THE RANT: The Ultimate Warrior in WCW - Could It Have Worked?

Posted By James Walsh on 02/11/20


Some people might read the headline of this article and immediately want to shoot me, the author, down saying, "BUT WARRIOR WAS IN WCW IN 1998!" Yes, he was. And, that is the purpose of this article.

The Ultimate Warrior or, as he was in WCW, just plain Warrior, failed miserably in WCW.

I'm leaving that as a paragraph though only one sentence because I think it needs to be understood as a fact before we move on. Warrior simply failed in WCW. The presentation, the story, the overall product that was put out with him involved missed the mark on almost every level. We can finger-point as to why that was. All are probably guilty in some respects.

- Warrior was unfiltered and allowed to go off the cuff in a life environment without enough of a safety net to keep him from coloring outside the lines.
- Hogan wanted his win back and, frankly, since dropping the World Title to Sting at Starcade has been on the decline in terms of heel heat and was not at the top of his game as he was a year or so prior.
- WCW was creatively going off the rails in a very real and profound way and it was obvious to anyone watching that there was a general lack of a direction anywhere on the show much less at the top.

Whatever the case. Even if it was Warrior being f***ing Batman and the LITERAL smoke and mirrors used to disguise the limitations of an aging, but not aged out, Warrior that had sold a ton of merchandise and people believed in 10 years prior in the WWF were just too hokey for a 90's audience that was still, in some ways, venomous towards things from the 80's to seem cool. Remember, that was a thing in the 90's and often is forgotten. The bottom line is what I said above.

The Ultimate Warrior failed in WCW.

So, how could it have worked? Well, through the glory of hindsight and having a few moments to think about this after listening to 83 Weeks featuring Eric Bischoff discussing the clusterf*** and the skitzophrenic journey through hysteria that was the Warrior's failed WCW run, I've come up with an idea. Tell me what you think!

Warrior debuts on August 17th as planned in front of a hot crowd. He does NOT speak. He runs to the ring in classic Warrior form with music to closely match that of his awesome WWF theme. This is done to make the save for Sting or any other baby face that the heel nWo faction was ganging up on and he hits clotheslines, nothing more, on a few of the nWo members to chase them out. Hogan walks off looking like he saw a ghost and Warrior only poinst at Hogan and does his hand gesture to the sky as he was known for. Remember, he does not do that much in his actual WCW run. Again, no one giving him guidelines or pointers. That's it. 3 minutes at the end of a Nitro to wet the whistle of the WCW faithful to realize we were going to get another Hogan/Warrior match but instead of it being the biggest babyface s in the world, it would be the biggest heel (if booked right, Hogan could still have been) versus a popular guy fans had nostalgia love for. Would it match the magic of the 1990 WrestleMania VI main event? Probably not. But, it would be good nevertheless.

Instead of Warrior having blow up sex dolls and making Hogan's minions bow on all 4's in a homoerotic way losing them in the smoke, Warrior should have had to run the ranks of the nWo to get up to the challenge of facing "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, the King of the nWo. Warrior could have had almsot Goldberg style squash amtches complete with his press slam and big splash finish over the lower level nWo talent such as Vincent, Stevie Ray, and Scott Norton. He could have worked hsi way up to a Halloween Havoc match with Curt Hennig who he had faced in the WWF in years prior. That could have been a big stepping stone. If they wanted to go this route, Hogan could have ducked Warrior at November's World War III entirely perhaps having Warrior involved in a handicap match where the odds were stacked against him. Heck, he could even go in and win the World War III Battle Royal which saw him earn the main event spot at Starcade 1998 where he would finally get Hulk Hogan in the ring. After all, Starcade is the biggest show for the brand, right?

Warrior would have had a few matches under his belt, been less rusty, and used the formula that made him over in the WWF which is the same formula WCW used to get Goldberg over in WCW - Quick matches with clear winners by an overpowering force. And, Hogan could have been the exact opposite of what he was in 1990 as the hero character which, for those keeping score at home, was what Hollywood was based on.

In the end, Hogan gets his win back with smoke and mirrors, perhaps even a fast count to call back to the 1997 Starcade main event, and Warrior is sent on his merry way to rant about politics online in an uncomfortable way.

Ultimately, what the feud had was everything that was wrong with WCW at the time. It was all smoke and mirros without anyone to reign in the gaga and it got so hokey, no one cared.