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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Ultimate Challenge
June 20, 2006 by Steven Pozaryck


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In 1988, a young, rising superstar began his wrestling career in the World Wrestling Federation. At the first ever Summerslam, a brutally injured Brutus Beefcake was supposed to challenge The Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Championship. A couple of weeks earlier, Beefcake took an attack during a match by Ron Bass. Bass brought out a spur and ripped up Beefcake's face. In those days, that injury was too much to overcome in a few weeks. However, The Honky Tonk Man was not going to get shut out on Summerslam's first show. Fully aware of Beefcake's injury, The Honky Tonk Man strutted around the ring with his manager, Jimmy Hart. The fans, the announcers, and The Honky Tonk Man waited for an opponent. Then, the Honky Tonk Man created his downward spiral with a single sentence. "Get me somebody out here to wrestle, I don't care who it is!"

Moments later, the Ultimate Warrior's theme music blared through the arena as he ran towards the ring. Warrior nailed HTM with three right hands, a bodyslam, a flying shoulder tackle, a clothesline and a running splash. In 30 seconds, the Ultimate Warrior easily ended the Honky Tonk Man's reign as champion. The Ultimate Warrior, with this victory, established himself as a star. Later that night, the main event featured a great tag team match. The WWF Champion, Randy "Macho Man" Savage teamed with Hulk Hogan, as the Mega-Powers. Their opponents, "The Eight Wonder of the World", Andre The Giant teamed with "The Million Dollar Man", Ted DiBiase, forming the Mega-Bucks. Hogan and Savage won the match and continued to team constantly through the next year, until the Mega-Powers "exploded."

At WrestleMania V, The Ultimate Warrior's long Intercontinental Championship reign came to an end at he hands of Rick Rude. Warrior went to suplex Rude from the apron. Bobby Heenan tripped Warrior as Rude fell on top of him. Heenan held his foot, ensuring that Warrior could not kick out. The impossible had happened in the eyes of some. This was the Ultimate Warrior's first loss in the WWF. On that night, Hulk Hogan had defeated former friend, Randy Savage for the WWF Championship. It wasn't very predictable then, but the two mammoth superstars were definitely on a collision course. Then, about ten months later, the wrestling world saw a glimpse of the Ultimate Challenge.

Before the Royal Rumble match had the added bonus to the winner, the WWF Champion was allowed to participate. At the time, Hulk Hogan was continuing his second reign as WWF Champion. The Ultimate Warrior similarly, was continuing his second reign as Intercontinental Champion, which began in August of 1989. Both men were involved in the match. The two then went eye to eye as the crowd had just been thrilled to see the encounter. Both men exchanged blows as the crowd's energy was at an extreme high. Both men knocked each other out when Shawn Michaels ran out, then the Barbarian, followed by several more in the minutes to come. Hogan was able to eliminate the Warrior, inadvertently, and Hogan eliminated Mr. Perfect in the end to win the match. However, the WWF saw the opportunity and the reaction to a Warrior-Hogan battle. Thus the match was set. WrestleMania VI in Toronto saw the Intercontinental Champion - the Ultimate Warrior - defend his belt against the WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan, who was also defending his belt. To say that this type of match is rare is an obvious understatement. This was literally the number one man in the company against the number two man in the company. This particular WrestleMania was subtitled "The Ultimate Challenge." The match was also labeled the same. The two made their spectacular entrances and went face to face. It seemed that the Warrior got a better response than Hogan. Warrior shoved Hogan, and Hogan shoved him back. The battle began. It truly was a back and forth contest. It wasn't a scientific classic, but it was a classic nonetheless. Towards the end, referee Earl Hebner was mistakenly run over by Warrior. Hogan took a couple of axe handle smashed before torpedoing him into the mat. Hogan went for the cover and counted the three himself. Hogan went over to the ref and Warrior delivered a belly to back suplex to Hogan. This time, Warrior went for the cover and counted the three himself, as well. Warrior went to check the ref and Hogan rolled him up and the ref counted a two. They continued to go back and forth and the match spilled to the floor for a few moments. Hogan was driven into the steel post and then, back in the ring, Warrior hoisted Hogan in the air and dropped him with a military press. Warrior hit his signature running splash to Hogan's back. Warrior slowly turned Hogan over and went for the cover. One. Two. Then Hogan threw Warrior off him and began to pump up. To some, this was thrilling, to others, this was upsetting. Warrior hit Hogan with a couple shots and Hogan shook them off. Hogan blocked Warrior's next attempt and hit the three punches followed by the big boot. Then something happened that no one saw coming. Hogan bounced off the ropes and totally missed the leg drop. Warrior got up, bounced off the ropes and hit a second splash, this one to the ribs of Hogan picking up the three as Hogan kicked out a second late. The majority of the crowd was in a frenzy, realizing that in addition to witnessing a great match, they witnessed the biggest wrestling upset to that date. Warrior celebrated with the Intercontinental Championship in the ring, as Hogan grabbed the WWF Championship at ringside. Hogan looked at it, looked at the people and reluctantly presented it to the Ultimate Warrior. Hogan raised his hand and the two embraced. Hogan left dejected, as Warrior stood alone in the ring as the first ever Intercontinental Champion and WWF Champion. As the late, great Gorilla Monsoon stated it was "everything we expected and more."

