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September 8, 2015

Read Triple H's introduction to the new book, "Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived 'Forever'"

WWE is paying tribute to the amazing life and legacy of Ultimate Warrior in the new book, "Ultimate Warrior: 'A Life Lived 'Forever'". More than just a biography of the WWE icon, the immersive tome is a visual experience filled with unique bonus materials, including a recreation of Warrior's Oregon state wrestling license, the sheet music to his unforgettable theme music, and a replica of the mask he wore on his final Raw appearance. The book, which you can order now, also features touching introductions from Warrior's wife, Dana, and his friend, Triple H, which you can read below.

It was a night twenty years in the making. I stood with eager anticipation and looked over my shoulder to see one of the biggest legends in the history of our business, the Ultimate Warrior, right before he was inducted into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame. Everyone expected intensity and for him to rant and rave in his speech, but in that moment I saw one of the toughest hard-as-nails men in this world standing there with a single tear rolling down his unpainted face. He was beaming with pride, because on each of his arms, escorting him to the stage, were his two beautiful daughters, Indy and Mattie. I walked over to him and whispered in his ear, “It was all worth it, just to see that.” He smiled back and simply said, “Thank you.”

It was a moment he thought would never happen, and a moment I will never forget. Warrior had a storied past with WWE, both in and out of the ring. He was unhappy with almost everything in WWE and incredibly outspoken about his opinions without any regard for the consequences. There was bad blood on both sides, and at one point, it was inconceivable that the Ultimate Warrior would come back to the WWE, let alone be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Even my first impression of Warrior was not a favorable one. It was 1996 and Vince McMahon told me I would be competing in my very first WrestleMania against one of the most revered Superstars of all time, the Ultimate Warrior, who was returning to the WWE after being gone for many years. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, but the process wound up being less than positive. Warrior had blown me off all week, and I wound up actually meeting him for the first time on the afternoon of WrestleMania, after the show had already started and Vince McMahon had already gone to the ring to do commentary. The guy I met lived up to every bit of his horrible reputation.

He was paranoid, mistrusting, and abrasive, and it left a bitter taste in my mouth. But at the end of the day, the Ultimate Warrior was a huge part of WWE history, which is why I decided to reach out to him over a decade later.

I had heard rumblings that Warrior might be interested in having a conversation because he had just signed an independent deal with 2K to appear in the WWE 2K14 video game. I gave him a call, and we spoke briefly; we were both very guarded and careful with what we said. And when I heard about the press conference 2K was going to have to announce Warrior’s involvement, I knew I had to go. I went with the sole intention to meet with him face to face. I knew if there was ever going to be trust between the two of us, we needed to look each other in the eye.

Warrior later said the effort I made to look him in the eye meant a lot, and it was just the olive branch he needed. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t hit it off right away, but after a long period of time, a mutual respect and friendship was born. We were both men who had grown beyond the business that had once defined us. We spoke about life, our families, and our children. We found a common ground and agreed that a man’s character is what defines him. I promised that I would always keep my word, and he promised to always shoot straight with me. When he finally signed his contract, he wrote, “Congrats, we did it! You did really good, Paul. You kept your word and stepped up. I appreciate it. Get me some hard copies to sign, and let’s get to work. It’s good to not be at odds with Vince and WWE anymore. Great to be back home! Consider me your ally from now on. Relay the same to Vince. Always Believe, Warrior.”

Warrior told me that his wife and children were absolutely everything to him, but that they didn’t know much about his career. They had never seen him wrestle and had never been exposed to WWE. He wanted them to know that he was more than just “Dad,” and for them to experience what the Ultimate Warrior meant to so many people. During the week of WrestleMania 30, they got their chance.

Warrior was inducted in the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame, he stood on the stage at WrestleMania 30 in front of 75,000 fans giving him a standing ovation at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and on Monday Night Raw, he reminded all of us that the Warrior spirit courses through our veins.

The very next day, Warrior shockingly passed away.

His story is almost poetic, this great man and icon who had come full circle in his life and reconciled with so many people personally and professionally. When I saw him at the end of WrestleMania week, he had this look of peace and happiness, like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. It seemed he had found closure. And he did exactly what he said he was going to do, leaving behind a legacy that will live forever in the hearts and minds of not only the Warrior Nation, but also the most important people in his life—his wife and children.

Warrior was one of the most intense people I have ever met. He had an unwavering belief in himself and a passion for life. He signed the words “Always Believe” because he was creating a legacy of inspiration that would live forever. My experience with the Ultimate Warrior was one that I will never forget. He taught me a lot about life and forgiveness, and it will always mean a lot to me that he and I forged a special connection. But true to his words, the biggest takeaway of our friendship is that I will indeed “Always Believe.”

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