Warrior Wisdom: 10 Thoughts on PC, Hulk Hogan, and Conservatism from the Bombastic Wrestler

Warrior Wisdom: 10 Thoughts on PC, Hulk Hogan, and Conservatism from the Bombastic Wrestler

Like a lot of people, the Ultimate Warrior’s greatest strength was his greatest weakness.

The man simply had no governor between his thoughts and his words. In front of a conservative audience, he would drop f-bombs. In front of a liberal campus audience, he would make intemperate remarks about homosexuality. Because he didn’t much care what people thought about what he said people really cared about what he said.

This came through in a freewheeling interview I conducted (read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 in full here) with the Ultimate Warrior ten years ago upon the launch of my website Here are ten highlights from that lengthy discussion:

On Wrestlemania VI victory over Hulk Hogan…

Well, again, Ultimate Warrior was a strong baby face in his own right and was competitive with Hogan on many fronts, pure and simple. I was just enjoying reaping this incredible success I had never had before. The money was great. I was traveling all over, training at gyms all over the place, doing–I would just say that at that time Titan [WWF] took really great care of me. I was seeing on a nightly basis how over the Ultimate Warrior was getting, and hearing about it through the office’s grapevine. From the beginning a match between Hogan and I was never discussed in terms of me turning heel. It was always from the very start going to be baby face versus baby face. From there it was easy to build up a challenge between our two distinct legions of fans, his Hulkamaniacs, and my Warriors. Vince and Hogan did play some head games for the few months leading up to the match about what the finish would be, who would go over. I think they knew from the start what they were going to do, but wanted to test me to see how I would react. After all, it was a big thing to do. Bottom line is I knew they were going to do what they decided, and I would go along with it. Like I said, I was just beginning to enjoy the success of reaching a great part of my goal and was having fun, life was great. It was not though until the night before when Hogan and Vince and I got together one last time that it was set that I would go over and the exact details of that finish were laid out. Hogan and I never really discussed anything beyond that. We did not hang out together. He did his thing, I did mine. We did the match and it was awesome.


On conservatism…

I define conservatism literally: It’s about preserving those things that have worked throughout time. This begins with the sustaining tradition that people need to think and provide for themselves. People who think make the world work, not those who feel. And I’m not blinded by the irony that the fundamental difference today between conservatism and liberalism is thinking versus feeling, using one over the other to conduct human life and society at large.


On criticism of his technical wrestling skills…

Not being a technical wrestler is kind of a silly bad rap I get all the time from guys like Bret Hart and industry pundits. My response is, look, you guys were in the business for a dozen years before I even got there. A dozen years and you never figured it out that wrestling skills per se were not where it was at. It was about being a gimmick. I got there and in two years I figured it out. I’d also busted my ass in painful ways they never had–years of training in the gym, self-discipline in working out and dieting. If they want to criticize anybody they should criticize the promoters who were, in effect, telling them, your little bag of fancy wrestling moves don’t sell tickets, t-shirts, posters, dolls, etc.–so leave them and your tears at home. Instead, show up with some muscle and some energy.


On political correctness…

We need to get back to a place where we don’t tolerate PC. Too many representing the conservative side in the public debates–the news and writers and other punditry–don’t follow through with their punches. The consequence is that these people are compromising us right out of a country. I don’t believe that about conservatives in general, the ones out there in the real world making their lives and their families lives work. I think they are sitting there thinking the same thing as me–Quit letting the PC and moral relativity slide! Judge something! Fight for what I really believe! But as far as those faces and voices getting the airtime to fight, they are wimpy and too PC themselves. Conservatives have got to quit tolerating the moral relativity–that there are no right and wrong, no true or false, no good or evil. Moral relativity is the greatest danger we face today. People, today especially, will say that terrorism is the gravest danger we face. I say: not if we can’t even call it the evil that it is. I’ve been hammering this home since my first speech at CPAC 2003. In fact, I took a quote from your book, Why the Left Hates America and some other books that told the same thing: there’s no place to go in a debate if people don’t accept rationality or reason, reality, what the truth is.


