The Road Warriors
Class of 2015
Inducted by Rob Simmons
WHAT A RUSH!
Three…”little”…words! Just three; no more, no less. That was all that was needed to spark a swell of emotion among wrestling fans worldwide. Three little words that will forever be linked to the duo of Animal and Hawk, the Immortal Road Warriors.
My first exposure to the Road Warriors was when the NWA made its way to Baltimore by way of a weekly syndicated show that I didn’t even know had started. You see, back in the day, if you wanted to watch professional wrestling, you had to find it on a television station with a less than stellar signal. If you were lucky, it came in OK. If you weren’t, well you were watching your favorite wrestling stars through the snow and haze of old school television. This was before cable. This was before 150 channels and nothing on TV. This was when wrestling was at its most Raw (pun intended). I had sat down to watch my weekly dose of the WWF, but unbeknownst to me, the local stations had shifted things around, and I was all set to get my first exposure to a totally new style of wrestling, the NWA. One of the first things that greeted me was a team of two very large men with painted faces. They came to the ring to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and you could tell that they had bad intentions on their minds.
This was much different than what I was experiencing in the WWF. Sure there were great tag teams there as well, but I had NEVER seen anything like Animal and Hawk before. They did what they wanted, when they wanted, and basically dared any team in professional wrestling to stop them. With Precious Paul Ellering pulling the strings in the background, the Road Warriors quickly became one of my favorite teams in all of professional wrestling. It wasn’t long after they debuted on TV that the NWA began touring in Baltimore. My Dad and I were quick to get tickets, because we wanted to see first-hand these new Monsters of the Mat that were had learned to like very, very quickly. Sure enough, “Iron Man” blasted through the PA’s of the Baltimore Civic Center and I was hooked. The match lasted all of a couple of minutes. I can’t even remember who the poor chumps were that got their asses handed to them (but I think one of them might have been Tim Horner). Quite frankly I didn’t care. This new world of wrestling opened my eyes, and I found myself a fan of both the NWA and the WWF.
For years the Road Warriors ran roughshod wherever they went. From the early days in Georgia Championship Wrestling, to their time in the AWA feuding with the Freebirds, to the NWA’s transition into WCW, there wasn’t a more dominant team anywhere in the sport. In 1985 they went Global, taking their unique brand of violence to Japan, where they dominated once again. The stories of the Road Warriors impact in Japan are legendary, and their legacy stands even today. But there was one place that the Road Warriors had not yet conquered, and in 1990, after a falling out with WCW, the Road Warriors made their way to Vince McMahon’s WWF. It was something out of a fairy tale really. For years, The Road Warriors dominance in the sport had an asterisk next to it. Yes they had conquered foes everywhere they went; both heel and face, but they had NEVER conquered the WWF. Now was their chance to prove themselves on the biggest stage of all.
When Animal and Hawk first got to the WWF, immediately they got themselves involved in a team that the WWF created as their own version of the Warriors, Demolition. But no longer would Animal and Hawk be known as The Road Warriors. Now they were simply the Legion of Doom, but it didn’t really matter what name they went by, or what color their pads were (red now), they still staked their claim as the best team in the business. Some would say that the Legion of Doom’s time in the WWF wasn’t all that it was supposed to be. It was riddled with odd booking choices, strange storylines, a ventriloquist’s dummy, a new member (Puke) and Sunny replacing Paul Ellering as their manager. It wasn’t exactly a marriage made in Heaven.
But things took a turn for the repulsive when the WWE decided to bring Hawk’s real-life issues into the program, making him seem “unfit” to wrestle, and at the worst completely smashed on television. The angle was met with disdain, disapproval, and outright anger by a lot of fans. Luckily it quickly went by the wayside, but not before damaging the LOD beyond repair. The LOD had several short stints in the WWE, but for me they will always be an NWA/WCW team that captured my attention in WarGames, The Tower of Doom, the Crocket Cup, and their feuds with like the Midnight Express, the Horsemen, and many, many more.
So in 2015, I am proud to induct Animal and Hawk, THE ROAD WARRIORS, into the LOP Hall of Fame. So one more time for posterity’s sake…
WHAT A RUSH!
Related Links: El Gringo Loco – The Road Warriors Legacy
LOP/WH Hall of Fame Class of 2020- Demolition (Ax, Smash & Crush)