WWE Using Ultimate Warrior As A Cancer Awareness Mascot Is Gross

I guess we'll go there.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I thought the reaction would be when I tweeted a 2005 Warrior quote Tuesday night during Smackdown Live. I don't think that I was expecting so many to blindly dismiss someone who didn't just hold hate in his heart, he unleashed it on the world. 

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Most know that era of Warrior: angry and often controversial. He was fresh off of WWE producing a rather tasteless DVD where they buried him for over an hour. One of the main talking heads was that of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, who never minced words about how hard Warrior was to work with. It's easy to imagine Warrior feeling targeted, hurt, angry.

Shortly after, Warrior took to his website and trash Heenan, who was diagnosed with cancer. 

“As for you, Booby Heenan, it’s just too difficult to keep a straight face talking about the pure two-faced bag of sh– you are (and have always been), what, with you also actually wearing one as a piece of body jewelry. You are dying, dis-eased on the inside, and no more time is left to get back any of the integrity that matters the most on death’s bed. Imagine what it will be like, lying there taking in your last breaths, knowing you whored yourself out your whole life, and had to, in your final years, be faced with emptying your own personal sh–– bag affirming to you the true value of what you achieved in your life. Not even Vince could come up with a better finish than this. Karma is just a beautiful thing to behold.”

This is why it sat poorly with me that the Warrior name and logo was paraded around almost at a mascot level for WWE's association with Susan G. Komen Foundation during segments on both Raw and Smackdown. This comes months after inspiring paraplegic football player Eric LeGrand received the 2017 "Warrior Award." That was hypocritical in its own right. We'll get there. 

It's gross. It's not right. A man who -- admittedly out of character -- said those types of things about someone who was suffering and would eventually succumb to cancer. 

To be honest, Warrior was one of my first bits of exposure to hate speech on a worldwide level. I live in Kentucky, so I've heard it before, but I never really saw a figure that I grew up watching saying the types of things that he did and going unpunished. It was that line between hate speech and free speech. He hadn't broken any laws in doing so, and wasn't employed anywhere and thus only got blowback from whoever wanted to speak out about it.

The AV Club did a really nice article about Warrior's hateful past this week. Deadspin did, too. 

This isn't run of the mill "social justice warrior" shit, so spare me. Warrior was indiscriminate against who he was discriminant towards.

Handicapped? Check. He clowned Droz for being paralyzed after he invited Warrior on Byte This! 

Order the queer and the cripple who host the show to read what I have written here and here, and while they do that have them hold up mirrors looking at themselves so they can know exactly the kind of people in your organization I’m writing about. No apologies — I don’t discriminate for the handicapped who sign on to behave degenerately.

Sick? Yep. Heenan.

Gay? Oh yeah. "Queering don't make the world work," he said.

A minority? Yeah, don't wear headdress around him, you might get singled out. 

Today, I feel gross. I had this dude's action figure. I played as him in video games. My wife even dressed up as him for a Halloween costume contest we did. I have no problem separating the character "The Ultimate Warrior" from the man, Jim Hellwig, Warrior. The character is colorful, sometimes inspiring, and intriguing. The man was disgusting, hurtful and without conscious. I can't separate that from his feelings about a cancer patient in this situation. 

By all indications, Warrior never apologized for any of the horrible things he said. I'm not sure if anyone from WWE ever did for the uncalled-for DVD they released either. Some replied on social media saying it was easy for me to take shots at someone who is gone. I reached out to Warrior several times in 2013 for an interview, I didn't hear back. I would have gladly asked him then. The problem is he was embraced and his personality fetishized by WWE in an effort to put over their philanthropy.

Among other replies I received, one said that it seemed "Warrior made peace" before his passing. It certainly seemed as if he did from a WWE perspective, but there's no evidence he did from a public statement standpoint. When those kinds of inflammatory remarks are put out there that target such a broad degree of unfortunate situations, a simple "I was a dick, and in a bad place, I'm sorry. My bad," goes a long way. 

Zack Ryder, Jim Duggan, Michelle McCool. They've all battled cancer to some degree. Darren Drozdov was paralyzed in a WWE ring, didn't sue the company and kept an affiliation with them for years. Zach Gowen wrestled with one leg. You have those who have overcome drug addictions, horrible life events, and tragedies. They could be highlighted. Unfortunately, they don't have a cool logo face paint.

The Ultimate Warrior was a giant part of my childhood, and remains a big part of my career. I was, and still am heartbroken that he passed far too early. But still. It's gross. The women in these segments deserve all the attention they're getting, and I'm stoked that they're being highlighted.

I don't know Dana Warrior's feelings on the things her late husband said, but I've been told nothing but positive things in regards to her affiliation with WWE, her attitude, demeanor and motivation. That's a great thing. I would have rather seen her out there without the facade of "embodying the spirit of the Warrior." 

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