Tonight, WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” will be dedicating the entirety of its three-hour broadcast to the memory of one of the company’s most memorable superstars, The Ultimate Warrior. An icon of ’90s sports-entertainment, The Warrior expired last Tuesday after collapsing while walking to his car with his wife, less than 24 hours after appearing on last week’s “Raw” following his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame.
In the week since, the WWE Network and various media outlets have been posting memories and tributes to the man, otherwise known as James Hellwig, recounting his unique persona, high energy entrance and unforgettable battles with the likes of Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
But one of Warrior’s most famous opponents has been largely absent from these retrospectives: Phil Collins.
No, this isn’t another instance like Sting or Sid Vicious where a wrestler and a famous rock musician happen to share the same name. Genesis frontman and Oscar winner Phil Collins once went toe-to-toe in the squared circle with The Warrior at the height of his popularity as part of his once-lost 1990 TV special “Seriously… Phil Collins”
It’s really bizarre that this entire special exists. “Seriously…Phil Collins” follows three television executives as they try to brainstorm ideas for Phil Collins’ one hour special, bouncing them off of Collins and his talking dog (voiced by Paul Shaffer). Along with three of the executives (Gilbert Gottfried, Jeffrey Tambor, and Vanessa Williams), we get cameos from Bruce Willis, “Weird” Al Yankovic, John Candy, and Ed Lover and Doctor Dre.
One of their ideas: Phil Collins vs. then-WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior.
Things begin innocently enough with Collins and The Warrior two-stepping to “Two Hearts,” until suddenly a wrestling match breaks out. If you’ve ever wanted to see Phil Collins brutally assaulted, set to the tune of Phil Collins, this is the special for you. Ultimately (and Warrior-ly), it fades back to Gottfried bemoaning what a terrible idea Warrior-Collins was.
The origin of the Collins-Warrior connection stems from professional wrestling trainer, Monster Factory founder Larry Sharpe. As he told Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast earlier this year, a friend who owned a television studio contacted Sharpe about renting one of his rings to shoot an as-of-yet unplanned bit with the two media icons. Sharpe was asked to referee, which lead to him having a sit-down chat with Collins and discovering he had a student who was his exact same height and weight. By putting a matching skull cap on both Collins and his double, and thanks to the magic of surprisingly tight editing, the colossal collision was born.
While the special was apparently aired once and never broadcast again, it eventually resurfaced as an extra on 2004’s Phil Collins: Finally … The First Farewell Tour DVD. If this evening you hear something calling in the air tonight, there’s a good chance it’s the spirit of the Warrior.