Life Beyond Wrestling

On April 9, 2014 the breaking news on every major media outlet in the United States was the death of Jim Hellwig, the Ultimate Warrior, at the age of 54. Warrior’s death was shocking as it came just days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The loss of this industry icon was deeply saddening and also somehow seemed to be part of a larger scheme of destiny. Hellwig’s character the Ultimate Warrior often spoke of destiny, something Hellwig wrote about on his blog “Warrior’s Machete” in April of 2007:


“Ultimate Warrior believed that life meant more than just a purposeless passing of time, an insignificant trek from its birth to its death. He believed in destiny, not coincidence, and ideals that were greater and longer living than just the time period of his one life. No one gave ME these creative expressions — they came from inside.”

The weekend before his death Jim Hellwig had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, which in and of itself was monumental. For nearly 20 years Hellwig had been at odds with Vince McMahon and the WWE. During that time Hellwig had engaged in two lawsuits against McMahon’s “Titan Sports”, WWE had produced the deeply critical documentary “The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” and there was little sign that any sense of catharsis would ever be found between the two.


Though it took almost twenty years the two sides managed to repair the fragmented relationship. The very week before Hellwig passed WWE released the home video collection of the Ultimate Warrior’s greatest matches. This release coincided with his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 5, 2014. That evening Hellwig would take pictures with former colleagues, including his former employer Vince McMahon. Three days after receiving his Hall of Fame ring he would die.

When looking at Jim Hellwig’s life outside of the ring and how his reconciliation with WWE transpired, it seems like destiny that he would be in New Orleans for one last Wrestlemania as part of the WWE family. This is not a storybook ending. It needs to be understood that Jim Hellwig left this earth at 54 years of age with a wife and two young daughters that he adored to pick up the pieces of life without him. That is not a storybook ending and I do not imagine Hellwig would have viewed it as a storybook ending. However, when understanding how Jim Hellwig viewed destiny it seems like the kind of ending the Ultimate Warrior would have understood.


Exploring Jim Hellwig’s personal life requires understanding what a unique individual he was and how he closely identified with the character he created. In this chapter of his story you will read about the unique man who legally changed his name to Warrior, his personal philosophy, his speaking career and his court battles with WWE. Finally, you will read about his triumphant return to the wrestling industry before his untimely passing.