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Is The Ultimate Warrior In The WWE Hall Of Fame?

Is The Ultimate Warrior In The WWE Hall Of Fame?

Warrior (James Brian Hellwig, June 16, 1959 – April 8, 2014) was a professional wrestler and bodybuilder from the United States. He performed for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) from 1987 to 1992, as well as a brief spell in 1996, under the ring moniker The Ultimate Warrior. He also worked for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) for a few months in 1998, when he was known as The Warrior.

Warrior was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, roughly 50 miles northwest of Indianapolis, in 1959 as James Brian Hellwig. He was the oldest of five children, and after his father abandoned his family when he was 12, he was raised by his mother (and subsequently, his stepfather). His father died at the age of 57, and his grandpa died at the age of 52. After the family relocated, he graduated from Fountain Central High School in Veedersburg and spent a year at Indiana State University.

Wrestling Career

Is The Ultimate Warrior In The WWE Hall Of Fame?

Hellwig began his professional wrestling career as an amateur bodybuilder, competing in a number of NPC competitions and capturing the NPC Mr. Georgia title in 1984.  Hellwig began lifting weights at the age of 11 and characterized himself as “the little, insecure child who wasn’t interested in any sports.” He relocated to California, where he became interested in bodybuilding after witnessing bodybuilder Robby Robinson. His first competition was in Florida, where he finished fifth. He then won the Junior Atlanta event and finished fifth in the 1981 AAU Collegiate Mr. America while attending Life University in Marietta, Georgia.

He won the AAU Coastal USA title in 1983, followed by the Mr. Georgia title the following year. His last bodybuilding competition was the Junior USAs in 1985, which was won by Ron Love, a future IFBB Pro. Hellwig came in fifth place.

He was invited to join a trio of bodybuilders — Garland Donoho, Mark Miller, and Steve Borden – to establish a professional wrestling team in 1985, after spending six weeks in California practicing for a bodybuilding contest. Warrior accepted the offer and gave up his intentions to become a chiropractor as well as his bodybuilding career.

Jim “Justice” Hellwig of Powerteam USA, a group of bodybuilders coached by Red Bastien and Rick Bassman, began his professional wrestling career as Jim “Justice” Hellwig of Powerteam USA. Hellwig and fellow apprentice Steve Borden (later known as “Sting”) created The Freedom Fighters, a tag team (Hellwig was known as Justice and Borden was called Flash).

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The Freedom Fighters, now known as the Blade Runners, joined the Universal Wrestling Federation in Oklahoma in March 1986. (UWF). “Blade Runner Rock” was Hellwig, and “Blade Runner Sting” was Borden. The Blade Runners were founded by UWF owner Bill Watts as a parody of The Road Warriors, according to Joseph Laurinaitis (aka Road Warrior Animal). They were a member of Eddie Gilbert’s Hotstuff International organization until Hellwig quit the UWF in June 1986, when they disbanded.

Warrior, a surprise replacement for the injured Brutus Beefcake, won the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship less than a year after his WWF television debut, defeating The Honky Tonk Man in a 27-second squash match at the inaugural SummerSlam on August 29, 1988, ending Honky Tonk’s 454-day reign. He captained a team in Survivor Series ’88, where he was the only survivor, pinning Outlaw Ron Bass and Greg Valentine in order to win the match for his side.

Is The Ultimate Warrior In The WWE Hall Of Fame?

Warrior regained the title at SummerSlam, defeating Rude to become a two-time Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion. Warrior then launched a feud with André the Giant, which resulted in Warrior defeating André in short squash bouts at a series of house events, establishing Warrior as a main event-level talent. The rivalry reached a head during the Survivor Series, where the two captains headed opposite teams. André was eliminated by Warrior, who knocked him out of the ring and counted him out. Warrior was the lone survivor once more, pinning Arn Anderson and Bobby Heenan to win.

Warrior successfully defended the belt after WrestleMania against Haku, Mr. Perfect, and Ted DiBiase. He defended his championship against Rick Rude in a steel cage battle at SummerSlam. Randy Savage, the “Macho Man,” was also presented as a possible contender after interfering in a The Main Event IV title fight at DiBiase’s request.

