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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


ANIMAL & HAWK ..without a doubt or fear of contradiction are my all time fave tag team EVER, yep even more than the Brisco Brothers or the Motor City Machine Guns

....and strangely enough I had never seen them smash someone till the internet became slightly huge, I had lived solely through Apters wrestling mags up till I saw them smash some jobbers on some website back in the late 90's ...HELL...I couldnt get a VHS (that played on aussie machines) till about 97..yeah, I know F**kin sucked right?

The genesis of the Roadies began when boys were bouncing at Grammy Bees in Minneapolis when one of the barmen there Eddie Sharkey, who had trained Jesse Ventura thought a couple of 'em had potentential as wrestlers so Mike, Joe and Barry Darsow (among others) all trained in a crappy boxing ring for a few months,

then Eddies friend and Georgia wrestling booker Ole Anderson came into town on a talent hunt and since Mike and Joe were the first to be ready, them's the two Ole took, Mike had worked in Canada as Crusher Von Haig a tiny bit, but when Ole called he was keen for it .

Ole got them into the area and before they even appeared on tv had a tag title, YEP their debut TV match and there were already the Tag Champs...BUT then Ole and Bill Watts  decided that they were gonna use the Mel Gibson film Mad Max (or as the yanks called it Road Warrior) to be a template for a tag team, initially the boys looked like bodyguards for the Village people, mind you, they did hold the National Tag belts on debut, having been given them in a storyline were they beat the champs on a house show,  but soon refined the picture Ole had in his head by shaving thier heads into mohawks and adding a dash of war paint ...and made life miserable for jobbers on Saturday morning TV who they bounced around like basketballs for a minute or too before smashing them into a 3 count.

Around this time Paul Ellering, who had just retired from the ring because he destroyed his knee(and Ole) created a stable called "The Legion of Doom" that consisted of the Road Warriors, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, The Spoiler, Matt Borne, King Kong Bundy, Arn Anderson, The Iron Sheik and the original Sheik....Animal said in the "Road Warriors: The Life and Death of the Most Dominant Tag-Team in Wrestling History (2005)" DVD that the name "Legion of Doom" was taken from the Super Friends cartoon.

In 84 they travelled home to Minnesota and belted The Crusher and Baron Von Raschke for the AWA World Tag Team Championship....they along the way they destroyed the unbeatable aura surrounding Crusher and Bruiser in a match by press slamming both of the old timers at the same time, this is (alledgedky) the first time in 20 odd years that Bruiser or Crusher had been taken off their feet in such a manner..Animal recalled hearing Bruiser saying whilst Hawk had him over his head "what are you guys doing to us?" and hearing Hawks reply "Anything I want too"

Thier AWA stint was organised due to the Gagnes needing some new heels for the area.. but as with every promotion they went too,  their squash matches soon won over fans over...Mike and Joe initially were feuding  with The Fabulous Ones and later the Fabulous Freebirds..I saw the Superclash from Kominskey Park when the 'Birds had their face painted with the stars and bars ..was it me or was Hawk pissed that someone else was wearing makeup..sure looked like it to me

Then there was an infamous match were Verne told the Warriors that they were going to lose to Keirn and Lane by the "Old Switcheroo" Paul and the boys went NUP not happening and as soon as the  bell went snotted the Fabilous ones , apparently Verne was in the dressing room after the math ranting that no one had EVER changed a finish on him in 30 years..Animal walked up, looked him in the eye and said "well, someone has now"...

The Warriors then began splitting their time between the AWA and NWA where they started feuding with NWA World tag team champions The Russians, all while still holding the AWA belts. Hawk and Animal eventually lost the AWA title to Jimmy Garvin and "Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal on September 29, 1985, due to the interference of the Freebirds..didnt matter the boys were Crockett bound, they had enough of Verne archaic booking by this point....the boys took off for thier first tour of Japan before going to Crocketts....mainly with Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW)..Baba San loved the Warriors and paid them handsomely, they were that popular, they even dressed with the Japanese wrestlers instead of the gaigjin...


The Road Warriors moved to National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) exclusively, winning the inaugural Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament by beating Ron Garvin and Magnum T.A. in the finals. Building upon their rapid push, Hawk and Animal were featured attractions of the Great American Bash tour where they were matched against Ivan and Nikita Koloff as well as the Midnight Express. At Starrcade '86, the Road Warriors were featured in a Scaffold Match, defeating the Midnight Express.

