15th Apr2015

‘Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe’ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

UW-always-believe-blu

Whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, it’s likely you have heard of a few names from the world of professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan. The Rock. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Oh, and The Ultimate Warrior. A household name, and a massive wrestling superstar in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Warrior (Formerly Jim Hellwig) had a career of ups and downs, and it was a wonderful thing to see bridges fixed and the legacy of The Ultimate Warrior saved from extinction when WWE inducted Warrior into their 2014 Hall of Fame class. This, followed by an appearance on the stage with fellow-inductees at WrestleMania 30, and his return to RAW the night after in which he delivered a poignant speech to fans, reminded many people why The Ultimate Warrior was the big star he was in his prime. Sadly, two days after his RAW appearance, on April 8th 2014, Warrior, born James Brian Hellwig, on June 16th 1959 passed away of a myocardial infarction aged just 54. He left behind a wife, Dana, and two young daughters, Indiana and Mattigan. WWE has since honoured Warrior and his family in various ways, one of which is this DVD and Blu-ray release, Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe, which looks positively at the life and career of Warrior, his accomplishments, his family, his untimely-death and ultimately his life as one of the most popular and well-known pro-wrestlers in the history of the business.

For those who didn’t know, WWE had released another Ultimate Warrior based DVD set in September of 2005 entitled The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior. The infamous release looked at Jim Hellwig through negative eyes, and included comments from various wrestlers that didn’t paint Warrior in the most positive light. Many called this release “bitter” on WWE’s part and cited it as a tasteless and controversy-seeking publicity stunt, while others agreed with many people’s views of Warrior and joined in on the “Warrior-bashing” that was included on the release. It is nice, then, to see a release that looks in a more positive fashion at the career of The Ultimate Warrior and allows closure on what was a very negative part of the late-superstars career. It is a fair assumption that the 2005 Warrior release will not be mentioned again by WWE or the wrestlers who spoke on it, and rightly-so.

Now, I wasn’t the biggest Ultimate Warrior fan on a personal level, growing up. I started watching wrestling, and WWF, at the very start of the 1990’s, a time when Warrior was in his apparent prime. I was more interested in wrestlers such as Randy Savage and Bret Hart, but I saw the appeal of this muscular super-hero-like man with wild tassels and ring-attire and crazy bright face paint who ran to the ring at full sprint and shook the ropes like he was borderline insane. It was entertaining to see, and you couldn’t help but watch. To me, that is what the career of The Ultimate Warrior was all about in a nutshell. Even if you weren’t his biggest fan as far as his workrate, or you didn’t want to pay much attention, you couldn’t help it. He demanded attention, and he made himself a superstar in the process.

This DVD/Blu-ray release is the ultimate release for fans of Warrior, or those who recall fondly his time in wrestling. This is also a good introduction and highlight reel of one of the biggest starts in WWE history, and there is plenty of intriguing tid-bits and comments from the variety of men and women who speak about Warrior to keep everyone entertained. Starting with his early career in the WCCW to his rise through the ranks of WWE and his eventual induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, this is a very good set. The documentary portion, which fills the first disc, is followed by discs full of matches and segments featuring The Ultimate Warrior throughout his career. There are obviously highlights and matches that are more spectacle than anything, but there are some very cool inclusions to be found here. His work with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage highlight the chemistry he had with both and are some of the parts I enjoyed the most. The three of them together were a triad of mega-stardom in their time in WWF and it is just a lot of fun to watch it back. I do feel like there are major omissions here though, some of the biggest matches from the career of Warrior are left out, possibly because they have appeared on various other sets through the years. Still, I felt like this should have included those matches as a way to provide a full and complete package look at who Warrior was, both in the ring and out. Check out The Ultimate Warrior: Ultimate Collection for many of the matches missing from this release.

The interview clips are a hoot, however you look at them. As rambling and crazy promos that make little-to-no sense, they are hilarious, and as intense and strong minded words from a guy who believed in the gimmick he used, they are quite eye-opening. A very strong documentary and two discs of varying interest, this is definitely a release from WWE that is important. Removing the cloud made by the 2005 DVD, and replacing it with a lovely collection of comments and matches about and from Warrior, this will impress fans and newcomers without a doubt.

Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe is released on April 20th by Fremantle Media.

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