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The Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior

James Brian Hellwig

Born 16 June 1962 ), is an American professional wrestler known by many as The Ultimate Warrior , he legally changed his name to Warrior in 1991. As a WWF superstar from the mid-80's to the early 90's, the Ultimate Warrior was known for his high-energy and high-risk wrestling style, and his "Gorilla Press Slam," in which he would lift his opponent over his head like a barbell, and then drop him to the mat face-first.

Journey Of A Warrior

Jim Hellwig began wrestling in November 1985. He started traing with Ric Bassman for a spot as one of a quartet of bodybuilders known as Powerteam USA. The members of the team were Jim "Justice" Hellwig, Steve "Flash" Borden, Mark "Commando" Miller and Garland "Glory" Donnoho. However not everything went according to plan and after just 15 hours training Powerteam USA disbanded. But the wrestling seed was sown so Hellwig and Borden decided to tag together. They sent flyers out to every wrestling promotion in the country but only Jerry Jarrett was ballsy enough to take a chance on the two green but eager stars in the making. They wrestled in Memphis for Jerry Jarrett promotions as the Freedom Fighters. From there they moved on to Bill Watts' UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation). There they turned heel and renamed themselves The Bladerunners in which Hellwig changed his name to Rock and Borden changed his name to the more familiar Sting. They wrestled together in the Universal Wrestling Federation until after a contract dipute and his take no shit attitude not going down too well with Watts, Hellwig left the promotion. He moved on to World Class Championship Wrestling and started wrestling as Dingo Warrior. Dingo Warrior was essentially a more rough around the edges version of The Ultimate Warrior. He had the trademark face paint and arm-bands but still had some developing to do with the character. At first in WCCW Dingo was a heel managed by Gary Hart and then Percy Pringle III, better known as WWF's Paul Bearer. Warrior eventually turned on Pringle and became a face and would remain so for the rest of his wrestling career. In WCCW he continued learning about the wrestling business and developing his skills and character and was rewarded on 17/11/86 when he won his first honours in the wrestling business when he and Lance Von Erich defeated Matt Borne and Master Gee in Fort Worth Texas for the WCCW World Tag Team Titles. They held the titles only until 01/12/86 when they were defeated by Al Mandril and Brian Adias. On 02/02/87 Dingo Warrior won his first ever singles title when he became Texas Heavyweight Champion defeating Bob Bradley in Fort Worth, Tx. He held this title until 21/06/87 when he lost it to Al Perez in Puerto Rico. Despite the loss the world had gotten a glimpse of what eventually became one of the most recognisable figures ever to set foot in a wrestling arena. Several promotions had taken notice of Dingo Warrior and approached Hellwig with offers. Antonio Inoki and New Japan Pro Wrestling outlined details of a new monster charachter they wanted Hellwig to portray in their promotion. Hellwig of course turned them down in favour of the World Wrestling Federation.