The Warriors joined forces with Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff in a bloody feud with the Four Horsemen. During the 1987 Great American Bash, the rival sides faced off in the first ever WarGames match

 The Road Warriors were on the winning side of War Games both matches that summer taking their feud with the Horsemen to Starrcade '87, where they lost by disqualification to Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson....The Road Warriors also picked up the NWA Six-Man tag team titles twice alongside Dusty Rhodes. The Warriors engaged in a violent feud with The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord) where the Road Warriors finally met their equal physically, but the angle ended when the Powers of Pain left the NWA after finding out they were booked against the Road Warriors in a series of Scaffold Matches that they were supposed to lose.

In 1988, Hawk and Animal turned heel, Ellering ran out and jumped Cornette and Animal busted Bobby Eaton wide open after posting him  they then beat the Midnight Express for the NWA World Tag Team Championship on October 29, 1988 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 In November of that year the Road Warriors jumped Dusty Rhodes' and busted him wide open using the spikes off their shoulder pads, this angle ended Dusty run as booker as there was a no blood policy from TBS television executives this prohibited blading,

Rhodes was fired for that episode shortly after Starrcade '88. Before Rhodes was fired, Animal beat him at the Clash of the Champions, so the Road Warriors were allowed to pick a new partner to hold the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team titles; they picked AJPW superstar Genichiro Tenryu but the titles were quickly abandoned.

The Road Warriors quickly turned face yet again due to overwhelming fan support no matter how brutal or violent they were. Their World Tag Team title reign came to an end when they faced The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda and Steve Williams) on April 2, 1989. The title change was a controversial one as referee Teddy Long performed an excessively fast count.

Long would be fired from his job due to the count but the titles were not returned to the Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal would spend the rest of their tenure in the NWA feuding with teams like The Samoan Swat Team and The Skyscrapers.

Their last big wins in the NWA came when they defeated three other teams (including the red hot Steiner Brothers) to win the Ironman Tag Team Tournament at Starrcade 1989 “Future Shock” (The Steiners actually defeated the Warriors by pinfall in their match, but the Warriors won the round robin style tournament on a point system basis.) and over The Skyscrapers in a Chicago Street Fight at WrestleWar '90: Wild Thing.

The Road Warriors made their last WCW pay-per-view appearance on May 19, 1990 at Capital Combat where they teamed with Norman “The Lunatic” against Kevin Sullivan, Cactus Jack and Bam Bam Bigelow in a match that was cut from the commercial tape of the event. They left WCW in June 1990 due to heat with then-WCW head Jim Herd according to Animal on their WWE produced DVD.

During their NWA/WCW stint, the group became well known for using the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" as their entrance theme.

THE FIRST WWF RUN  (1990-1992)
When Hawk and Animal signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in June 1990, Vince McMahon retired the Road Warriors moniker. They both made their TV debuts on the July 15, 1990 episode of Wrestling Challenge. In the WWF the team would be known only as the "Legion of Doom". Hawk and Animal immediately entered into a feud with Demolition, the team McMahon had supposedly created in their likeness three years earlier, which led into a televised six-man tag-team match where Hawk and Animal teamed up with Ultimate Warrior against all three members of Demolition.

Ax was having health issues and an agreement was made to phase him out and eventually replace him with Crush. Ax was moved into a role as manager for the team with the hope of taking a front office position, which eventually fell through. The Legion of Doom / Demolition feud did not have the expected intensity because of the change and L.O.D. soon set their sights on the tag team titles. At SummerSlam 1991, the Legion of Doom defeated The Nasty Boys to win the World Tag Team Championship, becoming the only team to win world tag titles in all three of the top promotions of the 1980s.

 Hawk and Animal would eventually lose the titles to Money Inc. on February 7, 1992 after which they briefly left the promotion.....LOD would return a short time later with original manager Paul Ellering. The team incorporated a ventriloquist dummy called "Rocco" (Originally introduced as "Freckles" in front of a live crowd at a WWF TV Taping, the segment bombed so bad that it never aired) which served as their “inspiration”, but this gimmick was short-lived. Hegstrand left the company in disgust with the Rocco gimmick immediately after SummerSlam 1992, going AWOL in London after the event with John Nord and missing the flight back to the US, while Laurinaitis stuck around, finishing the team's contractual obligations with former Demolition member Crush (now repackaged as a face) replacing Hawk on house shows, before an injury to his back forced him into a lengthy hiatus.

When Hawk left the WWF after SummerSlam 1992 he traveled to Japan and started working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) where he quickly teamed up with young mid-carder Kensuke Sasaki who was soon dubbed "Power Warrior" as he adopted the trademark Road Warrior face paint and spiked shoulder pads. The duo was dubbed "The Hell Raisers" and carried on the legacy of the Road Warriors in NJPW winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Tony Halme and Scott Norton in December 1992  and then again from the team of Scott Norton and Hercules (known as the Jurassic Powers) in January 1994. They also competed in both the 1993 and 1994 versions of the Super Grade Tag league making it to the semi finals of the 1994 tournament before losing to Masahiro Chono and Super Strong Machine.

