A few years ago WWE released a DVD entitled "The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior" and while it was a genuine treat to watch (mostly because of old Warrior promo clips and Christian's infamous Warrior impersonation) it was mostly a one-sided 2 hour smear campaign that was supposed to emphasize on the poor WWF owner Vince McMahon and his dealings with an egomaniacal psychopath. Over the years Warrior has said on multiple occasions that a lot of the stories told in the WWE were mostly bullshit. I personally watched it and felt at times they were splitting hairs with some of their arguments (I wouldn't want to shake the Brooklyn Brawler's hand either) and felt that a lot of the stories were embellished.
Well, we now have proof that atleast one of the stories on said DVD was not exactly 100% told accurately. The tale in question was in regards to SummerSlam 91' and how the Warrior refused to go on unless Vince McMahon paid him what Vince deemed an exorbitant amount of money, and basically held the poor promoter hostage. Vince agreed, and after the Warrior finished the match Vince fired him on the spot.
Well, recently a written correspondence has surfaced between the two from 1991, and in the letter Warrior wrote he does request said money, but he didn't demand it under threat of no-showing a PPV. Oh, and he wrote the letter seven weeks prior to SummerSlam. Let's take a look at the letter and try and break it down, shall we?
Well, he got his name right. That's a good start.
Writing this is a different approach in expressing my feelings about the things we discussed the last 2 days under the pressure of TV. knowing that any second someone would be knocking on the door, etc. Every other avenue we tried - via phone, face to face, myself still walking away with unanswered questions. Always put off till a later date. Always with the same result - no result.
Okay, so he's writing Vince a letter because he tried multiple times to talk to him at events, and they were constantly interrupted. That seems pretty resonable.
Writing sometimes allows a person to express feelings or say things that don't come in conversations such as we have. Some of the things will once again become repetitive - so what I've heard "in an Essence" at least a million times. I've tried to speak as a friend but sometimes you don't hear. I've spoken as a professional but the direction always gets changed. No you never let me leave with-out a response, but the words you speak never have any definitives. My whole life for the last 5 years has had no room for anything but definitive (Los Angeles on Thurs, San Diego on Friday, San Francisco Sat. Sacramento on Sunday, Prime Time on Monday...) but you always have to have the best way of time. Time to say stew things over to work them your way.
You're saying Vince McMahon, a professional wrestling promoter, would beat around the bush when discussing payment with talent? PREPOSTEROUS.
I have been from day 1 different from the others. I have sacrificed myself enough both in my personal life and physical well being. The fairness you say you want everyone to have is unfair to me. I grew in 5 (five) years to become what the "Ultimate Warrior" is today, Always questioning, but nonetheless taking him in the direction you wanted him to go at any particular time. Done what would and has taken other 10-15 years.
A little grandstanding to demonstrate your value, I get it...
The points and suggestions you have made over the last 5 years were very well taken. Now I look at other individuals with less than 1/3 the creativity, desire and hunger I had (have) and wonder how you can look and see them as The One. For you as a friend I pray all the things you believe in rise to the surface and present themselves.
Cool down on the teenage love letter dialogue there Warrior, it's getting a little creepy.
Then there is the side that says "What the f man?" When I was thought of as The One the topics of conversation were - "Treat the veterans with respect". The veterans you spite are the very ones who will fuck it up for you. No matter I listened. I would go to ring push myself to the brink of a heart attack and you would say "When you go to the corner - SMILE?!?! you spoke of the Ultimate Warrior appealing to all, old, young, ugly, beautiful, fat, skinny, black, white.
"I'll smile at those fat blacks but don't you dare make me grin at homosexuals, they'll get their queering on me!"
A character who would show ups and downs emotions and intensities, sensitivities and cold-heartedness when it was needed. Like a yo-yo I obliged so I could be The One. Where the hell are this man's ups and downs. - Total jugular-vein popping yelling at all times. Is this the Total Picture, character, or presentation that can be The One? I learned with you to show intensity at this level but also to show just as much intensity with the look of my eyes or with the whisper of my voice or even better - extreme intensity in total silence. I did all you asked.
"I CHANGED SO MUCH FOR YOU, WHY CAN'T YOU LOVE ME LIKE YOU LOVE HIM???"
The the long-term plan changed. At first I was reluctant for what I believed were the right reasons - but once again I went with what I knew I could believe in - "Vince has never f**ked me"
Oh, I see what the problem is.
I dealt with what you thought was best no matter what the cost to me. , no matter the countless # of sleepless nights there were to come, no matter the # of times I had to knock on your door with questions I should never have had.
I thought you said he never f**ked you?
For the last 2 1/12 years I should have never had the questions I did. To stand and make a videotaped apology for something I never did made me realize all we have is business.
That's a weird kink. I like to think Vince McMahon has a wall of VHS tapes full of his employees begging him for forgiveness.
