The Big Splash

The WWE Mourns the Death of Wrestling Icon Ultimate Warrior

Hulk Hogan and more wrestlers remember the legend.

George Napolitano/Retna Ltd./Corbis

“Every man's heart one day beats its final beat,” said The Ultimate Warrior in his WWE Hall of Fame induction speech. “His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory.”

James Hellwig died three days later at the age of 54.

The Ultimate Warrior was an icon of the wrestling world, a showman in neon face paint and shaggy hair who legally changed his last name to “Warrior.” In 1988 he dethroned The Honky Tonk Man in only seconds at Summerslam at Madison Square Garden. He used his signature “big splash” move to beat Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania VI, crowning him the champion of the WWF.