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For a 1975 film, see The Ultimate Warrior . For the South Korean film Ultimate Warrior, see Musa . For other uses, see Warrior .

Warrior (born James Brian Hellwig on June 16, 1959) is a semi-retired Americanmarker professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s as the Ultimate Warrior, during which time he won the WWF Championship and pinned Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VI. Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. He wrestled both as a heel and as a face. Warrior retired from professional wrestling in 1999 and embarked on a public speaking career. On June 25, 2008 he returned to wrestle one final match, and defeated Orlando Jordan in Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker in a match booked by the Italianmarker Nu-Wrestling Evolution promotion.

Early life

Warrior was born as James Brian Hellwig in Crawfordsville, Indianamarker. He was the eldest of five children, and was raised by his mother (along with, later, his stepfather) after his father left his family when young James was 12. He spent a year at Indiana Statemarker. It was also during this time he began to compete in amateur bodybuilding..

Bodybuilding career

Prior to his career in professional wrestling Hellwig was an amateur bodybuilder, competing in a number of NPC contests, and winning the 1984 NPC Mr. Georgia crown. Hellwig started training with weights when he was 11 years old and has described himself as "the small, insecure kid who wasn't into any sports". He moved to California where, after seeing bodybuilder Robby Robinson, decided to take up the sport. His first contest took place in Florida where he placed 5th. Later, while he was attending Life Universitymarker in Marietta, Georgiamarker, he won the Junior Atlanta contest, and placed 5th at the 1981 AAU Collegiate Mr. America. In 1983, he won the AAU Coastal USA, before taking the Mr. Georgia title the following year. His last bodybuilding contest was 1985's Junior USA's, which was won by future IFBB Pro, Ron Love. Hellwig finished 5th.

In 1985, after spending six weeks in Californiamarker training for a bodybuilding contest, he was invited to join a group of bodybuilders - Garland Donoho, Mark Miller, and Steve "Flash" Borden - who were attempting to make the transition into professional wrestlers. Warrior accepted the invitation, and abandoned his bodybuilding career and his plans to become a chiropractor.

Professional wrestling career

Mid-South Wrestling | Universal Wrestling Federation (1985–1986)

Hellwig began his professional wrestling career as Jim "Justice" Hellwig of Powerteam USA, the group of bodybuilders trained by Red Bastien and Rick Bassman. Hellwig and Borden, who would later go on to success as "Sting", formed a tag team known as the Blade Runners, with Hellwig changing his ring name to "Blade Runner Rock". Debuting in the Memphis promotion the team played baby faces at first, but fans were actually slow to take to the hulking duo in a territory that had featured sympathetic "good guy tag teams" like the Rock N Roll Express and the Fabulous Ones. They were quickly turned heel as The Blade Runners. The Blade Runners went on to wrestle for the Mid-South Wrestling promotion, which became the Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986, before disbanding in 1986 when Hellwig left the UWF.

World Class Championship Wrestling (1986–1987)

In 1986, Warrior debuted in the Fort Worth, Texasmarker-based World Class Championship Wrestling promotion, where he wrestled for $50 a night. He adopted the ring name "Dingo Warrior" after a member of the WCCW locker room remarked that he looked like "a warrior".

Warrior formed a tag team with Lance Von Erich, and the duo began competing for the WCWA World Tag Team Championship. On November 17, 1986, Warrior and Von Erich defeated Master Gee (substituting for champion Buzz Sawyer) and Matt Borne to win the titles. They held the Championship until December 1 of that year, when they lost to Al Madril and Brian Adias.

In 1987, Warrior began competing for the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, losing to Bob Bradley in a tournament final on January 12. He won the title from Bradley on February 2 of that year. The title was held up in April 1987 after Warrior left the WCCW. He was reinstated as champion upon returning, but vacated it once more upon resigning from WCCW to join the World Wrestling Federation, where he adopted the ring name Ultimate Warrior. There is dispute over who created the Ultimate Warrior name. Bruce Prichard stated that Vince McMahon didn't know what a "Dingo" Warrior would be, but because there was the "Modern Day Warrior" Kerry von Erich and the Road Warriors there should not be one more simple warrior, but The Ultimate Warrior. However, Warrior claims after one of his first matches, McMahon had him do a pretape promo. It was there Vince said we want you to do Warrior, but we don't want Dingo. The Warrior then proceeded to cut the promo and stated that he wasn't this warrior or that warrior, he was The Ultimate Warrior.

World Wrestling Federation (1987–1991)

As a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) performer, the Ultimate Warrior was known for his high-energy ring entrances, which featured him racing into the arena at full speed, bursting into the ring, and violently shaking the ropes up and down. He was also known for his distinctive pattern of face paint.

