James Brian Hellwig was born on June 16, 1959 in Crawfordville, Indiana. At the age of 11, he took up bodybuilding, winning several titles, and in 1985, accepted an invitation to break into professional wrestling. He began his wrestling career under the name of Jim "Justice" Hellwig as a member of Powerteam USA, a stable of bodybuilders turned wrestlers. Later, Hellwig would team up with stablemate Steve Borden(the future Sting) as a team called Blade Runners, with Hellwig as Blade Runner Rock, and Borden as Blade Runner Flash. After the Blade Runners broke up, In 1986, Hellwig would begin wrestling in Dallas as the Dingo Warrior. In June 1987, Hellwig began wrestling house shows for the World Wrestling Federation, first as the Dingo Warrior, later changed to the Ultimate Warrior(reportedly because WWF head Vince McMahon didn't know what a "Dingo" Warrior would be). The Ultimate Warrior would make his WWF television debut on the October 25, 1987 episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge, defeating "enhancement talent" Terry Gibbs. The Ultimate Warrior made his WWF Pay-Per-View debut at WrestleMania IV in 1988, defeating Hercules Hernandez. He won his first championship in WWF at the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988, substituting for the (kayfabe) injured Brutus Beefcake, and winning the Intercontinental Championship from The Honky Tonk Man in a match that lasted 27 seconds. He held the title until WrestleMania V, losing to "Ravishing" Rick Rude(with an assist from Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, who held Warrior's foot so he couldn't kick out of the pin attempt), and regained the title at SummerSlam 1989. At WrestleMania VI, he won the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan, and was briefly the only wrestler to hold both WWF and Intercontinental Championships simultaneously(several days after WrestleMania VI, he was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship due to having won the WWF Championship). He held the title until Royal Rumble 1991, when he lost to Sergeant Slaughter, with an assist from Randy "Macho King" Savage, who hit Warrior over the head with his scepter, setting up a retirement match between the two at WrestleMania VII(which, IMO, is the best match of Warrior's career). After a short feud with the Undertaker(which was started when Warrior was locked in a coffin during an interview on a segment of Paul Bearer's "Funeral Parlor" show), Warrior teamed up with Hulk Hogan to face Sergeant Slaughter(whose character at the time was an American turncoat who allied himself with Iraq), Colonel Mustafa(former WWF Champion Iron Shiek), and General Adnan(a Saddam Hussein lookalike who claimed to have been friends with Hussein during high school), after which he left the WWF(reportedly fired over a pay dispute in which he refused to perform at SummerSlam unless he was paid the same amount as partner Hulk Hogan). He returned at WrestleMania VIII, saving Hulk Hogan from a beat down from Sid Justice(Hogan's opponent at WMVIII) and Papa Shango, igniting a feud with Shango, which was most notable for several instances in which Warrior went into convulsions and began vomiting, due to a voodoo spell placed on him by Shango, and one instance during an interview in which a thick black liquid oozed from his forehead. Warrior challenged then WWF Champion Randy "Macho Man" Savage for the title at SummerSlam 1992, winning the match by countout, although Savage retained the title, as it could only change hands on a pinfall or submission. Savage and Warrior were set to take on Ric Flair and Razor Ramon at Survivor Series 1992, however, Warrior had left WWF before the event(and was replaced as Savage's partner with Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, which resulted in Hennig turning face in the process). After leaving WWF for the second time, Hellwig went into semi-retirement, opening up a short-lived wrestling school, competing in independent shows, legally changing his name to Warrior in 1993, and during his third stint with WWF, produced a Warrior comic book. Warrior returned to WWF again at WrestleMania XII, handily defeating Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He competed for the Intercontinental Championship against Goldust at In Your House 7, winning by countout(Although he won the match, Goldust retained the title, as the match ended in a countout, and the title could only change hands on a pinfall or submission). In July 1996, Warrior's contract was terminated after he allegedly took unauthorized time off to mourn his father's passing. In 1998, Warrior joined World Championship Wrestling, forming a stable to combat Hogan's NWO stable, making his final WCW appearance on the November 9, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. He announed his retirement from wrestling in 1999, becoming a motivational speaker. Over the years, there had been much bad blood on both sides, including lawsuits between Warrior and WWF/WWE(after losing a lawsuit against the World Wildlife Fund over the use of the WWF initials, World Wrestling Federation changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment, changing their initials to WWE) regarding ownership of the Warrior name and likeness, as well as a suit Warrior filed in 2006 over the way he was portrayed in the 2005 DVD release "The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior", a suit which was eventually thrown out of court. In July 2013, Warrior appeared in a trailer for the WWE2K14 video game, and revealed he would be in the game as a pre-order bonus character. During the build-up for WrestleMania XXX, it was announced that the Ultimate Warrior would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and he attended the induction ceremony on April 5, 2014, where he was inducted by former WWE CEO(as well as wife of WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon). On April 7, 2014, the day after WrestleMania XXX, Warrior made what would be his final appearance in a WWE ring, delivering a promo in which he told the fans that they were the ones who determined which wrestlers became legends, and that they were the ones who made him a legends, ending the promo by telling the fans that the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever. Less than 24 hours later, Warrior collapsed outside his hotel, and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend markers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. Ultimate. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!"
-Transcript of Ultimate Warrior's final promo
RIP Ultimate Warrior