t grow up watching the WWE in the 80s, as I was under the age of 5. When I look back on the Ultimate Warrior now, as an older person, all I really do see is a muscular guy with facepaint, with a good entrance theme who was pushed in a way that got him over so well. He was almost like a Goldberg or John Cena. It’s easy to tell the guy couldn’t wrestle for shit, and the way they pushed him (squashing Honky Tank Man as an example) made it easy for him to get over. The DVD might be overtly negative, but despite that the Warrior is not that special.

    • hobu0 says:

      Bullshit bro. You do make some decent points…but the reason he got over was because unlike what this dvd tries to tell you, the guy had passion. He was totally invested in that character and had the proverbial “it” factor. No one other than Jim Hellwig could cut those ridiculous promos.

      • Greg says:

        He was into the character because he was completely batshit crazy and thought he WAS some sort of cosmic warrior whatever. Why is it that his time in WCW failed miserably? Was it his “it” factor? His crazy promos? No, it was the booking, and that’s what made him a star in the WWF. Booking. Nothing more. Ask ANY guys that worked with him, and they’ll all say the same thing, DVD interviews be damned. He was an arrogant ass, totally unprofessional (the “take my ball and go home” type), he couldn’t work a match to save his life, and he was completely disliked by everybody in the locker room. The ONLY person I’ve ever heard to really say a good thing about him was Tenta, and that’s because he was too nice of a guy to shoot on him. The warrior character was a total one-off. Could he have worked as a heel? Hell no. Could he have worked in an effective tag-team? No (this was the Warrior character mind, not his Dingo Warrior stuff from WCCW when he teamed with Lance Von Erich, because apparently at that time he still had a shred of sanity left in him). The only “passion” this guy had was for padding his wallet. Why is it that he never branched out from wrestling like Hogan, The Rock, Cena, Piper, and so many others had (except for one Z grade movie), when he was agruably the biggest star the WWF had during his prime years? Because the man, Jim Hellwig, was, and is to this day, a pile of human crap, and nobody in their right minds would have wanted to work with him. While I do agree with the article for the most part (Vince’s bs, mostly), much of what is said on it is actually true, or at least to some extent, as I’m sure it’s exaggerated out the yin-yang.

        Hellwig can take his warrior crap, and his politics and shove them right up his cosmic space hole.

      • Falcone says:

        And those mental promo’s, plus his squash’s were so entertaining.

        And he had a series of good matches with Rick Rude, and the classic with Hogan at Wrestlemania, and he more than held his own in those matches (I love the cage match with Rude)

    • Owen Money says:

      Sorry, but you’re not getting away with suggesting that Warrior was on the same level as Cena in the ring. Cena can wrestle, for one thing. Hell, Goldberg was nowhere near as bad as people keep making out.

      • Greg says:

        Wasn’t even remotely comparing him to Cena. My point was that guys like Hogan, Cena, etc. branched out into movies and tv and whatnot. Hellwig never did because of his crappy reputation.

        And Goldberg was terrible, both as a wrestler and as a person. Almost as bad as Hellwig, but not quite. Hmm, seems like both guys were responsible for the early retirement of two members of the Hart family.

  17. Cameron A. says:

    UW’s face paint DID rip off The Road Warriors’. UW & RW, in turn, ripped off Mad Max. The name “Dingo Warrior” makes this ultimately clear.

    My favourite parts of this DVD are the easter eggs relating to Warrior University. It took me a while to figure out the connection between stealing money from a blind man, and a wrestling school.

  18. Jay "The Brain" Mann says:

    A hatchet job article on a hatchet job DVD? Have I entered some twisted version of Inception?

    Nah, just kidding. Very well-written, even if I don’t fully agree with it.

    (the funny thing about WWE and its trademarks is that they recently lost the Dolph Ziggler trademark– any old jabroni on the indies can call themselves “Dolph Ziggler” right now!)

  19. NightmareNear says:

    This is what annoys me the most about Vince with his large ego and how much of Corrupt Corporate Executive he is when it comes to his former employees.

  20. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    You forgot something humorous that can be put in the “ironically unprofessional” file. Triple H describes Warrior as the most unprofessional guy he (Triple H) ever worked with. The irony is that this was an archived interview from (I think) WM2000. Trips couldn’t even be bothered to record a new interview for the DVD.

