When I think of professional wrestling, a few names immediately come to mind. Hulk Hogan of course, the undertaker, sting, the rock, just to name a few. I can’t say that I watch today’s wrestling. When I was a kid I believed it was real, the larger than life giants of men fought their hearts out, chasing after the glorious heavyweight title.
My brothers and I would take all the cushions off the couch, put them on the floor and stage “epic” battles. Jumping off the arm of the couch was the equivalent of the top rope. I was more of a “cruiser weight” because they were too big to lift up, so I did a lot of jumping haha. When Shawn Michaels won the belt from the hit man I remember leaping up out of my chair, clinching my fingerless leather gloved fists in triumph like it was me in there. Amazing moments for me.
It hit me like a ton of bricks when I found out pro wrestling was fake, it was the equivalent of finding out Santa wasn’t real. Terrible, earth shattering news for a twelve year old boy. I was absolutely disgusted, I quit watching cold turkey, no more wrestlemania or royal rumble ppv’s at the house, my parents were probably happy to skip that bill. I moved on to “real” wrestling in school, thus beginning my mma career.
As I got older I looked at wrestling in a different light. These men are amazing athletes. The physical demands they put on their bodies would break lesser men. The grueling schedule, the constant injury factor etc. You can only pull so many punches and slams before the impact is for real. Then you have to shake it off and keep going. Nothing but respect for these great men.
Onto the “ultimate warrior”. No one entered the building like he did. His music, the sprint to the ring, the wild hair and war paint, it was all so powerful. You can’t not get pumped up when he comes to the ring. I remember the crazy adrenaline dumps I’d get watching him perform. When he’d get clubbed and start head bashing, just awesome. Everything about him was larger than life. Even his incoherent interviews were amazing, no one could understand a word he said but it didn’t matter. This was the walking talking equivalent of Conan the barbarian, a man from a different world that was half here and half somewhere else. My long hair is a testament to “warriors” like him, a boyhood emulation in my adult life.
Hearing that he passed away, a little part of me and every wrestling fan goes with him. It made me happy hearing that he was inducted into the hall of fame. He was given his last moment under the bright lights before Valhalla called him home. I’ll never be a fan of wrestling again, I’m from the hulkamaniac days, everything after paled in comparison.there will never be another like you. Thanks for the memories Warrior, you left an impact on a small boy that will never be forgotten.
RIP James Hellwig aka The Ultimate Warrior