About a week ago, the wrestling world (and entertainment world) was rocked by the death of (The Ultimate) Warrior, nee James Hellwig, one of the most-remembered wrestling personas in the history of the business. It came as a shock, mostly because he had just appeared on Monday Night RAW and delivered a truly prophetic promo on how legacies were created and prospered and how people, including himself, became legends.
Now, before a few years ago, I didn't really pay much attention to Warrior. I'm twenty-five years old and watched wrestling, before getting back into it in 2011, in one-to-two-year spurts. I just missed Warrior during his early WWF days because I was still in diapers, and I missed his One Warrior Nation days because, by then, I'd tuned WCW out completely for the Attitude Era. So, my reaction to his death was shock more so based off what I did know. Warrior was a somewhat "controversial" figure in wrestling (a word that gets thrown around more than chairs in an extreme match), he wore some badass face paint and spoke like an Indigenous American Chief, he and Vince McMahon had a real-life feud, and they patched things up days before he died of a massive heart attack in Arizona.
In the past week or so, I've gone back and watched all the footage I could of Warrior's days as a wrestler, going back to when he and Sting (who may or may not debut with WWE soon) were a tag team. Warrior wasn't a technical guy or an indy darling. But, what he lacked in in-ring finesse, he made up in his dialed-up-to-eleven promo style. No, he wasn't dropping pipe bombs before it was cool, but his promos made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. He got me interested in what he was going to do in the ring, even though I knew it wasn't going to be pretty, from a technical standpoint. For a week, I forgot everything I'd (re)learned about wrestling, I forgot about work rate and all those other "fancy IWC"* terms, and just enjoyed a guy who lived and breathed intensity.
In professional wrestling, and life in general, there are less and less people who are, in the words of good friend Drizzle Sez, "being awesome." Warrior exuded that philosophy and then some. He never seemed to mince his words, spoke from the heart, and just all-around kicked ass. This isn't a post to suck up to the deceased, as, like I mentioned, I wasn't a big fan of Warrior growing up (didn't know his in-ring work all that much; I more so knew his pundit side) and I'm still not the biggest fan of the guy. But, I respect what he did for the business as a whole.
Even if I didn't agree with it everything he said.
* I am aware that talking about wrestling online makes me, to a degree, part of the IWC.