by Brian Phelps
In 2005, the WWE released a dvd titled, "The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior". The dvd is basically a two hour long defamation of the Ultimate Warrior. The "documentary" features commentary from wrestlers both past and present including Sergeant Slaughter, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, Triple H, Edge, and Christian. The WWE used this dvd to discredit, defame, and run down the Ultimate Warrior as a professional and a wrestling character. But was the dvd an accurate portrayal of the Ultimate Warrior? No, and I'll explain why.
One thing that the WWE alleges is that the Ultimate Warrior's promos were completely incoherent and that no one ever understood or knew what the Warrior was talking about. Here are some of the quotes regarding the Ultimate Warrior's promos.
Bobby Heenan: "He couldn't do an interview. He would just rant and rave and look into the stars and talk and this and that."
Jim Ross: "The Ultimate Warrior's interviews really needed to be subtitled... so they could be interpreted to the normal human being.
Jerry Lawler: "I don't think everybody knew exactly what he was saying, and probably that was a good thing. And sometimes, I don't even think Warrior knew what he was saying... and ..and that was an even better thing."
"Mean" Gene Okerlund: "He'd do a two and a half minute stand up and people would say, what the hell did he say?"
Vince McMahon: "He would like go off in like almost a trance and almost like speak in tongues."
These descriptions of the Ultimate Warrior's promos were totally over exaggerated. The Ultimate Warrior's promos made perfect sense. Honestly, the Ultimate Warrior's promos were pretty intelligent. He just used a lot of odd metaphors. The way WWE tries to discredit him by making him out to be incoherent is stupid and ridiculous. Warrior's promos made perfect sense. It was just odd that a babyface was giving borderline heel promos. He just said everything in a very round about way. Warrior was a guy that looked like a cross between the movie 300 and an '80s rocker, yet spoke like an angry, snarling, English teacher.
If you read a transcript of his Wrestlemania VI promo it makes perfect sense, and I will break it down piece by piece what the metaphors stood for and meant.
Ultimate Warrior: "I... Hulk... Hogan... have... a question... to answer your question... as you Hulk Hogan travel to Wrestlemania by conventional means the normals you travel with experience malfunctions as you realize all that is left is total self destruction. Do you Hulk Hogan show self pity? Do you Hulk Hogan try to reason why? Do you Hulk Hogan try to comfort the normals that have even more fear than you? or do you Hulk Hogan kick the doors out? Kick the cock pit door down... take the two pilots... that have already made the sacrifice so that you can this challenge take both of them Hulk Hogan assume the controls Hulk Hogan shove that control into a nose dive Hulk Hogan push yourself to total self destruction as you realize Hulk Hogan you are about to enter a world close to parts unknown. Smell it warriors. Do you Hulk Hogan look for a place to hide or do you Hulk Hogan face the challenge that may be more powerful than even you are? You Hulk Hogan must self destruct so that you will know who is the chosen one. hulk hogan i am not the chosen one that you speak of. I am not. I hulk hogan am the only one."
This promo was actually very complex and intelligent. He's telling Hulk Hogan that he's going to self-destruct at Wrestlemania. The "conventional means" that Warrior says Hogan is traveling by is a metaphor for Hulkamania, which had been Hulk Hogan's standard (or conventional) means of transportation that allowed Hogan to breeze through the last five Wrestlemanias undefeated. The implied plane is a metaphor for Hogan's momentum/hulkamania heading into Wrestlemania. The "normals" that Warrior keeps referencing is actually a metaphor for the Hulkamaniacs. He's asking if Hogan will comfort the "normals" (Hulkamaniacs) that have even more fear than him. In other words, will Hogan comfort the Hulkamaniacs that are even more fearful than he is of losing to the Ultimate Warrior? When Warrior says, "Or will you kick the doors out... assume the controls... shove the control into a nose dive... push yourself to total self destruction as you realize you are about to enter a world close to parts unknown", Warrior is asking if Hogan's self-doubt is going to push him to self-destruct because Hogan is about to be in Warrior's world. This promo is particularly interesting because he's speaking almost from two different perspectives. Warrior is giving this interview from what I believe would be a third-person subjective point-of-view if this interview were written in a novel because he is almost narrating Hogan's inner thoughts through metaphoric rhetorical questions even though he's involved in the story and is on the outside of Hogan's thoughts looking in. That is extremely complex and intelligent. Point is, when you dissect Ultimate Warrior's promos they actually make perfect sense. They're just extremely complex because they often utilize odd metaphors, rhetorical questions, and perspectives that are sparsely used normally. That's why they claim they can't understand him, but he does make actual sense.
