Controversial Letters Between Ultimate Warrior & Vince McMahon From 1991 Leak Online

For years, there has been a story going around that The Ultimate Warrior “held up” Vince McMahon and WWE for money going into the SummerSlam 1991 pay-per-view, leading to Warrior being suspended right after. Warrior would remain under contract to WWE until late 1992.

The letter from Warrior demanding money and Vince’s reply surfaced online this past week. There had been stories that Warrior actually demanded money the weekend of the pay-per-view but these letters show it was 7 weeks before the pay-per-view. Vince essentially agreed to the new terms but suspended Warrior right after the event. You can view image scans of the letter at this link or read below. Vince’s reply to Warrior’s letter is also below.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 fucked me” 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.

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.

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.

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 mein receiving equal compensation as Hulk.

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 fucking door. Whether to bullshit as a friend or help me thru my times of need or you trusting me to help you thru yours.

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 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)

(2) 4 days off every other time off period – except Pay Per View only.

(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.

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


– You can see a scan of Vince’s reply, dated July 13th, 1991, at this link or read below:

Dear 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.

– Vince

  • Jay Ciaravino

    Well that certainly sheds a different light on the topic. Quite a different version than the one that Hogan gave on that bs dvd that they put out.

    • David Garcia

      Yes and no. What these letters show is Warrior and Vince had been in discussions about money. What we don’t know is what happened after these letters. Warrior seems very preoccupied with getting money equal to Hogan and he seems convinced that he knows everything about Hogan’s deal, true or not.

      Could Warrior have decided that he still wasn’t getting Hogan money on the night of the show? Could he have held up Vince to make good on money in a lump sum, money everybody else would be paid as the receipts came in? These are all details we don’t know. Even Warrior has never disputed that he ultimately demanded money before going on with Summerslam, which is just not how the other guys ever did business.

      I’m not saying Warrior is a bad guy. He was a businessman in a business where it’s every man for himself. There’s a great line from North Dallas Forty: “Every time I say it’s a game, you tell me it’s a business and every time I say it’s a business, you say it’s just a game”. I think Vince played that game and Warrior wouldn’t bite.

      • Jay Ciaravino

        Very good point. With the info provided, I don’t doubt the possibility that Warrior held Vince up for money on the night of the show, but now it would appear that a move like that was more than likely a last ditch effort on Warrior’s part. With the DVD coming out and making it public, while only telling one side of the story, I’m more compelled to believe that Warrior was put in a position where he felt like he had too take extreme measures. It’s all speculation on my part, however it’s a badly kept secret that the performers of those days were compensated as little as possible. I guess what I’m trying to say is, they tried to make Warrior out to be some shrewd business man who held the company hostage for no reason other than his ego. I’m sure his ego played a part, but they completely left out the important events of prior negotiations that left Warrior with no assurance of just compensation. I still feel like Vince should induct Warrior into the HOF, and in one form or another, he should address the DVD and apologize. Maybe not directly apologize, (Vince’s ego) but some sort of public acknowledgement that it may have been produced in haste, with little regards to a fair account of the events.

  • Fred Nichols

    This is just one part of the story. You don’t know what happened before SS 91

  • Marissa

    I don’t know the whole story, but I do know using foul language made Warrior look like less of a professional. It seems his apparent problems with self-censorship have been around for some time.

    • Jay Ciaravino

      It was a private letter. He has never stepped over that line while performing. Besides, it’s obvious that his use of foul language was simply to emphasize and not to be belligerent. There is a difference between using foul language to express certain feelings and convey strong emotions through the written word, and simply being foul mouthed. Vince is no choir boy ya know.

  • David Garcia

    So the gist of this is Warrior wanted to be paid like Hogan (fair enough…business is business and he should get as much money as he can)…but was painfully whiny and entitled in his ability to express himself, which revealed a very cluttered and imprecise mind.

    As a businessman, I can understand why Vince and all of his colleagues would be exasperated by Warrior, but that has more to do with his subjective tactics rather than his objective goal. The bottom line is that Warrior saw his brand value at a certain level and he wasn’t willing to accept less. Good for him. But his arrogance, delusions, entitlement, self-pity, etc were just unnecessary and ultimately provided all the material for his detractors, so he really has nobody to blame for his “reputation” other than himself.