Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Ultimate Hall of Famer

The Ultimate Warrior!
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The WWE has announced the first inductee into the Hall of Fame for 2014, and it's none other than the Ultimate Warrior.  I avoided social media like the plague after hearing there were plans to announce someone on Raw.  I always enjoy being surprised and in a world full of spoilers, I knew being on Twitter or Facebook would likely rob me of that.

I figured the Warrior's induction would be coming sooner rather than later, as the tensions between he and the WWE have eased over the last few years.  His inclusion in the WWE 2K14 game all but guaranteed him going in at some point.  Some fans have criticized the decision, and honestly I don't understand that.

Let's remember, the WWE Hall of Fame is made up of men and women who achieved fame and success in a business with a pre-determined outcome.  I'm not undermining the HOF, it's one of my favorite parts of Wrestlemania weekend, which I'll be attending again this year.  While the Warrior wasn't the most talented guy in the ring, he was one of the most popular and successful ones in the late 80's and early 90's.

Dingo Warrior with Gary Hart
I first took notice when he was the Dingo Warrior back in his days in Texas.  He was a raw and rough heel, who destroyed the competition. I realize he and Sting teamed up prior to that, but I never saw any of those matches.  Anyway, it didn't take long for the fans to get behind him, and the Warrior turned face.  Of course his size and stature caught the eye of the WWE and soon he was in New York and became the Ultimate Warrior.  Other than longer hair, his look didn't really change, neither did his intensity, just his name.

Warrior shocked me when he pinned the Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Title at the first SummerSlam event.  As a HTM mark at the time, I viewed this as the ultimate upset and miscarriage of justice.  He dropped the belt to Rick Rude only to recapture it before beating Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title in what may stand as the biggest unification match in the history of the company.  (Sorry John Cena and Randy Orton)  Now that I think of it, I guess it was more title vs. title, sorry for the wrong analogy there.

Warrior rules
Photo courtesy: WWE
I think a lot of people expected the Warrior to carry the torch for the WWF while Hogan was away.  For whatever reason it didn't work out and less than a year into his title reign, Warrior dropped the belt to Sgt. Slaughter of all people.  This time, I felt the Warrior had gotten screwed.  Two months later, he had what I still consider my favorite Wrestlemania match of all time against "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  Not long after that though, Warrior disappeared from the business only to return by Wrestlemania 8.  But again, he didn't last long and was gone before the end of 1992.  He reemerged again at Wrestlemania 12 and I thought he'd be around a while, but it wasn't to be, as he once again faded into the sunset.

Warrior vs. Triple H
Photo courtesy: WWE
After a brief run in WCW (mostly to put Hogan over for the Wrestlemania loss), Warrior left again.  We were able to follow him on social media and YouTube and hear his rants against many in the business.  Eight short years ago the WWE released a DVD entitled "The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior."  The superstars and legends on that DVD rip the Ultimate Warrior to shreds, so this new association with the company tells me, like Vince McMahon always said "anything can happen in the WWE." and money, along with time helps heal all wounds.

No matter the motives or reasons for his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, I'm happy to hear it.  The Ultimate Warrior deserves this honor and I'll be there listening and trying to understand his induction speech.  Now let's get Savage on the list this year too!

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