After The Undertaker and his manager, Paul Bearer, imprisoned Warrior in a coffin on the set of Bearer’s Funeral Parlor, the next chapter of Warrior’s career was a confrontation with The Undertaker. Officials from the WWF worked quickly to open the casket, showing Warrior’s lifeless body and the shredded cloth inside the coffin, signifying Warrior’s desperate attempt to escape. Officials administering CPR were ultimately able to resuscitate Warrior. As a result, Jake “The Snake” Roberts offered to give Warrior “the wisdom of the dark side” in order to help Warrior prepare for his vengeance on the Undertaker. This entailed Roberts putting Warrior through three “tests” that were broadcast on WWF television over the course of three weeks. Roberts put Warrior in a coffin for the second time for the first test.

The Freedom Fighters, now known as the Blade Runners, joined the Universal Wrestling Federation in Oklahoma in March 1986. (UWF). “Blade Runner Rock” was Hellwig, and “Blade Runner Sting” was Borden. The Blade Runners were founded by UWF owner Bill Watts as a parody of The Road Warriors, according to Joseph Laurinaitis (aka Road Warrior Animal). They were a member of Eddie Gilbert’s Hotstuff International organization until Hellwig quit the UWF in June 1986, when they disbanded.

Warrior was semi-retired between November 1992 and July 1995. Warrior created the short-lived “Warrior University,” a professional wrestling school in Scottsdale, Arizona, during his time away from the WWF.

Semi-retirement

Warrior was semi-retired between November 1992 and July 1995. Warrior created the short-lived “Warrior University,” a professional wrestling school in Scottsdale, Arizona, during his time away from the WWF.

He visited Europe for World Wrestling Superstars in Germany in April 1993, and he also starred in the action film Firepower as “the swordsman.”

He returned to the ring on July 22, 1995, in Las Vegas for the National Wrestling Conference (NWC) promotion, defeating The Honky Tonk Man. He also competed in Otto Wanz’s Catch Wrestling Association (CWA) company in Germany, where he beat Ulf Herman.

He defeated Jimmy Garvin in an independent event in Princeton, West Virginia on February 10, 1996.

World Championship Wrestling and Retirement (1998)

Warrior only appeared in three WCW contests. The first occurred at Fall Brawl’s WarGames match when he wrestled as a member of Team WCW against eight other wrestlers for a chance to face Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Halloween Havoc. Diamond Dallas Page pinned Stevie Ray to win the bout. On Monday Nitro on October 12, he teamed up with Sting to beat Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart by disqualification. The third was his defeat to Hogan at Halloween Havoc, which is widely regarded as one of the worst professional wrestling contests ever performed. During the match, Hogan’s attempt to “blind” Warrior with a fireball failed when a piece of flash paper caught fire.

Horace Hogan slammed Warrior in the back with a chair to end the bout, allowing Hogan to earn the pinfall.

Warrior only fought one match after retiring in 1998, on June 25, 2008, in Barcelona, Spain, against Orlando Jordan. Warrior won the bout and the Nu-Wrestling Evolution World Heavyweight Championship, however, he renounced the belt almost immediately.

Is The Ultimate Warrior In The WWE Hall Of Fame?

Is The Ultimate Warrior In The WWE Hall Of Fame?

Warrior announced on his own YouTube channel on February 20, 2013, that he will be appearing at “WrestleCon” on April 7, 2013. For the first time on his channel, he talked warmly about Vince McMahon in the same clip. His performance was so well-received that a second print run of tickets was required.

Warrior was featured in a WWE 2K14 game trailer on July 15, 2013, revealing his inclusion in the roster as a pre-order incentive.

The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 on April 5, 2014. Warrior made an appearance at WrestleMania XXX the next day, and then gave a Raw promo the next night, his first appearance on the show since his final broadcast WWF battle in 1996. Warrior addressed a message to the audience and wrestlers past and present as his Ultimate Warrior character during what turned out to be his final public appearance.

Married Life and Death

On October 2, 1982, Warrior married Shari Lynn Tyree. They married on March 22, 1991, two days before WrestleMania VII, after spending most of Warrior’s WWF career together. On January 31, 1999, Warrior married Dana Viale for the second time. They have two daughters as a couple.

Warrior died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 8, 2014. On April 5, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, on April 6, he performed at WrestleMania XXX, and on April 7, the day before his death, he made his first Raw appearance in 18 years.

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