Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Ultimate Error

If you watched or attended a World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) event in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s and the Ultimate Warrior was on the card, you knew when his match was about to begin. The instrumental strains of Jim Johnston’s “Unstable” would kick in, followed immediately by the anticipatory roar of the crowd. The din would crescendo as the Warrior sprinted from the bowels of the arena and entered the ring, screaming and shaking the top rope violently as he did, his signature neon tassels swaying from his cartoonishly large biceps as he huffed and puffed. It was a show before the show — a shot of adrenaline.

The Ultimate Warrior, born James Brian Hellwig in 1959, adrenalized wrestling crowds at every event — but if you were at the concession stand or in the restroom while he grappled, you failed to get your fill of energy, because a Warrior match, like a sunset, occurred only once that day. He’d enter the ring enthusiastically, fight, win (most of the time) and call it a night, his professional work producing a weakened Warrior. The man who distinctively decorated his face didn’t do double duty, applying two coats of paint per event. Who has that kind of energy?

The back of the case for the Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray (pictured) and DVD suggests the Warrior does. The black “INCLUDES” panel lists four matches. The Ultimate Warrior fought Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI in 1990. The Ultimate Warrior faced “Macho King” Randy Savage at WrestleMania VII the following year. In 1989, the Ultimate Warrior battled Rick Rude at SummerSlam and Andre the Giant at … SummerSlam? The descriptions and dates of those 1989 matches match. What the Hellwig? (That’s the, ahem, Ultimate question.)

The Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude did face each other for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam on Aug. 28, 1989, but the Warrior and Andre the Giant did not. Those two fought for the same belt exactly two months later, Oct. 28, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

This case is in serious need of a WWE smackdown. We must slay the “Giant” error, which is as painful as one of Warrior’s patented gorilla press drops.

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