Ultimate Whitewashing: Fans Should Not Accept WWE's Ultimate Warrior Narrative

Professional wrestling has always been larger than life. It's a big part of the industry's appeal. Throughout the 1980s and early '90s, and even all the way up until today to an extent, Vince McMahon wanted his product to literally be larger than life. Anyone taller than 6'5" with a sculpted body was and is bound to catch the chairman's eye. It's why WWE was once known as the land of the giants, and also why Hulk Hogan became a household name.

Despite what he has done in later life, pretty much any wrestling fan over the age of 35 has fond memories of Hulk Hogan. Odds are The Hulkster wasn't their favorite, though. That honor, more often than not, goes to the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior really was like a superhero come to life, which obviously appealed to kids in a major way. The trouble is, somewhere along the way, Warrior lost himself. Jim Helwig the man disappeared, and that wasn't a good thing.

RELATED: Jim Ross Blasts Ultimate Warrior, Says He Had No Respect For Women

What Did Warrior Say?

It's unclear when exactly Warrior started to think and share some of the problematic and downright disgusting viewpoints he had. The instances where he shared those viewpoints with the world came after his wrestling career had wound down. Either something changed or his various employers just made sure he didn't say those things in public before that. Whatever happened, the things he said and the person Warrior showed he was through those comments should not be ignored, but they have been since he passed.

The things Warrior said after he was done competing in the ring aren't merely hearsay. They're not wrestling stories told on podcasts and in shoot interviews that differ depending on who tells them. They were said in speeches given by Warrior himself on college campuses and transcribed in blog posts. Although attempts have been made to scrub Warrior's hateful words from the internet, they're still out there. Here's a brief rundown of some of the more troubling and infamous things he said.

  • Called the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which killed almost 2000 people and left thousands more homeless, lazy and said they deserved to suffer the way they did.
  • Spoke out against the work of Martin Luth King Jr, claiming he plagiarized his speeches and wanted "to see a race of people freed completely from discriminate oppression."
  • Said some incredibly offensive things about homosexuality, taking great pleasure in gay men and women speaking out against him being removed from the building.
  • Believes it was a good thing actor Heath Ledger killed himself as it allowed his son to make a "full recovery". This one is especially odd as it appears to be based on nothing more than Ledger playing a gay character in Brokeback Mountain.
  • Claimed Bobby Heenan suffering from throat cancer, which would eventually lead to his death, was karma.

All of the above instances can be read about in more detail, including transcripts of exactly what Warrior said, on Vice's website

Returning To WWE

As has been proved time and time again, there is no bridge too burned when it comes to talent returning to WWE. In 2014, McMahon welcomed Warrior back into the fold so that one of his most iconic Superstars could be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. That part is almost forgivable. It could certainly be argued that no wrestling HoF is complete without Warrior. Despite what he said after the fact, his impact on the industry prior to that is undeniable.

What happened right after Warrior returned would start the wheels in motion for what is most definitely not okay. Ultimate Warrior's death. Had Warrior's HoF weekend and the days afterward unfolded on a movie screen, most would have scoffed and labeled the whole thing farfetched. The time between what was a very memorable promo on Raw and Warrior's passing is better measured in hours as opposed to days.

via Inquisitr.com

The circumstances of Warrior's death have led to his life being celebrated by WWE. Again, forgivable to an extent, but not in this instance. WWE introduced the Warrior Award. A way to recognize those who have embodied "the indomitable spirit of the Ultimate Warrior". The award is often given to people not completely consumed by the wrestling bubble who might not know about some of the things Warrior said. Odds are if they did, they would hand that award right back.

The Wrestler And The Man Are One And The Same

As is almost always the case when it comes to this kind of thing, we already know what WWE and defenders of the Warrior are going to say. The Warrior Award and his name being used to champion the Susan G. Koman cancer charity, which is a particularly bitter pill to swallow considering what he said about Heenan, is a celebration of Warrior the wrestler, not the man who played him. The problem with that defense is the two were one and the same. Jim Helwig even changed his name to Warrior. Literally, his name was legally Warrior from 1993 until the day he died.

When Vice listed all of the terrible things Warrior said, his widow Dana Warrior was contacted and she attempted to defend her late husband's comments. Dana claims the birth of his two daughters changed Warrior for the better, and he had become a different man from the one who made those horrible remarks about so many sensitive topics 10 years before. Warrior never publicly apologized for those comments or hinted to his fans that he regretted the things he said.

All of this has been thrown back into the spotlight recently as two different documentaries on Warrior air this week. A&E's take on his life, which was created with the help of Dana and WWE, has already aired. As expected, the comments referenced in this feature are barely touched upon. Dark Side's doc airs tonight and judging by Dana's comments ahead of its premiere, the darker side of Warrior will be explored. The show's creators have released a clip of an interview with Warrior's ex-wife, in which she seems to pinpoint the moment in his life when Helwig left and he became the Ultimate Warrior 24/7.

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