Wrestler of the Day – March 24: Ultimate Warrior

This was originally going to be Undertaker but things have changed. Today is Ultimate Warrior.

The Warrior got his start down in Mid-South as part of the Blade Runners, but we’ll jump ahead to his time in WCCW as the Dingo Warrior. And no, I don’t know what a Dingo is. This would be from sometime between July 4, 1986 and September 1, 1986.

Dingo Warrior vs. Lance Von Erich

Lance is one of the lesser known Von Erich and really wasn’t all that good. They pose at each other a lot until Von Erich dropkicks him out to the floor for a meeting with manager Gary Hart. Back in and Warrior nails a hiptoss but misses a series of elbows. Lance takes over with an armdrag and drives some knees into the arm.

Back up and Warrior chops away in the corner, only to miss a charge. Warrior counters a cross body into a slam for two and chokes on the ropes for a bit. A hard clothesline sets up the bearhug on Lance but Von Erich just falls down. Warrior misses a middle rope knee and they slug it out with Lance taking over. He sends Dingo into the ropes but misses a back elbow, setting up a powerslam from Warrior for the pin.

Rating: C-. That’s quite the upset in Texas as the Von Erichs hardly ever lost. The match wasn’t terrible but it was clear neither guy was really ready for big time matches. To be fair though, this was the opening match on a TV show so it’s not like this was a huge deal or anything. Warrior would of course get better.

It was soon off to the WWF where Warrior wasn’t known for his long matches. Here’s one of the more lengthy ones from Houston on November 6, 1987.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Rip Oliver

Oliver was a big territory guy but never did much on a national stage. A few slams put Oliver down to start before actually working the arm. Another slam sends Oliver into the corner as this is one sided so far. Warrior whips him across the ring and drops Rip with an elbow to the jaw. Rip bails to the apron for a bit but comes back in for a chinlock from Warrior. Back up and some hard clotheslines set up the gorilla press for the pin.

Rating: D+. Total and complete squash here but Warrior was starting to figure the character out. He didn’t need to do the arm stuff though and he would work the kinks out soon enough. Oliver was nothing special at this point but he was good for roles like this. He had some good talking skills though.

Warrior’s first feud was with Hercules, who he would face in one of the few non-tournament matches on the card.

Hercules vs. Ultimate Warrior

They collide to start as the announcers recap the tournament. Hercules hits three straight clotheslines to put Warrior down to Jesse’s amazement. Warrior fires off some chops but gets backdropped out to the floor. They brawl on the floor for a bit as Heenan is reaching in his pockets. Both guys head back inside and pound on each other a little bit more with Warrior hitting the ten punches in the corner. Hercules comes out of the corner with an atomic drop and sends Warrior into the corner chest first. He puts on the full nelson but Warior climbs the corner and falls back ala Bret and Austin at Survivor Series 96 for the fast pin.

Rating: D+. Warrior was rapidly becoming a force but it wouldn’t be another six months before he finally hit something special. Hercules would be around for a few more years but would never do anything of note. This was just a filler match to bridge the gap between the first and second rounds of the tournament.

Warrior would continue feuding with Heenan and company, setting up a weasel suit match at Wrestlefest 1988. I think you get the idea on the name itself.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby Heenan

This is kind of a famous match. The loser wears a weasel suit. You figure out who wins this one. I’ll give you a hint: he’s crazy. Neither gets an entrance which is weird. We get some of Warrior’s music but that’s it. Heenan runs for his life multiple times but Warrior drops to the floor so Heenan can’t see him and surprises him. Yes, Warrior used his brain and it worked.

Heenan gets a foreign object and pops him with it after calling Warrior a son of a gun. Wouldn’t an object like that be fine to a guy from Parts Unknown? Heenan hits him with it like five times and can’t drop Warrior. He more or less just jabs it in Warrior’s throat over and over but it doesn’t work at all. Warrior bangs on his chest and I think you can figure the rest out from there.

