Obit of the Day: The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior burst on the World Wrestling Entertainment scene in 1987 with his signature neon face paint, arm ropes and wristbands. By 1990, he had not only captured the Intercontinetal and World Championship belts (the latter by defeating Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania VI) but the hearts of millions of fans.
Born Jim Hellwig, Ultimate Warrior was training to be a chiropractor when he and several fellow bodybuilders decided to try and become professional wrestlers. Having wrestled in smaller professional leagues including in Memphis and Dallas, Warrior joined the then-WWF in 1987 originally as the “Dingo Warrior.” The Ultimate Warrior persona appeared for the first time on October 25, 1987.
Becoming the first WWE wrestler to hold the Intercontinental and World titles simultaneously he lost the World belt after one year in a 1991 Royal Rumble match versus Sgt. Slaughter. Warrior continued to participate in high profile matches against other WWE legends including Randy “Macho Man” Savage, with whom he had a long-running rivalry, and Triple H who he defeated at Wrestlemania XII.
In 1996, the Ultimate Warrior had a falling out with WWE president Vince McMahon over contractual appearances. The organization terminated his contract and Warrior joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1998. His career was at its end, however, appearing in only four WCW matches.
After an 18-year absence the Ultimate Warrior returned to WWE for his induction into the organization’s hall of fame on April 5, 2014. Ultimate Warrior, who legally changed his name from Jim Hellwig in 1993, died on April 8, 2014 at the age of 54.
Sources: WWE.com, ESPN.com, and Wikipedia
(Image of the Ultimate Warrior, circa 1990, is copyright of WWE and courtesy of ringthedamnbell.wordpress.com)
Obit of the Day has featured several professional wrestlers:
Mae Young - One of the first women to wrestle professionally
William Moody - AKA “Paul Bearer” and member of the 2014 HOF class
Randy “Macho Man” Savage