What makes me laugh about WWE's Warrior dvd is that Edge claims that in Warrior's Wrestlemania VI promo that Warrior said he was going to send Hogan's plane into a nose dive. First of all, Warrior never said HE was going to send Hogan's plane into a nose dive. Warrior suggested that Hogan was going to send his own plane into a nose dive. Warrior was implying that Hogan's own self-doubt was going to be his undoing or self-destruction. Second, it should be noted that Warrior never actually used the word "plane". It was just strongly implied that he was referring to a plane.
Warrior's promos made no sense to the wrestlers because they were taking metaphors at face value. When Warrior talks of Hogan kicking down cock pit doors and going into a nosedive... the wrestlers seem to actually assume that Warrior was talking about a LITERAL plane. It seems as though none of them considered that Warrior was speaking totally in metaphors. It's actually kind of odd to me that none of them put that together.
As for the DVD, it completely lost all credibility with me for a few reasons. First off, they had people on there bad mouthing the Ultimate Warrior that to my knowledge never even worked with him. I'm of course referring to Edge and Christian. Edge is talking about how the Warrior's tassles must've been cutting off his circulation, basically making jokes about the Ultimate Warrior's intelligence. It was very immature and below the belt. Chris Jericho, although he was in WCW at the same time as the Ultimate Warrior, to my knowledge they never worked together either... but he is on here making fun of the Ultimate Warrior too. I was ok with guys like Mean Gene, Sgt. Slaughter, Hulk Hogan (although I think it was a bad idea to have Hogan on it because of their obvious bad blood), Vince McMahon, and Bobby Heenan making comments on here. Guys like Edge, Christian, and arguably Chris Jericho had no business in this very biased "documentary".
Second, why did the WWE even put out a dvd trashing a guy who hadn't been employed by them for 9 years (at the time of the dvd's release)? It'd be one thing if they put out the dvd shortly after the Warrior last worked for them. You know maybe 3 or 4 years, but they put this out almost a decade after he was last employed by them. It really makes the WWE come off as unprofessional... like they have sour grapes. Honestly, there was absolutely no reason for this dvd to be produced other than to run down a man's character and that to me is very sad.
Third, it's very easy to talk about someone when they can't defend themselves. WWE making a dvd that was available nationwide, and marketing it on a nationally televised program watched by millions that bad mouthed the Ultimate Warrior is real easy when he has no voice in comparison. It's not fair to Warrior that he never got to tell his side of the story on the same platform. He has to walk around with people thinking he's crazy, a lunatic, and out of his mind all because he wasn't given an opportunity to tell his side of the story on the dvd. All the masses received was WWE's side of the story, so most people take WWE's claims as fact. I would have no problem with the "Self Destruction" dvd if Vince would've given Warrior the opportunity to tell his side on the dvd. It was just very very low down and bush league to do that to Warrior regardless of who is telling the truth and who isn't. Do you really think Edge and Chris Jericho would've said these things to Warrior's face? I doubt it. This is a sore spot with me because it's real easy to talk about someone when you know you don't have to face the music. It's real easy to talk big and bad from behind a computer or on a video. I want to see some of these guys say these things to Warrior's face. I can respect the WWE when it comes to the Bret Hart situation because they finally gave Bret Hart a chance to tell his side of the story on the "Greatest Rivalries" dvd, but to my knowledge they never gave Warrior that option for a WWE vs Ultimate Warrior Greatest Rivalries dvd. Now, I've heard rumors that WWE offered to let him do the dvd... but I highly doubt he would participate in a slanderfest about himself knowing the WWE would cut out anything he said that made Vince look bad. You know there's an old saying that goes "Believe none of what your hear, and half of what you see". That's an accurate way to describe the "Self Destruction" dvd.
In closing, this dvd lacks credibility in multiple ways. If you're going to bad mouth someone then be willing to say it to the person's face. No one in the WWF seemed to be complaining about the Warrior's promos when those same promos that "no one could understand" were making the WWF millions of dollars. Now that he had been gone for almost 10 years (at the time), now they want to trash him publicly. For a guy that couldn't wrestle or cut a promo, he drew more money than Sergeant Slaughter, Edge, Christian, and Chris Jericho ever did. I didn't hear those guys complaining when Warrior's main events were giving them a bigger slice of the pie. This dvd just comes off as very "smiled in your face when you were here, but now I'm going to talk behind your back". Sadly, it made me lose a little respect for several of the talents involved. It was just very unprofessional, unnecessary, and unfair to bury a guy that couldn't defend himself regardless of how those people felt about the Warrior. Some of the talents (not all) just came off resentful and almost a little jealous of Warrior's enduring popularity despite all the attempts to bury him over the years.