Warrior puts him out with a sleeper which makes sense here and puts the suit on him. Where does one get a weasel suit? Was there a furry convention in town? You know for being in a sleeper for about 30 seconds, he’s WAY out of it. Warrior bangs on his chest once he gets it done like someone standing over his fallen prey. Ooh that was a good one. Bobby wakes up and realizes he has claws and a tail. This is like Kafka’s worst nightmare.

Rating: N/A. This was for comedy more than anything else. They tried to make the match into nothing at all and that’s what the best answer was. Heenan was always a good sport though and could do just about any kind of comedy so this was perfect for him. It wasn’t quality or anything but it worked.

Now we’ll get to one of the most famous moments in Summerslam history. From the 1988 edition.

Intercontinental Title: Honky Tonk Man vs. ???

Honky says to get him someone out here to wrestle and he doesn’t care who it is. After a few seconds, the Ultimate Warrior charges to the ring, pounds Honky with right hands, hits a shoulder block and splashes him for the pin and the title in thirty seconds. The crowd ERUPTS, as this is what they’ve been waiting over a year to see.

So why was this so awesome? This was one of the most perfectly told stories the WWF ever produced and they nailed it every step of the way. Back in 1987, Ricky Steamboat was Intercontinental Champion but wanted to take some time off. The solution was to put the title on the comedic newcomer the Honky Tonk Man, who cheated to win the belt. Honky viewed as a total joke as champion due to his lack of skill and his gimmick of a wrestling Elvis impersonator.

The fans looked at him as someone who would lose the title the first time he defended it against someone far more competent than he was so it wasn’t that big of a deal. This is where Vince had the fans: what if Honky just didn’t lose the title? If there is one thing pure fans hate, it’s seeing a guy who doesn’t deserve a title holding onto it against people they like. Honky did this for the next 18 months by coming up with every way imaginable to cheat, ranging from getting counted out, disqualified, having Jimmy Hart interfere, walking out of matches and all points in between.

Honky continued to hold the title against far better talent, such as Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Ricky Steamboat and Brutus Beefcake, with the idea being “he has to lose eventually.” All of a sudden, Honky was one of the biggest draws around because people would pay their money to see him get beaten up, thinking that the lucky streak couldn’t go on much longer. Well the streak DID keep going, stretching into the longest title reign in the history of the belt which still stands to this day and will likely never be broken.

This is why having Warrior out there was so brilliant. Warrior was the last guy on earth that you would expect to pull off something clever, but he did what everyone else had overlooked: he didn’t bother trying to outsmart Honky, but instead just ran over him and beat him in thirty seconds. This is EXACTLY what the fans had wanted to see for over a year and they got it to perfection. That’s the kind of storytelling that you never get anymore which is a shame.

Next up was Rick Rude, in the feud where Warrior started having good matches. From Wrestlemania V with Warrior defending.

Intercontinental Title: Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude

Warrior is defending but Rude has the belt imprinted on his tights. Rude tries a knee to the ribs but hits the belt by mistake. Warrior immediately takes over with the power game and LAUNCHES Rude into the corner. The champ throws on a bearhug for a bit until Rude finally pokes him in the eyes to escape. Rude busts out a MISSILE DROPKICK for two but gets launched off Warrion on the kickout.

Back to the hearhug but Rude gets out the same way as he did the first time. Warrior responds by biting Rude in the face but the splash hits knees. A piledriver puts Warrior down but Rick can’t immediately cover. It only gets two but the kickout is much weaker than earlier. Rude tries to swivel his hips but his back is too messed up. He cranks back on Warrior’s arms but the champion gets to the ropes and starts shaking away.

Here come the shoulders from Warrior and he plants Rude face first into the mat a few times. Warrior tries a slam or something but drops Rude and almost puts him on the floor. Rude gets a boot up in the corner to stop a charging Warrior but the Rude Awakening is broken through pure power. Rick is clotheslined to the floor and Warrior suplexes him back in, only to have Heenan trip Warrior up and hold down his foot for the shocking upset and the title to Rude. This might have been Warrior’s first televised loss but I don’t think it was.

