Hack-Man Pro-Wrestling Ultimate Warrior interview

Last updated 3 July 2004

The Ultimate Warrior is one of the biggest stars in the history of modern wrestling. He turned his back on the business to pursue, among other things, an intellectual calling promoting his philosophy-Warrior Conservatism. I recently conducted a lengthy phone interview with Warrior discussing wrestling, weightlifting, books, politics, and numerous other topics. This four-part interview is based on our phone conversations, and follow-up electronic correspondence. The Ultimate Warrior approached wrestling in an intense, passionate, and colorful manner. He comes across as no less intense, passionate, and colorful in this interview. Enjoy.

Question: You went from packing sports arenas through your physicality as a wrestler, to packing lecture halls with your mind. How, when, and why did this transition come about?

Warrior: Well, a few things: Some, a natural part of growing up, maturing; some having the unique life experiences I had had up till my mid-30s, my goals and my accomplishments. Then, later getting involved as a Conservative activist had a lot to do with relationships I began to have with others through some entrepreneurial projects that I operated very hands-on.

I have to go back and give a little background to get to the pivotal moments, I guess. I got into wrestling when I was like 25, 26-till then I'd always been very goal oriented in my life. When I was kid, I stumbled into the shabby weight room at my high school and befriended this old rusty weight machine and that launched me on an incredible journey of self-discipline and self-motivation. Out of that I set an educational goal for myself to become a chiropractor. I turned my hobby of working out into a successful bodybuilding career. At the tail end of my schooling, the school being in Atlanta and it being a hotbed for pro-wrestling, my bodybuilding success created an opportunity to get into the business of wrestling. The rest, really, is history there. Of course, as the Ultimate Warrior character was evolving. I was too-evolving as man and having unique relationships with those I worked with, especially [World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman] Vince McMahon and other males who were essentially getting paid big money to behave a lot like kids. Vince and I had some professional fallouts. Through the handling of those fallouts, I came to see him in an unethical, unfavorable light, and began to question his and others' definitions of success and their definitions of what they thought it was to be man, or how they thought one should think and act like a man.

It was natural for me, when we parted ways as we did a few times, to see having done what I did for the opportunity that it was, and just accept it for that, and then I set off to set new goals, etc. Being in the business for me was always about the challenge of succeeding it, not the fame and celebrity parts. Long story short: I came back and left and came back a couple more times. This brings me into the mid-'90s. And each time I split, like I said, I'd set new goals and some of those goals were entrepreneurial and for the first time in my life, because of the pace I had lived life at, I had this first real opportunity to listen to others and find out what they thought about life-really hear about their philosophies of life. The more I paid attention the more I realized I thought differently on many levels. Being off the road and still having incredible energy and discipline and intensity, I began to want to do new things. I began a lot of self-study, including beginning a self learning journey reading the Great Books of the Western world, and the study of American history and came to see and call the Founding people and times the absolute heroic models. This was special for me, having done what I did as heroic role model for young minds, and never before in my life able to point to any one identity as a role model.

It was also during the second term of the Clinton presidency when I began all of this. That was uniquely disgusting for me, for reasons related to my unique experiences a role model, and even though I was not paying long-time direct attention to politics or parties, etc., I thought, here is the literal and figurative role model for the United States of America behaving like a perverted little kid. I just found it all really unmanly and undignified. About the same time I met the woman who would become my wife. She was conservative and through her I knew I had been throughout my life, without knowing it directly, living by a conservative philosophy of life.

Sorta out of necessity to have a job, build another career-more for knowing, as any conservative does, that work is how you build self-esteem and good frame of mind-I began building a speaking career. First using the knowledge I was acquiring from the self-learning journey I was on, to go and talk at schools about how power in your life comes from using your mind, not muscle.

Who better to do that right?

As I paid more attention to current event stuff, and was deciding to begin a family, I was appalled at what was going on in education. I mean we really are not teaching young people to even think, as it is classically defined. I was also really disheartened the first few times I went out to speak on college campuses. I just thought people on college campuses would be interested in talking and hearing about serious ideas. I went in to talk about Aristotle's ethics and I got back this glazed over look. So I had to rethink some things about my game plan, or maybe I should say unthink some things. And that's when I reached out to Conservative organizations. You, I remember reaching out to you, you were at Accuracy in Academia. You were very helpful, thank you. Young America's Foundation and the Leadership Institute and some other conservative leads I got through Internet. In fact, a guy by the name of Dan Labert at the media part of the Leadership Institute, who was a fan of my career in wrestling, really put a good word around. He, I believe, got in the ear of YAF, Patrick Coyle over there, and out of that I went to CPAC 2003 and since then we have been doing, again, I believe really positive things. I was back at CPAC 2004, and spoke in the big ballroom.

You know you mentioned in your question about once packing them in the arenas, and packing them in on college campuses now. Well, go easy, the crowds aren't as big, but they can often be just as raucous, many of the young kids come because they were little-kid fans of my career. Sometimes in the middle of my speech all the faces turn into ten-year olds...but what you say is true in one sense, as I always make sure to say when I am out for the group that brought me in-it is just as inspiring for me to be doing what I am now as it was to wrestle in front of 5,10, 20,000 fans in the wrestling arenas and coliseums I once did. So, there you have some of the how, why and when.

Question: Tell me your own personal history.

Warrior: I grew up in Indiana, born and raised there. Did a year of college there at Indiana State, the same year the great Larry Bird was kicking basketball butt. I'm the oldest of five. My dad split when I was twelve, never to look back to provide any support at all-financial or otherwise. I don't have any horror stories. I don't have any Sally Jesse Rafael-horror stories of being raped or molested by the next-door neighbor. Did get into plenty of innocent-enough juvenile behavior though. Even ran away from home when I was 13, 14 with a lady who was 28 and had seduced me, no less. I reckon I could blame all my failures and foibles on that if I wanted, take the typical liberal way out. Anyway, that's a story for my book.

Really, though, I had a really great upbringing. I grew up in the country, in the rural areas, small town of 600 people. We did a lot of fishing and a lot of hunting, a lot of boy stuff. My mom, when I was about thirteen or fourteen, married a really decent guy. He had a really good sense of integrity, and also was a great outdoorsman.

I'm sure, although I was your typical young male not paying strict attention, that I got a decent education-they still said "The Pledge of Allegiance" and taught you unrevised American history!-and they had no quibbles back then about disciplining you. We used to get the paddle, and I can remember when my mom found out, she'd take me back to school and tell them to paddle me again, She held great authority over me and my siblings. She didn't take any back talk.

And, like I said, in the last part of sophomore year, first part of my junior year, I stumbled into that weight room and made friends with that old weight machine. My life really changed from that point on.

Question: My understanding is that you got into professional wrestling with a small group of guys that included Sting. Could you talk about how you got into the business?

Warrior: I was going to chiropractic school and competing in bodybuilding. In 1984, I won the Mr. Georgia competition. From that, I went to the Mr. America competition that year in New Orleans. And there, there was a guy by the name of Ed Connors, who was one of three guys who bought the Gold's Gym that Joe Gold founded, and the three set out and turned into the worldwide franchise operation that it is today. Every year, back at that time, in the '80s, they would take two amateur bodybuilders they thought had potential to make it big, and bring the two out to California and put them up while they trained at "The Mecca" for a Junior National or National level contest. I was one of the guys in '84 or '85. I went out there and I trained for a Junior Mr. USA contest, took fifth in my class, if I remember right. Anyway, things didn't, in the contest, really go the way we expected them to go. The opportunity was still there. I was like one of the biggest, by bodyweight, bodybuilders at the time, got great reviews with [Joe] Weider and all the other top bodybuilders, just didn't hit my mark for that show. So, I decided to get back to Atlanta and finish the small amount of school I had left, mostly clinical requirements.

Just as I got back to Atlanta, Ed called and told me there was a guy out there in California who's putting together a team of four guys to become pro-wrestlers, and he asked me if I'd be interested. I didn't follow the sport at all. Atlanta, of course, was a hotbed of wrestling at the time and I had crossed paths with a few of the guys-the Road Warriors, Paul Orndoff, Dusty Rhodes, Tony Atlas-but I didn't know them personally. But after some minor investigation, and the fact that I could use all the hard work I'd done in bodybuilding to capitalize off it-make some money, come back to the chiropractic later... I decided to go for it.

Question: Did you watch wrestling as a kid?

Warrior: No, I was never into it, but, ironically, my step-dad was. He used to watch it late at night-Dick the Bruiser and the Crusher. I remember them by catching him watching it. My stepdad and I got along in a really good way, but I always thought he was kind of goofy for watching it. I'd come in late on the weekends, being out with my buddies and he'd switch the channel like he didn't mean to have it on.

Question: Like he was embarrassed?

Warrior: Yeah.

Question: Early on, you jumped around a bit from different federations. Where are some of the places you wrestled?

Warrior: Well, long-story short, when I went to California I was really supposed to be a playing out of a whole of masterplan: training, marketing, big-time access, and success. Turned out, within a couple weeks, that the guy who had the idea didn't have the money to float the beginning phases and the bottom fell out. We lost our place to live, had just enough to eat peanut butter, and do midnight snack runs at local grocery stores, eating in the aisles, funny stuff. To top it off, as Steve [Sting] and I later found out, this guy didn't know jack about how the business operated on the inside. Even if he'd had the money to feed us and get us fully trained, his big plan still would have failed.

Steve [Sting] and I stayed positive about it all, and really our ignorance about things was a blessing. We sent pictures out to everybody on a list of wrestling organizations we had. We only had ten to fifteen hours of training. And that was basically just lifting each other over our heads and dropping one another on the floor-on the basic gymnastic mats. One of those regional territories was Mid-Southern, over in Tennessee, at the time Jerry Jarrett ran it. They saw the pictures. We were big guys. We were impressive in that way. We were all-American looking. And they gave us a call and told us to come on out. We just really got our bags and went for it with expectations that were way too high. I swear to God, when we drove from California to Tennessee we thought within a few months we were going to be millionaires. We were so pumped.

Question: What kind of money did a wrestler make back then?

Warrior: We were making $25 to $50 a night.

Question: Were you rooming with Sting?

Warrior: We did everything together. Laundry, gym, groceries-always together. We had the one car. I'd sold mine so we could eat in California. We drove to the towns together. Sometimes 4-5 hours one way and with 4-5 guys in the car just to cover the cost of gas. Slept in a fleabag hotel until we got an apartment then we slept on the floor. Ate tuna fish out the can. Had to call Ed Connors to send us some money. It was really rough, but we stayed positive as we could. I thought a lot about going back to school, but didn't even have the money to get back to Georgia, let alone re-enroll. And we knew there was nothing we could do about it. It was about paying dues. One week we got a check for the whole seven days of working for like $150-$200. Beat all to hell, bummed out and all, we ask one of the boys, Rip Morgan, a guy from New Zealand, "How do you know when you are getting screwed (euphemism)?" He said, "Oh, don't worry about that mate, you'll know when you are getting screwed. The question then becomes 'What can you do about it?'" He was right. There was nothing we could do about it.

