Bruce Prichard was recently back on his Something To Wrestle With show and reflected on Ultimate Warrior’s time in WWE. The topic of discussion was brought up when Prichard was asked if Vince McMahon believed the move from Hulk Hogan to Ultimate Warrior was disappointing. Prichard said he wasn’t sure if you could classify it as a flop, but would have been interested in seeing how Ultimate Warrior was able to do on his own in terms of drawing power.
“I don’t know at that time that he was really looking at it as a flop per se,” Prichard said. “If both sides– let’s say for example that Hogan and Warrior both weren’t drawing. Then you would have looked at it as a flop. I think it was an experiment to look at from, ‘Is there someone else? Is there another attraction that we can get to the point of being as viable as Hulk’? And Hulk was still an attraction and people were still paying to see Hulk, and the argument was made that a lot of people thought, ‘Well, s–t’. It’s hard to give Warrior that flunking grade, if you will, when Hogan’s still active, because now, I’ve got a choice. The truer test probably would have been taking Hogan out of the equation and seeing how Warrior draws on his own. Given a choice, I think the people preferred Hulk.”
Prichard went a little more in depth and explained why he thinks Warrior wasn’t the draw that everyone hoped he was going to be. He said mainly, up to that point, a babyface got over by beating a really strong heel, but this storyline was essentially more of a passing of the torch scenario with two babyfaces. He explained that a majority of the audience was still cheering Hogan and rejected the change.
“You can sit there and make excuses all day long, and there are people, old-timers in the business, that would tell you that if you want a babyface champion to be over, he needs to defeat a strong heel champion,” Prichard said. “Warrior beat the biggest attraction in the business. The perennial babyface was Hulk Hogan. So to a segment of the audience that was really cheering Hogan, yes, it was a passing of the torch. Yes, it was sprinkling Hulk dust on him. But there was a big part of the audience that was like, ‘Nah, f–k him. Hulk’s my guy’… I think that you can create a lot of excuses, but having both of those guys still on the roster and you compare them? There wasn’t a comparison because Hulk was clearly out drawing and still doing magnificent business, whereas Warrior in the same position did not.”
While on the topic of Ultimate Warrior, Prichard went on to compare the babyface runs as champion between Macho Man Randy Savage and Warrior respectively. Prichard said he believes Macho Man did a better job as a champion and did not have the drop off that Warrior had.
“Well I think the more people you have over, the better,” Prichard said. “I don’t think the drop off was as big with Randy Savage the year before; I really don’t. I think that Randy held his own and worked as a champion. Was it as big as Hulk? No, it was not, but I think it was better than Warrior as far as that immediate turn, and that’s what I kind of point to a little bit. Randy beat a heel in a tournament but he beat the top heel in the company at that time in [Ted] DiBiase, in the tournament, to win the championship, and then he went right into the program with DiBiase after that.
“So, it was a hot program with a distinctive babyface and heel, and Hulk was out of the picture in the beginning,” Prichard said. “Hogan came back, what, in July after Warrior won? So Hulk wasn’t really gone that long before he made his return. I think you can make excuses all day long, but the bottom line comes down to they want to see Hulk more.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something To Wrestle With and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.