FHM raises its arms above its head, lets out a primal roar, and salutes the maddest, baddest man ever to grace the world of professional wrestling.
HE KNEW HIS LIMITS
These days professional wrestling is populated by ultra-athletic dudes who would be as comfortable back-flipping their way around Cirque Du Soleil as they are strutting their stuff in the ring. The Ultimate Warrior was, by comparison, about as mobile as a set of traffic lights. But he didn’t let that hinder him. On the contrary: the fact he could do three things (run to the ring, scream and then lift people above his head) made him seem all the more dangerous. Like a caveman that had stumbled, confused and angry, through a time portal.
HE WAS A TREND-SETTER
Rita Ora has nothing on this guy. Warrior was tying day-glo laces round his arms and painting his face neon decades before teenage rave-girls started doing the same thing.
NO ONE CUT A PROMO LIKE HIM
The only thing more terrifying than the sight of the Ultimate Warrior in a ring was the Ultimate Warrior in front of a camera with a microphone in his hand. While other wrestlers resorted to pointing and shouting to get their point across, Warrior would go off on long, quasi-mystic speeches that had more in common with psychedelic spontaneous poetry than anything else. Here’s just one (glorious) example:
HE GOT TO GIVE A TEAR-JERKING GOODBYE SPEECH
Less than 24 hours before suffering a fatal heart attack outside his hotel room The Ultimate Warrior was stood in front of thousands of his fans, delivering an emotional speech about the nature of mortality. It was his first time on WWE television since 1996. What he said – while still being bat-shit insane – is genuinely moving in the context of his own life being cut short so soon after:
HE LIVED IT
A lot of professional wrestlers go to work, pull on a pair of tights, get into character, do a job and go home. Warrior got into character some time around 1991 and never came out again. In fact, in the early 90s he legally changed his name from James Hellwig (which is already pretty fitting) to the word Warrior. The fact he didn’t have a surname was one of the most badass things about him.
WORDS BY JOE MACKERTICH