by Steven Pozaryck ..


Jamie Clifford wrote:
Fair play to your article, but what's the point of it" U might as well saved some time and just played Wrestlemania 6. Agreed tho it was a good match. But due to the unprofessionalness of the Ultimate Warrior, (I beg anyone to see Self Destruction btw) I don't think he deserved it. In the DVD i mentioned Hogan said that when (estimated, can't remember correct number) 100,000 people rather watch the loser walk into the back then the guy who just won the (then) WWF championship. Summins just not right there
Dylan L. wrote:
I really don't get the point of this column. Hardly anybody has anything good to say about The Ultimate Warrior anymore, and you go and write a column about a match that he did. No matter how good the match is, it will be a rare find if you get a fan who has ANYTHING good to say about the Ultimate Warrior. Or as the people back home call him, THE WARRIOR! lol! I can just see his daughter asking if he will drive her to the mall. "Mr. The Warrior dad-sir, can I go to the mall"" lol. and people that see him. "Hello Mr. THE WARRIOR!" lol! Oh, sorry for ranting, just have to mention one last thing, this whole column was two paragraphs.
Steven P. (Original Author) wrote:
Wow, sorry guys. The only reason I wrote this article is because I wanted to contribute something that didn't involve ECW or stereotypes or John Cena or Rey Mysterio's failed title run. Come on. This is the same old stuff, boring as usual. This is something new. Ironically we needed something old to feel new. And I'm not defending Mr. Warrior or whatever is name is. I think this guy has some serious issues to overcome. Anyway, this was something that just came to me and it was a claasic moment that I remember.
Nick Currier wrote:
I am and always will be a fan of the warrior. He was loved while he was around and one DVD shouldn't discredit him.
Cruz Barnard wrote:
I agree that The Ultimate Warrior was a great wrestler and entertainer and people, like the two above me, dont seem to relize it! They just look at the bad things about The Ultimate Warrior, sure he's a Jack-ass hyprocite, but frankly WHO CARES!! We as wrestling fans are only here to judge the wrestling and NOT THE PERSONNAL LIVES OF OUR HEROES!!!!
Robert Burrell wrote:
While it may be true that the Ultimate Warrior was known for his lack of professionalism and that he is just simply an idiot, you can't say that you'll be hard pressed to find fans to say anything good about the man!! You also can't say that he didn't deserve to win that title!! The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most exciting characters ever in the WWF, and I was one of those fans cheering my head off when he beat the #1 man in wrestling! Why can't we love the man for what he was good at: running in the ring, bustin' heads, and keeping us entertained!"
Brad Powers wrote:
The Ultimate Warrior, was a pretty good entertainer, but a horrible wrestler. I never found him to be that cool because he looked like he was getting "Titty Twisters" all of the time, because of the way he would act sometimes. The guy is a complete idiot. I hope people like he, Luger, Hogan......etc never step into another wrestling ring, because they are absolutely horrible. But to "die-hard" WWE fans....they are gods. But to an ECW fan like myself, those guys SUCKED!!!!!!!
Tony Francioni wrote:
Lets cut the author/and the warrior a break. The Warrior may not have been a great athlete but I have seen his matches live and the excitement from the crowd and the atmosphere was unreal!! I loved the Ultimate Challenge because of the unexpected outcome. Speaking of the Self Destruction of the Warrior DVD it was totally unfair. The guy may not have a great employee of the company but the WWE wants to cash in on it. Maybe they can spend some of the money from there DVD's sales into making Raw a good product again. By the way I'll say it again Great Article
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