Warrior enjoyed two stints as Intercontinental Champion, defeating The Honky Tonk Man (in 31 seconds at the first ever SummerSlam in 1988) and Rick Rude at SummerSlam 1989. The Warrior was heralded as the wrestler to become the biggest star of the 1990s, and the successor to Hulk Hogan, who had remained wrestling's biggest star throughout the 1980s. Following a few confrontations with Hogan, most notably at the 1990 Royal Rumble, the Warrior was written in as Hogan's opponent for WrestleMania VI.

In one of the most famous matches in wrestling history, Ultimate Warrior faced Hulk Hogan on April 1, 1990, at the SkyDomemarker in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker. The event was billed as "The Ultimate Challenge", as both Hogan's WWF World Championship and Warrior's Intercontinental Championship were on the line. The match began with a show of strength from each man, as Warrior shoved Hogan back into a corner, then Hogan did the same to Warrior. Warrior then brought Hogan to his knees using a Greco-Roman knuckle lock, only for Hogan to regain his feet and once again do the same to Warrior. The match continued in this way, with numerous shifts in momentum, and neither wrestler able to maintain his advantage. A couple of notable spots included Warrior knocking Hogan out of the ring with a clothesline, with Hogan (kayfabe) injuring his knee in the fall. Hogan limped back into the ring, shook off the injury, and retaliated with a series of punches to the face. Later on, Hogan locked Warrior in a lengthy sleeper hold. Warrior eventually fought his way free, went to shake the ropes for his trademark adrenaline rush, then scored with three consecutive clotheslines. The match finally reached its climax when Warrior performed his Gorilla Press Drop on Hogan, followed by the Warrior Splash and a pin. Hogan kicked out of the pin, then proceeded to "Hulk Up" (Hogan's own trademark adrenaline rush), and hit Warrior with the Big Boot, setting him up for the Atomic Leg Drop. However, Warrior rolled out of the way, avoiding the move, and scored another Warrior Splash, which pinned Hogan for the 3 count. Warrior's victory complete, he then remained in the ring to celebrate with a spectacular post-match firework display.

After winning the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hogan, Warrior continued to build his popularity with successful defenses against the likes of Rick Rude and Ted DiBiase. Then, in January 1991, Warrior faced Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble. Slaughter's gimmick at the time was a traitor who had betrayed America by aligning himself with a (kayfabe) Iraqi military general, General Adnan. In the context of the Gulf War, this made Slaughter one of the most hated heels at the time. Warrior wore red, white, and blue colors to the ring, indicating his American allegiance. The match began with Warrior performing a double clothesline on Slaughter and General Adnan, then breaking and tearing apart an Iraqi flag. Warrior went on to dominate the match, until a surprise appearance in the arena by Sensational Sherri, who distracted Warrior from ringside. Warrior then chased Sherri down the aisle towards the exit, only to be ambushed by Randy Savage, who Sherri was managing at the time. Savage hit Warrior with a light stand, then ran off. Warrior slowly regained his senses, managing to return to the ring before being counted out. Warrior then received a sustained beating from Slaughter, but had regained his advantage when Sherri and Savage returned to interfere once again. This interference culminated in Savage striking Warrior over the head with a metal sceptre, which allowed Slaughter the opportunity to pin Warrior for a 3 count. In a stunning upset, Warrior had lost the title he had won from Hogan less than a year earlier. Hogan was given the title shot at WrestleMania VII, defeating Slaughter to regain the title he had lost to Warrior. Warrior, meanwhile, defeated Savage in a retirement match, forcing him to retire.

The next chapter of Warrior's career was an encounter with The Undertaker, after Undertaker and his manager, Paul Bearer, locked Warrior in a coffin on the set of Bearer's Funeral Parlor. This memorable WWF event was made particularly shocking by the (kayfabe) appearance that Warrior's life was in danger as Bearer sealed the casket shut, and Vince McMahon frantically reminded the audience that he had a limited air supply. WWF officials worked feverishly to break the casket open, finally revealing Warrior's seemingly lifeless body, and the torn fabric inside of the coffin indicating Warrior's desperate struggle to get out. Warrior was finally revived by the officials performing CPR.

