By Ernest Wilkins, @ernestwilkins
6:45 PM CDT, April 9, 2014
Last night, WWE real life COO/storyline evil COO who wrestles sometimes Triple H tweeted the following:
Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters— Triple H (@TripleH) April 9, 2014
The Internet wrestling community, a group of which i am a card-carrying member, immediately had a shared reaction:
"Oh [bleep], I hope it was just a heart attack."
That's not normal. When a beloved icon of your childhood passes away, your first reaction shouldn't be of relief. I would be lying if I said I didn't think it, though.
See, the circumstances didn't add up. Warrior (he legally changed his name) had just been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, a former sham of a concept that has gained traction recently thanks to the WWE owning the footage of almost every major wrestling promotion that has ever existed, and Triple H going mending fences with the folks who may have told Vince McMahon to go [bleep] himself previously.
Warrior represented that last group, a legend who became a source of self-parody, a fact heightened by the WWE releasing "The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior in 2005," the DVD equivalent of a burn book in which former co-workers spend a good 90 minutes trashing the guy.
He was inducted into the Hall on Saturday, giving a speech that mostly chided the folks who put that DVD together, then forgiving them. He appeared Sunday at Wrestlemania 30. He then appeared on "Monday Nignt Raw," giving a powerful speech about death and legacy and how he wanted to be remembered. On Tuesday, he was dead.
A lot of people don't understand wrestling fans and our mentalities. That's probably why some of you are confused as to why we would immediately start thinking the worst when one of the tribe dies.
Imagine this: You get a hankering to watch some old basketball, so you fire up YouTube and search for the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Now, imagine every single player except three were dead. David Robinson, Chris Mullin, Shawn Kemp, Isaiah Thomas, all of them gone.
Wrestling fans are used to death at this point. We mourn quickly, knowing we aren't far removed from another loss. From the big-timers like Randy Savage and the British Bulldog to Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit.
Death and tragedy surround this business. It's a dark part of a culture that has brought a lot of joy to lives around the world. Rest in peace to all that we've lost. It's still real to us, dammit.
Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page.
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