WWE paid tribute to the Ultimate Warrior on the WWE Network yesterday, showing footage from the Hall of Fame and RAW, as well as airing his Wrestlemania VI victory over Hulk Hogan. On the flip side, elements of the mainstream media have started slinging the mud …
Are Steroids The Cause of Ultimate Warrior’s Death?
CNN talking head Nancy Grace unsurprisingly made steroids the topic of her Ultimate Warrior coverage yesterday evening. She spoke of “rumors” that steroid abuse and “illegal drugs” caused his death and did the usual confrontational finger pointing at the wrestling business. She also had DDP on as a guest, and did her best to undermine and ignore everything he was saying.
The problem with Grace’s coverage is not so much that steroids were a topic … it would be foolish to ignore Warrior’s obvious use of the muscle building aid in the past. He made his career by having a jacked-up physique, and by all accounts he was also still a regular at the gym.
Bret Hart told CJAY 92 in Calgary: “I don’t think it would be a surprise to know he took steroids for a long time and I don’t know if he ever stopped.”
The issue is that Grace clearly has no idea what she’s talking about and is just looking to sensationalize the wrestling industry for her viewers. She calls Warrior a “WWE Superstar” as if he was still active. She pretends to actually know who DDP is. She uses her patented vomit inducing drawl to say “prrrrooo wressslin” as if it’s not a legitimate form of mainstream entertainment. And when talking about wrestlers who have died from drugs, Owen Heart is included in the list!
No matter how relevant steroids might be to the story, this isn’t honest and competent journalism, its purpose was not to inform the public.
Smith Hart took her to task on Facebook for tarring his brother Owen:
I think our beloved sister-in-law Martha as well as my entire family should be tremendously offended by the implication of Nancy Grace that my brother Owen’s demise had anything to do with drugs or steroids. For her to attempt to capitalize on Warrior’s death while his family grieves for personal choices he may have made more than 20 years ago is a sad to day for what passes as journalism today. Breaking news; Many rock stars snorted cocaine in the 80’s. Perhaps we should shut down the entire music industry. We should not buy into any of their such ridiculous libelous statements. We will hear official details from the coroner this weekend and not from some gossip journalist.
As Smith alludes, there is still no official account on how Warrior died. It would obviously appear to have been from a heart attack, and long term steroid abuse is definitely linked to heart attacks, but the data to make a firm conclusion is simply not there until the autopsy is complete. It’s not like 54 year old men have never died of heart attacks before, especially when they’re under extreme stress. Imagine being Warrior and having to come back to face his peers and thousands of fans, in boiling hot New Orleans, while trapped in a suit. Whether he had an enlarged heart or not, the whole experience would have exacerbated things.
Steroids cannot be ignored, but Nancy Grace needs to crawl back under her rock until she can get some real perspective. To say things like “accusations of illegal drugs are swirling” is just a garbage thing to say. Warrior was not a partier and has never been known to have issues with prescription drugs either. She’s just saying anything to cause controversy.
Mick Foley Apologizes For Warrior HOF Comment
Mick Foley who made a tongue in cheek Tweet, saying that he thought his Hall of Fame induction speech was better than Warrior’s, said he was foolish for making the comment on Facebook:
When I first heard the news of the Ultimate Warrior’s passing – from my oldest son – my first thoughts were of his precious daughters, and how their father – whose love for them was clear – had been taken away from them far to early in their lives.
My second thought was about the foolish tweet I sent out during Warrior’s Hall of Fame induction speech – and how badly I wish I could have taken those words back. Maybe they seemed harmless at the time, but in retrospect, the fact that my final words about Warrior were negative ones has had me feeling pretty bad these last 24 hours.
I did not dislike Warrior. I got along fine with him in 1996, and years later, during a “Legends Rountable” focusing on “Heatseekers”, I was good-natureadly kidded by my fellow Roundtable guests for having nothing negative to say about Warrior, Paul Heyman or Buff Bagwell.
His promo style was loved by some, loathed by others for their seemingly nonsensical style. But Warrior’s promos were unique and intense – and no one has done anything quite like them, before or sense. But in his final promo, he was anything but nonsensical. He was profound, and eerily prophetic.
“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own,” he told the audience. “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something that’s larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers — by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him, and make the running the man did live forever.”
A brilliant statement, but a bittersweet moment to wantch after the fact – knowing how close the subject hit to home. I was thrilled to see someone I knew at the 3:10 moment of the video clip – my onw daughter, reacting to the historic moment – smiling, clapping; making sure that at least one Foley gave this iconic figure – and a well-deserved inductee in to the WWE Hall of Fame the goodbye I should have had for him.
Bret Hart also picked up on the foreshadowing words of Warrior’s RAW promo. He told SLAM! Wrestling:
It’s really ironic the way he died — it was almost like he willed it or something … He wrote his own ending.
Triple H Discusses Warrior’s Death On ESPN
Triple H was on ESPN yesterday, trying to stay positive about Warrior’s legacy. He discussed how WWE and Warrior were mending fences, and that he was a big family man – as seen in his induction.
Jim Ross also showed admiration for Warrior’s love for his family, in a JRSBARBQ.com blog:
The most memorable moment for me this past weekend in New Orleans was the interaction at the WWE Hall of Fame between Warrior and his two daughters who accompanied their Dad on stage just before he gave his induction speech. The love and bond between a father and his daughters was obvious and heart warming.
In an arena full of Warrior fans, many of who were reliving their youth with their hero, Warrior made it clear that his greatest accomplishment was not being the Ultimate Warrior but instead being the father of his two daughters.
In a career and life often marked by controversy, the beauty of the weekend was seeing Warrior come home to WWE accompanied by his family and that they were able to enjoy the celebration together.
An official statement was also made by Steve Wilton, one of his PR staff:
I am shocked and profoundly saddened by the death of my friend Warrior. He was a great man and leaves behind a legacy that will forever live in the hearts and minds of those who knew him personally,and his legions of Ultimate Warrior fans.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Warrior’s beautiful family, his wife Dana and their daughters Mattigan and Indiana. No words are strong enough to express my feeling for them at this time.
I was honored to be able to spend the weekend with Warrior and his family at WrestleMania 30 and have never seen a prouder father or more loving family.
Warrior was the happiest I had ever seen him to bring Ultimate Warrior back home to WWE and share that unmistakeable passion and excitement with each and every Ultimate Warrior fan around the world.
I have lost my best friend and my hero but take comfort in knowing his legacy will live forever. I will Always Believe.