The Ultimate Warrior Is Born

In 1987 The Dingo Warrior made his debut in The World Wrestling Federation. He impressed on his television debut in a 20 man Battle Royal which was eventually won by Bam Bam Bigalow. "Dingo" was soon dropped by Hellwig in favour of the more marketable "Ultimate" and he was given a guitar heavy enrance theme. His running entrance and the insane shaking of the ropes quickly made The Ultimate Warrior a crowd favourite and he took the WWF by storm. After taking care of jobbers in his early days he began feuding with another powerfully built wrestler, Hercules Hernandez. The feud began when before a scheduled bout Hercules challenged Warrior to a tug of war. Warrior accepted and ended up pulling on the steel chain so hard that it snapped! Their feud ended at Wrestlemania IV with The Warrior emerging victorious in under 5 minutes. The Warrior was now an established WWF superstar but this was just the beginning. The Warrior became WWF Intercontinental Champion on 29/08/1988 when as a stand in for the injured Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, he disposed of The Honky Tonk Man in just 31 seconds, the shortest Intercontinental Title match in history. Warrior defeated all challengers for his title and began a feud with "Ravishing" Rick Rude. He took part in a posedown with Rude at the 1989 Royal Rumble. Rude attacked Warrior setting the stage for a title match at Wrestlemania V on 02/04/1989 in which Rude won the IC title with assistance from his manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Rude's title reign was short lived though as The Warrior regained his title at that years Summerslam on 28/08/1989. He entered a feud with Andre the Giant, most of which went on at house shows. Warrior regulary beat the Giant in under a minute and sometimes in only 10 seconds! A feature of this feud was Warrior's effortless bodyslamming of the 520 pound Giant! In the Royal Rumble of 1990 Warrior was eliminated by WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan. This set up their huge match at Wrestlemania VI on 01/04/1990. It was the first time the top two babyfaces had squared off against one another. Title vs Title. WWF World Champion vs WWF Intercontinental Champion. Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior. Before 65,000 ecstatic fans in Toronto Ontario, Canada The Ultimate Warrior defeated The Hulkster and became WWF World Champion. The rules in WWF at the time stated nobody could hold both titles at one time so Warrior had to give up his intercontinental title. The Warrior's popularity skyrocketed and he became the face of the WWF both in and out of the ring. The Warrior held the title untl at Royal Rumble 19/01/1991 he was beaten by Sgt Slaughter with interferance by "Macho King" Randy Savage. Warrior and Savage met in a retirement match at Wrestlemania VII in which Warrior defeated Savage and gained revenge for the interferance which cost him his WWF World Title.
After teaming with Hulk Hogan to defeat the team of Sgt Slaughter, General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa at Summerslam 1991 The Warrior disappeared from the wrestling ring for a while. The Warrior made his return to the WWF at Wrestlemania VIII, helping Hulk Hogan after his match against Sid Justice. Papa Shango came down to the ring and joined in with Sid beating on Hogan. Suddenly Warrior was there, running down the ramp and into the ring to a huge ovation from the fans. He and Hogan beat off the heels in one of the most memorable finshes to a Wrestlemania event. It was during this time however that Warrior and WWF began having difficulties. There was an arguement over who had creative rights to The Ultimate Warriors name as well as creative diferences as to how The Warriors charachter should be used. Warrior left the company in November of that year. During his time away from WWF Warrior made a single appearance for a small Las Vegas based promotion, The NWC. Here he met up with the Honky Tonk Man to renew their rivalry one last time. Warior defeated HTM in a sold out small arena. The buzz at the time was that Warrior would help the NWC to get off the ground but unfortunately this never happened. Warrior was scheduled to meet another former WWF superstar, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, at the next event but it never took place as the promoter ran out of money. He also toured Europe with another indy group the WWS (World Wrestling Superstars) Warrior was WWS Champion until the tour ended. In 1993 Warrior took the role of The Swordsman in the straight to video movie "Firepower." Warrior's character was that of an evil crime boss who took part in underground cage death matches. Also in 1993 he legally changed his name from Jim Hellwig to Warrior. Contrary to belief, the change had nothing to do with Warrior's wrestling aspirations. It came about because Warrior's father left home when Warrior was 12 leaving a wife and five kids behind him. Warrior had no reason to be proud of his family name and saw no reason to carry on it's legacy. His final run in the WWF came in 1996. Warrior feuded with intercontinental champion, Goldust as well as Owen Hart and Vader. This run included an appearance at Wrestlemania XII in which The Warrior defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley in under two minutes. This stint in WWF also lasted just afew months and ended after Warrior missed some house shows to spend some time with his father who was ill at the time. Warriors father sadly passed away shortly afterwards. But difficulties with WWF had developed and after no-showing a house show in Detroit, Michigan. WWF announced Warrior would not appear again unless he signed an appearance bond. Warrior refused to sign so the WWF terminated his contract citing their differences in the past. In 1998 The Warrior entered World Championship Wrestling to a huge reaction from fans. He interrupted an in-ring promo by Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and the Disciple and announced a revolution. He started OWN (One Warrior Nation) and began feuding with Hogan's NWO. The two had a match scheduled for Halloween Havoc. There was every indication that it would be as big as ther match eight years previously at Wreslemania VI. Disaster struck however when just six weeks before Halloween Havoc Warrior injured his arm at War Games. Despite being told not to work out and to take some time off to allow the injury to heal Warrior began rehabbing almost immediately with light workouts for a couple of hours a day. The injury limited Warrior to doing promo's to hype the Haloween Havoc match but because he couldn't get involved in any physical in ring activities during this time the meeting of the two failed to generate the heat that it promised on Warriors initial return. Warrior still wasn't 100% by the time Haloween Havoc rolled around but the match went ahead regardless. In what is considered one of the worst matches in WCW history Warrior was defeated thanks to interferance from Eric Bischoff and Horace Hogan hitting Warrior with a steel chair. Warrior made a couple of appearances in WCW after this but when his contract expired in December '98 he left wrestling for the last time.

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