Some guys could wrestle. Other guys could cut a promo. Jim Hellwig couldn't do either. But that didn't stop him from getting a legitimate pop on this date in WCW history, when the "Warrior" returned to professional wrestling (again) during the Aug. 17, 1998, edition of Monday Nitro.
Of course no one would have cared if he didn't have a history with "Ho Kogan" to help drive the angle and sell his return.
In case you've been living under "The Rock," Warrior (known then as "The Ultimate Warrior") defeated Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to win the title and begin, what was thought at the time to be, the Warrior era.
In fact, he crashed and burned so badly, WWE felt compelled to release a less-than-flattering tribute DVD in his honor titled "The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" back in 2005.
Yet that DVD may never have been made had Warrior, and to a greater extent the WCW, been able to capitalize on his (fourth, by my count) return. Mainstream wrestling fans are nothing if not nostalgic, and coming back to the squared circle to reel in the out-of-control "Hollywood" was such a no-brainer, the angle practically wrote itself.
Here's a shortened version of how it all unfolded:
The brightest stars burn out the quickest and as you can see in the above video, Warrior struggles to keep his promo, which actually ran about seven minutes too long, both relevant and coherent.
The angle quickly nosedived thanks to the asinine decision to let Warrior maintain creative control over his character. Instead of psychological warfare, like Sting's masterful turn as the vengeful "Crow" just one year prior, the Warrior/Hogan feud was mired in carnival theatrics including magic smoke, hidden trap doors and ghostly mirrors.
And so the angle that seemed impossible to screw up, was screwed up, and no amount of Hogan
backstabbing politics lying hotshotting influence could resurrect it. It was as dead as a doornail.
So too, was the short lived career of Warrior, who left WCW in much the same way he did the WWE.
In a blaze of apathy.