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Warrior was an American professional wrestler who most famously performed for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) from 1987 to 1991 and again in 1992 and 1996 under the ring moniker The Ultimate Warrior. He was known as The Warrior during his time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1998. He was known as Dingo Warrior in World Class Championship Wrestling before joining the WWF (WCCW).
Warrior was a two-time WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion and once won the WWF Championship when he pinned Hulk Hogan in the main event at WrestleMania VI in Toronto, becoming the first wrestler to hold both championships at the same time. After a brief stint in WCW, he resigned from professional wrestling in 1998 and went into public speaking, but he wrestled one more battle in Spain in 2008.
Warrior died on April 8, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of 54. He had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, participated at WrestleMania XXX, and made his final public appearance on Monday Night Raw, returning to the organization after an ugly split in 1996, during the previous three nights in New Orleans.
Warrior made his debut in the World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) company in Dallas, Texas, in June 1986, when he performed for $50 each night. After a member of the WCCW locker room observed that he looked like “a warrior,” he chose the ring moniker “Dingo Warrior.” This contrasted with Road Warrior Animal’s allegation that the Dingo Warrior was a re-enactment of Warrior’s Blade Runner gimmick and an attempt to promote himself as a descendant of The Road Warriors.
Warrior was still a heel in the territory at the time, managed by Gary Hart, although he was applauded during a heel vs heel battle with WCWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude when the two had a falling out during a tag match. After a clash with fellow Pringle proteges Buzz Sawyer and Matt Borne after a six-man tag bout, Warrior turned babyface forever.
Warrior and Lance Von Erich formed a tag team and competed for the WCWA World Tag Team Championship. Warrior and Von Erich won the championship on November 17, 1986, by defeating Master Gee (substituting for champion Buzz Sawyer) and Matt Borne. They retained the title until December 1, when they were defeated by Al Madril and Brian Adias.
Warrior began contending for the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship in 1987, losing in the tournament final to Bob Bradley on January 12. On February 2 of that year, he defeated Bradley for the title.
After Warrior quit the WCCW in April 1987, the championship was suspended. When he returned, he was reinstated as champion, but he lost it again when he resigned from the WCCW to join the World Wrestling Federation, where he assumed the ring moniker The Ultimate Warrior.
Warrior first appeared in house shows in June, and was billed as The Dingo Warrior in Gene Okerlund’s house card advertisements, but his name was quickly changed. The creator of the entire Ultimate Warrior moniker is a point of contention.
Vince McMahon did not know what a “Dingo” Warrior was, according to Bruce Prichard, but because there was the “Modern Day Warrior” Kerry von Erich and The Road Warriors, there should not be another simple warrior, but the ultimate warrior. McMahon allegedly had Warrior give a pre-recorded promo after one of his first matches, according to Warrior.
Vince remarked at the time, “We want you to do Warrior, but not Dingo.” The Warrior then proceeded to cut the commercial and declare that he was The Ultimate Warrior, not this or that warrior. In June 1987, Warrior made his final appearance with WCCW.
He starred in multiple TV commercials for Westway Ford, a car dealership in Irving, Texas, between 1987 and 1989. Warrior engaged with Westway’s eccentric character “Mean Joe Greed” while dressed as a wrestler.