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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Like he was embarrassed?
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.
What kind of money did a wrestler make back then?
Warrior: We were making $25 to $50 a night.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Let's move on a bit to 1990 and your winning of the WWF
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Now with Hogan, did you guys take a lot of time to choreograph
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
Over the years, to build up his company Vince McMahon has taken
a lot of chances. Occasionally, he would make mistakes—the XFL, the
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.
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
Warrior: With the Papa Shango thing?
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.
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.
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
There was a guy on WCW TV, after they bring in Hogan and
Savage, they bring in this guy...
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).
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.
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
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
So did you sue them, or did they sue you?
Warrior: I sued them.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
...are filled with drugs. They're rotting. They're battling inner
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
And how have you been involved, primarily speaking? Or what
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.
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
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.
Do you think you were always a conservative and maybe didn't
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
Firsthand, or secondhand, have you gotten any sort of reaction
from any of your old colleagues in wrestling about what you're doing
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
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Warrior: Hmmm. I don't know...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Are you optimistic for the future of conservative ideas? What's
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
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.
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