Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Ultimate Warrior...

Originally, this week was to feature my own thoughts on WrestleMania XXX and the new look of the wrestling business.  That was not to be.  Certainly, seeing as how The Ultimate Warrior featured so prominently into the biggest weekend on the WWE calendar, he would've been discussed at least a bit.  Instead, this has become a memorial to the newly minted WWE Hall of Famer.  For anyone who has not heard, the man who is legally known as "Warrior" collapsed and died upon return to his home state of Arizona.  He was 54 years old.

In the hours since his passing was announced by Triple H via Twitter, just about everyone has shared thoughts, tributes, and memories all over the Internet.  His death was front page news in most mainstream outlets.  Throughout Wednesday, his passing and coverage of a school violence incident close to my home were the top two stories on CNN, thus adding even more surreality to the day.

Armchair doctors and detectives have tried to pinpoint a time during his very public last weekend where one may notice a change in behavior.  Many have looked upon his appearance on Monday Night Raw less than twenty-four hours before his death as a sign.  Between odd mannerisms and an even odder and coincidental "goodbye" speech, some have wondered aloud if he in fact knew that something was wrong internally.  In my own mind, I recall his awkward pauses and occasional chest-clutching during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech as being out of place, but we will never know.

The controversial aspects of the man have all been discussed, and in my opinion there are other living (and beloved) stars of the business who have made equally polarizing comments and moves.  It seems as if it was simply popular to single out the Warrior in the past fifteen years or so.  The same "fans" who whined and complained via keyboard about the Ultimate Warrior's "workrate" are the same ones who secretly had the Hasbro dress-up kit and figures in their closets.  These are the same individuals who are crying while watching his matches on WWE Network.

But at this moment, there's zero time to give to those individuals.  Now is the time to think about the man himself, his fans, and most importantly his biggest fans--his family.  This weekend the public was introduced to his wife, mother, and young daughters.  It is a shock to think that what had to have been such an exciting and life affirming weekend for all five of them would end so tragically.

I was in my early years of life as well as wrestling fandom when the Warrior was at the top of the business.  WrestleMania VI was defining viewing of my childhood, and when asked which of the Tonka Wrestling Buddies I wanted for Christmas 1990, I picked the Ultimate Warrior.  I met the Ultimate Warrior less than two years ago, and it was evident that the man enjoyed meeting those who grew up with him.  To me, it appeared that the admiration reaffirmed that he was indeed so well remembered and beloved.  The wrestling business, whether it was justified or not, had all but taken that away from him.

The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will be one of the most remembered, not for the quality of the speeches, but for being the redemption of The Ultimate Warrior.  It seemed that Warrior was trying to validate his career to himself on the biggest stage on which he would have a chance.  He succeeded.  Just as he did when he met all of us "Little Warriors," the knowledge that he did indeed make an impact on so many had to finally be evident.  As immensely tragic as the weekend turned out, no one has ever had a more dramatic goodbye to the fans than The Ultimate Warrior. 

As his speech on Raw said, "...the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever!"  I would have to agree.

Always believe...

1 comment:

Hobgoblin238 said...

It was completely shocking. No doubt about it.