The Long-Standing Urban Legend Involving The Ultimate Warrior

In an era where pro wrestling was dominated by over-the-top characters straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon, The Ultimate Warrior was a perfect fit — while being even more over-the-top than most of his WWE contemporaries. Fans saw him run to the ring at full speed as the aggressive guitar riffs of his entrance theme played in the background, then furiously shake the ropes while posing for the crowd and waiting for his opponent to arrive. (That is, if a local jobber wasn't already waiting in his corner, two minutes away from getting squashed into oblivion by his muscle-bound opponent.)

At least that's how most people would like to remember Warrior in an idealized sense. In the years between his final WWE exit and his death in 2014, the former world champion became infamous for co-authoring a bizarre comic book series that introduced the world to the not-too-cromulent concept of "destrucity," taking part in a historically nonsensical storyline during his brief WCW stint, and making anti-LGBTQ comments as a conservative public speaker, as noted by Deadspin. But when talking about the late WWE Hall of Famer's colorful, often controversial life and career, one also has to remember the urban legend that had many people wondering about the identity of the Warrior who appeared at 1992's WrestleMania VIII pay-per-view after a long absence.

Many thought Warrior died and was replaced by a stunt double in 1992

If you were in elementary, middle, or high school back in 1992, it was the equivalent of an office water cooler topic. People all over the world, especially kids, were claiming that the Ultimate Warrior who returned at WrestleMania VIII was not the same Warrior who beat Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania VI two years prior. The reason why? Apparently, the "new" Warrior had a different hairdo, new ring gear, and a leaner physique, thus making it likely that he was a totally different person or a stunt double, per Bleacher Report.

As for the fate of the "original" Warrior, there were various conspiracy theories claiming that he died in some sort of freak accident. For example, in the Philippines, one version of the theory (via Indolent Indio) suggested that the OG Warrior popped a vein while trying to bodyslam Andre the Giant and died shortly thereafter. Of course, there was no tangible evidence to corroborate the claims, and since this was years before the internet and the rise of online wrestling "dirt sheets," many people were fooled into thinking the urban legend of Warrior's death was legit. 

As WWE itself explained, there was no truth whatsoever to those tales. Parts Unknown's most famous resident was, and always had been played by the man known in real life as Jim Hellwig — until he legally changed his name to Warrior. Sadly, Warrior died for real on April 8, 2014, just days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.