Teaming with Hawk (or Hawk Warrior as he was called) helped elevate Kensuke Sasaki in the eyes of the fans, so much so that when the Hell Raisers broke up in the middle of 1995, Sasaki shed the Power Warrior gimmick and became a main eventer on the singles scene. On special occasions, Sasaki would break out the "Power Warrior" persona, similar to Keiji Mutoh and his "Great Muta" persona.....During this stint, they used the theme song "Hellraiser" by Ozzy Osbourne.....When Animal came back from his back injury, he joined the duo in Japan in 1996. The three were announced collectively as the Road Warriors, using "Iron Man" as their theme music.

When Laurinaitis’ back was finally healed enough for him to return to wrestling, the Road Warriors signed a contract with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in late 1995. Upon their return in January 1996, immediately started a feud with the returning Steiner Brothers, as well as Harlem Heat before moving on to challenging the WCW Tag Team Champions Sting and Lex Luger. The Road Warriors had several shots at the champions but failed to win the titles.
Hegstrand and Laurinaitis stayed with WCW for about six months, before leaving over a dispute with Eric Bischoff. The pair made claims that Bischoff promised them a second-highest paid contract, as well as a separate contract from Japan, something which he denies remembering.

 The Road Warriors won the NWA International Tag Team Championship on March 12, 1987 from Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu and would hold them for 15 months before losing them to PWF World Tag Team champions Jumbo Tsuruta and Yoshiaki Yatsu to unify the titles as the AJPW World Tag Team titles, making the Road Warriors the last defending champions of the NWA International Tag Team titles. Their last match in Japan was on July 22, 1990, for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), losing to Masahiro Chono and Keiji Mutoh by disqualification.

After leaving WCW, the duo took various independent bookings both in the U.S. and Japan before signing with the WWF, making their surprise return on the February 24, 1997 edition of Monday Night Raw where they destroyed the Headbangers, despite both teams being counted out. The Legion of Doom would be heavily involved in the feud with the Hart Foundation siding with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock and Goldust at In Your House: Canadian Stampede. The Legion of Doom also became 2-time WWF tag team champions on October 7, 1997 when they defeated The Godwinns. In November 1997, the Legion of Doom faced the newly formed New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) and shockingly lost the titles to the upstart team.
The Legion of Doom would challenge the Outlaws several times in the next couple of months but could not win the gold. On February 23, 1998, the Legion of Doom disappeared from WWF television after the two men brawled on Raw, seemingly spelling their demise.

L.O.D. 2000 AND DROZ  (1998-1999)
Hawk and Animal next appeared as Legion of Doom 2000, billed as an updated version of the Road Warriors “for the new millennium”, at WrestleMania XIV during a tag team Battle Royal. The duo sported a new look, including new shoulder pads and helmets (the helmets wouldn't last long, as Hawk got rid of his by throwing it to the crowd) and a new manager in Sunny. LOD 2000 won the battle royal and earned a shot at the tag team titles, but did not manage to win the gold.

Sunny soon left the team and Droz, then known as Puke, started to accompany them to the ring. At the same time, Paul Ellering returned, but sided with the Disciples of Apocalypse (D.O.A.), whom L.O.D. were feuding with at the time; Ellering and Animal explained on the DVD it was hard for them to rip on each other on promos. For the first time in the history of the Road Warriors they participated in a storyline where tension arose between the members, teasing a break up. In this storyline, Hawk was seen by his partner Animal as unfit to wrestle and Puke was tapped to take Hawk's place in the tag team as an official member. The angle played off Hegstrand’s real life alcohol and drug issues, going so far as to faking a suicide jump off the top of the TitanTron. After the angle bombed and both Hegstrand and Laurinaitis voiced their objections to it, the angle was dropped.