Question: Both you and Sting have had huge success in professional wrestling. Neither of you on principle has gone over to Titan [WWF/WWE].

Warrior: Well, I can only speak for myself really. You are right, Sting hasn't gone over there, but I don't how much that has to do with principle. I've never read that. I know he's done the born-again Christian thing, but I mean he's worked with NWA-whatever it is-the Jarrett thing. Creatively, they're doing the same raunchy, risqué garbage.

About me you are right. I haven't gone over on principle-that it is degenerate and I'm not doing it because of that. In addition, I have extensively articulated what my principles are, at my site and when I go out and speak. That makes a huge difference as to why I am not there because of principle. Others haven't done that. I also fought Vince in a five-year litigation, on principle. I stood up to his ways, the ways he screwed many, many others. While others have never done that, yet every single person I worked with knew and expressed how Vince had wronged them. I mean, at WCW, [Eric] Bischoff and all the current WWF talent that went over, practically used the majority of their programming to deride and taunt McMahon for how he had treated them and the other boys over the years. That said, even if I didn't have the history with Vince, there'd be no way I could, especially with where I am in my head today, rationalize degenerate and perverse behavior claiming I was just an actor acting. I know that's hard for some people to understand, especially today, but it's the truth. I just happen to believe people should think and act like grown ups when they are.

Hypocrisy for me just doesn't work. Like, though, it does for many, including those who are born-again Christians, like Steve [Sting] and Sean Michaels [sic] and others. If you participate, in my mind, you support and condone. It's that black and white for me. Vince is laughingly stabbing them with their own Devil's pitchfork.

Question: Then your road is a little different from Sting's?

Warrior: You mean for me to be able to say that I am not wrestling because of my principles?

Question: Yes.

Warrior: Definitely! It's a lot different. There's no comparison, especially if principle means anything. Look, I know it's hard for others that have never gone through it to understand, but my five year legal battle was not like showing up for traffic court. And I know that's what most people, you know, somewhat imagine-like okay some sorta big deal, but not really. It was a huge event, a huge experience in my life. Everyone else I know that whined and complained never had the guts. And believe me, they all whined and complained-all of them. It taught me that it is never-never wrong to fight for what is right. And then aside from that, all the self-study I've done to be able to know what I talk about. Hell, I spent great amounts of the money I made, buying myself time, investing in myself, becoming capable of doing something else, and to do it legitimately. I am bothered by not just the guys I worked with but by others too who have the professional fame and success, get personally detoured down a degenerate and promiscuous side road, then show up hawking born-again Christianity, or ambiguous, get-your-life/act-together routines, or that they know about principles, or are principled and on and on. Why can't they just be principled without having to use hitting the bottom as their excuse and Christianity as their savior, then worse, go out and turn it into somewhat of a con and a way to thieve money. It's repulsive to me and I'm very bothered by it.

Question: Do you still have contact with Sting?

Warrior: No, not for years. I saw him and we spoke when I was at WCW in 1998, but, well, we are different people than when we began and during those years he went his way and I went mine. We never sustained contact.

Question: Do you have contact with any of the people from wrestling?

Warrior: No. Look, I'm cut from a different mold. Most of the guys have this loyalty to the business that I don't have. Even when it ruins their lives, breaks their character as a human being, or, worse, kills them. If things would not have gone sour with the McMahons, maybe I'd be more inclined. I mean, many of the old timers still work for Titan behind the scenes, as agents, gophers, real jobbers. It's their job. They've made the business their life.

When I was having my success, you have to understand something: I'd been in the business a few years. Other guys had been in it 10 to 12 years and they never had the success I did. There was a ton of envy. I knew and was also smart enough to navigate the shark infested waters. I was despised in a lot of ways. I knew I had to be a loner to succeed-do my own thing. And I beat them at their own game-their own "work." I got out on my own terms. They didn't get to abuse the character or me.

They want to think in some ways-the pundits at least-that they were instrumental in making you what you were. And they also want to write the obituary for you. They want to be the ones to ridicule you on your way out: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass." It pisses a lot of people off that I have gotten on responsibly with my life. Like I've said numerous times, if I had ended up a pitiful, drugged bum I'd be better appreciated for what I did in the business. If I OD'ed in a Budget hotel room doing dirty little street drugs, my wife and kids at home, I'd be a real superstar. It also bothers a lot of people in the industry that I don't have a problem defending the legitimacy of my career, using my mind to do so instead of muscle.

Question: So you went from what, from Mid-Southern to where?

Warrior: We went to a place called Mid-South, and this guy named Bill Watts ran it.

Question: He later ran WCW?

Warrior: He did, yeah. We came in and Watts had this reputation for roughing up new guys, especially muscle guys; especially muscle guys that really wanted to make it in the business and showed deference to him because he was the boss. After about two or three months, there was an instance where Watts wanted me to get down in the locker room in front of all of the other guys. I'd heard the story through the grapevine about what he did. He wanted me to get down on all fours like a dog and he was going to show me how to throw a "working" kick to the underbelly (so he makes you think).

Well, I heard about what he did-he would kick the shit out of you and bust your ribs up. It was like a test to see if you would take the crap. And I knew what he was going to do and I said, "Look, if you want me on all fours you're going to have to put me there." Of course, he wasn't man enough to go for that. He wanted me at a disadvantage to begin with. This is something that the whole locker room didn't expect, because guys come in the business and they really want to make it and they do whatever it takes. Steve just stood there and didn't really back me up, even though we had like this bond between ourselves that we were in this-good or bad-together. I was bothered by that. We really started splitting ways after that, thinking differently about goals, etc. Eddie Gilbert and some of the others there got in Steve's ear, and our relationship quickly fell apart after that. I was never afraid to think for myself, Steve more liked to be handled.

I picked up the phone and called WCCW over in Texas. And that's when I went over there and started the Dingo Warrior.

Question: How long did you stay there?

Warrior: I stayed there, I think, about a year and a half. I did really well. Just before I came in to work, Kerry [Von Erich] had a motorcycle wreck where he actually lost his foot. They amputated it. They kaye fabed [shielded] it for years. Even I didn't know about it until much later when Kerry and I became really great friends, like brothers, after I went up and was doing my thing in WWF with wild success. I was living in Texas and he was just down the road from me and we began hanging out together. WCCW was a territory, when I went there, that had the second amount of exposure compared to Titan. Titan was really just starting to spread nationally at the time. And the Dingo Warrior character really took off and got decent press in the monthly wrestling magazines out on the newsstands. I started as a heel, but people took to the similarities between me and Kerry, our bodies, our warrior look, and mannerisms you might say. It was actually the crowds down there that turned the Dingo Warrior [into a] baby face.

Question: So you get into Titan in what, the late '80s?

Warrior: About the later part of '86 or '87. I was actually in the middle of signing a deal to go to Japan at the time. This guy named George Scott, who worked for Titan and was one of Vince's right hand men when he did his first Wrestlemania, was booking there at the time. He had just retired from Titan and as a favor to Fritz he came down to Texas on his way to Florida to take over the book for a while. Through people who worked at the Texas office, at the Sportatoriam where I was at WCCW, I found out that he was having conversations with Vince talking about me, talking highly about me. Telling Vince that there's a guy down here who has got this unbelievable potential. That guy happened to be me.

It's ironic because if you look at the timeline, as soon as that George Scott guy came to Texas, Vince started running shows in Dallas, Texas. So, really what was going on-this George Scott guy came down to kill off the territory completely.

Question: You think he was like a fifth columnist or something?

Warrior: Yeah. That's a great way to put it, for sure that's what he was doing. I don't have any doubts about it. Neither would any one else being straight with themselves. Shortly after I began with WWF, WCCW shut down.

Question: Let's go to the WWF. There are a couple of matches that I want to talk about. You got your first Intercontinental Title. It was an eight-second match. Was something weird going on?

Warrior: It was a thirty-one second match, with the Honky Tonk Man at Madison Square Garden for the Intercontinental Championship.

Question: But to sort of lay down for someone in thirty-one seconds, he didn't take that the wrong way? He was fine with it?

Warrior: What are you, a mark? How old are you? (Laughs). Look, it was his job, and even though I didn't have, or haven't maintained relationships with any of the guys since leaving the business, I had respectful, decent rapport with the guys when I worked with them. Honky, Andre, Randy—we all did what we did, them for me and I for them because it was good business to make money, get people to buy tickets. But, yeah, to answer your question another way, there could be times between different talent, people who didn't get along personally that it made for getting things done in the ring more difficult. I could tell you many stories about that, more than you have time for...But with the power of TV you can get out of or cover up anything talent would not do, refuse to do. For example, if Honky was of a mind not to do what they wanted, they could have just kept him off TV, made a match for the Intercontinental belt in some other way, put The Ultimate Warrior in that match, and put the strap on him.

Question: Let's move on a bit to 1990 and your winning of the WWF Championship belt.

Warrior: My match against Hogan, that was…I had a lot of great moments, but I would probably say that was the pinnacle of my wrestling career and one of the best matches of all time. I'm proud of it. It was significant for, as I've said throughout the years, many things.

One, I'd reached the goal I set for myself. Many people don't understand, many in the industry just don't want to hear it. But when I got in the business, I got in it to pursue success. If after a certain amount of time that would not have happened, I sure as hell wasn't going to stick with it just so I could be professional wrestler, like so many others in the business do. And when I got in it, Hogan was the guy. The facts are I set a goal and achieved it. Did the work, turned the eyes of those who mattered, and made it happen. And like I'd done my whole life up till then, once I had reached a goal, I began setting others. In some ways, having that match with Hogan was anti-climatic. And I would say, now, after greater life experience and looking back, that the way I was about setting new goals, having the confidence to and not having any doubts I could achieve them, likely, underneath everything else that went on between Vince and I, contributed somewhat to the fallouts we had.

That match was also very significant from this point: Hogan was the superstar and had been for a long time the only superstar. Doing the match the way it was done, having the big baby faces face-off was a huge statement about how popular The Ultimate Warrior character was. I mean, Hogan was popular, there was no doubt about that. In fact, buildups to previous Wrestlemanias were done by taking one of Hogan's buddies and having that buddy stab him in the back, turn the second hottest baby face heel. That's how they built Wrestlemanias. But Ultimate Warrior was selling merchandise at the same pace or better than Hogan. If they'd done that, turned The Ultimate Warrior heel, they'd have been cutting their own wrists. So they had to do the match the way they did. I know on a deeper level what that meant and I am proud of what I accomplished to make that happen. It meant something to beat Hogan then, not later, like I told him when I came back in '98 to WCW. Beating him didn't mean anything then.

Question: Were you and Hogan buddies?

