Remember when Richard Nixon died and all anybody would talk about is reopened relations with China? Or when Scott Weiland died and everyone suddenly talked as if they had listened to Stone Temple Pilots on purpose at any point during the last 15 years? When Charles Manson dies, we bet all anyone will want to talk about is his underrated career as a folk rock musician.
And y'know - maybe that's the way it should be. Maybe it's important to reflect on the positive aspects of people's lives in the days immediately following their deaths. For that matter, Charles Manson actually was a pretty great songwriter and would've wound up recognized for it eventually if he hadn't gone and done all that bad stuff that he's known for instead.
Anyway, that brings us to how WWE handled the 2014 death of The Ultimate Warrior. The timing was, of course, downright spooky. Conspiracy theorists wonder if Warrior didn't know he was on his way off the mortal coil and reconciled with WWE just in time to give a Hall of Fame speech and beat The Grim Reaper to his own proverbial finish line. He was even fixating on his own death while ostensibly advertising a WWE video game.
However, while admitting they hadn't always seen eye-to-eye with Warrior about everything, WWE executives pretty much brushed the many, many controversies surrounding their onetime golden boy under the rug in the weeks following his untimely passing. And that was the correct move to make. But it's been a year-and-a-half since then and we're free to point out some of Warrior's lesser qualities without feeling like jerks for disparaging someone who just died.
It is no longer too soon.
Thus, here we're examining the insane, unpleasant sides of Warrior the human being, as opposed to Ultimate Warrior the character. For many who dealt with him outside of the ring, without the facepaint, it was like being trampled by a herd of elephants and being run over with lawnmowers. Sometimes it was horrifying. Other times it was funny! For instance, this one time.....
15 Andre The Giant Punched Warrior In The Face
As recounted in the classic Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior documentary, Andre The Giant and Warrior hardly became backstage bosom buddies during their brief feud in 1988. Warrior had worked up a habit of clotheslining Andre a wee bit too aggressively to set up Andre’s signature stumble and entanglement in the top two ropes. Fed up, one night Andre called for the spot, and when Warrior rushed in to clothesline Andre way too hard, he ran directly into the Giant's fist. Following this exchange, Warrior's clotheslines only gently grazed Andre, as if the legend was a delicate child Warrior couldn’t bear to see harmed.
14 Rick Rude Also Punched Warrior In The Face
This is coming from a Ric Flair shoot interview, but it sounds plausible nonetheless. Evidently, at one point, Warrior made an offhand remark opining that “Ravishing” Rick Rude wasn’t worthy of the spotlight - or was what Triple H might call a “B plus player,” in other words. Rude heard about this, and pummeled Warrior senseless. Side-note: In the interview, Flair notes that Hulk Hogan refused to work with Rick Rude after this incident. Flair also emphasizes that “to this day” Hogan has never worked with Rude, which is an strange point to harp on, given Rick Rude passed away in 1999. Am I wrong in thinking Flair sounds like he either doesn’t know or has forgotten that a Rude/Hogan showdown hasn't been possible for quite some time?
13 Linda Hogan Said Warrior Was Gay
We’ll get into Warrior’s infamous hour-long shoot on Hulk Hogan in more detail a bit further down the list. But in a postscript to that debacle, Linda Hogan - who still goes by “Linda Hogan” despite divorcing Hulk Hogan almost 10 years ago - responded to Warrior’s allegations that she led a swinger lifestyle during her time with The Hulkster by repeating rumors that Warrior is a self-loathing homosexual.
12 Warrior Chickened Out of a Shootfight With Kevin Nash
Sometime around when Nash made an ill-advised return to WWE - orchestrated by Triple H in a bid to distract the audience from CM Punk - Warrior pointed out Nash had stuck around in the limelight far beyond his expiration date at the expense of helping younger talent get over. Of course, Warrior lost something like one or two matches between 1988 and his once-and-for-all retirement in 2008, so he was a pot accusing a kettle of being in business for himself on this one. Nonetheless, Nash challenged Warrior to a shootfight, and Warrior declined, because men in their 50s who can’t run a mile due to decades of steroid abuse should not attempt athletic feats of any kind.
