Last week the WWE made waves in the wrestling world when they announced the controversial Ultimate Warrior as the first star to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 on the night before Wrestlemania in New Orleans later this year. Warrior has always had his critics within the industry, and even WWE itself bashed him with the 2005 ‘Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior’ DVD. Jake ‘the Snake’ Roberts who is heavily rumored to also be inducted in the WWE HOF this year, recently joked about Warrior’s upcoming induction during an interview with Sirius XM’s Busted Open saying that WWE was taking "a**holes" into the WWE Hall of Fame rather than "people with great talent.”
Well there is a lot of wrestling fans that disagree with Roberts, and feel Ultimate Warrior has a place with the greats in the WWE Hall of Fame. Here the Pro Wrestling Examiner makes a case for those fans and the Ultimate Warrior with this 5 point list. Here is 5 legitimate reasons why when you look at back at his career, you can see that Ultimate Warrior is deserving of this honor.
The Ultimate Warrior beat Hulk Hogan clean at Wrestlemania 6 for the WWE Championship. Hulkamania is one of the biggest movements in WWE history. Hulk Hogan was the top of the mountain in WWE, he defeated every challenger in big time matchups during his ‘80s heyday except one. The Ultimate Warrior defeated the immortal WWE Champion at Wrestlemania VI in a sold-out SkyDome in Toronto. Warrior beat Hogan clean in the middle of the ring on the biggest stage in the wrestling business, and he was the first to do it. That can cement your legacy alone.
The Ultimate Warrior ‘retired’ Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII
In the best match of his career, the Warrior defeated the madness of the Macho King Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII. With his star still burning bright even without the WWE Championship around his waist after Savage interfered in a Royal Rumble ‘91 title defense, Warrior endured multiple flying elbow drops and ‘retired’ the career of the egomaniacal Macho King. This victory may not have actually ended the career of Savage but it led to a very emotional reunion between Savage and his former valet Miss Elizabeth. Warrior dethroned the King, so that the Man could return. This brought another Wrestlemania moment to the Warrior’s list of accomplishments. The Warrior has a winning WM record of 3 - 1.
The Ultimate Warrior had some most memorable promos in WWE history
Who else could step in front a WWE camera and cut a promo with sincere intensity about how he came from a spaceship to conqueror the world? Not many people would even consider doing that, but the Warrior said memorable things like this all the time. Now his infamous pre-Wrestlemania VI promo may be considered one of the craziest promos of all time, but it can not be considered the worst. Far from the truth, it holds designation as one of the most memorable WWE promos of all time. Stone Cold Steve Austin (inducted in the WWE HOF in 2009) said that his very memorable character, was an amplified version of who he was in real life. There is nothing in the Ultimate Warrior’s onscreen persona that was not amplified. Warrior was moving the needle, being extreme, and performing his character in an effective over-the-top manner.
The Ultimate Warrior looked like his own unique character
The Warrior may have been another strapping muscle-bound wrestler of the 24 inch python era of WWE, but he still looked different which allowed him to be remembered in a different way. With his brightly color facepaint and tassels shaking as he hit the ring. This imagery rolled into a fun neon colored merch that you could not produce with a more straightforward character like Tito Santana. You might own an Ultimate Warrior ‘wrestling buddy’ plush toy. WWE could not make cool stuff like that with a less visually stimulating character. When the the Warrior hit the ring, you knew who it was immediately. Some wrestlers aspire to look ‘larger than life’, the Warrior did this tremendously. People still dress up as the Ultimate Warrior for Halloween, that shows impression made on pop culture beyond the wrestling world.
The Ultimate Warrior at his peak was a bankable superstar for WWE
Playing off the last point about merchandise, the Ultimate Warrior was a money maker for WWE at his height. During a time when Hulk Hogan was a main event draw, Warrior was not far behind. He sold thousands in tickets and merchandise. The number don’t lie, and the Warrior drew well for quite bit. Now maybe that drawing power lessened into 1991, but the fact that WWE could even have someone to move the WWE title onto Warrior showed their faith in his business muscle.
Warrior made a one match return to pro wrestling for the European promotion New Wrestling Entertainment in 2008. As the headliner, he sold out an arena in a main event match, defeating Orlando Jordan. This was almost 10 years after he retired from active in ring work, and 15,000 plus came to see him wrestle outside of North America. That shows longevity and loyalty from his international fanbase.
Though his history may be checkered with some bad matches and silly statements, the Warrior made good moneyand gave the fans a grand show during his wrestling career.
If you disagree with Ultimate Warrior getting inducted in the WWE HOF, post your thoughts in the Facebook comment box below. You can also tweet to Pro Wrestling Examiner Kevin Kellam on Twitter @KevKellam.