The run of Ultimate Warrior featured many ups and downs throughout his entire wrestling career. Warrior became a legend for WWE in the 80s due to his unique presentation. No other wrestler had a look like Warrior with the face paint and tassels as he sprinted to the ring to the sound of a great entrance theme. Warrior’s promos were hit or miss, but fans appreciated the intense style.
The matches of Warrior rarely delivered since he was quite limited in the ring. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have his fair share of good rivalries. The mixed bag that was his career saw a few outstanding rivals and a few disappointing ones come up. We will look at both instances when breaking down his career. These are the five best and five worst rivalries of the Ultimate Warrior.
10 Best: Jake Roberts
The short feud between the Ultimate Warrior and Jake Roberts was compelling WWE television for the early 90s. Warrior was attacked a few times by The Undertaker which inspired him to get help embracing the dark side from Roberts.
Three tests were given to Warrior from Roberts, but the third one ended with Roberts turning heel attacking Warrior. This payoff was a great start to the feud that was expected to run long. Warrior, unfortunately, got into a pay dispute with WWE leading to his exit ending the feud too early.
9 Worst: Triple H
One of the multiple returns to WWE for the Ultimate Warrior came in early 1996. WWE set the stage for Warrior to have a return match at WrestleMania 12. Triple H would step up as the heel looking to stop Warrior during the earlier stages of his WWE run.
The match would see Warrior squash Triple H giving him no offense. Warrior didn’t even continue the program as Triple H endured the embarrassment with zero benefits from it. Triple H buried Warrior in the Self-Destruction of Ultimate Warrior DVD. However, the two made peace when Triple H was the one to bring Warrior back to WWE for the Hall of Fame.
8 Best: Bobby Heenan
The commentary of Bobby Heenan always buried Ultimate Warrior due to their feud over the years. Heenan was the top heel manager and represented a few of the heels that had rivalries with Warrior during his rise to the top.
Andre the Giant and Rick Rude were the main two enemies of Warrior that worked with Heenan. There were even some matches of Warrior getting his hands on Heenan to the delight of the audience. Warrior benefited from working with Heenan even though the two had their own personal issues.
7 Worst: Sgt. Slaughter
WWE started to realize Ultimate Warrior main eventing two WrestleMania events in a row was a bad idea. The call was made for Warrior to enter a feud with Sgt. Slaughter a few months a few months before 7.
Slaughter turned heel with the anti-American character turning against the former fans of his. Warrior would defend the WWE Championship against Slaughter at the 1991 Royal Rumble event. Fans were stunned when Slaughter won the title. The matches and promos between them did nothing to stand out.
6 Best: Rick Rude
The in-ring skills of Rick Rude allowed him to carry the Ultimate Warrior to solid matches. Rude was known for having great matches and it made perfect sense that Warrior delivered some of his best work being led by such a top talent.
The heel character work of Rude also made it easier for Warrior to get cheers from the fans. Both men had chemistry in the ring that culminated in fun matches. Rude did his best to put over Warrior as fans continued to support him as a top star.
5 Worst: Papa Shango
WWE tried to get the character of Papa Shango over by placing him in a feud against Ultimate Warrior. The unique face paint look tied them together as an interesting pair or rivals. Shango was known for being a “witch doctor” and causing Warrior to throw up.
The segments were a train wreck and fans never cared much about the new heel. WWE quit on the character altogether and let him transition into Kama Mustafa and The Godfather for more success. Warrior and Shango created some of the worst television in WWE history.
4 Best: Hulk Hogan (WWE)
The epic WrestleMania 6 showdown between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior was the first WM main event between two faces. Hogan was still at the top of the mountain while Intercontinental Champion Warrior was getting closer to that level.
WWE pulled the trigger by having both men face off for both the WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship. Warrior pulled off the clean victory to get elevated to the absolute top of the WWE world. The story of competition made this rivalry special at the time.
3 Worst: Jerry Lawler
One of the rivalries for Ultimate Warrior’s short return to WWE in 1996 was Jerry Lawler. The stint of Lawler saw him both wrestling and commentating. WWE hoped two veterans having a program would create some interest for the longtime fans.
No one really cared about the match and it just hurt both of them. Warrior defeated Lawler at the King of the Ring 1996 event in a boring match. The promos were even worse with Warrior clearly not being on the level needed from WWE stars.
2 Best: Randy Savage
Randy Savage provided outside interference in the previously mentioned Ultimate Warrior vs Sgt. Slaughter Royal Rumble 1991 match to cost Warrior the WWE Championship. Warrior and Savage entered a feud gaining the semi-main event spot at WrestleMania 7.
The rivalry became personal enough for them both to put their careers on the line in a Retirement match. Warrior had the best performance of his life in the ring keeping up with the legendary Savage. The win for Warrior would see Savage start his transition into a commentator.
1 Worst: Hulk Hogan (WCW)
The WCW rivalry between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior was as bad as their WWE work was enjoyable. Warrior signing with WCW only saw him guarantee for a short feud with Hogan bringing up their history. Hogan was obsessed with never getting a win over Warrior as the basis of the feud.
Warrior showed up following mysterious appearances of smoke leaving fans in confusion. Their match at Halloween Havoc 1998 was regarded as one of the worst in wrestling history. Warrior would never get another chance in a major promotion following this train wreck of a rivalry ending in the worst fashion.