11 Warrior Refused to Appear On Byte This
To hype the Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD, WWE invited Warrior to appear on their old Byte This show back in 2005. Warrior, noted for his sense of humor about himself, responded in a blog post in which he referred to Todd Grisham as a “queer” and quadriplegic former star Darren Drozdov as a “cripple.” Grisham read the tirade on the air to the delight of all. Since then, WWE has destroyed all existing copies of that footage and used alien brainwashing technology to erase the incident from Grisham and Droz’s minds.
10 Warrior Pooped On Davey Boy Smith and Bruce Hart’s Ex-Wife
Not long after "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith passed away due to (probably) substance abuse related heart failure in 2002, Warrior took to the blogosphere to type, “Davey committed a slow, sure suicide. He was eternally blaming his ‘falling off the horse’ again and again on nothing more than circumstances of his life. Circumstances he created for himself.” Warrior also took the time call Bruce Hart’s ex-wife and Smith’s grieving girlfriend Andrea Redding a “bimbo.”
9 Warrior Also Pooped on Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger left us with the greatest live action portrayal of the most iconic comic book villain in history, broke new ground with mainstream depictions of homosexuality in Brokeback Mountain, plus A Knight’s Tale was kind of an okay movie! As recounted by Sabotage Times, Warrior wrote that it was good Heath Ledger died, because Warrior hated drugs. “I do have to agree that he was a great father,” wrote Warrior. “After all, Leather Hedger did what it took to kill himself. His kid is without a father, yes, but the negative influence is now removed and his own child has the chance for a full recovery.”
To clarify, Warrior hated it when other people did drugs, because Warrior wanted all the drugs for himself.
8 Warrior, One-Man Poop Factory, Couldn't Hold It In For Katrina Victims, Either
But if there’s one thing Warrior hated more than the drugs he didn’t get to do himself, it was soggy poor people. Especially if they wore clothes similar to those rap stars might wear. He also hated the scientifically demonstrated link between poverty and obesity, so much so he ignored its existence. He also hated expensive sneakers, for some reason.
“Have you ever seen so many fat people?” wrote Warrior, of the tens of thousands of individuals whose city had essentially just been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. “Poverty of what? Having enough to buy so much food to eat that you become obese?.....Designer clothes made by rap stars? $200 Nikes? Free medicine and free health care?....What the hell, then, do we call the scenes they shoot out of Africa that they use to lay guilt trips down on all of us?”
Warrior was super duper racist, by the way.
7 One Time, Warrior Got Paid $500,000 For Maybe Five Minutes Worth of Work
For a while, it was widely believed Warrior demanded a substantial payday in exchange for showing up to SummerSlam ‘91, the same weekend of the show. In fact, he had sent the demand for payment - which he claimed was owed to him for WrestleMania VII - seven weeks prior to SummerSlam.
If we conclude that Warrior had already been paid for WrestleMania, this means he essentially held WWE up for a roundabout SummerSlam bonus. At Summerslam, he was booked to spend about two minutes chasing Col. Mustafa out of the arena while Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter had a singles match.
So Vince McMahon essentially paid The Ultimate Warrior half a million dollars to run a few laps.
6 Vince Tried To Hire Warrior Back More Times Than He Wants To Admit
Here’s a tidbit conveniently left out of Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. While it’s well-documented that WWE brought Warrior back a few years after the Summerslam fiasco, turns out after letting Warrior go again for his frequent absence at scheduled house show appearances, Vince offered him an even cushier deal to return. Granted, this was 1997, about a year before “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s popularity would render Warrior completely obsolete - but it’s downright bizarre to think about how close we came to seeing Warrior running amok during the Attitude Era.
5 Warrior Was Basically a Walking, Accidental Parody of The Right Wing
Okay - So Warrior’s politics.