Rating: B. This is one of those pairings that just worked no matter what you had them do. You often hear about people having chemistry and that’s what you had here: these two could just work well together for no apparent reason and this is a fine example. Warrior would get the title back later in the year before moving to the world title scene a few months later. Good match here.

And the rematch with Warrior challenging Rude at Summerslam 1989.

Intercontinental Title: Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude

Rude isn’t sure what to do with Warrior to start so he tries punching him in the face to no avail. A clothesline puts Rude on the apron and a sunset flip is easily blocked with a right hand to the champion’s face. Warrior easily picks him up and gorilla presses him to the floor as this is one sided so far. Rude is sent into the barricade as Jesse is losing his mind over the referee not disqualifying Warrior.

Warrior gets two off a top rope ax handle before throwing him into the corner and pounding away. A shoulder block gets two on Rude and there’s an atomic drop to crush Rude’s spine a bit more. Warrior swivels his hips but gets crotched on the top rope to Jesse’s glee. Rude pounds on the back as he did in the Wrestlemania match and gets two off a suplex. Off to a reverse chinlock with Rude dropping down onto Warrior’s back for good measure. Back up and Warrior breaks up the Rude Awakening but gets caught in a sleeper.

Warrior finally fights out with a jawbreaker but after they run the ropes a bit, Rude sends Warrior into the referee to put everyone down. It’s Rude on his feet first but Warrior starts to Hulk Up to a HUGE reaction. A big backdrop and a clothesline put Rude down followed by a powerslam but there’s no referee. Warrior hits a piledriver but the referee crawls over for two. A powerslam sets up the splash but Rude gets his knees up to slow Warrior down again.

Rude hits a kind of powerbomb (basically driving Warrior’s head into the mat) for a close two as things slow down again. Rude hits a top rope right hand to the jaw as Roddy Piper strolls down. A piledriver puts Warrior down but Piper flashes Rude, allowing Warrior to suplex him out of the corner. Warrior hits a quick shoulder block followed by the gorilla press and splash for the title and an ERUPTION from the crowd.

Rating: B. If there has ever been better chemistry between a talented guy and a guy who could barely survive against anyone else, I’m not sure where it is. Warrior looked great out there and got the win back to conclude a very well done feud. Good stuff here as this show is cooking after a somewhat weak start. That pop for Warrior pretty much gave him the world title right then and there.

The rematch with Rude had been set up by Andre the Giant attacking Warrior. This set up a series of matches between the two of them. From October 28, 1989 in MSG.

Intercontinental Title: Andre the Giant vs. Ultimate Warrior

Heenan shoves the referee to start and gets ejected before the bell. Shoulder, clothesline, clothesline, clothesline, splash, Warrior retains before his music ever stops playing.

Heenan’s war against Warrior would continue, including this non-title match at a special called Survivor Series Showdown. The show is just a big preview for the PPV of course.

Tully Blanchard vs. Ultimate Warrior

Warrior shoves him down a lot as Heenan tells Tully to set the pace. Back in and Warrior squeezes him down by the hand until Tully pokes him in the eye to escape. The advantage only lasts for a few seconds though as Warrior sends him outside and hammers Tully in the head. Tully tries to walk out but gets gorilla pressed over the top and back inside. A slam off the top drops Blanchard again and Warrior hammers away, only to miss a charge in the corner. Not that it matters as Warrior counters a suplex before powerslamming Blanchard off the top. Warrior is all fired up but Arn Anderson runs in for the DQ.

Rating: D+. This didn’t have time to go anywhere as they had to have Blanchard get beaten up for a few minutes before the DQ. That’s not a match you can do well in only about five minutes, especially when Warrior had to carry him back to the ring. The Survivor Series match would be a bit better.

Here’s the Survivor Series match to follow up on the previous two matches. Tully would get in trouble for drugs though and Heenan had to take his place.

