There was a time many years ago when wrestling had my attention and the wrestlers themselves captivated me. When I say many years ago, I mean twenty five years ago when the organization then known as the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) was just getting its foundation set and the stars were young and looking to make a name for themselves. At the time, wrestling was dominated by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake Roberts, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, the list could go on forever. Then came a wrestler that was as unique and energetic as ever had been seen, the Ultimate Warrior. The guy more chiseled than anyone, and could fly through the air as if he had rockets attached to his back. I remember the colors of the bands he wore around his arms, always wondering why he had bands around his arms. I know now that the bands help make the muscles look bigger, but it was a unique look for the time. He was the most colorful guy in wrestling and part of the childhood characters that I admired.
I didn't know his real name until today, but James Hellwig a.k.a. the Ultimate Warrior passed away yesterday at the age of 54. Another of many wrestlers who passed away too soon, all of them tough guys who could seemingly do anything, take any kind of punishment, or literally fly around the ring, all somehow larger than life both in physicality and personality. He was one of my favorite wrestlers, when I liked wrestling. After I grew older, wrestling changed with new characters like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the like. The WWF became the WWE, and many of the guys I grew up with grew older and retired one after another. Through the years, the news of the passing of another great wrestler became commonplace, almost all seemingly while they were in their 40's or 50's. Maybe it had to do with steroids, or the physical abuse their bodies took night after night, or the mental toll of being on the road a lot and staying in character. Maybe it
I still look back at that time of wrestling (mid 80's to early 90's) as its peak for me, and another person from my childhood has passed on. Goodbye Ultimate Warrior, and thank you for the memories.
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