This may come as a shock to you, but I like The Ultimate Warrior.
No, really. I do.
The innocent 7-year old marky fan in me reminds the cynical, “smart“ 25-year old fan just how much fun it was to watch The Warrior. And let’s face it, anyone reading this who was a fan back when Warrior was at his peak of fame would agree, if you were attending a WWE event and you heard that familiar entrance theme music over the speakers, you’d cheer your lungs out. Such was the case when Warrior returned to the WWF in 1996, after a 4-year long absence.
The WWF in 1996 was struggling to bounce back from the disastrous year of 1995 that had baby face Diesel as WWF World Champion main eventing against heel King of the Ring: Mabel, under WWF‘s “New Generation“ banner. There’s a reason I stayed away from WWF programming for many many years.
Meanwhile, WCW had declared total WAR (“what iiiisss it good for?”) on the WWF with the inception of Monday Nitro on TNT against WWF’s Monday Night Raw on the USA Network in the same timeslot and snatching up already established WWF stars who were making waves by appearing to “invade” the competition. They also attempted to get ratings and PPV buyrates by using bait-and-switch tactics, such as hiring an Ultimate Warrior look and sound-alike called “The Renegade” and trying to convince fans he was Jim Hellwig coming to WCW to team up with Hulk Hogan.
In the midst of this WAR (“HUH! Good God y’all!”), the WWF decided to fire back by re-hiring the REAL Ultimate Warrior in an effort to get a ratings boost because the fans remember The Warrior and cheer for him whenever his music hits.
However, the WWF that Warrior had returned to was very different from the WWF he had left behind in 1992. The rebellious ECW promotion out of Philadelphia was setting an edgy, risque standard for what the wrestling world would eventually become, and “The Big Two” promotions were taking notice. In 1996, the WWF was in limbo between the “Cartoon Era” of the 80s/early 90s and “the Attitude Era” that was just getting ready to kick in to high gear.
One of the WWF’s first “edgy” characters in this limbo era was “Goldust” (Dustin Rhodes), a gold-colored movie lover who would touch and feel his opponents in “very friendly” ways, accompanied by his cigar-smoking “director” named Marlena (Dustin‘s wife Terri, WCW‘s Alexandra York). His homo-erotic promos and in-ring psychology equaled instant heel heat and the fans wanted to see Goldust get his ass beat.
Who better to do the honors but a REAL MAN and fan-favorite like The Ultimate Warrior?
The Warrior explains his 3 1/2 year absence with a promo that I’ve tried to map and diagram but in the end I give up and burn the paper I was writing it on. The fans are cheering out of pure confusion and I should do the same. I always give in to peer pressure and dammit so should YOU..
Hey, look at Vince! Back when he was still the announcer we all knew and loved for his bon mots such as “Whatta manuever!” and “Oh, come on, ref!” When I turn on Raw today, I realize how much I miss this weenie babyface Vince McMahon. “ONE! TWO! THREE-HE GOT HIM-no he didn’t!”
(Note from RD: I miss Vince’s pompadour. I really do. I should note, for the record, this admission does not in fact make me a homosexual.)
(Note from Blade: Actually, I think it does.)
(Note from RD: How did you get in here?)
While words come forth from Warrior’s mouth and vocal chords that I cannot put together to get an idea of what he’s talking about, InterContinental Champion Goldust and Marlena make their way to the ring for a confrontation. Maybe THEY can tell me what he’s trying to say.
Alas, no. Warrior expresses his disgust with Goldust by snorting like a pig. It’s proven that kinda retort will render your opponent speechless in a battle of wits.
“Your mother wears combat boots!”
You’ve just blown their minds!
No one can come back from THAT!
Especially not when the guy is looking at your crotch.
Really, Warrior…what are you doing, pal?
Goldust continues to get Warrior’s goat by using sexual innuendos which causes Warrior to flip out.
Dude, you were just staring at his weiner.
What did you expect him to say?
In any case, their match is set for the next PPV, In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies. You’d think the WWF would reward their fans that choose to shell out their hard-earned money for this promotion instead of the rival promotion’s PPV with a well put-together match on caliber of Warrior Vs. Rick Rude and Warrior Vs. Randy Savage, right?
For the PPV, Goldust and Marlena have procured the services of New Orleans’s notorious Big Daddy from Wiggum P.I. I hope he throws little Ralphie at Warrior like he’s midget tossing.
That’s not a joke. Well, tossing the midget was. I guess.
But really, there’s a guy outside the ring as Goldust’s bodyguard. Ah yes, remember those wonderful days when Goldust had a bodyguard? No?
The bell for the match rings and Goldust is on the outside of the ring for at least 5 minutes…..but is not counted out.
Hey, isn’t that one of the kids from Home Improvement? The one named Not Jonathan Taylor Thomas?
Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler keeps name-dropping movie titles in sentences like the following:
“He looks like The Godfather”
“What a Brave Heart he has!”
“Better get him a doctor, Doctor Zhivago or Dr. Strangelove”.
I’ve got one for Lawler, “The King has been Flirting With Disaster ever since he’s been inspired by the movie Lolita”.
Warrior chases Goldust and Marlena up the aisle and picks up Marlena’s cigar and takes a puff…..Wait just a goldurn moment here!
I bet Joe Camel pissed himself just seeing that promo.
The “match” for the next 10 minutes consisted solely of Warrior sitting in Marlena’s chair and smoking a cigar.
And that’s not a joke.
You can ask why Goldust wasn’t counted out, but seriously…why waste your breath?
Seriously…don’t bother searching YouTube for this match. Just look at this screen cap for 10 minutes, then imagine Jerry Lawler’s movie titles name-dropping every 15 seconds and Vince’s proclamation of, “he’s playing mind games!” and this is your InterContinental Championship match.
There. I just saved you 15 minutes of your life.
Had you been watching this at the time it originally aired, I should note you would have paid $30 for these “psychological games.”
Goldust gets on the mic and tells the fans to shut up otherwise he’s gonna go out into the crowd and kiss each and every one of them.
If he actually does that, it’s worth my $30.
Perhaps even $40.
Finally, Goldust and Marlena enter the ring approximately six years after the bell has rung. Whew, thank Thesz that’s over. Maybe we can FINALLY we can get this match under way.
Warrior burns Goldust’s hand with the cigar and clotheslines him (what else?) out of the ring.
If this sets up another 15 minutes of stalling, I am out of here.
NOW the ref starts to count him out! Good Thesz man, where has your brain been??!
Warrior clotheslines Big Daddy for the next 3 minutes after Goldust is counted out. I guess because if the people aren’t gonna get a match, at least they’re gonna see a fat guy flop around.
If there’s anything besides fat guys flopping around that PPV audiences love, it’s fat guys stripping (WWE has their finger on the pulse of America in this instance).
Was that REALLY necessary, Warrior?
For a guy who once said, “Queering don’t make the world work”, you sure are sending us some mixed signals in this match, Jim.
Howard Finkel then announces Warrior as the “winner of this bout as a result of a count-out”. Even Vince says out loud, “WINNER OF THIS BOUT??!” as if he himself knows what a complete waste of time this was.
But on the plus side…man Warrior looks good in a pimp hat.
And there is your PPV-caliber InterContinental title match to go down in the an(n)als of WWF/E history.
One good thing I could say about this “match”. At least it wasn’t Hogan-Warrior Part 2 at Halloween Havoc 1998.
I wonder what the Hulkster would look like in a pimp hat. Hmmm…