Warrior: No. He's doing a whole other head trip. People like to misbelieve I'm on one—please. When I was at WWF we didn't really spend any time together. He did come out to my place in Arizona one afternoon when we had a TV taping there, and we rode in a car a few times to a few shows.

I don't know if anyone ever gets to know Terry [Hulk Hogan]. He may not even know himself, he's been working himself for so long. In '98 he invited me down to his place in Florida and, well, let me just say here, to save expanded thought for my book, he was very, very shallow and was not mature in ways that a person his age with his life experiences should be. It was, especially since I had matured in some really strong and empowering ways, very disappointing, disheartening.

Question: I guess a question I have is that a lot of people talk about the politics involved between Hogan pinning Andre the Giant. What seems to me a bit more fascinating is the politics involved for someone to pin Hogan cleanly.

Warrior: You hear a lot about politics this and politics that these days. Even though I don't follow what's going on, I do have a sense that politics may play a larger role today. In fact, when I went to WCW, there were what you could call politics, plenty of it, but I would call it what it really is: Backstabbing, conniving, being a scumbag to weasel whatever you didn't have the talent to get. There are many things that led to the demise of WCW, but it was plenty of politics as I describe them that sped it along. I can guarantee you that. But when I was at WWF, I worked hard, performed, and made my spot. It's just that simple. I didn't know any differently to think there was any other way to make it. If you are good enough, talent will win out over favoritism and politics. It did then anyway.

I would say that to use politics, as you call it, if there were any, Andre doing what he did for Hogan carries less political weight than what Hogan did for me. In other words, Hogan had to concede more than Andre. Even Hogan would have to say this or else he'd be admitting Andre held greater political stature than him, and God knows Hogan, the man who has made his whole existence a work, would never admit that (laughs). Andre was at the end of his career. He was happy and wealthy...I had a great run with Andre and became good friends with him, really. I would even make the case Andre did more for the Ultimate Warrior than he ever did for Hogan. And that's saying a lot because Andre did not ever do what he did not want to. Ask Randy Savage.

Question: When you beat him in 1990, how did that happen then?

Well, again, Ultimate Warrior was a strong baby face in his own right and was competitive with Hogan on many fronts, pure and simple. I was just enjoying reaping this incredible success I had never had before. The money was great. I was traveling all over, training at gyms all over the place, doing—I would just say that at that time Titan [WWF] took really great care of me. I was seeing on a nightly basis how over the Ultimate Warrior was getting, and hearing about it through the office's grapevine. From the beginning a match between Hogan and I was never discussed in terms of me turning heel. It was always from the very start going to be baby face versus baby face. From there it was easy to build up a challenge between our two distinct legions of fans, his Hulkamaniacs, and my Warriors. Vince and Hogan did play some head games for the few months leading up to the match about what the finish would be, who would go over. I think they knew from the start what they were going to do, but wanted to test me to see how I would react. After all, it was a big thing to do. Bottom line is I knew they were going to do what they decided, and I would go along with it. Like I said, I was just beginning to enjoy the success of reaching a great part of my goal and was having fun, life was great. It was not though till the night before when Hogan and Vince and I got together one last time that it was set that I would go over and the exact details of that finish were laid out. Hogan and I never really discussed anything beyond that. We did not hang out together. He did his thing, I did mine. We did the match and it was awesome.

Question: The match itself: Neither Hogan, nor you, is considered by the wrestling wonks to be the best of technical wrestlers. But, even though this is the stigma that you both have—that you get by on charisma and ring personality and your physiques—a lot of wrestling fans think this is one of the best matches of all time.

Warrior: They do because it was. Look, technical wrestling to some degree is something every guy in the business learns to do—the basics and all—because you can't get your foot in the door of the business unless you know how to get by technically to begin with. I learned all that stuff before I even went to the WWF and continued with it for a good while after I got there. I was wrestling in high-school arenas with Steve Lombardi and Terry Gibbs and Mike Sharpe and some others. And we were doing back drops, and arm drags, leap frogs, working holds—we were doing all the wrestling stuff that you see little guys do as part of their regular act. You have to be able to know how to do at least some of that stuff in the beginning. The gimmick, if you have one or are capable of one, takes priority later.

Not being a technical wrestler is kind of a silly bad wrap I get all the time from guys like Bret Hart and industry pundits. My response is, look, you guys were in the business for a dozen years before I even got there. A dozen years and you never figured it out that wrestling skills per se were not where it was at. It was about being a gimmick. I got there and in two years I figured it out. I'd also busted my ass in painful ways they never had—years of training in the gym, self-discipline in working out and dieting. If they want to criticize anybody they should criticize the promoters who were, in effect, telling them, your little bag of fancy wrestling moves don't sell tickets t-shirts, posters, dolls, etc.—so leave them and your tears at home, instead show up with some muscle and some energy.

What, am I supposed to apologize I did what it took, at that time, and they didn't?

It wasn't part of my gimmick—it wouldn't fit Ultimate Warrior—to keep doing the wrestling stuff. I was smart enough to know that. Making that decision is up to the talent. In other words, whatever a wrestler decides to portray himself as in the wrestling ring character-wise, he's the one who develops that. Hogan and I both had strong big man gimmicks but we knew the significance of the match called for weaving in some of the wrestling skills we didn't regularly use to create drama and emotion, the working of big man holds and the close false finishes, etc. It was a big thing, that match, and people believed in the Ultimate Warrior character enough to know he might be the one for the very first time to put Hogan cleanly on his back for the 1-2-3.

Question: Does that small-guy stuff shorten your career?

Warrior: Well, it will if you stay with it and you're a big guy with the potentials in other ways to pull off a big guy gimmick. If you don't figure it out. I didn't get in the business to be just a pro wrestler. Let alone one who had a whole bag of technical moves. I got in it to succeed at its highest levels and I did.

One of the hardest things about making it in the business is figuring out the image you need to portray of your persona. Even once you get up to a top spot in it, it is the thing you have to pay the most attention to. Small-guy is a broad term to describe many things here, but, I was a big, powerful—and violently intense—guy who didn't need to do a lot of the other things others did.

Question: Now with Hogan, did you guys take a lot of time to choreograph the match?

Warrior: No. We went over it one time. I went down to Florida and met him in an old building where they had a ring set up. We walked through the match one time. And in Toronto, we "danced."

Question: Let's move on a bit. You were at the WWF when it's at one of its high points when you're wrestling Hogan. Then a few years later, the business goes south big time.

Warrior: The business has always had its highs and lows, but you are talking about the time when the crap hit the fan with the Dr. Zahorian steroid stuff, causing Vince and some of the talent, Hogan and Piper, to be implicated, eventually Vince being prosecuted.

Question: That's what I want to know. What was it like being in the WWF during that real dark time with the Steroid scandal, and the feds coming down on Vince?

Warrior: Well, most of the guys took stuff. Even guys you'd never imagine, just to keep up with the pace of the road, the lifestyle, the hanging out with groupies, and drinking, and whatever else. Of course, steroids were legal. You could get them with a prescription from a doctor. It was just at the time that the government was initiating a crack down. The war on street drugs was a bust, so they focused their attention on steroids. The word came down from the office to either to make sure you had a prescription or get off altogether. I can't remember exactly without a timeline in front of me. All the documents I have from my litigation with Titan lay it all out to the day, everything. I just know the office did things in stages. Just trying to go off the top of my head here, it effected a lot of guys negatively. I wasn't bothered by it. I never depended on just steroids to maintain my physique and knew I could keep right at what I was doing. In '92 when I came back you couldn't use them, and I reached a great physical peak by using the knowledge I had. Hogan, on the other hand, went on The Arsenio Hall Show and lied about having ever taken them, which just made matters worse and created, I recall, real friction between Vince and he. Both had different ideas about how to handle it all. Hogan would always say that Vince was going about dealing with all this the wrong way. But Vince got really scared about it all. I remember very vividly a conversation he had with me. He really thought he was going to do some time in prison.

Question: What was the mood like in the WWF at that time?

Warrior: Guys were looking for ways around it all. They were especially pissed off that Vince was paying all the bodybuilders for the bodybuilding organization he was starting up, obviously all on the juice, and here they were—the wrestlers—busting their ass up and down the road to foot the bill for guys that got guaranteed money to do nothing but eat, train and sleep. But that was part of being on the road, the whining and complaining. Yet, like I said, nobody ever did anything about the bitches they had.

Question: As a wrestler, when the crowds are getting smaller, what's the mood like in the WWF at the time? It can't be as good as a couple of years before, right?

Warrior: I never really let it effect me. I had to get so pumped up to do Ultimate Warrior. From the moment the music came on, I had to run out to the ring. I mean, other guys could just walk out there and walk around. I had to get into this zone in my head to do Ultimate Warrior to just get to the ring and always continue to just give people their money's worth.

Question: Over the years, to build up his company Vince McMahon has taken a lot of chances. Occasionally, he would make mistakes—the XFL, the bodybuilding federation.

Warrior: This is the way I see it. Vince has always tried to use the money he's made from professional wrestling to become a part of the more elite class of promoters in other professional sports. That's why he has done it. Of course, he wants to be successful as a businessman, I believe that. But I really think he wants to be a part of that more notable established clique to diminish the stigma of being more like a circus promoter. When he did the bodybuilding venture, it wasn't like he wanted to raise a crop of bodybuilders. What he wanted was to have Joe Weider's publishing empire, a credible business without the stigma. Contracting the bodybuilders, which Weider had never done at the same level, was really just a means to a bigger end. Vince said as much about what his end goals were when he brazenly belittled the NFL when he launched the XFL.

Question: One thing that I remember, and I asked a guy today if I were dreaming or something like that—one of the gimmicks that Vince had you do which was probably the dumbest thing I've ever seen on professional wrestling…

Warrior: With the Papa Shango thing?

Question: Yeah, you know exactly what I'm talking about. So, he had some guy put a voodoo curse on you and you where throwing up or something. Could you say to Vince, "Hey Vince, this is a bad idea?"

Warrior: I did. But it did little good once he had his mind set on something. The big problem was that every three weeks you showed up at a television taping and they had it all laid out already. They got that one evening to tape three different television programs—whatever they were at the time. So, they can't modify things that much. You—the talent—have been on the road and you're worn down anyway, so it depends how much fight or how much creativity you have in you to make the case for doing something differently.

Question: If you tried to say to him, "Look, this isn't such a good idea." Is he the type a guy that takes criticism in stride?

Warrior: Yeah, Vince was always good about hearing good ideas out. In fact, back then it was really up to the top talent to come up with their own creative ideas to make an angle work. But you had to come up with another idea really quick because they are going from one thing to the next. Papa Shango was a voodoo type of character anyway. So, in some way the office was already convinced that people were buying the voodoo thing. So taking it up a notch and having Warrior leak ooze or puke pea-soup wasn't, so they thought, wasn't going to make less believable the angle.

Question: When was the last time you spoke to Vince McMahon?

