“Will I see you one more time?”
When we visit with an elder family member who has been ill for a long time, or a friend heading overseas to a military deployment knowing they may not come home alive, or a sports hero nearing his or her retirement from the game for good, that’s all we ask for. Sometimes we get that chance and sometimes we don’t.
In the case of The Ultimate Warrior, we were afforded that opportunity, and he was afforded the opportunity for an ultimate farewell.
As we and many other wrestling related sites have noted today, The Ultimate Warrior has passed away at the age of 54. Born James B. Hellwig in Indiana, Warrior’s professional wrestling career spanned nearly 30 years across several promotions, most notably WWE/F.
Without question his family is left with many more important and personal memories. But for me as a wrestling fan, he left me with a few of my own. Specifically, I remember Wrestlemania 6.
The stage was set for a Title vs. Title match, with the winner taking all. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior. The iconic energy of the Warrior as he ran to the ring and shook the ropes got fans fired up. His victory left us excited because it was, at that time, truly a big match. It was something that at that time captivated me about him.
He seemed like he had endless energy. His persona was larger than life. Sure, looking back now as a smarter fan I critique his work more closely. As a youth, I wanted to be like him - the larger than life persona that never tired. His Hall of Fame induction was all about his mark on the business. People still talked about him and whether good or bad the Ultimate one had left his mark on professional wrestling.
When Warrior stepped away, there had to be doubt that we would ever see him involved with WWE ever again. That question was answered when WWE decided to make him the headline inductee to the 2014 Hall of Fame. He got his moment in the sun, and was able to appear on Raw as well as Wrestlemania 30.
But in that moment, Warrior created one more memory. Warrior was able to show his most prized accomplishment – his two young daughters. The love he had for those two little girls is so obvious in how they interacted on that Hall of Fame stage. While me, and hundreds of thousands of others, probably got caught up in reliving our youth with Warrior, we got to witness the most important of memories unfold right before our eyes.
There’s no doubt that Warrior’s career and life was marked with controversy. His political views were not popular. There have been a lot of hurtful words back and forth with his peers. This past weekend, however, Warrior made some of those things right and his family (both professional and personal) were able to enjoy a celebration of his career together in an unforgettable moment on wrestling's grandest stage.
In the end, we all got to see The Ultimate Warrior…one more time.