The Legion of Doom made a very brief return, first on the March 22, 1999 Raw is War by attacking Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco in a backstage skit after the two impersonated LOD in a handicap match against Shane McMahon, on the March 15, 1999 Raw is War. Both LOD entered the pre-WrestleMania battle royal with the last two participants getting a tag team title shot later at WrestleMania XV but both came up short. They would make one final appearance on the March 29, 1999 Raw challenging Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett for the tag team titles but failed to win them; they left the WWF afterwards

BACK ON THE INDIES (1999-2003)

On June 22, 2002 International Wrestling Superstars, Road Warriors Animal & Hawk defeat the Headshrinkers for the World Tag-Team Championship. That victory also led to team USA winning the international tournament held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

After leaving the WWF, the Road Warriors would appear for various independent federations, including the i-Generation pay-per-view in July 2000 where they won the promotion's tag team titles. They performed both as a team and individually. Animal competed solo in WCW for a while as Hegstrand dealt with his personal issues. Hegstrand finally overcame his battle with addiction and became a born-again Christian appearing on Ted DiBiase's religion and wrestling shows in 2003. The Road Warriors also appeared very briefly in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) during the early days of the promotion, saving America's Most Wanted, and debuting to what Jeremy Borash quoted as "A 1985 Road Warrior Pop".

The Road Warriors' last TV appearance as a team occurred on the May 12, 2003 Raw episode in a tag team match against the WWE World Tag Team Champions, Rob Van Dam and Kane.

The Road Warriors had hoped to get a full time contract with WWE but nothing ever came of it. Hegstrand died five months later on October 19, 2003.

Animal would later return to WWE in 2005, teaming with Heidenreich in a feud against the tag team MNM. At The Great American Bash on July 24, 2005,  nimal and Heidenreich defeated MNM to win the WWE Tag Team Championship in a match personally dedicated by Animal to Hawk.

After winning the titles Heidenreich changed his appearance, to a look that better suited the Legion of Doom image by shaving his hair into a mohawk and wearing face paint.
On August 18, 2005, Heidenreich was officially made part of the "L.O.D" and was presented with his own Road Warrior "spikes". Shortly after winning the tag team titles,

Animal paid tribute to his late partner and friend by looking up to the heavens above and saying, "Hawk, this one's for you, brother!"
 During their feud with MNM, L.O.D. were joined by Christy Hemme, who acted as a valet/manager for a short while.....On the October 28, 2005 edition of SmackDown!, L.O.D. lost the tag team titles to MNM in a Fatal Four-Way tag match that also featured Paul Burchill and William Regal and The Mexicools (Super Crazy and Psicosis). A few months later, on January 17, 2006, Heidenreich was released from WWE.Animal continued to perform for WWE under his old persona, The Road Warrior, for a few months before he was also released.

The Hell Warriors (2007-present)
On September 1, 2007, Road Warrior Animal appeared for All Japan Pro Wrestling and teamed with Sasaki to form the Hell Warriors, with Animal being billed as "Animal Warrior" to match up with Sasaki's "Power Warrior" and Hawk's "Hawk Warrior" gimmick. The newly-formed Hell Warriors defeated the team of "brother" YASSHI and Shuji Kondo.

On May 11, 2008, The Hell Warriors wrestled in Toryumon Mexico's Dragon-Mania show. They defeated Damián el Terrible and Damián 666 to win the UWA World Tag Team Championship (not the same championship revived by El Dorado Wrestling).
Their theme music is a megamix of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath and "Hellraiser" by Ozzy Osbourne.

WWE 2011 Hall Of Fame (2011)
On April 2, 2011, The Road Warriors with Paul Ellering were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame....And I couldnrt be more happier..Joe and Paul came out to a Road Warrior POP and a 1/2 then got another one when a action figure of Hawk was placed on the podium...

The Road Warriors / Legion of Doom
All Japan Pro Wrestling
NWA International Tag Team Championship (1 time)
American Wrestling Association
AWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling
World Japan Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Georgia Championship Wrestling
NWA National Tag Team Championship (4 times)
International Wrestling Superstars
IWS World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
i-Generation Superstars of Wrestling
i-Generation Tag Team Championship (3 times)
Independent Pro Wrestling
IPW Tag Team Championship (1 time)

Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling
NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Dusty Rhodes and Genichiro Tenryu
NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (1 time)
Iron Team Tournament (1989)
Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup (1986)
National Wrestling Alliance
NWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2012)
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
(Class of 2011) (Inducted Members: Road Warrior Animal, Road Warrior Hawk, and Paul Ellering
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI Tag Team of the Year (1983–1985, 1988)
PWI Feud of the Year (1987) with Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff vs. Four Horsemen
PWI ranked them #1 of the 100 best tag teams during the "PWI Years" in 2003
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
WWF Tag Team Championship (2 times)
WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2011)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
Rookies of the Year (1983)
Tag Team of the Year (1984)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)

The Hell Raisers
New Japan Pro Wrestling
IWGP Tag Team Championship (2 times)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI ranked them #58 of the 100 best tag teams of the "PWI Years" in 2003 

World Wrestling Entertainment
Legion of Doom 2005
WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time)

The Hell Warriors
Toryumon Mexico
UWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)

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