When I was at school, one of the few happy memories I have from that time is talking wrestling. At that time, you were one of two things – A Hulkamaniac or a Warrior.
Me? I was a Warrior. I dug the sheer insanity of the guy, how he did everything at 100mph, including speaking before thinking it would seem, and Hogan was just too nicey nicey. Hogan would kiss the babies and pose for a photo; Warrior was more likely to snarl and scream at the baby.
I had a VHS tape (remember those?) of WrestleMania 6, and I damn near wore it out rewinding that main event again and again and again… I watched that Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior match again today for the first time in a while. Today, I’ve been overloading on classic Warrior promos *snarl*
I watched the Hall of Fame induction, and kept waiting on the fireworks that a lot of people expected; what I saw was a man who looked at ease with himself, with his place in the industry. The fire that once burned in the eyes of a madman was there, but had turned to pride – pride in himself, his family, his legacy.
On Raw, he came down to the ring – put the Warrior coat on, shook the rope one more time. It was great! And when he growled “SPEAK TO ME, WARRIORS” – man, I was back at school again. I was right back there in my mind. Putting the mask on, and letting the “Warrior” take over and speak for him? Loved it.
If the last thing he ever did in a WWE ring was to inspire that feeling in just one person, I’m sure he would have been a happy man… but everyone that grew up in that era must have at least felt a little tinge of nostalgia for those days gone by.
He was, and will forever be, The Ultimate Warrior.
Rest in peace, Warrior.