This led to Jake "The Snake" Roberts offering to give Warrior "the knowledge of the dark side" in order to prepare Warrior to take his revenge on the Undertaker. This involved Roberts giving Warrior three "tests" shown on WWF TV in consecutive weeks. For the first test, Roberts locked Warrior inside of a coffin for a second time. For the second test, Warrior was "buried alive" by Roberts. For the third test, the Warrior entered a room full of snakes, to find "the answer" in a chest in the middle of the room. However, waiting inside the chest was a King Cobra, which (kayfabe) bit Warrior in the face. As Warrior weakened from the effects of the cobra's strike, Roberts was joined by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer, revealing the three were working together all along. Roberts then uttered the famous line: "Never trust a snake."

These events provided one of the most memorable feud storylines in WWF history. The stage was now set for a match between the Ultimate Warrior and Jake Roberts. However, the match would never take place. In August 1991, Warrior was involved in an alleged pay dispute with WWF owner Vince McMahon over the SummerSlam main event, teaming him with Hulk Hogan against Sgt. Slaughter, Colonel Mustafa, and General Adnan. WWF alleges that Warrior threatened to no show the event unless he was paid a certain amount of money. According to Vince McMahon, Warrior was paid that amount, then fired immediately after SummerSlam. Warrior has since responded on his website to these allegations by stating he was owed money stemming from work performed at WrestleMania VII. Whatever the case, as a result of the dispute Warrior was out of the WWF, and his career ground to a halt.

Return to the WWF (1992)

Following his expulsion from the WWF the previous year, Warrior was then given the chance to return to the company. He made his comeback at WrestleMania VIII (to rescue Hulk Hogan from a beat down at the hands of Sid Justice and Papa Shango). He received a degree of creative control over his bookings. Many fans may remember the Papa Shango angle, in which the "witch doctor" cast a spell over Warrior, causing him to convulse and vomit in very odd colors, though Warrior says he hated that story and had no control over it.

Late in 1992, Warrior was scheduled to be the tag team partner of Randy Savage at Survivor Series. Weeks before the event, however, Warrior and WWF found themselves at odds again, arguing over who had creative rights to the Ultimate Warrior name and over creative differences as to how the Warrior's character should be used. Though popular belief was that the Warrior was actually supposed to start a feud with Nailz (which was proven false, due to the proposed Nailz-Undertaker feud beginning ), the WWF states that his reason for leaving was a "violation" found in his system during a random drug test. This occurred at the height of Warrior's ongoing marketing/financial differences with Vince McMahon. Titan Sports — and specifically, the WWF — was under intense scrutiny of its drug policies including performance-enhancing drugs, the most prominent being steroids. Warrior has claimed to have had test results that show he was not using steroids during this period. Warrior has stated that he and fellow wrestler, "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, were used as scapegoats during Vince McMahon's steroid litigation. After he left, Warrior was replaced by Mr. Perfect for the Survivor Series tag team match.

Second Return to the WWF (1996)

During his time away from the WWF, Warrior opened the short-lived "Warrior University", a professional wrestling school based in Scottsdale, Arizonamarker. According to Vince McMahon, no one ever "graduated" from the school.

After several years spent mostly outside the wrestling limelight, Warrior returned to the WWF in 1996, squashing a young Triple H at WrestleMania XII. Following WrestleMania, Warrior participated in feuds with Goldust and Jerry Lawler.

The WWF terminated Warrior's contract when he took time off allegedly to grieve the death of his father. WWF owner Vince McMahon claimed that Warrior had not seen his father in ten years and didn't care much for him; therefore, he did not take Warrior's excuse for missing bookings at face value. Warrior disputes McMahon's explanation, claiming that the real reason why he no showed those events was a breach of contract by McMahon, in which WWF sold Warrior's merchandise without giving him a percentage. His last match in the WWF was on the July 8 edition of WWF Monday Night Raw, where he defeated Owen Hart by disqualification. He was replaced by Sycho Sid in the In Your House pay-per-view later that month.

In 1995, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) introduced The Renegade as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage's "secret weapon", using ring attire and mannerisms that closely resembled Warrior's. The man who portrayed Renegade, Rick Williams, was later used as Warrior's stunt double when Warrior himself performed in WCW for a brief time in 1998.

World Championship Wrestling (1998)

WCW signed Warrior in 1998, and gave him a degree of creative control over his matches, considered by some to be a foolish move. His debut drew huge audiences and ratings, but the benefits did not last. He created a storyline where he formed a stable opposing Hogan's (now going under his heelish "Hollywood" gimmick) New World Order: the "One Warrior Nation." The acronym oWn (One Warrior Nation) was a play on the name nWo. Highlights of the unpopular storyline included Warrior kidnapping and "converting" The Disciple and frequent instances of "magic smoke" knocking out all of the nWo members except for Hollywood Hogan (and covering Warrior's movement through a trapdoor in the ring). Davey Boy Smith suffered a near career-ending injury when he landed on Warrior's trapdoor at Fall Brawl '98; Perry Saturn was also injured by the trapdoor, though not as severely.

