On Ultimate Warrior

Back around junior high I was mesmerized by Ultimate Warrior’s energy and his epic hero-sounding soliloquies, like Henry V or somebody, only older, more tribal, a Beowulf or Gilgamesh, or maybe or one of those young upstarts in Greek Mythology who charges in to fight the monster and conquers despite all odds. For his gimmick was, on the face of it, a little difficult to take seriously. But what of it? He fucking shook those ring ropes like somebody getting electrocuted, and it looked so cool the way all the ring ropes went all crazy. The junior high-aged boy in all of us just went all giddy over it. But then also, bright neon wrestling briefs in pink, light green and neon yellow sometimes. And those matching strips of fabric hanging off his arm and his rather trippy face paint. He pulled off both roles beautifully. To get over as a face, really knock it out of the park when you’re nutty like that isn’t necessarily easy. He pulled off both dark epic mythological hero and campy face wrestler all rolled into one.

There was a time I thought he was WWF’s version of an ubermensch, but then I think I changed my mind about that archetype. But now I can’t remember what changed my mind. I would have to reread Nietzsche to figure it all out, but he did always strike me as something that entirely huge in terms of the various strains of archetype he represented.

I went to his website back maybe ten years ago. He maintained the “warrior” philosophy, it was something he actually prosthelytized about on the internet. And he was really angry at the company, fuming, hanging on to old grudges.  And once I saw him on C-SPAN giving a lecture to some college republicans (if memory serves); he was the type to give an angry fundamentalist right-winged sort of rant about morality. Not the jolly, smiling, rather distinguished gentleman who accepted honors from the WWE just recently, with the crowd’s hearts swelling to see him. Whatever it was that allowed Warrior to make peace with the company and have this moment before his death was a gift to all of us.

R.I.P. Ultimate Warrior.


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