Friday, April 2, 2010

Deadspin's "Dead" Wrestler Of The Week: The Ultimate Warrior

Most people who follow blogs closely have probably heard of Gawker media. They are the pinnacle of blog popularity. One of the websites under them is Deadspin, which claims to deliver sports "without access, favor or discretion." They absolutely come through on that claim as their targets have ranged from the likes of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez to Sean Salisbury and Steve Phillips. Anyway, I visit Deadspin for the sheer lulz and their often humorous take on sports. Plus, they have some excellent writers like Drew Margarey and Will Leitch. Anyway, a few weeks ago they started a weekly tribute to dead wrestlers. These columns have been absolutely great as they combine passion for wrestling, emotional attachment to the wrestlers along with some excellent writing. This week, they did an examination on one of strangest wrestlers (both life, character, and career wise); The Ultimate Warrior

Here is Deadspin's own description of it.

Every week, the Masked Man, Deadspin's pro wrestling correspondent, honors the sport's fallen and examines their legacies — famous and obscure alike. Today: The Ultimate Warrior, who according to rumor died in 1991. This is an investigation into that "death."

I will just do a teaser of sorts on here, if you want to read the rest of it, you should click right here

When the Ultimate Warrior made his shocking return to the squared circle on WCW Monday Nitro in Fall 1998 — and I use "shocking" here loosely, since "shocking" returns became, over the years, as much a part of the Warrior's shtick as the facepaint and tassels — Hulk Hogan's response was, "I … I thought you were dead." He wasn't the only one. The question going through the mind of the curious wrestling fan was more pointed: Was that even the original Ultimate Warrior at all?

Since his first "shocking" return in 1992 at WrestleMania VIII, when he rescued Hulk Hogan from a beatdown at the hands of Sid Justice and Papa Shango, the pro wrestling world had been abuzz with an unlikely urban legend: that the Ultimate Warrior had disappeared from the WWF in August 1991 because he had died, and upon his return the character was being portrayed by a new wrestler.

The evidence was circumstantial but somewhat compelling. This new Ultimate Warrior had a shorter haircut, blonder hair, and a fleshier, less-defined physique. (Sometimes, he even wore a singlet, flesh-toned and airbrushed with veins and striations to approximate the old Warrior's musculature.) And under that mop of hair and behind his unmistakable, all-obscuring face paint, it seemed that half of the bodybuilders on Muscle Beach could have done a convincing impersonation. The Ultimate Warrior's frantic style and garbled speech, though unique in that era of wrestling, wouldn't have been too difficult to imitate. Just imagine: The Warrior's signature music plays; some imposter of a muscleman scuttles to the ring; the crowd goes wild — one can easily see Vince McMahon thinking he could pull off such a ruse.

Again, the Masked Man does a fantastic job though the wonderful piece about Andre's life was better.

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