Warrior only participated in three matches in WCW. The first was the War Games main event (along with eight other wrestlers) at Fall Brawl. Diamond Dallas Page would win that match. On WCW Monday Nitro, he teamed with Sting to defeat Hogan and Bret Hart by disqualification, a match in which he had little participation: he was tagged in for a short exchange with Hart, then singlehandedly chased several nWo members down the entry way, whipping them with Hogan's belt. The third was his loss to Hogan at Halloween Havoc, in what is considered by Eric Bischoff and many internet wrestling fans to be one of the worst Main Event pay-per-view wrestling matches ever.

In the build-up to their match at Halloween Havoc, Warrior played mind games with Hogan by projecting backstage "apparitions" of himself in a mirror that only Hogan could see. The WCW storyline portrayed Hogan as "cracking up" in seeing these apparitions. However, the announcers could also see them, as well as the television audience.

In the Halloween Havoc match, the timing of the maneuvers and hits was poor; an arm injury that Warrior received at WarGames further slowed the action. An attempt to "blind" Warrior with a fireball backfired when Hogan faced complications igniting a piece of flash paper, causing the fire to go up in Hogan's face instead. The match finally came to an end when Horace Hogan hit Warrior in the back with a chair while Eric Bischoff had referee Nick Patrick distracted. Hogan then scored the pinfall, ending the match.

WCW claimed that attempts were made to save the storyline and resign Warrior, but he was said to have asked for too much money, and WCW ended negotiations. In a DVD shoot interview available through online sources, Warrior claims that they simply decided not to call him any more, despite his having phoned WCW general manager Eric Bischoff 16 times after the Havoc debacle. He has further indicated in interviews and convention appearances that the only reason he was brought back was so Hogan could get a win over Warrior in return for Hogan's WrestleMania job. Warrior has further described Hogan as "insecure" and has indicated that a weekend stay at Hogan's Tampamarker home prior to the October 1998 PPV was "an eye opening experience". Warrior's last appearance in WCW was the Nitro after Halloween Havoc, when he chased nWo Hollywood out of the ring in a "schmoz" (multiple participant no-finish). He announced his retirement the following year. According to the book The Death of WCW, Warrior supposedly insisted upon a new contract picking up where the previous one left off in exchange for the Halloween Havoc job, though this claim is largely unsupported.

The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior documentary

On September 27, 2005, WWE released a DVD documentary focusing on Warrior's retrospective wrestling career, entitled The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. The DVD featured clips of his more notable feuds and matches along with commentary from WWE stars past and present (most of which are unflattering), with Triple H (by this point one of WWE's top main eventers and the husband of Vince McMahon's daughter Stephanie McMahon) adding that the squash match loss against Warrior at WrestleMania XII was his most embarrassing moment with the company. The DVD has provoked some controversy due to Warrior's own allegations of libel by WWE against him. Originally, Warrior was asked to help with the production of the DVD, but as he refused to work with WWE (citing he did not want to be associated with their promotion), there has been some resulting animosity between Warrior and WWE over the content with Warrior claiming bias on the part of WWE. Warrior in particular doesn't care for current WWE star Batista "shaking the ropes" just before performing the Batista Bomb, even though Batista does it in honor of Warrior.

Nu-Wrestling Evolution (2008)

During an April 19, 2008 Nu-Wrestling Evolution event in Madridmarker, Spainmarker, Warrior was presented with an award celebrating his professional wrestling career in front of over 15,000 attendees. During the presentation, NWE Champion Orlando Jordan mocked a fan of Warrior's, resulting in a heated argument between Warrior and Jordan. As a result of the exchange, a match between Warrior and Jordan was scheduled for June 25, 2008 in the Palau Municipal d'Esports de Badalonamarker in Barcelonamarker, marking Warrior's first professional wrestling match since October 1998. Warrior's agent, Bernie Gernay, released a statement saying:

"For over 10 years this is what the entire wrestling world has been waiting for, the return of the Warrior.
We are excited to bring back the greatest character and energy to ever get into the ring.
Ultimate Warrior is an incredible marketing machine and has kept a tremendous value to his name which is why the NWE has stepped up with a substantial deal that worked very well for both sides.
There is no disputing that Warrior left a mark on professional wrestling that no other talent did and the reason why still today he is often imitated, but never duplicated.
Over the next few days the NWE will inform fans of the preparations for one of the biggest and most important wrestling events ever to be held in Europe.
As the news progresses it is sure to be the headlines of wrestling news and forums throughout the Internet and will most certainly have all in the wrestling industry and fans alike in great anticipation to see what the Warrior will deliver on June 25, and perhaps beyond."

