So, I’ll be honest: I was never a huge Ultimate Warrior fan. As a kid, I always found myself rooting for Hulk Hogan, especially when the two would square off against each other. Sure, the Warrior was the next generation of wrestlers—and, some might argue, the future of the company—but I came into wrestling (and left wrestling) a Hulkamaniac.
Still, that doesn’t mean I never rooted for him. On July 31st, 1988, my mom took me to WWF WrestleFest at Milwaukee County Stadium.
As you can see, a lot of soon-to-be wrestling icons wrestled that night. For me, the highlight of the evening was seeing Hogan battle Andre the Giant in a steel cage match, but just as memorable was the Warrior fighting Bobby ‘The Brain” Heenan in a “Loser Wears a Weasel Costume” match.
Obviously, the 11-year-old me was rooting for the Warrior that night. And, just as obviously, the match ended like this:
And you know what? Two years ago, I chose to wear this face paint for our Wrestlemania XXVIII party:
And so, while the Warrior’s passing doesn’t have the same effect on me as, say, the deaths of some other wrestlers (who take their vitamins and say their prayers, for example), he definitely held a special place in the wrestling years of my childhood. I’m glad I got to see him wrestle in person.
Fifty-percent of that poster is now dead,