Ultimate Warriors vs. Heenan Family

Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, Rockers

Andre the Giant, Arn Anderson, Haku, Bobby Heenan

Andre can barely move and it’s sad to see. Neidhart and the Rockers start before anything happens and Jim is in trouble early. Here’s Warrior without any music (he’s IC Champion here) and a big clothesline puts Andre on the floor, which draws a countout because when the bell rang, Andre was the only Heenan Family member in the ring. We’ve already got the same problem the Hogan match had.

Warrior and Haku get things started for all intents and purposes but it’s quickly off to Anvil vs. Arn. Andre (in blue instead of black) yells incoherently at the Warrior as he leaves. It’s Haku vs. Anvil now with Haku in control. A superkick puts Neidhart down and eliminates him like it’s a squash match. Off to Shawn to make Haku miss him and now it’s off to Jannetty.

Haku tries a double clothesline but only hits Shawn. He picks up Marty but Shawn dropkicks Marty down onto Haku for a near fall. Off to Arn who tries a double suplex with Haku on Jannetty, but Shawn catches his partner in a nice move. Double superkicks put the wrestlers on the other team down and it’s off to Marty vs. Haku. Warrior gets a tag in a few seconds later and Haku immediately goes for the eyes.

Haku backs Warrior into the corner and Heenan points to Arn for the tag in a funny bit. Arn immediately gets taken down and Marty hooks an armbar. Anderson brings Marty to the corner and brings in Heenan for a single punch before it’s back to Haku. Arn knees Marty in the back and Haku superkicks him down so Heenan can drop a knee on Jannetty for the pin. You could loudly hear them calling spots on that sequence for some reason.

Warrior comes in so here’s Anderson again. There’s a bearhug by the Champ and Haku gets one as well. Off to Shawn who gets knocked to the floor with a few shots. Shawn moonsaults out of the corner over Arn and Anderson is in trouble. Warrior and Michaels both punch Anderson at the same time and Arn backs away from Warrior. A splash from Shawn gets two and it’s off to Haku.

That doesn’t last long at all as a cross body eliminates Haku to get us down to Warrior/Shawn vs. Heenan/Anderson. Heenan tries to get in some cheap shots on Shawn which draws in Warrior. Why? Was he that afraid for Shawn’s safety? Arn dumps Shawn to the floor and Heenan goes up….and then regains his sanity and climbs back down. Arn keeps asking for help from Heenan because he’s getting tired so it’s finally back to Bobby who runs at the first sign of trouble.

Shawn rams his head into the back of Arn’s head and both guys are down. They slug it out but Shawn walks into the spinebuster (called the Anderson Drop) for the elimination. Warrior fires off some shoulders but Arn ducks and sends him to the floor. Heenan goes up again but thinks better of it again. Off to Heenan but Warrior quickly Hulks up so we see some more Anderson. Warrior fights him off as well and whips Arn into Heenan to knock Bobby to the floor. The gorilla press and splash get us down to one on one. Warrior sneaks up on Heenan and what do you think happens here? A shoulder block and splash ends this.

Rating: C-. I think it was watching the whole show before this but this was another dull match. Warrior was never in any danger and I think everyone knew it. To be fair, this would have been better with Tully out there and you can’t fault the guys for that. Heenan being in there had to turn it into a comedy match and I can’t hold that against them. Still though, another dull match in a series of them tonight.

With this feud out of the way, Warrior was one of the hottest acts in wrestling. Soon after this, Warrior would be in the Royal Rumble. At one point, he and Hulk Hogan were the only to guys in the ring. You could feel the fans losing their minds as this was a place no one thought they could go. Neither guy got the advantage, so the Ultimate Challenge was set up: Wrestlemania VI, Title for Title.

WWF World Title/Intercontinental Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior

This is title for title. It’s one of those matches where both guys are built up to the point that neither can lose and the fans are completely split on who they want to win. That’s REALLY hard to pull off and I don’t remember a better execution of something like this ever before. The shot of Warrior on the ropes doing his pose as Hogan comes to the ring still sends chills up my back.

