In 1998, WCW was starting to lose its grip on wrestling fans. The nWo had all but run its course, new stars weren’t being created, and the WWF was starting to pull away in the ratings.
Oddly, this mirrors the situation in 1996 when WCW was laying weekly beatings on the WWF in the ratings war. And even more ironically, both promotions chose to go to an ass, errr, I mean ACE in the hole in their attempt to turn the tide.
Both promotions turned to the Ultimate Warrior. And both paid the price.
And thus was the case during Warrior’s ballyhooed entry into WCW in ’98. Warrior’s presence on WCW TV did turn the ratings war…for all of a week, at least. Then the goofieness began and all WCW was left with was a big paycheck to sign.
You see, Jim Hellwig isn’t just a nutcase in the ring…he is apparently a nutcase behind the cameras as well. In addition to the outrageous salary demands, he likes coming up with crazy storylines, such as giving a voodoo master magic powers (Papa Shango) or deciding that he should be the next coming of Batman.
First up, there was the Warrior Signal. Look familiar? If not, how about Warrior’s (idiotic) new catchphrase?
Of course, Hulk Hogan had been one of the goofballs championing the idea to bring Warrior in, if for no other reason than to finally get revenge for Warrior pinning him clean at Wrestlemania VI.
The feud started off just fine and dandy – that is if your idea of “fine” and/or “dandy” include Ed Leslie. That’s right, Warrior kidnapped Hogan’s long-time lackey (who at this time was known as the Disciple)…
…and pulled him around arenas in all kinds of weird, S&M positions.
Hey, didn’t he do that to Santa Claus in his comic? I believe he did!
What is it with this guy?
Anyway, in the Ultimate act of betrayal, Ed turned his back on Hogan and joined the One Warrior Nation.
See, it was like the nWo, but it was OwN! Get it? Isn’t that clever?
Did I ever mention how stupid it was to have all these factions in WCW during this time? We had the nWo, the nWo Black & White, nWo Wolfpac, the lWo, and probably a couple of others that I don’t want to remember. Sheesh.
Back to the Warrior. In addition to his ability to lure jobbers into Homo Erotic Sex Slave Army of the Night, he could disappear at will! Audiences thrilled as Warrior would enter a ring, be doused with fire extinguishers, then magically disappear.
Audiences may have loved it (well, actually, they didn’t), but the wrestlers hated the trap doors that were embedded in the rings for Warrior’s tricks. In fact, Davey Boy Smith landed incorrectly on one of the doors and spent months in the hospital.
Eric Bischoff then fired the Bulldog via Fed-Ex while he was still in traction. What a champ.
In the storyline, Warrior was playing all kinds of mind games on Hogan. After stealing away the Booty Butcher Man With No Face, he set Hogan’s dressing room on fire…
…and appeared to him in the infamous Magic Mirror.
Now here’s a gimmick – Warrior appeared to Hogan in the mirror, and no one else could see him. It was the Ultimate Mind Game!
Except, of course, for the fact that everyone saw Warrior in the mirror – Hogan, the fans at home, Larry Zybysko, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Ray Charles. Everyone saw Warrior in the mirror except for Eric Bischoff, who looked like a total tool (yes, even more than usual!) as he asked Hogan what he was looking at!
All of this led up to Warrior – Hogan II at Halloween Havoc ’98. While every second of their Wrestlemania VI match had been plotted out in minute detail, this one wasn’t…and boy could you tell.
To quote Scott Keith over at TheSmarks: “Nothing personally offensive meant to anyone, but if you liked this match you’re a goddamn crack-smoking braindead moron.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Warrior and Hogan go through a really boring, mid 80’s style match (complete with restholds a plenty), before the big climax – Hogan lights a fireball and…
I said, Hogan lights a fireball…
ummm…it seems that the Hulkster is having problems getting his fireball to light. So he keeps trying for like two minutes straight while the Warrior fumbles around the ring…
…until finally Hogan gets the fireball lit! Except, of course, it goes off in Hogan’s hand, and nowhere near Warrior’s face.
Damn, at this point Terry Bolea will never get his fire safety patch.
But even a misplaced fireball isn’t enough to put Warrior down…no, for that you need HORACE! Yep, Hogan’s nephew runs in and hits Warrior in the back so the Hulkster can even up his rivalry with Warrior at 1 to 1.
And that’s about it. Warrior got upset with his treatment in WCW (no way, get out!) and vanished shortly after this, probably into a big cloud of smoke.
Ultimate Warrior: “Same Warrior Time…Same Warrior Place…Same Warrior Channneelllll!”
Hollywood Hogan: “It’s that Warrior…”
Tony Schiavone: “Look! Look at that!”
Larry Zybysko: “What the…”
Eric Bischoff: “What’s the matter with you, man?”
Zybsyko: “He’s in the wall!”
Heenan: “He’s in the mirror!”
Hogan: “Oh, real funny! You think it’s funny?!”
Bischoff: “Who are you talking to?!”
Hogan: “Look at him – it’s the Warrior!”
Bischoff: “Look at WHAT?! LOOK AT WHAT??!!!”