Check out this picture. That's me all the way on the right. I was about eight years old and I was at my first World Wrestling Federation event with my cousin, dad, and uncles (right to left). Our faces are painted as the Ultimate Warrior, my favorite wrestler growing up.
I brought a sign to the event — I had a blast making it with my mom. There were a handful of other signs throughout the Rosemont Horizon, but none were as good as mine. The sign said, "The Macho Man is Not So Macho! The Warrior Rules!" I actually liked the Macho Man, but he was fighting the Ultimate Warrior so by default I was cheering against him that night.
I still remember the moment the Ultimate Warrior won the match. He climbed up the ropes like he always did, raised both arms in victory, and then he pointed right at us and gave us a thumbs up. He saw my sign. He saw our faces. And he appreciated it. We could tell.
I like to tell people that moment changed wrestling forever. It's what led to modern wrestling events in which practically every person brings a sign with them, hoping to get on tv. But there weren't any cameras at my first wrestling event — just us with our face paint and me with my sign. You could see our passion on our faces. And we started a movement that night.
Rest In Peace
The Ultimate Warrior passed away on April 8th. I was a little surprised at how sad that made me. But the more I think about it, the more I realize the sign I made for the Warrior was the first in a long line of signs I made and brought to sporting events. Thinking up ideas for creative signs and then drawing them up was something I loved doing with my mom, who is a very creative woman and a former art teacher. I think creating those signs contributed to my decision to pursue graphic design and marketing in college, and ultimately as a career.
I want to say thanks to the Ultimate Warrior for helping inspire my career. After he died, I asked my mom if she still had my Ultimate Warrior "Wrestling Buddy" doll. She did and she brought it to my house. I put it in my kids' playroom and we've been having fun with it ever since. The second picture here is a gif of my oldest son wrestling with my Wrestling Buddy.
I don't know what my kids will care about when they get older. But I hope that whatever it is, they have the confidence to tell the world about it — and maybe they'll paint it on their faces.
Rest in peace, Warrior. And thanks for the memories.
Add This To Your To-Do List
If you'd like to make a gift in honor of the Ultimate Warrior, his family has asked that we support Operation Family Fund, a noble cause.
There's Never a Lack of Ideas.