Could the Ultimate Warrior have gone extreme? That’s what we look at today as we focus on the rumours that the Ultimate Warrior was set to join Extreme Championship Wrestling back in 1999.
Make no mistake about it, WWE Hall of Famer the Ultimate Warrior was a very controversial wrestler during his day. He seemingly burned bridges with the WWF/E on numerous occasions. He also had a very unmemorable stint with WCW in 1998. In 2008, after a 10-year absence from wrestling, the Warrior wrestled one match over in Spain against former WWE and TNA wrestler Orlando Jordan before calling it a career.
Did you know, however, in 1999, the Ultimate Warrior had an opportunity to wrestle on a bigger stage? While he had bad blood with the WWE during that time and his overpriced, failed run in WCW produced nothing but more headaches for the Atlanta-based promotion, there was another option. It wasn’t in Connecticut or Atlanta but a small, but influential company in South Philadelphia. Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) had their eyes set on the Ultimate Warrior.
Now obviously, wrestling fans know that the Warrior never appeared once at an ECW event but it could have happened. ECW mastermind Paul Heyman had an idea that would have certainly garnered a “Holy Sh!t” moment in its history. According to both the Warrior and Heyman, there were some preliminary discussions about bringing the former WWE champion into ECW in 1999. How close were they? Not close enough, but they did talk.
While an actual contract was never negotiated, ideas were being pitched back and forth between the Warrior and Heyman. You see, ECW had their biggest deal ever when they signed a television deal with the TNN network. Heyman wanted and needed something or someone big to make a huge impact on their new network home. With the Warrior basically promotion-less, ECW seemed big enough to satisfy the egocentric Warrior.
Paul Heyman wanted the Ultimate Warrior to make a surprise appearance on his show and confront one of ECW’s biggest stars, ‘the Human Suplex Machine’ Taz. The initial idea that Heyman had was a series of spots for the Warrior to appear on television with Warrior taking on Taz and Taz defeating the Warrior in a match. That idea was enough for the Ultimate Warrior to baulk at the notion of coming to ECW. Granted, considering the Warrior at the time was all about appearance, protecting his image and, most importantly, money, the real possibility of the Warrior actually showing up at the ECW arena was slim.
So the Ultimate Warrior never came to ECW but, in 1999, it could’ve happened. While Heyman certainly didn’t have the money to probably satisfy the Warrior’s bank account, he most definitely had the mind to make the Ultimate Warrior’s appearances seem like the biggest thing since Elvis. Many fans over the years have debated if the Warrior ever did go to ECW would it have worked? Some have said yes, while most had their doubts.
Consider the Ultimate Warriors strengths and weaknesses. His strength was that he was still a big star that was easily recognizable. Something could have definitely benefited ECW. His weakness was his limited in-ring skill set that probably wouldn’t have enamored the much more finicky ECW audience. With that said, Paul Heyman has worked with wrestlers less talented than the Warrior and made it work to his advantage.
Look at what Heyman did with guys like Sid Vicious and 911. Heyman knew how to utilize wrestlers to highlight their biggest strengths while hiding their glaring weaknesses. Who knows if the Warrior would have ever gotten extreme but for a brief moment in time, it could have happened. And it just may have worked.