    It does have its high points. Edge, Christian and Jericho are all quite good, and the bit about Warrior’s promos is a great spot as well.

  21. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    What – no mention of Blade Braxton’s haiku about this DVD?
    “Oh, Mr. Hellwig,
    Forget queering, pray that your
    new disc doesn’t work!”

  22. hobu0 says:

    The absolute low point of the dvd in my opinion is when Mean Gene makes some obviously bogus comment about ratings tanking when Warrior cut that promo during his WCW debut. I mean, that may or may not be true, but just the way Gene says it. I doubt he actually researched it lol….it just seems like they put him on camera and said, “make something up”.

    • Owen Money says:

      The reason the rating went down was because the promo went on for about 20 minutes. Of course they were going to tune out eventually when he was basically told to just go out there and be as mental as he liked. They were still very strong more than halfway through the segment, however.

  23. Peter says:

    I have a story related to me trying to watch this DVD. I originally wanted to rent it from Blockbuster, but when I asked if they had it the sales associate said to me “You know that stuff’s fake right?” Then, tried to get me to rent UFC DVDs but I just left. Worst customer service ever.

    I landed up purchasing it and I didn’t know what to make of all the burying. I know Warrior had commented on people’s deaths before as mentioned, I think he made some remarks about the Bulldog’s death too, but all I knew was from watching him on TV and besides his WCW run, I liked what he did. It’s funny he’s working with WWE again though, never say never in the wrestling business.

    • E-Squared says:

      Look at Bret Hart for example. Prior to 2005/6, he didn’t want to go back. He did do that DVD, as well as get inducted into the HOF. He’s even made some appearances over the past few years. Speaking of which, does anybody remember how there was originally going to be a Bret Hart burial DVD at first? I wonder how that would have turned out.

      By the way, regarding the customer service at Blockbuster, I wonder how long it took before that person stopped working there, whether through quitting or getting fired. That is pretty bad customer service.

  24. Sir Thomas says:

    I’ll admit, Ultimate Warrior was way before my time. In fact, I’m pretty sure a friend of mine in college showed me one of his matches, and my first comment was “Dude, that guy from Gwar used to wrestle?”. But yeah, I had a feeling this was going to be a chainsaw massacre based on the comercial.

  25. Chris says:

    I watched this DVD back when it came out and one man I earned immense respect for after viewing it was Hulk Hogan. You have to have to some gigantic cajones to be one of the worst technical wrestlers of all-time and start knocking another guy for his poor technical wrestling skills. As a kid, I realized wrestling was fake after watching a Hulk Hogan match (I remember seeing the big boot and thinking “how in the world can that hurt anyone?”).

    • outlawtotheend says:

      I thought Hogan, compared to the others, was very easy on the Warrior. More understanding, at least. BTW, watch some of Hogan’s matches in Japan before you start trashing his technical skill.

      • Chris says:

        I have seen his matches in Japan, it’s called working with talented workers. I stand by my assessment of his technical abilities (or lack of).

        As for his commentary being mild, did you see the part where he slams Warrior for bringing up their WM6 encounter when he came back to WCW? Then he blames Warrior for the bad match they had at Bash at the Beach. Warrior didn’t bring much to that match but Hogan didn’t exactly hold up his end either.

        • outlawtotheend says:

          Whatever, man. I’m just not drinking the Kool-Aid, that’s all.

          And, yes, I saw it. That was the one problem I had, far as that goes. But then, I wouldn’t have done it at all. Oh, and it was Halloween Havoc. I say if you’re going to complain, get your facts straight.

      • Chris says:

        I have seen his matches in Japan, they were watchable due to his opponents. I stand by my assessment of his technical abilities (or lack of).

  26. Dave says:

    Funny that this induction doesn’t mention anything about the comments made by Wrestlecrap’s patron saint, Bobby Heenan–I gues because anything the Brain says has gotta be gospel, right? :) (By the way, I remember reading on the Torch when this came out that Warrior insinuated that Bobby deserved to be stricken with cancer for taking part in this DVD… still feel sorry for Hellwig?)

    Regarding the Mania XII match, what Meltzer reported and what wasn’t mentioned on the DVD (though I don’t know why) is that Vince wanted the match to go longer, but the day of the show Warrior threatened to no-show if it wasn’t a quick squash–they had to negotiate to get the match to last as long as it did, which I think was less than two minutes.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Long overdue.

