On Wrestlemania 30, The Ultimate Warrior And Wrestler Mortality

Undertaker loses at WrestleMania XXX

This past weekend marked the 30th anniversary of what has long been considered the marquee event of sports entertainment, better known as professional wrestling. As one of the many who got to attend, I can say that Wrestlemania 30 not only served as a milestone for the WWE, but also as a reminder to myself that these entertainers are as human as the rest of us. Not to say that I ever believed them to be some mythical beings among men, but a lot of times we forget that our favorite icons struggle themselves. Whether its in sports, music, or any other high profile gig, we often forget that even their time will come to an end.

When people ask me what do I get out of watching  wrestling at this point in my life, I tell them the same the thing I get from  everything else I enjoy. It's no different than me watching the newest super hero movie, and getting excited every time a trailer for Batman or X-Men comes out, as millions of others do as well. Childhood heroes that have carried over well into adulthood for me, and I still get as passionate for them now as I did when I was eight years old.  The only difference is that you walk away from The Dark Knight knowing that Christian Bale will be ok. These wrestlers actually are the characters that they portray. The matches are fixed, but when something happens to them inside that ring, it affects them just as much out of it.

Every year at Wrestlemania the WWE acknowledges a select group of individuals that have made the company what it is, and induct them into their Hall of Fame. The ceremony itself takes place the night before, but during the event they bring all of the inductees out for one last ovation. Watching guys like Scott Hall and The Ultimate Warrior (real name James Hell Wig) make an appearance after years of being away from the spotlight brought back nothing but child hood memories. Especially in regards to the Warrior.  He was a real life super-hero that sacrificed his life to entertain people like myself for years. Which makes his untimely passing all the more heart wrenching. Literally seeing him in person Sunday Night, and then again on Monday Night Raw at peace with everything hit like a brick wall Tuesday evening when news of his sudden death came out.

ultimate warrior running to the ring

People can think professional wrestling is lame all they want, but many childhoods included watching the Warrior run down the ramp, shake the ropes, and bust out into rants randomly. "Warrior-isms" wasn't just a gimmick, they had become a way of life for the man long after he left the WWE (then known as the WWF). It was no secret that his departure from the company wasn't on the best terms. For 18 years Warrior and Vince McMahon were at odds, and being able to see those two make amends and allow him to say goodbye to the folks that have idolized him for most of their lives was a fitting end for that chapter. That it happened at one of the most historic events in the companies history only adds to the attachment that we as fans have to the product.

In fact it wouldn't surprise me if Warrior's last wish was the Hall of Fame. The entire weekend from the night he was inducted to his now eery, but telling speech on RAW, he looked moved. I won't speculate or touch on the years of reported drug and steroid abuse he's been said to have dealt with, but only he knows the battles he's had personally over the years. Wrestlers are just as passionate about their line of work as we are about watching it. It's really a feeling that tugs at you for years, whether you watched a match last week, or 20 years ago.

As that was the end of one era, it was also the end of another era on the character side of the business. I won't go into too much detail on the Undertaker losing. David D. of The Smoking Section perfectly captured why Brock Lesnar being booked to beat the Undertaker was the only outcome that made sense. Instead I'll focus on the fact that I watched one of the most coveted streaks in professional history brought to an end, and possibly marking the end of one of the best careers ever had by a wrestler. The Undertaker may never suit up for the millions of WWE fans across the world again, and if that's the case expect plenty to reflect on his most memorable moments. I don't know when the WWE will induct him into the Hall of Fame, but I hope I have the privilege of seeing it happen.

Whether it's wrestling legends, musicians, or athletes, somethings just can't replace what lit your eyes as a kid. There will be plenty of Batman movies made in the years to come. Whether it's George Clooney, or Christian Bale, or Ben Affleck, there will always be someone to fill a role in a film. There will only be one Undertaker though. Just as there can only be one Ultimate Warrior. His death is as real as anything else that we face in this world. May he rest in power and peace, and know that he is as much a part of the history of Wrestlemania as the event itself. As the WWE moves forward into Wrestlemania 31 and beyond, there will be countless icons that have been influenced or inspired by the the Ultimate Warrior and all of the entertainers that came before them in some way. A legacy fitting for a Warrior amongst men.

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