– 2014 WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior recently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard website, before WWE announced his induction. Here are some highlights:
One of the best features in WWE 2K14 is the ability to recreate great moments in WrestleMania history. One of them is the WrestleMania VI match against Hulk Hogan. What do you remember most about that bout?
Because of our tour schedules, Hogan and I only had about 45 minutes to go over the match. We met in an old barn-like place where they used to train pro wrestlers down in Tampa and walked through what we were going to do. I didn’t see him again until WrestleMania.
How much of an impact did headlining WrestleMania have on your career?
Back at the beginning of my career, I had to make all these sacrifices—sleeping in a car on nights where I’d wrestle in front of 20,000 people—because I wasn’t making any money. Then for two years leading up to WrestleMania, I would hear all the background chatter of how popular the character was becoming. Merchandising and licensing are huge in our business, and back then they actually had a guy, Jimmy, who would set up a table and sell merch before the matches. One day Jimmy took me aside and told me how I was selling more merchandise than Hogan. “Don’t tell anyone I told you this,” he said. [Laughs]
At that time the typical storyline for WrestleMania was that one of Hogan’s friends would turn on him and set up a good guy-vs-bad guy scenario. But if WWE had done that with Ultimate Warrior, they would have been slicing their wrists, because merchandising was getting ready to go through the roof. So instead it became the Hulkamaniacs versus the Warriors. It was an incredible match—all the excitement, all the drama of the false finishes, and then the first time Hogan lost clean, and that really meant something. Of course, everything is choreographed, but that speaks even more strongly about what type of impact The Ultimate Warrior was going to have on the business.
Is that your favorite match of your career?
I have a lot of great memories, including my match against Randy [Savage] in WrestleMania VII. A lot of people say they enjoyed that more than the Hogan match. The Hogan match had so much meaning that it’s impossible not to list among my favorites, but I had all kinds of incredible matches against guys like Rick Rude and André the Giant. I had an incredible run against André all over the world, body slamming him.
It’s incredible that Sting is still wrestling. Do you think you still have one big match left in you? Maybe a Royal Rumble run out?
The 90s version of The Ultimate Warrior, that beast? No. [Laughs] But I’m still very intense, I’m still in great shape, and the way the business is today, I think something could be arranged. But that 90s version of The Ultimate Warrior can’t be done. He’s my muse. I wake up every morning and I’m inspired by him, but trying to go back and bring him back 25 years later, there’s just no way.