  28. Bender says:

    Sarge was right, unless someone (Rude, Savage) carried him, the guy put on worse matches than Khali. He was the Marty to Sting’s Shawn. His promos made less sense than your average Raw storyline. So his ex employer decided to exploit his legacy and bury him at the same time. How is that different from Bret in ’97, Austin in ’03, Hogan/Savage in ’96, or anyone else. As much as everyone on this site hates Trips, the guy but on more great matches in a year (pick one) than Hellwig every did. Besides as stated above, is there a better story than Bobby Heenan’s Andre fist/respect story?

  29. Shane says:

    As someone who OWNs (Geddit?) the dvd and loved warrior as a kid, This was a very funny article. First i have read on wrestlecrap in a while but kudos.

  30. Jason says:

    as a fan of the Warrior I didn’t feel WWE’s portrayal was all that terrible and I certainly never thought he was dead.

    Warrior’s rise in WWE began in 1988, aka the year Reagon left office and well after Clara. The seeds for the whole 90′s Dark age in fiction were being laid

  31. Owen Money says:

    WWE DVDs do of course spin things to tell a more entertaining story or to make the WWE look as good as possible, but they are at least generally factual. Sure they twist things a bit here and there, like making out Cena/JBL was the main event of Wrestlemania 21 and was an epic contest when it was probably Cena’s worst ever title match on pay-per-view and Batista/Triple H closed the show, and sometimes people contradict themselves like when Triple H said he fought hard for his match with Jericho to close Wrestlemania X-8 out of respect for the title but then on a different DVD years later he said he adamantly wanted Rock/Hogan to be the main event. But like I said, they’re usually relatively mild mistakes and/or changes. The DVDs themselves are often excellent.

    But there aren’t any other WWE DVDs off the top of my head that flat-out LIE in the same way as this one does. The worst example is the photoshopped house show poster from 1996 – if you don’t know what I’m referring to, watch Botchamania 79. It’s ridiculous that they went to those depths to ridicule someone who frankly does himself no favours to begin with. Instead of making Warrior look bad, WWE made themselves look absolutely dreadful. The one positive was that it led to Hart demanding that he was given control of his DVD when he heard it was otherwise going to be another hatchet job with Hogan calling him the worst wrestler ever or blaming him for WCW dying or some other such crap. The Hart DVD ended up being fantastic so I guess some good came of it, plus Warrior doesn’t appear to give a toss anyway so it’s really only WWE that’s failed and they got over it obviously.

    On a similar subject, back when 411mania was still decent and hadn’t yet started catering to hacky writers just because they courted controversy with their often completely uninformed and unresearched opinions, there was a brilliant series of articles by JP Prag called “In Defence Of,” and one of those was centred around the Ultimate Warrior. I highly recommend you look at that for a more balanced look at Warrior’s legacy as it still holds him to account for his sins but is also fair to him on a lot of other aspects.

  32. Mariano Fernandez says:

    The greatest thing about this DVD is Bobby Heenan. Edge, Christian and Y2J are good in commenting, but all the rest is bullshit. Can’t hold it against Mean Gene, though.

  33. CaptainRon says:

    Hey, Vince – don’t be a bully….BE A STAR!

  34. patricko says:

    He was more interesting, more entertaining and had more charisma than anyone else in the WWE, when he first made the splash there. You were dealing with cartoon characters anyhow, he was the newest, weirdest and most exciting.

    I was graduating from college when he and Hogan met up at Mania. We had 20+ people crowding ‘round the TV set. Hogan’s schtick was tired and old, and Warrior’s wasn’t.
    A bat-shit crazy bad-ass persona was pretty effective 1988-1990.

    And the match was a classic, only because of the people in it, not because it was good wrestling. It was dramatic, and decently paced, and told a good story.

    I watched this dvd in pieces, off of youtube. Glad I didn’t watch it all in one sitting, as I doubt I’d have been able to make it through the whole thing. The hatchet job aspect of it was simply overwhelming.
    And I’m not even a fan of the man, and know he sucked in the ring.

    Why’d his feud with Shango go poorly? Well, it was ridiculous, but also – Charles Wight sucked in the ring, too. Warrior DID need carrying in the ring, and when you’ve two crappy workers involved in a feud, there’s no one to carry the other.

    Oddly enough, amongst all the silly over the top negative crap that was spewed on this DVD, I actually understood a couple of the bits, and found them to be more than just b.s.

