What's this? A high ranking WWE executive/wrestler calling Ultimate Warrior a "Hall of Fame superstar in the business?" And it's Triple H, of all people?
Indeed, in a recent interview with the LA Times, "The Game" was asked if he would ever sign Warrior to a deal just so he could squash him like Warrior did to him at WrestleMania 12 back in 1996. His response was somewhat surprising, to say the least.
"It's funny, a lot of people bring that up in a negative way like it was this terrible thing in my life. While working with him personally wasn't the highlight of my life from a business standpoint, for me to go to my first WrestleMania and wrestle a legendary figure in the business -- and that is what he was and is -- like the Ultimate Warrior, a Hall of Fame superstar in the business in my first WrestleMania appearance, squash or not, was a mind blowing thing for me. I was thrilled to be in that position and to have that match with the Ultimate Warrior. I was thrilled with the fact that at that time Vince McMahon was willing to put me in that role. The Ultimate Warrior wasn't there till the day of the show, so I had to do all the promotion for that match. I wanted Vince McMahon to look at me as a guy he could count on to handle the return of a guy that he was hoping would be a huge impact on the business. He had the trust in me and I would do a good job with it. So to me, that was nothing but a good experience. Potentially, I could bring him back and get the win."
Not only was Triple H squashed at WrestleMania, he had an upcoming push halted thanks to the infamous "Curtain Call" incident at Madison Square Garden a few months later. He was unceremoniously buried as punishment for breaking kayfabe as a way to send Kevin Nash and Scott Hall off to WCW to form the nWo alongside Shawn Michaels, who couldn't be punished because of his position in the company at that time. (Thanks to Cageside readers for pointing out an earlier error.)
"The Game" recovered, eventually, and became one of the biggest stars in the history of the business. Certainly a far bigger star than Warrior, at least when considering his ability to sustain his success in comparison to the relatively short run of fame Warrior enjoyed in his heyday.
Nonetheless, it's somewhat surprising to see WWE openly acknowledge Warrior as a Hall of Fame level superstar when they released an entire DVD just to bury the guy. Then again, it's entirely possible Triple H was being overly complimentary to make his loss not look as bad. Never underestimate this man's ego, folks.