Warrior: Geez, 1996, if you mean spoke at any length. In 2000, the day our trial was to begin and all was settled, he came up to me in the courtroom before the day got underway with his hand out and stared with his trademark, "Hey pal." I refused to shake his hand and told him, "I've been insulted enough and we have nothing to be pals about." Truly probably the only time Vince has had that done to him. Try it some time. Refuse to shake the hand of a person you don't respect when they have their hand extended. It's very hard to do. But man does it build your character and tell you something about yourself. Ever since that day, my handshake means something and I don't give it as if it does not.

Question: There was a guy on WCW TV, after they bring in Hogan and Savage, they bring in this guy...

Warrior: Renegade.

Question: Yeah. Now, were you flattered or pissed-off by this?

Warrior: I don't know...I never watched TV when I was out of the business, so I didn't see it until somebody at my gym told me about. I don't know if I'd say it was flattering. It's been a long time ago but I was probably a little pissed off. But it does validate the strength of the Ultimate Warrior character's success and his impact on the business. Just like when organizations drop his name today. I mean, you can't hear or read the transcript of one wrestling related program, radio or internet or whatever, without someone calling in and asking: "What about the Ultimate Warrior?" I did think Hogan and the others who came up with the scheme really believed that I would see them making this attempt to replicate The Ultimate Warrior and I would see it and go, "You motherf'ers! I'm the damn Ultimate Warrior! How dare you!" and then, like, show up unannounced at the next TV taping with my gear bag laying claim to what was mine (laughs).

Question: And you really think they had that scheme in mind—that you showing up to defend yourself is the way it would play itself out?

Warrior: Hell, yes. These guys are still on the streets working their gimmicks, all the time TV or no TV.

Question: I skipped over something—the lawsuit with WWF.

Warrior: It's a lot to skip over and probably too much to, in this interview, cover in any decent respect. In 1996 I went back to work for Titan [WWF] after having had two previous contractual fallouts with them in '91 and '92. Shortly after I came back here in '96, they violated the terms of my contract. The first two times, being a person who was never afraid to set other goals, do other things, without doubt and confident of that, I just went on my own way. Thinking positive and giving thanks to the opportunity and wonderful experience of it all. But here in '96 it was different and other things of value, and of value to me, were on the line. So yes, in '96 litigation with Titan began

Question: What was the lawsuit about and what was the outcome?

Warrior: Primarily, it was about breach of contract. They violated the terms of the '96 agreement we had. Vince called me at the end of 1995—I'd been out since 1992—and wanted me to come back to wrestling because the business needed a lift, and I guess, he had had the time to reconsider how he'd wronged me in 1992, using me and Davey Boy Smith as scapegoats to take the heat off his back when he was federally prosecuted over the steroid stuff.

When he called I was already up to my neck in my own entrepreneurial projects using the Warrior intellectual property. Basically, I just told him no, especially if it was to be under a generic contract. There was no way I could do that after all the investments I'd made since leaving the ring. Linda called me, his wife. Of course, I knew Linda because I had met her before out at their house, at Titan. I don't know really how much she did business wise before, my business was handled with Vince really. But somewhere in the 1990s, she took a more active role, then eventually became CEO.

She called me and said, "Can I meet with you?" So she came out to Phoenix and I just got the impression that it would really be different this time. So I said, "Look, I can't come back under a generic contract. I need a special contract. I got all these other projects going on. I got my gym, which is becoming a private facility—maybe to train guys who want to get in the business. I got my big comic book project I want to turn in to an animated movie, got my mail order business, etc. I can't just up and leave these things." I said, "This is what I'll do. I'll come back. I'll be the wrestler. You can sell the t-shirts, the posters, you can make the money from the ticket sales. You give me a price for that. But I get to plug into your merchandising and networking with my other Warrior projects. And there's got to be a distinction between my new intellectual properties that I've developed, and those that represent who the wrestler is. So, we had our distinct agreement and four months after I came back they just started violating it. They didn't give a shit. And it turns out they never were going to live up to it. Screwing me again was premeditated.

Question: So did you sue them, or did they sue you?

Warrior: I sued them.

Question: So what happened in the suit?

Warrior: The short answer is that I prevailed. Beyond that, I learned a lot about myself and life and my own integrity. I found out a lot I do not like about other people, especially the professional, expert suits in the world who get unchecked approval just because of who they are. I am more skeptical and cynical of others. I matured much, became a better man and came to know how I would define being one. I found out that it is never wrong to fight for what is right—never. In ways, having the experience has set me on the path I am now.

Question: And when was the date of that?

Warrior: March, 2000, and then I fought my own lawyers for over a year, because they did an unbelievably corrupt turn and tried to screw me out of rightful settlement. I hung in there and beat them too. It was a rough five years.

Question: So now, you have the right to "Warrior," "Ultimate Warrior"?

Warrior: Yeah, I have all the intellectual property rights and everything to it. I always did, the lawsuit was necessary to prove it, to put to rest Titan's fallacious claim that they did. Although just one aspect of the litigation, it was important from the stand point—a standpoint many don't want to understand—that I had worked hard to create it and make it what it was and wanted to be able to, should be able to, use it to do other business things outside of the ring—down the road at a different time in my life. Christ, what was I supposed to do: just lay down and give over all the work, sweat, toil, and value? Critics are so narrow-minded, like, "Yeah, he fought for it just so he could always have it as a momento of his wrestling days." The intellectual property is worth more than the memory of my career there. That chapter in my life signifies something about the whole of my life, what my life and the way I think about it and live it means to me. Of course, too, my full legal name is the one name of Warrior, and my family has it as their surname. It signifies the philosophy of life I live by.

Question: Let's move forward to WCW.

Warrior: That was in '98, in the middle of my lawsuit against Titan. [Eric] Bischoff called me about coming to work there. I think Hogan called me too. I guess they were surprised the Renegade fiasco didn't drive me to make that mad dash to the ring they expected it to. Titan got wind of them contacting me about a return and rushed into the court and filed a brief making even wilder and broader claims about negotiations than even I knew myself, in an attempt to prevent it. In their brief they made the claim that I, Warrior, didn't own the Ultimate Warrior—that they did, that they owned the intellectual property.

So we had to file a response to it. What happened out of those two briefs being filed was that I came forward and proved through photos and footage—copyrighted footage I owned of the Dingo Warrior—that Dingo Warrior was really just a nascent version of the Ultimate Warrior; that I all along owned it, even before I went up to Titan. The judge said look, there's no question that Warrior owns the character "Warrior"—all the trademark indicia, all the mannerisms, and everything else—he had indisputably created it and was performing the Warrior persona before he even came up to Titan. Vince though had a couple of his cronies file affidavits telling a contrived story that they came up with and provided "Ultimate." So the judge decided that as the trial played itself out, what the truth about that specific matter would be determined then. So that's why when I went to WCW in 1998, it was only under "Warrior."

Question: What did you spend, a few months in WCW?

Warrior: About three months. I had a six month contract, and believed, was misled to believe, that we'd move into working with one another much longer than that. Actually, right from the start, they pushed for a one year contract, and I kept it at six. In hindsight, they never had any intention of going beyond Halloween Havoc and the one single match with Hogan—and that was, like I said, only three months into the six month contract. What basically happened was [Eric] Bischoff used Turner's checkbook—Hogan called it the [Turner] ATM machine—to bring me in to soothe Hogan's ego about '90, even the score, catch the pin-fall on UW (laughs).

Question: Ultimately, obviously, WCW gets absorbed by WWF. It fails.

Warrior: Yeah, as soon as I got there I realized it was falling apart. It was inevitable.

Question: Why did it fail?

Warrior: Bottom line is nobody was in charge. Bischoff—as much as he was credited for rebuilding and reinvigorating WCW when they were happening—while I was there, he literally ran from the responsibilities of the job. I don't know if it was anxiety or what. But he had this thing about "spontaneity" as he would say, and there was no advance preparation. You couldn't reach him all week. About an hour and a half before live show-time, Bischoff and his "yes" guys—all of them playing favorites for their own buddies—would get together and start deciding, then, what to do. It was erratic and destructive, shooting from the hip like that. Somebody has to be in charge overall. At WCW, at that time, every talent did whatever they wanted to. There has to be a chief in charge of sorts. Someone who makes it clear what the hierarchy of talent is—who goes over, who shines, how talent is going to come off in the programs, on the TV.

In WWF, that happened. In WCW, everybody went out and did what they wanted to do regardless of their ability to sell tickets or where they stood on the talent roster. If I'm in the ring and I'm punching at a guy and he doesn't want to sell or take bumps, yet in the next segment he's selling for his bottom-of-the-card buddy, like he's trying to stand on banana peels, it looks ridiculous. A guy has to know his spot and work it. Too many there that were middle-card guys didn't know they were—nobody acting with authority told them. In the end it's about making money and in the beginning someone with authority has to lay it out about how a talent is getting used, let others know, in an essence, the investment being made and how that investment is to be treated—come off, be portrayed in the ring.

Say what you want, and others can think whatever they will—and naturally the business has changed in so many ways since then, but when I went over there in '98, Ultimate Warrior was a Main-Eventer and I can assure that is the kind of investment they made. My first 15 minutes in the ring, after another long, long absence, proved that beyond any reasonable doubt. It was a launching pad WCW could have used to take Ultimate Warrior to a whole other level. But they didn't want to do the work, put the time in. They were already convinced reaching for the lowest, degenerate level of creativity was where it was at. And as much as I was willing to give it whatever it would have took, you need a whole team of people behind you.

Question: You haven't wrestled since then. Has anyone approached you to come back since then, like the Jarrett outfit?

Warrior: Yeah, when they first started up they did—others too, mostly dreamers. I spoke with both Jeff and his dad. They, the Jarretts and others, always present themselves like they think I'm sitting at home drooling for a chance to charge at the ring and that I should be grateful that they called, like, allowing me an opportunity to do so. Blows me away. Of course, that is how most other guys still working, outside WWE, are. They don't know anything else, are afraid to go out and attempt anything else and get all their self worth from being in a ring, staying part of the circus of it all. They don't have any other means of making a living for themselves so when anybody calls and says jump they say how high and when their feet hit they ask about how far to bend over.

This type of attitude they have though, these promoters, like the Jarretts had when they called, creates a problem when it comes to negotiating with me. This has contributed to many mischaracterizations. They get offended when they realize I know how valuable the Ultimate Warrior is and if they want him he isn't going to come cheaply. They don't get away without discussing those details with me like they do with others, which is to say they don't really discuss them in detail at all with others. It's like, "Hey, we have a ring set up and are going to put your face on TV for a little while, come on down and we'll figure what we'll pay you afterwards." That's enough for most guys looking for work not doing anything else. That doesn't work for me.

