WWE superstar The Ultimate Warrior passed away after Wrestlemania weekend in New Orleans.
On Saturday night, former WWE superstar The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in a ceremony in the Smoothie King Center. The induction speech was given by Linda McMahon, the wife of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, and it was clear from her speech that Warrior - his legal name, after he had it changed from James Hellwig - was never a simple person, and the intensity that was his trademark as a performer extended to his life out of the ring.
Even from the upper reaches of the arena, I thought his eyes seemed sad as his acceptance speech struggled to straddle the line between celebrating the WWE and the "sports entertainment" business, and the wounds he felt from his dealings with the company, particularly a DVD that he referred to a number of times - 2005's The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior. He clearly had he wanted to say, so much so that the crowd encouraged him to let it out, chanting, "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!"
It appears he made some peace with the WWE. The company released a new DVD, Ultimate Warrior : The Ultimate Collection, and he made in-ring appearances at Wrestlemania and Monday Night Raw. It's hard to imagine that those things made everything better, but even though I was never a big fan of his, I'm glad he was able to share at least part of the truth as he saw it, and that he got to see that while he may have been at war with the WWE, that a lot fans still cared.
Beyond that, I'm struck by how odd it is to know that you just watched someone's last ride.