The Name Change
Jim Hellwig abandoned his birth name and legally changed his name to “Warrior”. Hellwig made his petition for a name change on August 5, 1993 in the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County. The legal record of his name change was accessed through public records provided by the Maricopa County Court House. Hellwig was living in Scotsdale, AZ when he made his petition to legally change his name. According to the paperwork he provided his reason for the request was: “Professional Identity. Petitioner is well known to the public at large by his professional pen name and therefore desires to change his present legal name to that of the pen name Warrior”.
A hearing was scheduled for August 31, 1993 at 9:30am. County Commissioner Gary Donahue approved the name change with Hellwig present, ordering that he be given the name Warrior. However, this was not fully understood by the state of Arizona who must have believed Warrior was only a first or last name. Hellwig sent a memo to Maricopa County that was not dated, but makes reference to “after nearly four years”, placing it in late 1996 or early 1997. In the document he is requesting that the county acknowledge in their system that his full legal name is “Warrior”, not “Warrior Hellwig” or “James Warrior”. The memo contains an air of agitation as Hellwig states, “After nearly four years of dealing with a barrage of different ‘attitude’(s) on my changing of name, the fact is still the same, my complete legal name is ‘Warrior’”. Though he never cites what said attitudes were, clearly he had grown irritated enough that he felt the need to send the memo, along with a copy of the legal documentation. Despite the difficulties that came with the unusual name change,the end result was that legally James Brian Hellwig became Warrior.
In the documentary “The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior”, Vince McMahon said he believes Hellwig became Warrior in an effort to gain control of the intellectual property over the Ultimate Warrior character. Whether this is true or not, Hellwig has never acknowledge this as a motivation in any source I have seen. There would be a legal battle for rights to Ultimate Warrior against McMahon and his extremely successful Titan Sports, but that would not be settled until 2000.
The name change was more than just legal documentation; it was a catalyst to much larger legal issues Hellwig would be fighting for nearly 20 years. The question remains, though, as to what exactly Hellwig’s motivation was for changing his name to just “Warrior”. The documentation above says it is a “pen name” by which the public knows him. In his blog he wrote on the initial entry,
“I’ve titled this blog ‘Warrior’s Machete’ because my name is, in fact, ‘Warrior’…I live by a warrior philosophy of life conceived by unique life experiences, and many years of serious introspection and enlightened self-study. My Creator endowed me with naturally high testosterone levels, unusual self-discipline, stalwart refusal to compromise right with wrong, and a very low tolerance for hypocrites, liars, enablers, piecemeal practice of principle, emasculated males, political-correctness, and oppressive, anti-freedom caca that doesn’t work in the private backyard of my own individual life.”
Analysis of Hellwig’s writing reveals his mantra that the name change occurred because that is how he viewed himself: as a warrior. As previously noted Vince McMahon proposed the change occurred to secure intellectual property rights. The lawsuit between Hellwig and WWE will be examined in detail later in this chapter, but the name change reflects something more complex than legal documentation and lawsuits; it has created speculation as to the psychological nature of Jim Hellwig’s name change.
Throughout this biography I refer to Jim Hellwig primarily by his birth name. The reason for this is not a matter of disrespect towards his name change, which he was adamant about in his personal life. Rather it is to avoid confusion between the human being Jim Hellwig and the fictitious character he invented and portrayed, the Ultimate Warrior. This is not an Ultimate Warrior fan site and I am not a Jim Hellwig fan. This is a journalistic endeavor to examine Jim Hellwig, a human being that intrigues me, perplexes me, inspires me and at times infuriates me. I choose to call him Jim Hellwig in my writing because I do not want to confuse the man Jim Hellwig with the fictitious character the Ultimate Warrior. They are not the same.
As a young boy I was a fan of the Ultimate Warrior, a fictitious character portrayed by Jim Hellwig, but the Ultimate Warrior and Jim Hellwig are not the same. Hellwig’s brilliant character was a mythical, super-heroic figure of good, which per his interviews was bestowed with the power of the Ultimate Warrior from the “gods above”. The Ultimate Warrior was an icon of good during an age of wrestling in which clearly drawn lines of good and evil were fought in the square ring. Before Vince McMahon transformed the industry with the age of Steve Austin and the anti-hero, wrestling was black and white, good vs. evil. As a boy I had no idea who Jim Hellwig was, but I knew his character all too well.
Outside of the ring Jim Hellwig was a human being dealing with real human issues like all people do. Hellwig had personality conflicts with co-workers, was fired from his job on multiple occasions, had life aspiration and goals, enjoyed friendships, went through a divorce and lived life as a mortal. Jim Hellwig did not have superhuman powers from the gods above nor did he run around in his everyday life finding bad guys to gorilla press slam before issuing a big splash for a three count. On the contrary he was an opinionated man who did not have many close friends in his industry but did possess a high IQ and a savvy for personal marketing. The point I am making is that it is important to distinguish between Hellwig’s masterpiece creation that he is known for and the human being who dealt with real human problems. This is the reason I call him Jim Hellwig and not Warrior, to draw the division between the creator and that which was created.