Another thing with the Jarretts, in the initial conversations, was that they told me they were going to go in a different creative direction, not so heavy on the degenerate, shock-value provocativeness. It became clear the more I paid attention to what was going on through the grapevine that they weren't being honest about that. So, I pulled back after that too. And it also became clear very soon into discussions that Jerry was really getting involved sorta to get Jeff his own little clubhouse, where he could play and be king. So that Jeff could have a place to live out his own "get-over" dream.

Question: When you look back, who are the biggest egos you've come across in the business and who are the genuine good guys you've come across in the business?

Warrior: Wow, the list would be long. I would probably say, to be honest, I'd begin with me (laughs)! I have a huge ego when it comes to the Ultimate Warrior and standing up for him. Most will agree with me here (laughs). Hey, like I always say: "If I don't do it for him, who will?" Then again, I don't define ego altogether in bad way. I think there's difference between a healthy ego and unhealthy one, and having a healthy ego is a necessary thing if you want to succeed, even just to survive at life really. It's a must and I don't make any apologies about having one and don't sit quietly by when others want to universally claim that "ego" is a bad, mean thing. It's not.

I think a healthy one is defined by a person, especially a guy, who, even if he's done really great things, can acknowledge and praise others who are or have done things just as great or even greater. Guys who are comfortable in their own skin about what they have done—who they are. There are a lot of guys in pro sports, especially the backstabbing one such as wrestling, who are so full of themselves they don't have it in them to tell when someone else has done good. Using the example of a current guy, I'd say Goldberg has an unhealthy ego. Obviously, he's talented and made a way in the business. I even told him as much when I was at WCW. But the guy has got a huge insecurity complex running through him and others like him—Nash and Hall and their clique. That says a lot to me about his, or their, character as men. Shows me they've got a really weak link in their masculine makeup no matter what macho image they put forth. Nash is the type of guy who would shit in your bag to ruin your day—literally. Nash and Hall and Hunter and Michaels—all those guys.

Some of the good guys I've met are guys whose names you wouldn't even recognize. They were lower-card guys and they were really just good people. The ring crew guys were better people than the talent. I always got along best with them and treated them with respect. One person's name you would recognize is Owen Hart—Owen Hart was a really good guy. He had his head on straight. Jimmy Powers was a good guy. Mark Calloway [Undertaker], certainly one of those deserving great respect for what he's accomplished in the business, was a really great person. Mark is a great example, for me, of what I was mentioning just a second ago. I was the first guy to work with him. Even though Ultimate Warrior was over as a huge baby-face, the ticket buyers dug [Undertaker's] gimmick. I could have, with the position I had, been an a-hole and worked in unknown ways to curb that. Instead of trying to damage his gimmick though, as many in the business would have done, I embraced it and worked with him to get it over as the people wanted to have it over. He was going to be a great talent and I was inspired by that. It made me want to better my own. Too many guys in the business spend too much time conniving ways to make someone else look worse, rather than spending that time on becoming better themselves. You asked about politics earlier—this is politics to me.

The people who have their heads up their asses the farthest and have really off-putting unhealthy egos are Vince and Hogan. They really do deserve each other. They are cons all the way through and weirdly get off living their lives that way.

Question: If wrestling were real, who would the champion be?

Warrior: It would have been Haku. He had a way of going into the zone that was really superhero-like.

Question: Have you ever read any of the wrestling websites? What's your take on the wrestling press?

Warrior: I don't spend the time. I get about 500 emails a day and people do fill me in on what's going on though. There's a rumor going on right now that I'm going to go to NWA or something like that. I found out about that through emails then responded at my site through a post. One of the wrestling sites, whenever I went to a wrestling site, is www.1wrestling.com. Like when people die: If I hear a rumor that somebody died, I go to 1wrestling.com. Bob Ryder is a guy over there who did an interview with me a long time ago. We're not on the outs with one another. He really hasn't ever said anything belittling about me or what I'm doing. But some of his other writers—he has a whole bunch of them over there—they have. I'm not so much that everybody should be agreeing with me, but they don't even take the chance to read what I'm writing. They just dismiss it out of hand. One thing is for sure none of them have taken the time to really know who I am and what I am about today. I mean what do you do when people don't want to accept what is true? I defend myself and my career when I think I have to, but I'm never so bothered by it that I doubt myself or what I have done or what I am doing today. I know I did what they will only ever dream about doing. These are the little people who have regrets at the end of their wasted lives.

Question: I've noticed that many wrestlers live a paradoxical lifestyle. So, on the surface they seem a paragon of health. But when you go beyond the surface, on the inside their bodies…

Warrior: They're rotting.

Question: ...are filled with drugs. They're rotting. They're battling inner demons...

Warrior: Hey, when we are young it's built into us to think we'll never die. That you're invincible. And truth is you, your body, can get away with behavior when you are younger that later in your life you and, again, your body can't take. There are ways other than hard work, diet, and discipline to achieve a healthy look on the outside, yet be messed up and damaged on the inside. This is what definitely happened to some of the guys I worked with who have since died. They get some juice and keep taking it and continue, as they always have, to practice unhealthy dietary habits. None of them really exercised hard. When they were young they could getaway with it. At 40-50 years of age, you throw in a bit of slimy street drugs and the fact you haven't consistently practiced healthy exercise and diet habits and BAM!—the body says, "No more."

Also, in the business it's easy to get scripts for potent pain-pills and the like. In every arena that they go to there is a doctor there that's a big fan willing to write scripts for whatever the talent may ask for. Add to it street drugs and booze and fatigue and eventually there's a wall one is going to hit and hit hard. And, you are right, the inner demons. It takes quite bit of level headedness to put celebrity and life on the road into perspective. You have to be grounded in solid, genuine ways.

Question: You wrestled with several of these guys who are obviously no longer with us—Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, Kerry von Erich. Do you think there is something about the lifestyle that leads to self-destruction?

Warrior: Ultimately each individual is solely responsible for destroying their own life. I think there are always tell-tale signs one gets warning them that "Hey, you better take a hard look at what you are doing." Typically, self-destruction happens in stages and each person is given ample opportunity to get their act together. You can't keep tempting fate without there eventually being a serious, negative consequence.

Shit, the autopsies came back and a lot of those guys died from street drugs. Hennig died from a coke overdose. Rick Rude died from [liquid] ecstasy. Davey Boy Smith was doing cocaine and ungodly amounts of growth hormone and all kinds of different steroids.

Look, these guys who have died over the last few years didn't just have that vision of death at that final moment of their life. The further and further out there they got with destructive behavior they knew inside themselves, many, many times along the line, that there was a price they were going to pay. They were doing the drugs to run from something. Something they didn't like about themselves, their lives, the way things had turned out. The more drugs they did the greater the escape from the reality they didn't like. Unfortunately, there are no success stories down that road. None. Not one. You don't drug yourself into a reality you would like better. You have to fix the one you are living. Too bad that fact isn't enough to have people snap out of it and get their life act together before it is too late.

People have criticized me about what I wrote in some posts when some of those guys died—like I didn't have any sympathy. Anybody who wants to can read them. Frankly, I'm sick of all the sympathetic praise we throw around adults who screw up their lives. Life is about finding the strength day in and day out to make it work. Most people do. I'd rather praise them than people who don't. We are a society, today, where we pathetically place praise of vice above praise of virtue and, as an adult, I'm not okay with it. My kids, if no one else, deserve better out of me, deserve better out of the world they will have to grow up in.

Question: What did you think of Bret Hart punching Vince McMahon after the infamous "Montreal Screwjob"?

Warrior: I wasn't there at the time. I would say first that he did what many others wanted to do. Of course, the circumstances of mistreatment were more blatant and radical.

Not to take anything away from Bret, but other guys would have kicked the crap out of Vince plenty if he had done something like that to them. Vince, in subtle, covert ways, was always screwing people over. His entire business, in many ways, has been built on the backs of people he's screwed. I expect that Vince thought Bret wouldn't go so far as fisticuffs. He probably thought his well-honed ability to talk his way out of talent disgruntlement would be enough.

That said, I do believe that over time Bret himself came to think the punch wasn't enough. He frequently voiced his aggravation about having ended up over at WCW and how his career ended there and how he wasn't used right over there, all of that the direct result of Vince screwing him and sorta shortchanging him, to hear him tell it, on a brilliant end to his otherwise brilliant career. He has many times over the years since then hinted about greater repercussions, threatening legal action, etc. My counsel and I gave him an opportunity to go on the record during the discovery phase of my litigation, do a deposition. He told me he would over a phone call we had, then he backed out when we went to Canada to depose Davey Boy. I think he'd have a better sense of having genuinely righted the wrong Vince imposed on him if he had pursued the litigation he threatened.

Question: What's your take on the whole controversy over steroids in sports? When you were wrestling, what percentage of guys were taking steroids or human growth hormone? Remembering the size of guys like Hercules Hernandez, Don Muraco, and Superstar Billy Graham, I'd imagine it's less now. Do you agree?

Warrior: Steroids. Talking about them is always a Catch-22. They aren't all bad and they aren't all good. Athletes are going to do them—or whatever else—to be the best at what they do.

But, let's face it, bodybuilding and wrestling is more circus like—people want to see the freaks. The guys today are definitely gassed to the max. Wrestlers and bodybuilders. Have you picked up a bodybuilding magazine lately? They are like recipe books on how to commit suicide using steroids. And they have guys who've lost kidneys and had organ transplants writing the articles giving advice. Like killing yourself with the juice is badge of honor!

I really think the thicker look of past wrestlers really has more to do with how people used to train and eat—the basics and good food. Skin on guys today is thinner. Nutrition and even training has been so broken down into little, itty-bitty specializations, I really think it's created different looking physiques. I still believe in the basics and just good eating of healthy foods. Not the machines so much or the endless supplementation programs that are out there. It's just a bunch of junk to waste money on. But it's hard to get a young kid who wants instant muscles to grasp that. Then you throw in all the exotic steroids there are today. Growth Hormone is used by most all the guys. When I was at WCW the guys were flying to the Bahamas to get physicals to cover some legal loophole allowing them to get GH, then getting a whole year's supply Fed-Exed to them, all under the guise of anti-aging. I think there's too much they do not know about growth hormone and what kind of hell it plays on your internal organs.

But overall, I really think the difference in look of the guys from the past has more to do with how they trained and ate. Bottom line is, there is differences between use and abuse and it's obvious that many guys have crossed the line. For some it will take getting to know the inside of a casket before they come to terms with that.

Question: What is it about wrestling? There does seem to be a disproportionate number of wrestlers that die young despite the fact that they look like they are the absolute symbols of health. Now, what is it about the wrestling lifestyle that brings that on?

Warrior: I saw an article on world class bicyclers, and it was amazing to me how many of those guys have died. I never knew. And you'd think, your first thought is, that these guys would have really great hearts—and yet most of them died by heart attacks. The only conclusion you can come to is that they are doing some extreme things with drugs—blood doping is what the article alleged.