    Lawler’s reference to the ball cap incident actually is a good illustration of the kind of self-centered doosh warrior was while in the WWE. It wasn’t just that he came to the ring wearing a ball cap.
    It’s the fact that he came to the ring wearing a ball cap, for the very first time ever, for the in-ring segment where Lawler was supposed to smash the painting over his head. He couldn’t just let this happen, he had to screw up the segment, and ultimately the build on the feud, by wearing a damn ball cap to the ring. It’s pretty clearly him saying “F*ck you” to creative, Lawler, etc. Go ahead and smash your painting on my… ball cap.

    And while I tend to disregard anything Bischoff says about wrestling and his role in it, I marked like crazy when Warrior showed up on Nitro, and ended up turning him off after 10 minutes because it WAS godawful.

    • Mr Maddog says:

      The thing about Warrior wearing a baseball cap, he was using the spot to promote his Warrior University which had commercials on Raw at the time. He didn’t even wear facepaint so he was out of character. Lawler was seriously confused so he just went back on script by smashing his head with the painting. Between that and the constant no showing, no wonder why Vince wanted nothing to do with the guy. (Till WWE ’14 that is)

  35. Wrestlecrap's Janitor says:

    I think that Warrior DESERVED that DVD after all of the crazy things that he’s done over the years.

    Seriously, I think the man must have snorted MOUNTAINS of cocaine before each promo. None of them made much sense. Hell, I agree with Ventura when he objected to Warrior’s heel actions towards Rick Rude with the chair and ring bell, etc.

    And, you know what they say about homophobes. Some of them are actually closeted homosexuals. I could see Warrior being one.

    Just saying. Hate on me all ya want. Warrior deserved every minute of this slam DVD.

  36. AlexanAdru says:

    While Vince is extremely petty and vindictive this dvd is extremely over the top. I was disgusted by Ted Dibiase’s comments especially. Having said that can’t really feed bad for Warrior as he comes across as a complete jerk, heck even Sting doesn’t have anything nice to say about him.

  37. Rafique Tucker says:

    I agree with a lot that’s been said already–Warrior has done a great deal to earn his reputation as a bitter, self-serving, douche, but this DVD nonetheless is pure self-serving, gratuitous, propaganda, that ends up being funny for unintentional reasons. The very existence of this DVD is gratuitous–the idea of dedicating a whole DVD to burying an ex-employee seems small, and only serves to make Warrior seem sympathetic. The whole idea of burying Warrior to only to make Vince seem pure and golden was totally unnecessary–if WWE really wanted to do a serious Warrior retrospective, they could’ve done a balanced piece, without the pile on. WWE would’ve come off looking a lot less childish, and Warrior will still have the rep that he deserves–a charismatic guy who had a brief run, tasted glory, made the company money, made himself money, and then became a bitter, selfish, loon who basically bashes the profession that made him a star.

  38. TMM says:

    To quote the old saying, if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, just don’t say anything.

    Guess the makers of the DVD forgot about that.

  39. bret_owen99 says:

    has there been any other Article on WrestleCrap with more comments? just wondering

  40. Scott says:

    But what about the collectors edition? With a bonus disc with 3 whole matches! Pretty rare these days.

  41. WC Fan says:

    Great induction as always, Art.

  42. Simplerollup says:

    The biggest problem I had with the DVD is the name. He didn’t self destruct. He was a well known shithead who couldn’t wrestle and the promotion still gave him the ball to run with. When he couldn’t carry the company because he was too much of a shithead who couldn’t wrestle, it wasn’t because he imploded under the pressure. He was who he was.

    Go ahead and bury the guy if you want. Just don’t say he “self destructed” because you made a bad decision and got burned, never mind the fact that any promotion on earth would’ve loved to made the money WWF made off the guy who “burned” them.

  43. Troy Lowe says:

    Great article. When this DVD came out I watched it out of curiosity. I found myself laughing at all the fabrications, especially considering that there was so much damning truth that could have been said in place of the lies. Could you imagine what a courtroom would look like if you had Vince McMahon as the judge, with Bruce Pritchard as the prosecuting attorney, and the usual gang of WWE suck-ups as the jury? It would be the Mother of all kangaroo courts.

  44. Caleb Davenport says:

    Awesome! Keep em’ flying.

