1. Vince McMahon Offered The Ultimate Warrior A Secret 5-Year December 1997 Contract
The Ultimate Warrior (Jim Hellwig aka Dingo Warrior) signed his first WWF contract on September 23, 1987 Using results from The History of WWE, it's clear that Warrior wrestled an average of 18 matches/month from 1988 to 1991. However, the relationship between McMahon and Warrior was especially rocky through that Summer as Warrior missed events and demanded (via hand-written letter) more money and equal pay to Hulk Hogan. At first, McMahon relented. However, Vince McMahon suspended the Ultimate Warrior on August 27, 1991 immediately following SummerSlam 1991. Vince McMahon also wrote him four page letter explaining his decision noting that Warrior had became a legend in (his) own mind. Warrior was upset and disappeared from WWF television until April 1992. However, eventually Warrior signed a new contract and returned at Wrestlemania VIII to save Hulk Hogan from a Sid Justice/Papa Shango beatdown. Warrior's second adventure with the WWF didnt even last a year. Warrior failed several steroid tests and Vince McMahon fired him. And things went quiet from 1992 to 1996. Warrior teased opening his own wrestling school, he sued WWF, he ranted about the Renegade imitating his demeanor. Eventually, Warrior re-emerged for a third run in the WWF. It was 1996 and he returned at Wrestlemania XII after signing a new 18-month, million-dollar contract. However, again, the relationship turned sour. Warrior missed several house shows, allegedly to grieve following the passing of his father, and was fired. Warrior did not return to the WWF after their dispute in Summer of 1996. But that wasn't the end of the relationship. Reacting to the lawsuits, feeling the pressure from WCW and reeling in the wake of the Montreal Screwjob, Vince McMahon actually made a secret, final offer to the Ultimate Warrior in December 1997. Here it is: Still, in the end, Warrior and Vince McMahon did not work out a deal. Considering this was a month after the McMahon had double-crossed Bret Hart, what an amazing alternative universe it would be had the Ultimate Warrior returns to the WWF from 1998 through 2002. Would he have lasted? Could The Rock, Steve Austin, Mankind, Triple H have ascended to the top with Warrior still in the mix? So many questions. What a different Attitude era that may have been! Instead, after playing both sides off each other for maximum money, Warrior ended up signing up with WCW. Hogan was anxious to redeem himself from his earlier loss and they worked a short program. Warrior wrestled on Fall Brawl (9/13/98 DDP/Warrior/Piper vs Nash/Sting/Luger vs Bret Hart/Hogan/Stevie Ray), Monday Nitro (10/12/98 a reunion with Sting), and Halloween Havoc (10/25/98 infamous debacle of a singles match with Hulk Hogan). His first promo segment drew monster numbers for Monday Night Nitro. Afterwards, Warrior just became part of the show, and WCW quickly burned through his shelf-life. Warrior had made excellent money to come back, and continued to be paid for quite some time just to sit at home. It was the last time Warrior would be prominently on US television. Warrior was a one-of-a-kind competitor. I couldn't have put this together without help from David Bixenspan. In the latest Fighting Spirit Magazine, David Bixenspan wrote a great piece about the tumultuous relationship between WWE and the Ultimate Warrior leading to their final reconciliation at the Hall of Fame Ceremony. Two weeks ago Bix joined me on #wrestlenomics radio to discuss the many Warrior/Titan lawsuits and last week, Bix led a two-hour panel discussion on #wrestlenomics radio about the life & times of the Ultimate Warrior.
I'm a professional wrestling analyst, an improviser and an avid NES gamer. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm working on my first book (#wrestlenomics). You can contact me at email@example.com or on twitter (@mookieghana)