WWE Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection (FSM 106; May 2014)
information: – DVD Region: Region Two • Distributor: Fremantle Media • Price: £29.99 • Other info: 490 mins • Release: Out now • Weblink: www.WWEDVD.co.uk
After The Ultimate Warrior’s untimely passing, The Ultimate Collection began selling like hot-cakes, with many US retailers out of stock in the ensuing week. The resurgence of Warrior’s magic over WrestleMania weekend, including a lively Hall of Fame speech, a WrestleMania curtain call, and one final promo on Raw (filled with cryptic, incidentally-eerie hints foretelling his future) made his death an even harder pill to swallow, and thus this career perspective became a must-have.
You’ll remember The Self-Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior, released in 2005 without his co-operation. In that documentary, Warrior’s peers, from Hulk Hogan to Sgt. Slaughter to Ric Flair, took turns swinging hatchets into a tassled and painted effigy, diminishing Warrior’s career in the most mean-spirited product WWE ever compiled. Right away, therefore, Warrior takes the chance here to directly address the viewer, dispelling the sludge from that release. He boldly says that WWE and its co-conspirators tried to destroy his legacy before erasing it. He’s here to set the record straight.
It’s notable that Warrior is the only new orator here, with no-one to either confirm or object to his claims. Another way of saying this is that when he lays into a subject, he doesn’t have anyone to help him pile on – unlike the aforementioned 2005 DVD. Indeed, those expecting an extended brimstone tirade for everyone on Warrior’s hit-list will be disappointed; instead, he simply runs through his career, offering lots of positive insight, but also frank comments without the ill-will.
Among his interesting assessments are his affection and respect for Andre The Giant (who reputedly hated him), Randy Savage, and even Bret Hart. Warrior does admit that championships didn’t mean much to him, at least compared to Hart, who saw the gold as a measurement of one’s standing. But this new-age Warrior sums up Hart’s view by saying that while he didn’t share it, he’s cool with it.
If you’re disappointed by the lack of arrow-slinging on Warrior’s part (he saves his best barbs for his ill-fated WCW run in 1998), the match listing more than makes up for it. Naturally, his two most famous bouts, against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI and “Macho King” Randy Savage at WrestleMania VII are included. His Intercontinental title wins over The Honky Man and “Ravishing” Rick Rude – the latter a strong candidate as the best match of Warrior’s career – are also available, as is a mighty match against Andre The Giant from Saturday Night’s Main Event in 1989.
From there, it’s a grab-bag of rarities, many of which have never before been released on DVD, as battles with Savage, Andre, Mr Perfect, Ted DiBiase and The Undertaker complement his more famous confrontations. The set even includes a Blade Runners match from the UWF, granting viewers a rare look at Warrior and Sting teaming on a major release. Thankfully, WWF commentary from Jesse Ventura remains intact, and the only editing comes in the blurring of the old Superstars Of Wrestling drapes on matches from those tapings.
This three-disc DVD set would have been a must-have even if it were not for the events of WrestleMania weekend that give it so much more meaning. If nothing else, The Ultimate Collection proves that Warrior wasn’t some idiotic flash-in-the-pan, nor a well-marketed goof who made a little money before vanishing into thin air.
Through Warrior’s testimonials, the variety of matches available, and the obvious endeavour that goes into the best of them, wrestling fans will see a great talent that connected with audiences like very few others.