Well, again, like I said earlier, it not so much the lifestyle itself, it's the way the guys go about mishandling the lifestyle and coming to abuse it. If I had to relate anything to the lifestyle it would be to point out how the demands of being a pro-wrestler differ from the lifestyle of other organized sports pro-athletes. But, still, a cheap excuse is a cheap excuse. There is no season. You go year round. If part of your gimmick is your physique, your body look, then that demands a different approach than a big fat guy who can sleep and eat pizza all day, doesn't have to worry about scheduling workouts or getting good food. Also, and this is probably a big contributing factor as to how guys get messed up—other than the relationships you have with other talent you want to be around—you basically travel alone and as long as you make it to the building to have your match, you don't answer to anyone about what you do. And with the travel you do, you can fall into a bad habit of burning the candle at both ends. You are in different, and often fun and unique, places almost every night and you can come to see work as, well, like being constantly on vacation. I guess that might be a way to say it. And, hey, we all cut corners on sleep, recuperation and healthy living when we are on vacation. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's how I'd describe it.

To cover up for lackluster energy it's easy to fall into the habit of abusing stimulants, pain killers, and those things. What is also different is that there are no guidelines to how, as a representative of a company, you should conduct yourself. Oh, Titan will say they have rules. Bullshit. There are no rules. Not that I'm saying there should be any, but the truth is some guys don't have the discipline to keep their act together. Neither are there chaperons like other organized sports organizations would have to keep the guys in line, keep them out of trouble.

Another factor is that pro-wrestlers are known. They get huge exposure off the TV, and that has people who watch it fawning all over them wherever they go. It's easy to give into the temptations on the road. Many of the guys screw around, even those with families. Soon enough, you start believing because of what you are and who you are, you should be able to live both lifestyles. Have your cake and eat it too. And when you go home and things aren't as exciting as they were on the road you start laying the blame on someone else and criticize them because, in your mind, they don't understand you. It becomes a vicious cycle and all the ups and downs, natural and pharmaceutically induced, can really throw your life out of whack—unless you have great self-discipline.

Question: What do you do to keep physically healthy these days? And as you've gotten older has your routine changed?

Warrior: My routine has changed some but not much. I still work out very hard, with a lot of intensity right from the start, and I always do the basics. They are harder to do and staying with them keeps me disciplined. All my sets from the first one are to failure. I do though, today, think differently about how my training affects me. In other words, my concerns aren't fueled primarily by how I look in my underwear, if you will. I'm not running around in trunks every night, under a critical or professional microscope. What drives me more is how healthy I am—mechanically and physiologically healthy I am. My bodyweight is lighter by 25-40 pounds, but I am very lean. The biggest thing for me to keep the higher weight on is eating the quantity of food it takes. And, many won't get this—the time expended in thinking about what you want to look like that it takes. At a higher level of physique development, thinking about building muscle can be the biggest factor involved. Every time I left, got away from that body goal, being in the ring every night, I would quickly drop pounds simply because the goal was not there driving me. But whenever I knew I was coming back, I could put on 20 pounds the first week, from training and eating of course, but more from thinking about my body getting bigger, thicker.

My goals and my interests are not the same today, and eating those kinds of portions of food, devoting those kinds of energies, etc., would just be a waste of time and effort for me. When I was getting paid for that, I had a reason to devote that kind of time, energy, and effort. But I got other things I not only want to do but have to do to be productive in my life. Spending 8-10 self-absorbed hours just to be the big guy in the gym, keep a tan, have tight shirt-sleeves would be counterproductive, and unfair to my family who depend on me to provide their life security. I tell that to people and I can tell they don't get what I mean. Like, if you can be the big-guy why wouldn't you want to always be the big guy? Well, I've done the big muscle-guy thing. In gyms all over the world I've done it. I don't need to do it anymore. If I did, I'd say I would be a pretty pathetic human being. There are guys I met 20 years ago at Gold's Gym still running around in their spandex, groveling for $30-50 bucks an hour training people. Come on, give the world a break. Go get a life.

I remember when Arnold first showed up in the movies with less muscle than others were accustomed to seeing him having. Like his physique was what would always make him, be where his success lied. They couldn't see that he was becoming not only bigger in other ways but also very wealthy.

Anyway, yes, working out is something I will always do, it is a part of being a conservative to me. And when I meet conservatives who don't get that, I am apt to think less of the brand of conservatism they espouse. You know, people should take care of their bodies. It goes a long way toward making positive a lot of other things—your health (especially later in life), your relationship with your spouse, and the others you love, being able to be active, your mental frame of mind, your outlook on life.

Question: I noticed when we worked out you stress form big-time, you do a lot of reps, and you take very little rest between reps. Do you ever go heavy these days? When you were weighing 300 pounds or so, what kind of weight were you putting up back then?

Warrior: Well, yeah. I mean, I've been working out for over 30 years. I've switched things up quite a bit over that time span. I go back and forth. I did some powerlifting and very heavy training. You have to build muscle. You can't just do pansy-ass stuff. You've got to get in there and face your fears, handle some iron. When I first got in the business, I could do behind-the-head presses sitting down with over 315 pounds.

Question: How about benching. What were you putting up?

Warrior: Over 500 pounds. I think the most I ever benched was like 560. Really heavy squats up around 600 pounds.

But when I got in the business, that wasn't necessary anymore. I was using the whole body in the ring—twisting and torqueing my body in ways that powerlifting-style training would not have helped me to have the career I did performing the Ultimate Warrior character. Part of my plan to make the character better and better and better was to make him leaner and tighter—more comic book physique like.

Question: When you go into the gym these days, what are the biggest mistakes that you see people making?

Warrior: Sleeping on the equipment (laughs). I'm not kidding. When I go into the gym at four o'clock am here there are people sleeping on the equipment. Talking while you do your sets. Man that irritates me to no end to see people yaking while they work out...

They don't do the exercises properly. You've got to learn the form. The strength will come. They do half-ass movements. They don't really work the body parts that the exercise that they are doing is supposed to be working. They don't do whole body. They don't do abs and calves, and they don't do any legs. They do a lot of upper-body stuff, especially young kids. They never get into the leg room and do any legs. Never. They don't do the basics, they do the machine stuff—which is a huge mistake. You always want to stick to the basics, except on some of those exercises like when we worked out together in DC—the pull-downs—but otherwise you want to do the basic exercises. Those are the mistakes I see. People don't know what the hell they are doing. Yet you see them prance around like they and their bodies are God's flawless gifts... I can only imagine how their whole look falls apart when they get home and take off the tight belts and spandex...

Question: Moving on from sound body to sound mind. We talked a little earlier about there being a change in your life and you starting to view things differently. Did you come under the influence of certain books? How did you start seeing the world differently? Were there any books you read that changed your thinking or any figures who influenced you to become a conservative?

Warrior: Well, eventually, the Great Books of the Western World—truly, the writings by mankind's greatest and original seekers of knowledge. One of the first books I went and bought was How to Read a Book. Of course I knew how to read but wanted to be better at retaining what I read, to turn it into useable knowledge. I picked up that classic book by Mortimer Adler, How to Read a Book, and that turned me on to the Great Books of the Western World. And once I opened those books, I knew that was where I was supposed to be at that time in my life. Like I've always believed about my life—all my experiences—from when I was a little boy and how I thought about things, how I fantasized about taking on challenges in my life, creating my own inner-Warrior, so to speak, how I was as a young man coming to the place in my life where I had the bodybuilding experiences that I did, coming to a place in my life where I created this vivid, intense Ultimate Warrior character that will stand the test of time—none of those things are a coincidence to me. These are all experiences, I believe, that are part of my entire life's destiny that is playing itself out. And when I crossed paths with the Great Books of the Western World, where the purpose of those books and those writers is the pursuit of human excellence, I said: "This is it. This is it for me. This is what I'm supposed to be doing." It wasn't a coincidence for me that I was at that crossroads at that moment in my life.

For fifteen or twenty years of my life I had been in the pursuit of what I could do to excel athletically, with my body. And here I was discovering all these ultimate thinkers, if you will. And what is life if it isn't a body, mind and soul journey— trying to engage each one of those fully as one can. Warrior as an idea means that to me. Here I had this unique male experience as a contemporary sort of super-hero in the wrestling arena. And then vis-à-vis the writings of Western Civilization, Aristotle, and Homer and all the histories and the way they lived, the palestra where they exercised when young—at wrestling no less!—then later how they educated and enlightened themselves to later become statesman. It all just sorta incredibly fit for me. This is just the abbreviated story, but I knew that's where the rest of my life was going. That's what I needed to do. I just embraced it entirely. And that's what I've been doing ever since. And that's what led me to get involved in the conservative movement.

Question: And how have you been involved, primarily speaking? Or what else?

Warrior: Through speaking, and I do a lot of writing at my website. I probably have near 500 or so pages of essays on different topics—education, conservatism, this country, cultural issues, my time in the business, people, things, places etc.

Question: What's your website?

Warrior: www.ultimatewarrior.com. You can also get good stuff at my speaker's page. There is a bio and there are transcripts of my speeches.

I haven't been doing what I am doing today for twenty years. But I know how far I've come in the last five years. I know how much further I'm going to go in ten years. I know how hard I work at it. Everything I'm doing now is a continual work in progress. I'd like to get some gigs writing columns but my pieces are longer and more personal, and it'd take someone spending the time to mentor me about how to tweak them to get that done. But I do know I have greater passion than other people. And the truth is my experiences give me greater background to talk about mentoring and male role-modeling, make a stronger, longer lasting impression. Not just that I have had those experiences, that wouldn't be enough. But that I have also spent the time in self-study and have the interest in traditional conservatism and Western Civilization like I do. Too many guys pontificating on how to be a man in its classical sense have never acted like a man in its classical sense. Of course, that we live in gender neutral times hasn't helped any. But we need to get back to breeding real men in this country, in the ways they think and act.

Question: Do you think you were always a conservative and maybe didn't know it?

Warrior: Philosophically, yes. And, when I go out and talk, I make a distinction between philosophy and politics. I believe if you live by a conservative philosophy then you will want conservative politics. You may not find any today (laughs), but it is what you will want. Government isn't going to work in the world until people live by the right philosophy.

I define conservatism literally: It's about preserving those things that have worked throughout time. This begins with the sustaining tradition that people need to think and provide for themselves. People who think make the world work, not those who feel. And I'm not blinded by the irony that the fundamental difference today between conservatism and liberalism is thinking versus feeling, using one over the other to conduct human life and society at large. This country was Founded depending on that. Common sense isn't "in" anymore and this country was built on common sense. You know, the most impressionable piece of enlightenment I found through my study of American history is that all the Founding Documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Federalist Papers, and all the ancillary communication between the Founding Fathers—all of it put before the Founders—is that all these writings were written, then, in language that was understood by the common sense of the people. And yet it is uncommon today to find anybody who's even read them let alone has sense enough able to understand them at all. Traditionally, the question used to be "Who doesn't get that?" Now, the question is: "Who does?" This is followed up with "Who Cares?"