They stare each other down and both guys shove the other into the corner. We get the famous test of strength with Warrior taking over to start. Jesse is STUNNED but Hogan fights back up and takes Warrior down to his knees, giving us one of the most popular .gif’s in the history of the internet (implied oral sex if you’re not familiar). Hogan trips Warrior down and drops an elbow for one but Warrior pops up and no sells a slam. Warrior slams Hogan down and clotheslines him to the floor where Hogan might have hurt his knee.

Back in and the brawl is on with Hogan’s knee being fine and not ever mentioned again. Hulk takes over and pounds away at Warrior’s head before getting two off a pair of elbow drops. Off to a front facelock and a small package for two. Hogan hooks a chinlock and pounds away on Ultimate’s head. After a brief break we’re right back to the chinlock followed by a belly to back suplex for two for Hulk.

There’s chinlock #3 and you’re not likely to ever hear the fans freak out as much from someone fighting out of a chinlock as you get here for Warrior. A double clothesline puts both guys down and Hebner counts VERY slowly, which is the right idea here. Warrior grabs the ropes and starts Warrioring Up before hitting some clotheslines. A suplex gets two for Warrior and it’s off to a bearhug on Hulk.

Hogan fights out of the hold with some solid rights to the head but on the breakup, the referee is taken down. Warrior hits a pair of ax handles off the top and starts to get fired up. The shoulder block misses though and Hulk drives him head first into the mat, but there’s no referee. Warrior suplexes Hogan down but there’s still no count. A rollup gets a VERY close two for Hogan and it’s time for the punches.

An elbow sends Warrior out to the floor and Hogan gets posted. Back in and Warrior snaps off some clotheslines followed by the gorilla press into the splash. That gets two and it’s time to Hulk Up. Hogan pounds away and hits the big boot, but the legdrop misses. Warrior hits a fast splash for the surprise pin to win the title and shock the world.

Rating: A. That’s likely high but the crowd here REALLY helps this one. This is a match that just works and there’s almost no other way to put it. I don’t think there’s much of an argument over this not being Hogan’s best match ever and it’s easily Warrior’s first or second best ever depending on your taste about next year’s entry. Either way, this is a great match and one of those matches you have to see at some point as part of being a fan.

Hogan hands Warrior the belt and leaves in the cart, partially stealing the spotlight but it’s not as bad as I remember.

Warrior held the title for about nine months but refused to defend against Randy Savage. Randy cost him the title at the 1991 Royal Rumble, setting up a career vs. career match at Wrestlemania VII.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage

Before the match, Heenan spots Miss Elizabeth sitting in the crowd. Warrior only walks to the ring with a coat on instead of his usual sprint to the ring. His trunks have the WWF Title belt on the back with the words “Means much more than this”. The fans HATE Savage here while Warrior gets some great pops. They lock up to start with Warrior easily shoving Randy down a few times. A shoulder does nothing for Savage so he heads to the outside.

Back in and a clothesline puts Savage down and there’s an overhand choke. An atomic drop has Savage in trouble again and there’s a big atomic drop for good measure. Sherri tries to interfere and is immediately knocked to the outside again. Savage gets tied up in the ropes and Warrior pounds away as this is completely one sided so far. Savage finally comes back with a clothesline but he dives off the top into a slam position, but Warrior puts him down on his feet with no slam. Now THAT is a mind game.

Macho King goes to the floor and grabs a chair which is nothing more than a distraction so that he can jump Warrior. That goes as well as anything else has for him so far with Warrior pounding away at Savage’s head. Warrior stomps away in the corner as Heenan says you couldn’t sneak a midget into the building. Savage falls out of the corner to avoid a charge, sending Warrior out to the floor. Sherri adds a slap to the face and there’s the top rope ax handle.

