The announcement was made live during WWE Monday Night RAW on January 13.
Ultimate Warrior’s induction is something long time fans have been clamoring for a long time now. The man born Jim Hellwig, but now legally known as Warrior, is a nostalgic favorite of pro wrestling fans from the 1980s and ‘90s.
The Warrior started wrestling in 1985. Early in his career he formed a tag team with Steve Borden, the man more famously known as Sting. They originally started as bodybuilders in Memphis but moved to Bill Watts’ Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986. They were known as The Blade Runners, Rock and Sting. Warrior eventually moved to Texas and created The Dingo Warrior persona before joining the WWF in 1987.
In the WWF, The Ultimate Warrior persona was created, somewhat as a response to Texas’ “Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich and the face painted Road Warriors of the NWA. Despite his lack of fundamental wrestling ability, Warrior was wildly popular thanks to his manic energy, colorful persona, superhero-like body and undeniable charisma. His promos were nearly undecipherable but he had an “it” factor that could not be taught. He looked like a real-life comic book character come alive.
He quickly rose up the cards of the WWF and soundly defeated Honky Tonk Man for the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam ’88. His popularity continued to grow until he defeated WWF Champion Hulk Hogan in a Title for Title match at WrestleMania VI. That match is widely considered the one of the best matches of Warrior’s career and made him a true main event level superstar.
Warrior lost the Championship to Sgt. Slaughter at Royal Rumble ’91 during the aftermath of Operation: Desert Storm but rebounded and defeated “Macho King” Randy Savage at WrestleMania VII in a Retirement Match. That match is considered Warrior’s best match ever.
He left the company immediately after SummerSlam ’91 due to monetary disputes with Vince McMahon. He returned at WrestleMania VIII but was gone again by the end of 1992 thanks to the looming steroid trial facing the WWF. He returned one more time to the WWF at WrestleMania XII in 1996 but was gone again by July.
The bad blood between Warrior the company grew, and Warrior showed up briefly in World Championship Wrestling in 1998. That was another short-lived affair and was there primarily to return the loss from Hulk Hogan eight years earlier.
Since then Warrior has become something of a pop figure, doing speaking engagements across the country, appearing on various television programs and keeping his brand alive in social media. He also wrestled infrequently independently and in Italy.
The bad blood continued between Warrior and WWE for years, with WWE even releasing a Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior hatchet job DVD set back in 2005. The two sides began to mend fences this summer during SummerSlam ’13 weekend, and he was announced as being a playable character in WWE 2K14.
No inductor has been announced for Warrior yet, but it seems logical that Hulk Hogan, arguably Warrior’s greatest opponent, will do the honors.
This year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on April 5, in New Orleans, Louisiana inside the New Orleans Arena the night before WrestleMania XXX.