Contrary to what some people will tell you, Warrior was a great promo. He had tremendous stage presence. But absolutely no one has or ever will make the case that he was a great wrestler. In fact, it’s not inaccurate to say he was an outright mediocre to below-average wrestler who never had a good match without an opponent doing most of the work for him.
Warrior’s outlook on economics - typical of right-leaning thinkers - assumes that society is or should be a meritocracy, wherein an individual accumulates wealth in accordance with the quality and quantity of their contributions. But Warrior himself was living proof that society is not a meritocracy. Warrior became a millionaire even though he was objectively bad at his job, and didn’t even do it for very long.
And there’s not a thing wrong with that, but it means if anyone on the planet deserved to have their taxes raised, it was Warrior. Meanwhile, despite the happenstance nature of his fortune, Warrior was the exact type of person who, with a straight face and no hint of irony, would call an undocumented teenager who washes dishes for 12 hours a day seven days a week a parasite who’s not kicking in their fair share.
4 Warrior Did A Bizarre Shoot On Hulk Hogan That Might’ve Been Accurate
Back in 2011, Warrior had some issue with something or other Hulk Hogan said about the recently-deceased Randy Savage. Warrior jumped at the opportunity to post an hour-long “shoot” promo trashing The Hulkster for his laundry list of questionable life decisions. Surprisingly, Warrior made some valid points. Warrior says Hogan was into wife-swapping and a borderline drug addict. Both of those things are probably pretty much true! Warrior says Brooke Hogan would’ve had a better shot at a music career without her dad's helicoptering influence and there’s also possibly some truth to that. Warrior was very, very wrong about plenty of things, but when it came to Hulkamania, he was oddly insightful.
3 Warrior Made Out With Orlando Jordan
Jumping at an excuse to take his family on a paid vacation to Spain and beat up a bisexual black guy without going to prison, Warrior participated in one final match in 2008 against Orlando Jordan in Barcelona for the Nu Wrestling Evolution World Title. In order to combat his legacy of mostly five-minute squash matches, the then 49-year-old Warrior pushed for almost 20 minutes and, to his credit, did a passable-ish good job. During the encounter, Jordan got swept up in the excitement and planted a big, wet smooch on Warrior’s stupid mouth. Warrior had no choice but to reciprocate, despite his history of vehement homophobia. Speaking of….
2 Warrior Really Disappointed A Lot of People
Y’know, let’s say, hypothetically, you grew up as a big Ultimate Warrior fan. You proudly wore a little birthday party-quality version of his facepaint, ran around the house body slamming your Ultimate Warrior Wrestling Buddy doll, and you have fond memories of attending a live show where the Warrior actually arrived as advertised and performed. That whole sentimental, nostalgic shebang is what you've got.
Then you got a little older and realized you were into different things than your classmates. Coming out was a struggle, as it often is for individuals of your persuasion, but you eventually found yourself a relatively well-adjusted adult despite the roadblocks society placed in your way due to a sexual orientation you didn’t pick.
And then you see this disgraceful, ugly load of pig crap. Fair to say you'd be a little bummed out, yes?
1 Warrior Ignored A Dying Warrior Superfan
In his autobiography - My Real Life In the Cartoon World of Pro Wrestling - Bret Hart tells a ruthlessly damning anecdote regarding Warrior’s empathy for his fans or staggering lackthereof.
According to The Hitman, a young fan “in his last few hours” had been sent via Make-A-Wish to meet Warrior during a house show in Omaha, Nebraska. Hart observed the boy - on a stretcher in full faux-Warrior regalia, accompanied by his parents - waiting by Warrior’s locker room through much of the night while Warrior stalled on showing his face. Later, Hart noticed the trio had left and assumed the meeting had transpired as planned.
Then, he discovered the family had merely been moved outside so as not to distract Warrior from his pre-match ritual of running and yelling. And they never even got their stupid meet-and-greet.
“As we rounded a corner down a backstage ramp, we came upon the boy and his weary family, who had been moved there so as not to get in the way of Warrior’s entrance," writes The Hitman. "I thought, 'That lousy piece of s@#$.'”