Warrior gets posted and Sherri gets in a few more shots for good measure. We’re told that this is the largest PPV audience in the history of pay per view. Since there’s no way to know that for months, I don’t think this is the case. Warrior absorbs some slams and pops up to stare Savage down. A Sherri distraction doesn’t work at all and Warrior runs the ropes, only to be slammed face first down into the mat for two.

We hit the chinlock/sleeper for a bit before a double clothesline puts both guys down. Sherri tries to interfere again but the referee is taken down in the process. AGAIN the Queen interferes but accidentally takes Savage out by mistake. Warrior goes after her but gets caught in a rollup for two. Heenan is panicking over this stuff. Savage clotheslines him down and hits the flying elbow, followed by a flying elbow, followed by a flying elbow, followed by a flying elbow, followed by a flying elbow, which gets a two count in total. To say Savage is in shock is the understatement of the year.

Warrior starts shaking the ropes and hits the war path around the ring before clotheslining Savage half to death. The gorilla press and splash only get two and Warrior talks to his hands, asking if it’s time for him to step aside. With Warrior on the apron, Savage decks him down to the floor as the crowd continues to be on the edges of their seats.

Savage loads up the ax handle to the barricade but Warrior hits him coming down, sending Randy crashing into the barricade. Back in and Savage can barely stand so Warrior hits two tackles to send Savage out to the floor both times. A third hits and Savage is DONE. Warrior puts his foot on the chest to end Savage’s career.

Rating: A. After watching both this and Wrestlemania 6 in about three days, there is zero question as to which is the better match. This was a pair of titans colliding and one man clearly was better. That’s one of the formulas that never fails if worked even mostly right and they NAILED IT here. This is by far and away Warrior’s best match ever, but the best part is yet to come.

Post match Sherri gets in the ring and beats the tar out of Savage who is defenseless and can’t see who it is. Elizabeth shocks everyone by jumping the guardrail and throwing Sherri to the floor in the only time I can ever remember her getting physical. Savage gets up and is SHOCKED to see Liz, who hadn’t been seen in about a year. Liz says it was Sherri attacking Savage who has no idea what to do.

Liz holds out her arms and after a few moments, Savage hugs her to one of the biggest ovations you will ever hear. Savage puts Liz on his shoulder before the go to leave. As is their custom, Liz holds the ropes for him but Savage says not this time, and holds the ropes open for her. Savage gets to take a bow in the middle of the ring and the fans are thrilled. This is the only, repeat ONLY, moment in wrestling that legitimately brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it. I think that’s the case for a lot of fans.

Warrior would join forces with Hogan again soon after this to face Sgt. Slaughter (the man that beat him for the title) and Slaughter’s two cronies at Summerslam 1991.

Ultimate Warrior/Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter/Colonel Mustafa/General Adnan

Sid Justice is guest referee and Hogan is WWF Champion. Hogan and Slaughter get things going but the Sarge wants to stall. Slaughter pounds on him in the corner but gets caught between the right hands of both superheroes. Off to Warrior for a clothesline followed by a double big boot to put Slaughter down again. A clothesline gets two for Hogan and it’s back to Warrior. This is completely one sided so far. Hogan comes back in with a middle rope ax handle for two.

Sid breaks up some choking in the corner and the distraction lets Slaughter get in some shots on Hogan. Adnan, an old manager, comes in to rake Hogan’s back and slowly pound away in the corner. Off to Mustafa (Iron Sheik) for the gutwrench suplex and the camel clutch but Warrior makes the save. Slaughter comes back in to choke away in the corner and send Hogan into Sid for a staredown. Sarge jumps the distracted Hogan and stomps away on the back.

Warrior breaks up a top rope something by Slaughter, allowing for the hot tag to the painted one. Warrior cleans house on Slaughter but runs into Sid for another staredown. Back to Mustafa who gets caught in a suplex but Slaughter blocks a tag. Slaughter puts Warrior in a chinlock, only to have the Ultimate One fight up and clothesline Sarge down. There’s the hot tag to Hogan as Hogan chases the lackeys to the back with a chair. More on that later as Hogan throws powder in Slaughter’s face and drops the leg to win.