There just some things I always did that are conservative as I define it. I worked hard, believed in myself, stayed optimistic, and persisted.

Question: Who are some thinkers and some authors that you have read that you have got something out of?

Warrior: All kinds. The Iliad and The Odyssey are great stories written beautifully. Young guys always want testosterone driven stories, I tell them to read Homer. The writings exchanged between the Founders are awesome and inspiring. American history is too. History by Plutarch, Thucydides, Gibbon, Herodotus—all that stuff from the Great Books writings is great. Aristotle's Ethics is a must read. De Tocqueville and Adam Smith too. Russell Kirk, I've gotten a lot out of him and also got turned on to many other traditional conservative thinkers through him, especially The Conservative Mind that he authored. Any Rand. I got a lot out of reading Ayn Rand. I part ways with her atheism, and am a little perplexed how someone so in appreciate of creation and existence didn't ever write on the Greatest One—the world around us. But the philosophy she laid out in detail, Objectivism, is truly the philosophy we all live by to survive on this Earth. I think as corrective for young people with their subjective heads up their butts, her writings are the best to suggest. Of course, all the Founding documents too. So much lies in those documents and the Federalists papers about what was dependent upon the people for our Republic to survive, the virtues and the morals.

Question: Others?

Warrior: Yeah, many. Albert Jay Nock, Irving Babbitt, Coleridge, Randolph, Fenimore Cooper, George Santayana, Solzhenitsyn, Whittaker Chambers, a little William F. Buckley, Thomas Paine—I don't think he gets the credit he deserves, I mean he did create "United States of America" and did more to inspire the colonists to revolt than any other...he was vilified because people took his book Age of ReasonThe Age of Reason (great book itself) and contextually twisted into something it was not. Oh, there are many others.

Contemporarily, I really dig Victor Davis Hanson's books. He's a brilliant classicist and eloquent writer who writes about what the serious detrimental effects are of losing our historical and cultural ties to Western Civilization. I don't read much fiction—some of the great stuff is an exception, like George Orwell. [Friedrich] Hayek. Thomas Sowell. Bill Bennett has done some great anthology books pulling together a lot of the Founder's literature and correspondence and I always enjoy getting back into them. I read some current stuff but not as much as I stick with the classical, Great Books stuff. I thought your book, Why The Left Hates America, was awesome and filled with great ammo to fight the fight. As are Coulter's books and many other modern books. There are just so many and only so much time.

Question: When you go out on college campuses—and obviously kids don't have a lot of time to read because they're reading anyway in their classes—if you were to recommend one or two books to a nineteen or twenty-year-old conservative, what would you recommend.

Warrior: Distinctly about Conservatism?

Question: Yes.

Warrior: Well, I would start with The Conservative Mind. Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative. I would also suggest, to provide a good overview of the cultural degeneration and where we're at, Slouching Toward Gomorrah by Robert Bork. It's a great read with a broad but detailed overview. Dinesh D'Sousa's simply written book Letters to a Young Conservative. The Bennett books I mentioned. And Ayn Rand, some of her non-fiction stuff from Who Needs Philosophy? and The Virtue of Selfishness or The New Intellectual—at the least these books will prep a young kids mind on how to think and where to go next to find more.

Question: When you look at the political landscape. I know there are probably hundreds of people that you could point to that are on your "enemies list," but when you look at current political office-holders is there anyone out there where you say, "I really admire this person."

Warrior: No. I can't think of anybody. There is one guy who I know who is more conservative than others, a guy from Texas—Ron Paul. But if you are talking about being in office, I don't know of any others. Tom Delay throws some follow-through punches once in a while and I like that. I do get some stuff from the Constitution Party and I like where they stand on what government's role should be. They are strict constitutionalists and I like that. But I don't like how they, and other like groups as them, spin Jesus and Christianity. Yes, this country was founded with emphasis on a belief in God, a Supreme Being. There's no doubt about that. Only a damn idiot can't see that. But through the study I've done, I don't see that belief flowing distinctly out of Jesus or Christianity's organized religion. It's just not there, and these groups use the ignorance most people have to mislead. I'm not putting it into the best words perhaps, but, off the top of my head, that's how I see it. God is huge and all over the idea America, but twisting things into what they are not bothers me.

Question: Firsthand, or secondhand, have you gotten any sort of reaction from any of your old colleagues in wrestling about what you're doing these days?

Warrior: No, well—yes, secondhand. Goes back to what I said earlier. I'm cut from a different mold. Most the guys I worked with are still trying to make a living off the business, in any way they can. They haven't grown in the ways I have. Of course, they think what I am doing is oddball. Truth is they don't really know and have never taken the time to find out. Everybody who finds out about what I am doing these days by reading some criticism of me elsewhere, when they take the time to come and find out truly where my head is, they are pleasantly surprised. Many are proud to have been fans of my wrestling career, but even more proud to say they are bigger fans of what I am doing now.

Question: Any chance you'll ever go back to wrestling?

Warrior: I don't foresee it. There's no place to go. I can't split my energies and always have in the back of my mind that I will return. I just keep on keeping on with what I am doing now. I have been able though to use quite advantageously the intellectual property. New dolls are out and they are selling better than all others. I just sold one of my collector's dolls for more than that has ever been paid for a wrestling figure. And I am in Akklaim's new "Legends of Wrestling" game. The response about that has been over the top—getting ready to do some promotional appearances for that soon. It's been, believe it or not, very humbling to see how Ultimate Warrior's popularity has sustained itself. Of course, I never expected anything less (laughs).

Question: Let's close with this. I thought it would be fun to throw some names and get a one or two sentence response.

Warrior: Couple of sentences is going to be hard for me, but I'm game...

Question: Pat Tillman.

Warrior: I wrote a post on him, you should go read it. Incredible man. I think a lot of people had a hard time calling him the best or better, and I wrote pointing that one thing out. I think a real man is okay and comfortable with calling another man, when they are, better than him. That guy was a hero in a true classical Greek sense. I lived in Arizona for over ten years, I would like to have known him, I never had the chance.

Question: George W. Bush.

Warrior: Disappointed. From a political point of view, the guy is not a conservative. The guy has made the government bigger and bigger and he's done some things with education and immigration and other entitlement gestures that I'm not happy with as a conservative politically. Some of the PC indulging he's done offends me—like having a Kwanzaa tribute at the White House. Aside from that, the guy has integrity and that counts for a lot with me. I'd like to see him have a little more of his own common-sense mind and country candor. I get the sense he's being handled by his inside-the-beltway blowhards and goofs. When he shows the top of his cowboy boots and tells it like it is, I like him better. In general, I'd like to see a president on a more regular basis bring up things about our Founding, and use the Founding Father's words and this country's history to defend themselves, and America, on positions—teach Americans while they stand up for what it is right.

Question: Then let's go to the other George, George Washington.

Warrior: I mean, incredible. There are so many things to say about those times and those people, especially him. When you take the time to know about those times, it's very hard not to believe in a prophetic placement, of sorts. To have had those men with their peculiarly enlightened minds is, well, to me, supernatural almost. As a guy who believes in destiny, I believe its founding was something set in motion to happen since creation. And believe that those men lived to give that epochal time its best shot at happening. That's what I believe and there is nothing that could make me change my mind. George Washington truly was America's first heroic role model setting a standard for Americans from there on out to emulate. Whatever his faults, and no human lives without having some, he was a man of incredible integrity and leadership.

Question: Vince McMahon?

Warrior: On the whole, I have absolutely no respect or admiration for him. I see him as unmanly. I guess you could break it down, take for example what he's done with his business, and you could say he's been successful. He does love the business of wrestling and I remember him being a very persistent, hard worker, devoted to doing whatever it took to get the job done. Even, unfortunately, if that meant maligning or tearing down others. He does have bank and celebrity, etc. But my own life experiences have taught me that defining success just on those terms alone, like many mistakenly do, is superficial and those chasing that kind of success are very, very shallow. People like this also have little trouble at being phonies, liars, and backstabbers. They just see being so as coming with the territory. I'd say Vince has been very good at hiding his, in truth, losing hand. He's gotten good at that over years. After all, he's the ringmaster of a "work." But he still has to face his own disappointment and ugliness each day when he looks in the mirror.

Question: Jesse Ventura.

Warrior: You know Jesse is a witty guy, great at sound-bites. That's why he did, in wrestling, better outside the ring than he did inside it. I think the moniker "The Body" is ill-fit. The guy never had a good physique when he was in the business and when he was in office he was nothing less than a fat, piggish slob. Jeez, did you ever see such a gut (laughs)! I think the disrespect and juvenile irreverence he showed to a governorship of a state was contemptible, and should be, by any decent adult, condemned. I didn't need to know, again as most decent people agree, that he doesn't wear underwear as he let the world know. And I was especially offended, as an American citizen and a guy who has taken the time to know and do more than speak from a pot-foggy mind, when he went to Cuba and after smoking some of his cigars comes back to this country singing the dictator's and Communism's praises. He really proved himself to be just as absent substance as other airhead, anti-American entertainers. He's a circus act.

Question: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Warrior: I would not have voted for Arnold in the election. He's not conservative. But I think they have underestimated Arnold. I think Arnold is going to get some great things done. They don't understand what kind of discipline the guy has had since his bodybuilding days—that career, what it has done for him, what kind of discipline it has instilled in him throughout everything else that he has done in his life. I know what it's done for me and there's nothing like it. I don't agree with the idea that has been advanced that we should amend the Constitution so he can run for President. I was a huge fan of his for years, for all that he had done. But as I matured myself, I thought he could have used his stroke in entertainment to make better choices about the projects he did, to more positively affect culture instead of just piggybacking on the degenerate stuff already going on. A few of his interviews I read around the same time reflected that he was very puerile in many ways.

Question: The Rock.

Warrior: I don't know. I never met the guy. I don't go to his movies or know anything about where his head is at. As I do about all the young guys in the business, I don't criticize them so much. They are young and building their philosophies of life. In their heads they aren't going to be in the same place I am. Let's wait and see if they think and act like grown ups when they do grow up. It's the Hogans and the Pipers and the Flairs and others their age I don't have any respect for.

Question: Eric Bischoff.

Warrior: Hmmm. I don't know...

Question: You don't know him enough?

Warrior: I know him enough. It's just that what I have to say as well about him is critical and it sounds like I am always critical of people and I am not, it's just that I'm very hard on myself as a grown man, so I am on others. Let's see, Bischoff. He was a nice enough guy, I suppose—seemed, at first, to be anyway. I wasn't pleased about how things turned out and that they had different plan than the one they said they did to get me to come in. It was initially very disappointing. Ultimate Warrior as a character could have really been used to great benefit. It always turns my stomach to see guys talk tough but not have the moral backbone to back it up. Agian, the truth is those guys hated Vince and used tons of TV time mocking him and lashing out at him. And then later they crawled over there [to WWF] begging for jobs. That's a whole lot of pride to swallow, man. I think probably to do so, you have to have had plenty of practice over the years to, well, let's say accommodate that kind of swallowing. I didn't believe that about those guys, Bischoff and Hogan and the others, before I went over there. Then I saw it happen. It really showed me that they are really tiny, tiny guys with even tinier balls.

