The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior

Ultimate Warrior

DVD Release Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MATCH #1: Ultimate Warrior vs. Terry Gibbs, Wrestling Challenge, 10.25.87

This is Warrior’s debut on Wrestling Challenge. Warrior shoulderblocks Gibbs down and executes a leapfrog and a hiptoss. He goes after the arm briefly, and then hits a bodyslam and an atomic drop. Another hiptoss sets up a big clothesline. Warrior delivers the Press Slam and the Splash to get the pin at 1:39. That was a typical squash for the day but a fine introduction to the Warrior.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #2: Intercontinental Title Match – Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior, SummerSlam, 8.29.88

Honky has been the Champion since 6.13.87, and this is his twenty-second major defense. His opponent was supposed to be Brutus Beefcake, but Outlaw Ron Bass carved up his forehead, so it’s mystery opponent time. The Ultimate Warrior comes running out from Parts Unknown, slams Honky, and delivers a shoulder block, a clothesline, and a big splash. He gets the pin and ends the longest Intercontinental Title reign of all-time in just 0:31. It obviously wasn’t much of a match but is a prime example of ending a title reign in the perfect way.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #3: WWE Championship vs. Intercontinental Title – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, WrestleMania VI, 4.1.90

Jesse Ventura’s commentary is not present here, which is always irritating. Hogan has been the WWF Champion since 4.2.89, and this is his eleventh major defense. Warrior has been the Intercontinental Champion since 8.28.89, and this is his fourth major defense. They start off cautiously and both men shove each other back to show that their strength is about equal. Next they engage in the classic Test of Strength. Warrior forces Hogan to his knees first. Hogan powers back and sends Warrior to his knees. He takes Warrior down with a leg trip and drops a quick elbow for a one-count. They criss-cross the ropes and Hogan grabs Warrior for a bodyslam. Warrior pops up and they criss-cross again. This time Warrior hits the bodyslam. Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the floor and Hogan appears to have injured his knee, as he’s limping pretty badly. The referee tries to check on Hogan, but Warrior wisely throws the Champ back in the ring and starts kicking at the leg. Apparently the injury isn’t so bad, as Hogan is quickly back in control and moving around just fine. Hogan wears Warrior down with a variety of slams and holds, trying to keep the frenetic one grounded. Warrior powers up and both men clothesline each other at the same time. Both men are down, and when they get to their feet Warrior is Hulking Up. Warrior unleashes a flurry of clotheslines and a vertical suplex for two. He puts on a bearhug and Hogan is fading. Hogan is able to punch his way out of the hold, and Warrior charges at him but Hogan ducks and the referee gets wiped out. Warrior goes up top and hits a double axe handle, and then another one. He tries a flying shoulderblock but Hogan sidesteps him and slams Warrior hard into the mat. Hogan counts his own three-count but the referee is out. Hogan gets frustrated and Warrior picks him up in a back suplex and counts his own pinfall, but the referee is still down. Eventually the referee crawls over but he only gets two. Hogan grabs a quick schoolboy rollup but the referee is slow and he can only count two. They head back to the floor, where Warrior is able to ram Hogan’s face into the steel post. Back in the ring Warrior hits a clothesline. Warrior follows with the Press Slam and the Back Splash but Hogan kicks out at two! Hogan is Hulking Up! He hits the Big Boot and goes for the Legdrop but Warrior moves! Warrior then flattens Hogan with a Splash to get the pin and win the title at 23:57. This felt suitably epic given the giant personalities involved. They laid it out perfectly and played into both men’s strengths. The crowd stayed into it all the way, which is what a match like this needed. Good stuff here.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #4: WWE Championship Steel Cage Match – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude, SummerSlam, 8.27.90

Warrior has been the Champion since 4.1.90, and this is his fourth major defense. This one will be under pinfall or escape rules. Rude goes to the top of the cage to taunt Warrior during his entrance, and Warrior meets him up there to start the match! Warrior wins a slugfest and knocks Rude all the way down to the mat. He comes off the top rope with a double axe handle. Piper says this is Warrior’s first cage match. The champion is all over the challenger, whipping him repeatedly into the cage. Rude moves out of the way of a charge, and the Warrior crashes into the cage. He tries to escape but Warrior isn’t worn down enough yet. Looks like Rude has been busted open. Even so, Rude is fully in control now. Warrior tries to fight back but Rude keeps knocking him back down. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior powers his way out of it! Warrior hits a clothesline but eats knees on a splash attempt. Rude tries the Rude Awakening again and this time he hits it! He could win the match here but he goes to the top of the cage and hits a fist to the head instead. He foolishly goes for another one and Warrior gets a fist to the gut this time. Warrior tries to climb out the door but Heenan slams it on his head. Rude covers but only gets two! He goes for the door but Warrior grabs onto his ankle. Heenan pulls on Rude from the other side, so Warrior pulls Rude’s tights down for the requisite butt shot. Imagine WWE doing that today. Warrior pulls Heenan in to the cage and hits a right hand and an atomic drop to send the Brain back outside. Rude levels Warrior with a clothesline, but Warrior is Hulking Up. Warrior hits a series of clotheslines to take Rude down. He follows up with the Gorilla Press Slam and then climbs up and over the top to get the win at 10:03. This wasn’t too bad, but Rude didn’t seem like a main event guy and Warrior was still in Hogan’s shadow so it was a little bit flat.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #5: Retirement Match – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage, WrestleMania VII, 3.24.91