Once again I went without sleep, if ever I do so again it will be because I elect to, not because my wandering mind says to do so.
Yeah, this was definitely written by the Ultimate Warrior.
In reaching this conclusion I ask for these things. You say 500,000 for Wrestlemania is unfair, then I say the last 8 1/2 years of not being compensated equally when I meant as much or more to the company was total bullshit and most definitely unfair. I have sacrificed more than 500,000 more than 1 million dollars, even more in monies that should have been paid to me in receiving equal compensation as Hulk.
Okay, we're finally getting somewhere. Warrior—who at this point was a bonafide "made man" who was a top draw—wanted the same treatment that the WWF's demigod Hulk Hogan received. Is it justified? I don't know what he actually drew, but I can tell you that as a seven-year-old I certainly saw them as equals. Isn't that how we should all make business decisions? With the mind of a second grader?
I paid my goddamn dues long ago. I need not pay anymore. I have given everything and never once was there a knock on my f**king door. Whether to bullshit as a friend or help me thru my times of need or you trusting me to help you thru yours.
Okay, he's your boss, not you slumber party buddy. Get a grip, guy.
I ask for these things Vince and the answers must come for the next event is upon you. It has been for me the 5 years and for you to tell me you need to evaluate whether or not I'm cost-effective and this takes time us unfair. A show runs at a given time and date - I have always been there, never asking for time to see if I have the rest, food or whatever it takes to make it. Now I ask the same of you.
I really don't see wanting an answer to a question you've been asking for weeks as being unreasonable and/or hard to work with, but whatever.
I want (1) $550,000 release from the monies allotted me to purchase my home. This will suffice as my Wrestlemania VII payoff, but let it be noted it is not fair. I meant as much or more to that show as Hulk - I deserve to be paid the same (I know what Hulk will get)
He certainly had a better match than Hulk, but it's not like Savage is getting any of that credit.
(2) 4 days off every other time off period - except Pay Per View only.
No refusal to work PPV's. You know, PPV's like SummerSlam.
(3) I want the same pay cut as Hulk gets on all Pay-Per-Views, SNME, FRIDAY PRIMETIME, house shows and proof as such. The same pay cut applies to what Hulk has been paid with relationship to past events Wrestlemania V, VI, VII i.e when Hulk was top draw.
(4) I want numbers and proof of monies done on 1-900-Hulk and likewise same pay cut.
(5) Same pay cut on all forms of merchandising.
Again, not unreasonable.
Because I have had to always knock on your door Words alone are not good enough. I understand Doug Sages is on Vacation, call him take his days off away like you do to the boys and myself and have it written. Everytime I had to knock upon your door upon leaving I have always apologized. I no long feel I have any reason to apologize, Therefore I will not. I have tried to speak as a friend, but maybe I don't have the qualities you required to seek me out as a friend. The videotaped apology was the icing on the cake - you see it as business so whether I like it or not I must do the same. Whatever your decision I can and will live with it Till then I remain home with one who cares
It's all business now! You're dealing with BUSINESS WARRIOR
Okay, so while it got a little weird at times, Warrior's requests were reasonable for a Superstar of his standing at the time. So what was Vince's response? You can read it here written on classic WWF stationary, or just read the transcript below:
Who the f**k is Jim?
This letter is in response to your facsimile to me of July 10, 1991.
1. You will be paid an aggregate amount of $550,000 (five-hundred-fifty-thousand) for your participation in WrestleMania VII.
2. With the exception of special events only, you will receive four days off every other time off period.
3. Your pay rate on house shows will increase to 4-5% of the net, effective immediately, with the understanding that no other WWF athlete will be paid at a higher rate. Likewise, no other WWF athlete will be paid at a higher pay rate than you on pay-per-view events.
4. Effective immediately, your royalty rate on all forms of merchandise is to be increased. The specific amount will be determined in writing within one week.
5. Your compensation for the Warrior 900 hotline will be identical to that of the Hulk 900 hotline. Likewise, documentation for this will follow in writing within one week.
I regret the turmoil you've put yourself though and your agonizing over what you feel is fair compensation. And even though we have a difference of opinion over some of these matters, I am resolved to work with you in the same honest and equitable way that I always have. Furthermore, I would like to express to you my deepest appreciation and admiration for you as a performer, as a member of the WWF family, as a man and as my friend.
The letter was dated July 13th 1991. SummerSlam occurred on August 26th 1991, a full month after the issue was supposedly resolved. This doesn't mean Warrior didn't try to extort money from McMahon on the day of the show, but it does reveal that there is more to the story than what was told on the DVD. Who knew WWE was capable of re-writing their own history to suit their current needs? The mind reels.
Tumblr: Andrew Johnson Is A Robot
(We want to thank David Bixenspan of BleacherReport for the links to the letters that you can see he tweeted about right here.)