On rising in the wrestling business with Sting…

We did everything together. Laundry, gym, groceries–always together. We had the one car. I’d sold mine so we could eat in California. We drove to the towns together. Sometimes 4-5 hours one way and with 4-5 guys in the car just to cover the cost of gas. Slept in a fleabag hotel until we got an apartment then we slept on the floor. Ate tuna fish out the can. Had to call Ed Connors to send us some money. It was really rough, but we stayed positive as we could. I thought a lot about going back to school, but didn’t even have the money to get back to Georgia, let alone re-enroll. And we knew there was nothing we could do about it. It was about paying dues. One week we got a check for the whole seven days of working for like $150-$200. Beat all to hell, bummed out and all, we ask one of the boys, Rip Morgan, a guy from New Zealand, “How do you know when you are getting screwed (euphemism)?” He said, “Oh, don’t worry about that mate, you’ll know when you are getting screwed. The question then becomes ‘What can you do about it?'” He was right. There was nothing we could do about it.


On the fall of WCW…

“Bottom line is nobody was in charge. Bischoff–as much as he was credited for rebuilding and reinvigorating WCW when they were happening–while I was there, he literally ran from the responsibilities of the job. I don’t know if it was anxiety or what. But he had this thing about ‘spontaneity’ as he would say, and there was no advance preparation. You couldn’t reach him all week. About an hour and a half before live show-time, Bischoff and his ‘yes’ guys–all of them playing favorites for their own buddies–would get together and start deciding, then, what to do. It was erratic and destructive, shooting from the hip like that. Somebody has to be in charge overall.”


On the early deaths of wrestlers…

Hey, when we are young it’s built into us to think we’ll never die. That you’re invincible. And truth is you, your body, can get away with behavior when you are younger that later in your life you and, again, your body can’t take. There are ways other than hard work, diet, and discipline to achieve a healthy look on the outside, yet be messed up and damaged on the inside. This is what definitely happened to some of the guys I worked with who have since died. They get some juice and keep taking it and continue, as they always have, to practice unhealthy dietary habits. None of them really exercised hard. When they were young they could getaway with it. At 40-50 years of age, you throw in a bit of slimy street drugs and the fact you haven’t consistently practiced healthy exercise and diet habits and BAM!–the body says, “No more.”


On physical fitness…

My routine has changed some but not much. I still work out very hard, with a lot of intensity right from the start, and I always do the basics. They are harder to do and staying with them keeps me disciplined. All my sets from the first one are to failure. I do though, today, think differently about how my training affects me. In other words, my concerns aren’t fueled primarily by how I look in my underwear, if you will. I’m not running around in trunks every night, under a critical or professional microscope. What drives me more is how healthy I am–mechanically and physiologically healthy I am. My bodyweight is lighter by 25-40 pounds, but I am very lean. The biggest thing for me to keep the higher weight on is eating the quantity of food it takes. And, many won’t get this–the time expended in thinking about what you want to look like that it takes. At a higher level of physique development, thinking about building muscle can be the biggest factor involved. Every time I left, got away from that body goal, being in the ring every night, I would quickly drop pounds simply because the goal was not there driving me. But whenever I knew I was coming back, I could put on 20 pounds the first week, from training and eating of course, but more from thinking about my body getting bigger, thicker.


On whether he watches wrestling…

No. Look, I’m cut from a different mold. Most of the guys have this loyalty to the business that I don’t have. Even when it ruins their lives, breaks their character as a human being, or, worse, kills them. If things would not have gone sour with the McMahons, maybe I’d be more inclined. I mean, many of the old timers still work for Titan behind the scenes, as agents, gophers, real jobbers. It’s their job. They’ve made the business their life.


On the Great Books…

Well, eventually, the Great Books of the Western World–truly, the writings by mankind’s greatest and original seekers of knowledge. One of the first books I went and bought was How to Read a Book . Of course I knew how to read but wanted to be better at retaining what I read, to turn it into useable knowledge. I picked up that classic book by Mortimer Adler, How to Read a Book, and that turned me on to the Great Books of the Western World. And once I opened those books, I knew that was where I was supposed to be at that time in my life. Like I’ve always believed about my life–all my experiences–from when I was a little boy and how I thought about things, how I fantasized about taking on challenges in my life, creating my own inner-Warrior, so to speak, how I was as a young man coming to the place in my life where I had the bodybuilding experiences that I did, coming to a place in my life where I created this vivid, intense Ultimate Warrior character that will stand the test of time–none of those things are a coincidence to me. These are all experiences, I believe, that are part of my entire life’s destiny that is playing itself out. And when I crossed paths with the Great Books of the Western World, where the purpose of those books and those writers is the pursuit of human excellence, I said: “This is it. This is it for me. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.” It wasn’t a coincidence for me that I was at that crossroads at that moment in my life.


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