Question: Reagan?

Warrior: What more can I say than what hundreds of thousands already did this past week. It's hard to imagine that there will ever be a farewell more awesome. Not in my lifetime anyway. Despicably, we know Clinton will try. At the end of my speeches I always ask those in attendance to ask themselves a question that certainly all of the Founding people did. That question is: "Will I do in my life what will live forever?" Ronald Reagan did. And neither it nor what kind of man he was will ever be forgotten.

Question: How about John Kerry?

Warrior: Scary and, to be truthful, traitorous. This country is already in troublesome anti-Americanism up to its eyeballs. If he—or worse, the other Clinton becomes President—there won't be any boots that go the height to be safe from crap that deep.

Question: The war in Iraq.

Warrior: Disappointed and concerned, also proud. I don't think for a minute that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, the entire Bush administration went over there just to have a war to get a revengeful nut off about it all. But it does bother me, living here in a country as great as we do, that the intelligence can be as screwed up as it is and we went over there and did what we did. I would have never have went over there just to free the people of Iraq. I'm upset enough that kids go to bed hungry in our own country. What atrocities there are around the world aren't at the top of the list for me. I say stay here and take care, first, of our own. I'm more the mind of a [Pat] Buchanan when it comes to what we are and what America is and what we need to do with that power. These damn people over there have been fighting a war since they were born. Not one American's life has been worth fighting this damn fight with one arm tied behind our backs. Not one. But you know, too, you have to be proud of this country and its military and what acts of honor it has shown around the world—especially the young people. Damn what an example! So contrary to the young smart-alec degenerate punks running on the streets here.

Question: You laid out in the interview that you always had a plan for your life. What's the plan for the next ten years?

Warrior: Did I say that? Huh... That's a very difficult one for me to answer precisely. Years ago, the guy who's still my accountant and financial planner today asked me the same type of question. Like how I saw the future playing itself out, when did I want to retire, where did I see myself five, ten, twenty years down the road. I told him then, and still think the same way now, I didn't really like much setting in stone where I am going to be so many years out.

I do know that I will always be working and being creative. I will never retire form being busy doing that. I have a lot of different interests and could turn any one of them into a full time career. Making money to pay the bills, build a secure financial future is a part of any plan I have of course. But other things rank higher on the list. I want to continue speaking and continue getting better at it. That different level of passion and intensity I have from others, I believe, will make me a standout down the road. It's just a matter of working at it, getting greater experience.

I also want to write books. I spend a great deal of time writing now, working at getting better at that. On average I am a good writer, but know too that I have written some really great stuff. I have a great story to tell about my experiences in pro wrestling, even more so because of how those unique experiences, and all my other unique male life experiences up to that point, brought me around to thinking about things the way I do—about mentoring and being a male and a father, what it means to be a hero, and about Western Civilization and this country and its Founding.

At the 2003 [Conservative Political Action Conference], I met with [the conservative publishing house] Regnery. I sent them two pumped up book proposals totally almost 300 pages. It was too much and too unrefined to be a proposal and I was ignorant about that. One was for the autobiography, the other a male's viewpoint on conservative philosophy. They turned me on to the editor who, I think, worked with you on your first book, David Richardson. We hooked up, then he got busy on his new venture of becoming a literary agent and I got busy with speaking and, well, life and all its other great things. I get into the proposals and continuing the writing as much as I can. Spring came and we have property to work here [in New Mexico], so that has kept be busy right now. The books are being worked on in my mind all the time, but for the most part all has been in an on and off holding pattern. By fall, by fall I think...

Watching my daughters grow up here in their first years is important to me and because of my previous successes it's been a luxury I've been able to afford. My 3-year old daughter is already doing phonics and learning Greek and Latin roots to words, so we spend time doing that. These are important years for them, years that my wife and I know we don't want to miss out on, years we won't be able to get back once they are gone. When it's all said and done, there's nothing greater that I will ever do in my whole life than raise my kids right, mentor them about the things that are truly important, prepare them to be able to handle effectively life's challenges, the good and the bad. You do that by doing it. And that takes time and effort on our part as parents.

Question: If you could change two or three things about the way things are going these days, what two of three issues would you look at? Or even one.

Warrior: We need to get back to a place where we don't tolerate PC. Too many representing the conservative side in the public debates—the news and writers and other punditry—don't follow through with their punches. The consequence is that these people are compromising us right out of a country. I don't believe that about conservatives in general, the ones out there in the real world making their lives and their families lives work. I think they are sitting there thinking the same thing as me—Quit letting the PC and moral relativity slide! Judge something! Fight for what I really believe! But as far as those faces and voices getting the airtime to fight, they are wimpy and too PC themselves.

Conservatives have got to quit tolerating the moral relativity—that there are no right and wrong, no true or false, no good or evil. Moral relativity is the greatest danger we face today. People, today especially, will say that terrorism is the gravest danger we face. I say: not if we can't even call it the evil that it is. I've been hammering this home since my first speech at CPAC 2003. In fact, I took a quote from your book, Why the Left Hates America and some other books that told the same thing: there's no place to go in a debate if people don't accept rationality or reason, reality, what the truth is.

Even too many of the conservative kids, too many of them want to go out and make compromises. Stay in the gray and refuse to call things as they are—black and white.

Question: How are you received when you speak at campuses?

Warrior: Great. It's really been just great. I'm getting better each time I go out. That is always a goal for me. I always leave evaluating what impact I've made. I'm pleased with what I've done thus far. Keep in mind, Ultimate Warrior started out as Dingo Warrior. It took some time to get to the full blown version. I plan to evolve in like fashion as a speaker. I know that I affect people in drastic ways. I have the evidence of that—the proof—through the communication that takes place after going out on a speaking engagement. I do sometimes think that my black and white positions on things rubs young kids, even many of the conservative activists, the wrong way—at first anyway.

Everything is really great working with those who run Young America's Foundation. Everybody over there is awesome, but many of the young kids, even though ready to debate political ideas inside the beltway, don't themselves live by a conservative philosophy of life or understand the importance of doing so. And the politics they're interested in won't work if the philosophy isn't happening. I am very traditional, and define conservatism the same way—traditionally, and I think, sometimes the young kids want to hear more about the current news stuff that's fleeting, here one hour gone the next, rather than the substantive philosophical elements of conservatism, which are vitally more important to building the conservative world they claim they want to live in.

Anyway, my primary goal is to mentor, and I know that without question. It is not to, first, make friends. It's my role as a grown man and as conservative activist who's concerned about the world his kids will be growing up in. I'm going to stick with it. It's different from what everybody else is doing and I know it will take me where I need to go in the movement.

Question: Are you optimistic for the future of conservative ideas? What's your forecast?

Warrior: Well, you know, being involved, paying attention to it all is relatively new to me. As I said earlier, I haven't paid attention my whole life. Truth is, America is so powerful you can have a great, prosperous, and secure life without ever paying attention. America stands that tall. A few weeks ago I was at the Club 100 retreat YAF has and I was speaking to Bay Buchanan. We were talking about the state of things. And I said that I didn't believe there was an immediate cure to bring things back around to the way of traditional conservatism as her and I and others like us define it, by continuing to work at doing so as if we can just drop into the middle of the mess in Washington and begin there.

People talk about government...and this gets back a little to what I just mentioned, that conservatives have a tendency to pay more attention to topical stuff instead of the slow and steady ways they need to conduct their own lives. They discuss political ideas like they can be solved in a vacuum. Like solutions don't depend on first looking at how people conduct their own lives, and what effects—negative or positive, constructive or destructive. And it just doesn't work that way. Like I say "Government won't work unless people do. Not work like 9-5, but work as the ‘beings' they are, as in the sense that they operate their lives by an effective philosophy of life.

Bay [Buchanan] said to me, "I don't know if we have that kind of time." True, she may be right about that and it made me chuckle. But any traditional conservative worth their weight knows, life is long range, it's not quick-fix or cutting corners. To get back to the conservative world I want my kids to grow up in, there's going to have to an entire regeneration. Parents who think like I do are going have to rebuild this kind of existence through their own kids. Teach them and America the difference between right and wrong. That's a very simple answer, but we must begin that simply. And then, more seriously than facetiously, I tell the young activists that when the time comes to chose a mate, they need to forgo all the superficial and corporeal factors and chose a philosophical soulmate willing to fight for the brand of conservatism they believe in, then mate and breed like rabbits. Have large families and don't fall down on raising your kids as conservatives and Americans in its true sense. When they get to be the age where they are going out into the world, go to choose a mate, they won't make stupid choices and from there we just keep multiplying. Sounds funny, and I always get a good laugh out of it. But think about it, it's the truth about what needs to be done.

Young kids are at a time in their life right now that they need to build some habits that will stick with them throughout their life. Like, for instance, reading. I asked the kids at the [Young America's Foundation] Club 100 retreat: "Who has read the Founding documents? Out of forty kids one or two hands went up. Nobody raised their hand when I asked who had read [Russell] Kirk's Conservative Mind. That blows me away and, well, I don't know, you tell me, you've been at this longer than I have: What does that say about where we are?

Another thing they don't understand, that I certainly do at 45, is that at any moment along the time line of your life you are the sum total of all your life experiences, your choices, and your actions. The way we are so morally out of whack today is causing even some really good kids with their heads screwed on straight to make some horrible decisions that will most certainly cause them regret later in their life. All the promiscuity and openness to unconditional physical contact and openness and compromise to silly ideas is just "dumbing," as Patrick Moynihan said, "deviancy down." And the more it's tolerated, the lower the expectations become. You know when you are a little kid you learn the difference between pain and pleasure by reaching out to touch that hot stove? When you grow up the difference is measured not physically but psychologically. The more wrong choices and acts you make at moral crossroads when you are young add up to more regret and anxiety and frustration as you get older. I wish I'd had someone take me behind the tool shed more and get that straight in my head. And as a guy who desires to mentor young people properly, I wish there was a way to have them get this as clearly as I want them to. Hey, my name is Warrior, I'll just keep at it.

Question: I appreciate it Warrior. This was great.

Warrior: You are welcome. I'm expecting great things out of you. Keep up the good fight. Keep the books coming.
This interview originally appeared at http://www.flynnfiles.com/blog/warrior/warrior1.htm http://www.flynnfiles.com/blog/warrior/warrior2.htm http://www.flynnfiles.com/blog/warrior/warrior3.htm http://www.flynnfiles.com/blog/warrior/warrior4.htm