  45. Trekkie313 says:

    Despite my political leanings and thoughts on the Gay community being polar-opposite of what
    Mr.Hellwig believes in, he’s still my favorite wrestler of all-time. I’m not a super-serious wrestling fan and couldn’t care less about his abilities, I just think he had a very good gimmick and well built body.

  46. TjM says:

    Meanwhile it was probably all true

  47. Unknown says:

    Say what you will, but the Andre story was pretty funny.

  48. Lord of all farts says:

    There is no way Vince does not remember how much the Warrior demanded from him before Summerslam.

  49. Satus Quo author says:

    To be honest, watching that DVD made me get nostalgic over the Ultimate Warrior. I thought it also made Hogan look like an ass as he was overly critical and kept mentioning how he was critical of Warrior even then (even mildly suggesting he sabotaged Warrior’s title run by telling Vince McMahon that the Skydome fans were more interested in HIS leaving the arena than Warrior celebrating with the belt)).

  50. Gabe says:

    UW was so different and so unique and full of energy and passion back in the late 80′s/early 90′s when most of the garbage tv matches for WWF were 2 old fat guys circleing each other for a 10 minute match. UW was WAY over in Dallas for WCCW, but he was a face, and no faces were ever going to go over the Von Erichs. Believe me when I say that UW was a big man that would actually run, jump, and lift dudes up instead of doing 15 arm bars and wristlocks in a row. NWA was a WAY better in ring product at this time then WWF, but NWA had too many non wrestleing guys in charge to make a real run at WWF. UW was the IC title holder when that usually was reserved for smaller faces that could “work” or heels that needed the IC rub. UW was a rare one that actually was a big man, face, and challenge for Hogan’s belt. Say what you will about UW as a person, but don’t make excuses like it was his music, who worked with him in the ring, etc. This is a talent show and UW was a beast with what Vince and Co gave him. It’s too late now, but I bet you if WWF could have Sting vs UW in a main event Wrestlemania it would have done huge business.

  51. Ripplin says:

    Great article, Art! Love that screencap at the end. It’s like the icing on the cake.

  52. The Dog says:

    Honestly, I like to believe that poor JR towed the company line and badmouthed Warrior on this DVD is because he was terrified of what Vince would do to him if he didn’t.

    Oh, not fire him. That’d be too easy and grant him some modicum of dignity. No, Vince would keep him on so he could find new and more spectacular ways humiliate him. And considering what he’s previously done to the poor man, JR was terrified of what Vince would come up with.

    A (nother) necrophilia angle? An incest angle? An incestuous necrophilia angle? Force him to have his face shoved into his ass, followed by HHH, and THEN have an incestuous necrophilia angle? Or WORSE?

  53. Adam from Iowa says:

    Sure Warrior was no technician and he can be mental but Vince should remember that Mr. Hellwig certainly helped put plenty of posteriors in seats (the Sky Dome for example). How’s that for gratitude?

  54. Chris says:

    Let’s also not forget that surreal 5 minute piece in the DVD where Jerry Lawler rants about Ultimate Warrior wearing a baseball cap to the ring for a promo with the King. I also found it odd that Ted Dibiase took time to mention that his parents were both wrestlers (as if the DVD were about him). I love how Dibiase mentions a bunch of third and second hand accounts of him but at least admits he had no first hand problems with him (when they feuded briefly in the early 90s).

  55. Kurt says:

    Don’t forget this:

    1. These contradictory claims:

    Heenan: “Nobody liked him.”
    Hogan: “We all liked Jim.”

    2. So many of their DVDs were dedicated to wrestlers who LITERALLY DID SELF-DESTRUCT, but of course those are all heroes whose habits somehow overcame them.

  56. Eric from Chicago says:

    I rented this DVD because Wrestlemania VI was the first Pay-per-view I ever saw, and I was a big mark for Warrior (mostly for the hipster appeal-even at the tender age of 8 rooting for Hogan felt too mainstream). And even though I didn’t know all the details, the hypocrisy was pretty self-evident.

  57. D-Unit says:

    I liked it. I mean, sure you could tell, it was “sour grapes” and a lot of fabrication, but it was still pretty funny.

  58. Ze Frenchie says:

    Well now that he’s on good terms with VKM, I’m wondering if they’ll have another DVD out about his career, this time called: The Self-Destrucity of the Ultimate Warrior.

  59. DEAD FRED says:

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