Rating: D+. I’m not a fan of this one as the match was never in doubt at all, but above that the Iraq War had been over for six months so the interest in the feud was done long ago. Nothing to see here but the fans reacted pretty well to it. This would have been better as a house show main event instead of the main event of Summerslam. If nothing else there was a match around this time on a Coliseum Video with Slaughter/Mustafa/Undertaker against the superheroes. Wouldn’t that make a much better main event here?

Warrior would be fired after he walked through the curtain for holding up Vince for more money. He would return at Wrestlemania VIII to save Hogan from a beatdown. Warrior made it back to the top of the card by the end of the summer and challenged Savage for the title at Summerslam 1992 in London. The idea here is Ric Flair/Mr. Perfect have said one of the guys has sold out and we’re to find out here. Therefore both guys are paranoid about the other and it’s driving them to violence.

WWF World Title: Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior

There’s no sign of Perfect or Flair with Warrior. Warrior is also in a singlet here instead of in his usual trunks. There’s no one with Savage either though, meaning we have to wait even longer to find out who sold out. Savage offers a handshake to start but Warrior accuses him of selling out and won’t shake. Scratch that as he does shake but they pull each other together and it’s on.

It’s a feeling out process to start with Savage shoving him away and hitting a knee to the ribs. A clothesline to the back of Warrior’s head puts him down as the fans are booing. Savage goes up top but Warrior punches him in the ribs to break up a double ax handle. A pair of atomic drops puts Randy down and some shoulder blocks do the same. Savage pounds away and hooks a chinlock, only for Warrior to break it up with a jawbreaker.

A bit right hand staggers the champion in the corner and Warrior stomps away for good measure. Warrior hits a clothesline but Savage ducks away, sending Warrior chest first into the buckle. The champion clotheslines him out to the floor for a bit before hitting the top rope ax handle back inside. It has no effect at all though as Warrior starts marching around the ring. Savage elbows him in the face to put him back down though and goes up again, only to dive into a backbreaker for two.

Warrior whips the champion hard into a corner a few times before putting on a bearhug. Instead of hanging onto it though he lets Savage go almost immediately and gets a two count. Another backbreaker gets two but Savage comes back with a small package for two of his own. A neckbreaker puts the challenger down but a delayed cover only gets two for Randy. Warrior comes back with a hard clothesline and starts pounding away on Savage’s weak back.

A suplex puts Savage down for a close two as the fans are getting into these near falls. Warrior charges at Savage but falls out to the floor by mistake. Randy goes up and drops yet another double ax onto Warrior’s back before sending him into the steps for good measure. Back in and a sunset flip gets two for Savage but Warrior slams him down. Here are Flair and Perfect to ringside as Warrior’s splash hits knees.

Savage and Warrior clothesline each other down which gets two each for both guys. Randy is up first but Perfect trips him down, signaling that Warrior is the sellout. Back up and Warrior punches him down before choking Savage into the corner. Warrior throws Savage into the corner again but the referee is bumped in the process. A slam puts Savage down and Warrior goes up top for a right hand to the head, although there’s no referee.

The referee finally comes over to count the two and Warrior is visibly frustrated. Back up and Savage hits a knee to send Warrior into the referee again before hitting a piledriver on the Ultimate one. There’s no referee again though so Savage goes to check on him. As Randy is out on the floor, Flair and Perfect take out Warrior behind Savage’s back. Randy drops the big elbow but the referee isn’t there in time for a count. Flair and Perfect are huddling on the floor.

Warrior starts his comeback with Savage pounding away on his back but to no effect. He runs over Savage with clotheslines and the flying shoulder block before loading up the gorilla press. Savage is in big trouble but as Warrior sets up the splash, Flair hits him in the back with a chair. Note that Savage didn’t see what Flair did.