Miss Elizabeth is watching on from the crowd. Good catch by Heenan there. Savage is accompanied by Queen Sherri. Both men are initially cautious, but they quickly get aggressive. Warrior uses his power to overwhelm Savage to the floor. Sherri distracts Warrior though it doesn’t do much good, as he levels Savage with a clothesline and then chokes him with two hands before slamming him to the mat. Warrior continues the abuse so Sherri gets in the ring but Warrior throws Savage at her and the Queen crashes to the floor. Savage tries to fight back but when he attempts a cross body block Warrior catches him in mid-air. Warrior then plants Savage on his feet and slaps him in the face! That’s the best thing Warrior has ever done. Warrior continues to dominate until he misses a charge in the corner and falls all the way to the floor. Sherri takes cheap shots while Savage distracts the referee. Savage hits an ax handle off the top rope. Back in the ring Warrior actually executes a backslide for two. Savage spits at Warrior and then wisely runs from him. Back in the ring Warrior thwarts interference by Sherri and hits a clothesline. Warrior runs the ropes back and forth a bunch of times and then misses a splash, I guess would be the best way to describe it. That was just awkward. Savage wears Warrior down a bit and then they clothesline each other. Both men are down. Sherri distracts the referee, which works out when Warrior gets an inside cradle. Savage is able to kick out. He hits a high knee to the back and Warrior knocks out the referee. Sherri gets involve again, going up top with her shoe as Savage holds Warrior. It backfires and Savage gets hit with the shoe! Warrior goes after Sherri and Savage rolls him up for a near-fall. Savage wears Warrior down now and does the unthinkable by hitting five consecutive Diving elbow drops. Warrior kicks out at two! Now Warrior is Destrucing Up! Warrior unloads with clotheslines and then hits the Press Slam and big splash combination. This time Savage kicks out! A distraught Warrior contemplates leaving the match but Savage denies him that chance. Sherri holds Warrior on the barricade and Savage goes for the ax handle but Warrior shoves Sherri off and Savage crashes into the barricade. Warrior has found new purpose! Back in the ring Warrior hits a big shoulderblock and Savage tumbles to the floor. Warrior brings Savage back in the ring for another one and once again Savage tumbles out. After a third flying shoulderblock Warrior brings Savage back into the ring and places one foot on his chest to get the pin and end Savage’s career (ha!) at 20:48. This is easily Warrior’s best match ever, with a legitimate reason for the stipulation and palpable hatred between them. They did a bunch of really cool little spots and the crowd heat was insane. This is one of my favorite matches.
Rating: ****¾

~BONUS DISC~

MATCH #6: Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules, Madison Square Garden, 4.25.88

Warrior charges to the ring and takes the chain away from Hercules, and swings it over his head. That’s just dangerous. Hercules wisely bails to the floor until Warrior drops the chain. They try to intimidate each other at the start, but neither man will back down. Both men use their power and Hercules throws Warrior down. An angry Warrior pops back up and Hercules gets out of the ring to avoid him. Warrior pulls Hercules back in the ring and goes to work on him. Hercules fights back but Warrior doesn’t seem to be much in the mood for selling tonight. The crafty veteran Hercules uses momentum to throw Warrior to the floor. Hercules follows him out and puts together some sustained offense now. He wears Warrior down with a bearhug Warrior powers his way out of it but Hercules cuts him off with a back elbow for a two-count. Hercules drops a big elbow for another near-fall. Warrior gets up and they run at each other and collide, with Warrior falling on top for a two-count. Back on their feet Hercules hits a clothesline for two. Hercules tries another clothesline but Warrior ducks and hits a powerslam for a two-count. Warrior Hulks Up and floors Hercules with a clothesline. He picks Hercules up for the Press Slam and that’s enough for the pin at 12:49. Given the extreme limitations of both guys, that was not so bad. They kept it simple and made Warrior look good, which was the idea.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #7: Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Saturday Night’s Main Event, 4.27.91

Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are on commentary. Slaughter is accompanied by Col. Mustafa and Gen. Adnan. This is a rematch from the Royal Rumble. Slaughter is coming off losing the WWF Title to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII, and Warrior is coming off ending Savage’s career at the same event. Warrior charges the ring and Slaughter foolishly tries to surprise Warrior from the top rope and gets slammed down. It’s all Warrior in the early going. They take it to the floor and Warrior is dominating. Back in the ring Slaughter goes to the eyes to take the advantage. Mustafa and Adnan interfere every chance they get of course. Slaughter wears Warrior down and uses a bearhug, which Warrior breaks with a bodyslam. Unfortunately for Warrior he is not able to follow up and Slaughter is right back on offense. Slaughter puts the bearhug back on and Paul Bearer brings a casket out to ringside. Warrior breaks the hold and sees the casket. He’s obviously distracted by it, and Slaughter clotheslines him to the floor. It’s time for a commercial break, and when we come back Slaughter is still in control. Warrior Hulks Up and unleashes a series of clotheslines. He hits a flying shoulderblock and Bearer lifts the casket up to reveal the Undertaker! Warrior locks eyes with the Undertaker and once again Slaughter attacks from behind. Adnan, Mustafa, and Undertaker all get in the ring for a beatdown and Warrior gets the win by disqualification at 7:19 (shown). WWF Champion Hulk Hogan comes out to make the save, and he chases the Triangle of Terror to the back. Meanwhile, Undertaker and Warrior do battle and Warrior is unable to take Undertaker off his feet. Warrior knocks Undertaker to the floor, and officials come out to break it up. The actual match between Warrior and Slaughter was okay but nothing special. They were obviously setting up other things and it worked to that end.
Rating: **

MATCH #8: WWE Championship Match – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior, SummerSlam, 8.31.92

Savage has been the Champion since 4.5.92, and this is his third major defense. Things get heated right away between these two former rivals. Both are now good guys but there is still tension stemming from their feud in 1991 in which Warrior temporarily ended Savage’s career. Savage takes the first advantage and goes to the top rope for an ax handle but Warrior buries a fist into his midsection. Warrior presses the advantage and puts together a string of moves but misses an elbow drop. The challenger perseveres and is quickly back on offense. Savage fights back and clotheslines Warrior to the floor. He brings him right back in and covers for two. Savage hits an ax handle from the top rope but Warrior doesn’t feel it. A second one takes Warrior off his feet for a near-fall. Savage goes for a cross body block but Warrior catches him and hits a backbreaker for two. Warrior keeps the pressure on, working on Savage’s back. Savage comes back with a neckbreaker for a two-count. He can’t stay on offense though due to his injured back. Warrior goes for a clothesline but Savage ducks and Warrior crashes hard to the floor. Savage follows with the flying ax handle. He abuses Warrior on the floor for a bit and brings him back in the ring for a cover. Then Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair make their way to ringside. During the buildup to this match they promised that one of the two combatants in this match had secured Perfect’s managerial services. Flair is in full wrestling gear for some reason. Meanwhile, Warrior has regained control. Warrior goes for a big splash but Savage gets his knees up. Savage covers for two. He and Warrior then clothesline each other and both men are down. They take turns covering each other but get two. Perfect makes his first impact on the match by tripping Savage, and it looks like Warrior has sold out. The referee gets bumped and Warrior continues to beat on Savage. Warrior hits an ax handle from the top rope but the referee is slow to count so it only gets two. The challenger argues with the referee and the Champion delivers the High Knee, causing the referee to get dumped to the floor. Savage hits a piledriver but there is no ref to count of course. He tries to revive the ref and Perfect gets in the ring to seemingly help Warrior, but he holds Warrior instead and Flair blasts him with brass knuckles! Perhaps Savage is the one who sold out!? Savage slams Warrior down and hits the Diving elbow drop. Warrior kicks out at two! Warrior starts to Hulk Up and he delivers a series of clotheslines. He hits a diving shoulder block and then the Press Slam. Warrior then goes for the Big Splash but Flair cracks him across the back with a steel chair! Savage gets up and sees that Warrior is down, and he knows he didn’t do it. The Champion is angry with Perfect, but he goes to the top rope anyway. Savage seems to have second thoughts, so he turns toward Flair and leaps at him, only to get swatted out of the air with a chair! The Champion injures his knee and is unable to crawl back to the ring and gets counted out at 26:15. This match gets overshadowed by Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog in the main event, but this is a hell of a match. The pace they cut was intense, and the underlying mystery of who would have Flair and Perfect on his side was intriguing. Savage and Warrior had ridiculous chemistry, and while this wasn’t on the level of WrestleMania VII, this is a bit of a lost gem that doesn’t get enough credit.
Rating: ****

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About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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