A recent episode of the Grilling JR Podcast centered around the career of The Ultimate Warrior. Jim Ross talked about his WrestleMania matches with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, his last days with the company and his untimely death. Ross also discussed Warrior’s attitude and how he dealt with other wrestlers in the locker room.
“He didn’t factor into the rest of the roster, he always seemed to be out of place,” Ross said. “He was not a locker room savvy guy. Sometimes it just seemed to me like [wrestling] was plan B or C for him, not what he set out to be but the route took him there. He needed the spotlight on him.
“He never seemed happy to me, I never saw him have a genuinely happy day. People will say ‘Wait a minute JR, he headlined WrestleMania 6 with Hulk Hogan though?’ Yeah, he sure did but that doesn’t mean he’s a perfect fit, he was never a perfect fit for pro wrestling. He was a downer, he wasn’t a team player, all about himself and people knew he was a little strange.”
Ross also talked about how talent worked every day back then to get better whereas nowadays in places like the WWE, they have the performance centre. Ross explained why his biggest concern with the current AEW roster is that they don’t do that.
“I don’t believe a lot of the talents we have get to work enough,” Ross said. “Some of them are making enough money where they don’t want to work anymore, they’re in a comfort zone which is a danger area to me.”
From 1985-86, Sting and The Ultimate Warrior wrestled as a team called The Blade Runners. After wrestling in Mid South Wrestling for about 6 months, the team broke up and Warrior eventually landed in WWE. Ross was asked if he could have seen Sting and Warrior switching places with NWA and WWE.
“No,” Ross said. “I thought Warrior’s [WWE] push was aesthetic oriented, the colorful attire, the face paint was all creative, a lot of energy. I have a hard time comparing Sting and Warrior. Sting wanted to learn, he was willing to learn, he had patience, he had time for everybody, he was respectful and Warrior was none of those things. Crockett got the better deal with Sting, by far.”
Vince McMahon signed Warrior in 1987 while Sting stayed in Mid South which later brought him to WCW. Ross talks about what Vince McMahon could have done with Sting and if he would’ve become a bigger star than he ever was in the WWE.
“Oh hell yes,” Ross said. “WWE was being viewed as the big dog in the yard and Sting kept evolving, his game got better. Over time he learned to connect all the dots, I never saw Warrior get any better after he went to WWE then he was in any other territory. Sting was a star and so god damn loyal to WCW, he could’ve went to WWE at any time and would’ve been a major star there but he’s a quality human being.
“Sting was a perfect locker room guy and then you have Warrior who would demand his own locker room. I can’t stress this enough, smoke and mirrors and great marketing, that’s what made Ultimate Warrior a star.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.