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An Ultimate Insult....But Strangely Compelling,
This review is from: WWE - The Self-Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior [DVD] (DVD)
If you grew up as a wrestling fan during the late 80's or early 90's, then you'll surely remember a wrestler known as "The Ultimate Warrior".
With his wild hair, painted face, colourful ring attire and muscular physique, "The Warrior" was unforgettable. In fact, it looked like he'd jumped straight out of the pages of a comic book.
Now, 7 years after his final mainstream wrestling appearance, WWE have decided to "honour" Warrior's career and legacy with a special DVD documentary (along with a few extras). However, on this merit, "The Ultimate One" won't be being inducted into the WWE "Hall Of Fame" any time soon.
As the title suggests, this is the WWE corporate version of the Warrior's story. However, the extent that they and their talent go to to insult the Warrior and make him look like a fool is shocking, to say the least.
As usual, WWE have assembled a variety of "talking heads" to discuss the highs and lows of Warrior's career. Why they bothered asking Jim Ross and Bobby Heenan for their opinions is baffling; neither man has a good word to say about Warrior (besides, what does "JR" know anyway? He only worked with the Warrior once and that was in 1996, during "Ultimate's" 3rd and final WWF return).
Surprisingly, Steve Lombardi (Brooklyn Brawler) and Hulk Hogan give Warrior more credit than most and Ted Dibiase (though he sort of comes across as a hypocrite) isn't too bad.
The actual documentary footage is well produced, but sadly only starts properly from Warrior's WWF debut in 1987. From there, various Warrior feuds and matches are revisted, including the infamous "Ultimate Challenge" at WM 6, where Warrior dethroned Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title.
Warrior's departure in 91' is openely discussed (and is very interesting), but only a very naive fan would believe that he was brought back for a 2nd run in 92' because Vince McMahon is a forgiving kind of guy (really, he was desperate for big name talent after Hogan announced that he would be leaving to pursue a film career).
We're then taken back to a strange feud between Warrior and Papa Shango, which from a creative standpoint, looked like an enjoyable feud (as far as in-ring action goes, however, some of us will never know as WWE fail to show us any footage of their matches).
We soon learn that Warrior's unreliability cost him his job (McMahon and JR act like going back on what you had advertised for the fans is an unpardanable sin, even though Vince has promoted dozens of UK PPV's here, with many of the big names not appearing on the night).
Warrior's court victory and WCW career are discussed last and the latter is not a pretty sight, even for die-hard Warrior fans.
The documentary at least ends on a high note, with Chris Jericho and Christian crediting him for being a memorable character (Jericho also says that he was underrated as a wrestler).
The DVD extras are okay, but like the documentary, could have been better. WWE have curiously chosen the matches that they thought opponents "carried" Warrior through (e.g. Cage Match VS Rick Rude, WM 6 with Hogan) or quick "squashes". There's not much depth there with the extras, but then I guess that's because Warrior (to his credit) turned down the offer to work with WWE on the project.
Overall, this is a controversial yet strangely compelling DVD release that will obviously impress Warrior's critics more than his fans, but nonetheless should be viewed by both.