The ups and downs of the Ultimate Warrior’s wrestling career
Born James Hellwig in 1959, the Ultimate Warrior made his wrestling debut in 1985 teaming up with Steve Borden, better known to wrestling fans as Sting.
In 1986, he moved to World Class Championship Wrestling before joining the then-WWF one year later, making his television debut in October as The Ultimate Warrior.
With growing popularity thanks to his character, Warrior was given his first title at SummerSlam 88, defeating the Honky Tonk Man in under 30 seconds to become the Intercontinental title.
His greatest moment came at just 30 years of age when in 1990 he defeated Hulk Hogan at the SkyDome in Toronto, Canada, at WrestleMania VI in a match billed as “The Ultimate Challenge” where both his Intercontinental title and the WWF title were on the line.
He lost his title in January 1991 to Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble and then started a feud with Randy Savage which climaxed at WrestleMania VII in a retirement match, a match which Warrior won.
In 1991, Warrior’s relationship with the WWE went through a rough patch and he demanded $550,000 for his participation at WrestleMania among other royalties and threatened to walk out of the company even though he was in the main event of SummerSlam that year. Eventually WWE paid Warrior what he wanted but he was fired as soon as the pay-per-view was over.
He returned in 1992 at WrestleMania VIII, saving Hulk Hogan from Sid and Papa Shango but his return was short-lived, and in November of that year he was released even though he was set to main event Survivor Series weeks later with Savage, Razor, and Flair.
He returned once again 1996, defeating Triple H at WrestleMania XII but again problems with the McMahons led to another early departure that same year.
He moved to WCW in 1998, wrestling only four matches while he was employed by the Atlanta-based company. He eventually lost to Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc 98, a match which is considered one of the worst in WCW history. He departed WCW that same year and retired.
His return to WWE was announced in 2013 as part of the WWE 2K14 game where he was added as a playable character and in January of this year he was announced as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014.
Warrior headlined the Hall of Fame this past Saturday with a passionate speech and then appeared at WrestleMania XXX with the other Hall of Fame inductees before being given his own few minutes on TV for a promo on Monday Night RAW where he donned one of his old jackets and put a mask to address the WWE fans.