Savage doesn’t know what to do now but he realizes Flair and Perfect did something. The champion goes up top but he isn’t sure. Instead of dropping the elbow though he dives at Flair, but gets knocked out of the air by a chair shot, injuring Savage’s knee in the process. Savage is counted out but retains the title.

Rating: B+. This was another really good match between the two and a great rematch from their first classic a year and a half earlier at Wrestlemania 7. The idea of having someone turn was a great incentive to watch the show, and having neither guy do the turn was the right move. The ending of the match is important soon after this.

Warrior left again before Survivor Series and hit the indies for a few years. He would return to the WWF at Wrestlemania XII in a rather infamous moment.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Ultimate Warrior

HHH debuts Sable as his latest good looking valet. This is Warrior’s latest return and the story was he might weigh 400lbs and be bald. Warrior of course is fine and the fans go nuts for him. Warrior’s entrance is far longer than the match. HHH jumps Warrior before he takes his coat off and actually hits the Pedigree. That goes nowhere though as Warrior is on his feet at the same time HHH is. Clotheslines, shoulder blocks, press slam and splash mean we’re done. The match didn’t even last two minutes.

Around this time he also debuted on Raw, against a future World Champion. From April 29, 1996.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Isaac Yankem DDS

Warrior runs him over to start and sends Issac over the top to the floor as we take an early break. Back with some clotheslines putting the dentist down before the splash gets the pin in about 1:45 shown.

Warrior bailed on the WWF again later in the year. We’ll jump over the WCW mess and go to Warrior’s final match. It’s from the NWE (Nu Wrestling Evolution) promotion in Spain against Orlando Jordan for Orlando’s NWE Championship on June 25, 2008.

NWE Championship: Orlando Jordan vs. Ultimate Warrior

It’s more of an awkward looking jog than a run. Orlando jumps Warrior during the rope shaking and hammers away in the corner, only to have the painted one comeback with kicks and chops. A backdrop puts Jordan down and he bails to the floor. Warrior’s paint is already peeling off. Back in and Orlando gets in a few shots, only to be rammed into the corner. A running clothesline puts the champion on the floor again and Warrior hammers on his own chest a bit.

Orlando stalls on the floor for a long time before coming back in to trade some hammerlocks. Jordan can’t keep a rear waistlock on for very long as Warrior powers into one of his own. They hit the mat for a bit as the match is quickly breaking down. Another backdrop puts Jordan outside and Warrior is clearly gassed. He follows Orlando outside and they fight in the confetti with Jordan in control.

Back in and Jordan mocks the chest beating, only to get taken down by a shoulder block. A powerslam gets two and a superplex to Jordan brings both guys down to the mat. Orlando is up first but Warrior starts shaking the ropes and hits the clotheslines. Warrior actually goes up for a nice cross body but the splash hits knees. He pops right back up though and hits some clotheslines and a bad shoulder for the pin and the title. No slam or splash?

Rating: D. This just wasn’t very good. I have no idea who thought giving this match 17 minutes was a good idea when Warrior barely made it through 14 minutes back in 1998. There was a lot of standing around but it didn’t really help. Warrior was clearly out of energy about five minutes in and it was becoming more sad than anything else.

Ultimate Warrior is a guy who will be remembered as great at times, but unfortunately his bad times will overshadow the good. The WCW run and some of his stuff outside the ring will dominate his memory, which is a shame as when he got what was going on, Warrior was VERY talented. His time in 1990-1991/2 was incredibly entertaining and had the best matches of his career. The matches against Randy Savage are some classics and should be remembered better than they are, and do I even need to talk about Wrestlemania VI? He belongs in the Hall of Fame and it was an honor to see him one last time. Warrior was great in his time and the work certainly holds up.

1 comment

  1. Killjoy says:

    There is no denying that the man was charisma personified and he lived for his character. His last words on Raw were the stuff of Shakespeare to be honest and words wrestlers should all live by.