On June 25, he finally made his return to pro wrestling when he faced Orlando Jordan for the NWE World Heavyweight Championship. Warrior defeated Jordan and immediately vacated the title.

Motivational speaking career

Warrior formally retired from wrestling in 1999, and had a short-lived career as a conservative speaker and commentator, denouncing left-wing politics. In one instance, he mentioned that "queering doesn't make the world work" during a speech at the University of Connecticutmarker. Warrior backed down and tried to explain those comments on his website as meaning that the human race would die out if everyone were a homosexual. Warrior was fired by the Young Republicans as a result of the controversy created by his comments at both UConn and DePaul University.

Personal life

Trademark and libel litigation

In 1993, Jim Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior in order to retain the legal rights to use the name outside the WWF. The one-word name appears on all legal documents pertaining to Warrior, and his children carry the Warrior name as their legal surname. The domain is registered to "Mister Warrior".

Warrior and the WWF engaged in a series of lawsuits and legal actions in 1996 and 1998, where both parties sought a declaration that they owned the characters, Warrior and Ultimate Warrior, under both contract and copyright law. The court ruled that Warrior was legally entitled to use the gimmick, costuming, face paint designs, and mannerisms of the "Warrior" character.

In January 2006, Warrior filed another lawsuit against WWE in an Arizonamarker court over the depiction of his wrestling career in The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD. Many individuals who had worked with Warrior over the years depicted him in a very negative light and described Warrior as difficult to work with. On October 7, 2009, Warrior was added to the WWE Alumni of their website.

Comic book

Beginning in May 1996, Warrior began writing with Jim Callahan and The Sharp Brothers illustrating a comic book entitled WARRIOR, featuring himself as the main character. The comics sold well in the first two months of their distribution, before sales slowed and the comic was taken out of circulation in early 1997.

As a comic book, fans argued that WARRIOR was a failure: there were virtually no characters other than Warrior, little action, and considerably more text than the average comic (in the first issue, at least one entire page is nothing but text, with a small picture of Warrior in the corner).

The comic's most enduring issue, and the one which has received the most ridicule and is now worth the most money, is one of the final issues, which breaks away from the main storyline into a Christmas tale. The plot of the comic is hard to decipher, as it contains no dialogue, monologue, or text boxes. Inexplicably, Warrior attacks the North Pole, usurps Santa Claus' authority over the elves, and in the final frame, which gained the comic its enduring popularity, a sweaty Warrior forces Santa into bondage gear and poses beside him. The apparent sexual undertones, lack of an actual plot, and non-sequitur nature (nothing from the previous issue served to segue into the Santa attack issue) gained the comic cult popularity, especially on the internet. Though nothing sexually explicit is depicted in the comic, some fans have come to describe it as the "santa rape" issue; more commonly, it is referred to as "the one where Warrior puts Santa in bondage".

According to Warrior, six issues of the WARRIOR comic book were created, as well as a "Warrior Graphic Novel that revealed the story behind the creation of Warrior’s Comic Book Universe". However, only the first four issues of the comic were actually produced.


Warrior maintains a blog on his personal website entitled "Warrior's Machete", where he discusses his personal life, his personal views on politics, sexuality, patriotism, and his legacy as a wrestler, amongst other topics. There have been numerous instances where Warrior has used his blog to address his viewpoint on members of his wrestling past (Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger); historical figures (Martin Luther King, George Washington, Jesus) and celebrities who were newsworthy at the time of the blog (Heath Ledger, Paris Hilton). He has also used the blog to post replies to letters from fans - both positive and negative.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments


  1. Warriors Texas Divorce Certificate
  2. NPC News On-Line
  3. Georgia Bodybuilding - Doc's Sports - Georgia Bodybuilding Contest Information and More
  5. "When Warrior entered the WCW in 1998 he was given creative control much like in the WWF."
  6. Monday Night Wars (2004)
  7. The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD
  9. (44:20-46:50 of the video)
  11. WWE: Ultimate Warrior files lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment |
  12. Warrior's Machete: Myspace?
  13. Warrior's Machete: Sluts or a Saint?
  14. Warrior's Machete: Dead long before 28
  15. Warrior's Machete: Before the House of Hilton Bred Whores….
  16. Warrior's Machete: Warrior wins. Warrior haters lose –again.

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