Signature Moves: Gorilla press slam, clothesline, splash
WCCW Titles Held: WCWA World Tag Team titles (with Lance Von Erich), WCWA Texas Heavyweight title
Notable WCCW Feuds: Bruiser Brody, Kevin Von Erich, Rick Rude, Buzz Sawyer & Matt Borne
Need to Know Facts: Indiana native Jim Hellwig -- whose original goal in life was to become a chiropractor -- received his initial training as a member of the Power Team USA group of bodybuilders. Although trainers Red Bastien and Rick Bassman (owner of the California-based Ultimate Pro Wrestling promotion) decided to disband the team due to their perceived lack of wrestling ability, two of the four members would nonetheless go on to become superstars of the sport: Hellwig and Steve Borden, later known as Sting. The two first came to prominence in Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation in early 1986 as The Blade Runners, with Borden adopting the Sting moniker for the first time, while Hellwig became Blade Runner Rock.
Leaving World Class in July 1987, Warrior moved on to the WWF where, after a couple of months of squashing enhancement talent under the Dingo name, he would be repackaged as the Ultimate Warrior. It was at this time that his frenetic, rope-shaking ring entrance -- which invariably left him thoroughly blown up by the time the bell rang -- was born. Due to his extremely limited moveset (and also, no doubt, exhaustion from those mad dashes around and into the ring), Warrior's WWF matches were often kept as short as possible. He also became known for his infamously bizarre interviews, which were intense but largely incoherent.
After feuding for most of 1988 with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan's stable (including Andre the Giant), Warrior, subbing for the absent Brutus Beefcake, beat Honky Tonk Man in ten seconds to win the Intercontinental title. He would also renew his feud with Rick Rude in 1989. In the 1990 Royal Rumble, Warrior was eliminated by Hulk Hogan, setting up their World title vs. Intercontinental title clash at Wrestlemania VI. In what was widely seen as a passing of the torch, and one of the best matches either man had ever worked, Warrior scored a clean pin over Hogan to win the belt.
With the Monday Night Wars heating up in early 1996, McMahon brought Warrior in for a third time in an attempt to boost the WWF's ratings. This time, though, he largely failed to get over, perhaps as a result of those sudden disappearances earlier in the decade; at any rate, he was soon terminated again after no-showing several cards he had been advertised to appear on.
In later years, Warrior became a motivational speaker and conservative commentator. In early 2006 he filed a lawsuit against WWE on grounds that his career had been unfairly depicted in the company's Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD, which was given that title after he refused a request by WWE to assist in its production. The suit, filed in Arizona, was ultimately thrown out, reportedly because Warrior was no longer a resident of that state (having relocated to New Mexico). In April 2008 in Madrid, during a ceremony at a Nu-Wrestling Evolution card in which he was presented with an award commemorating his pro wrestling career, Warrior became embroiled in an argument with wrestler Orlando Jordan; as a result, a grudge bout between the two (Warrior's first match in nearly a decade, which -- not surprisingly -- he won) was held in Barcelona, Spain on June 25.
In early 2014, having apparently buried the hatchet with Warrior, WWE announced that he was being inducted into its Hall of Fame, the ceremony taking place the night before Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans on April 6. Shockingly, 24 hours after an appearance on the following evening's edition of RAW, it was announced that Warrior had suddenly passed away.
Warrior's words on that night's RAW, in retrospect, read like a final farewell to his fans:
Every man's heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breath their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper than something that is larger than life, than his essence, his spirit will be immortalized. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, of those who honor him and make what that man did live forever.Whether one loved or hated his character, Warrior was indisputably one of the most colorful and memorable stars in the history of pro wrestling.