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Wrestling / The Road Warriors

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The Road Warriors (also known as The Legion of Doom or L.O.D.) were a Professional Wrestling Tag Team who competed in essentially every major promotion in the world (WWE, NWA, WCW, AJPW, NJPW, TNA, and AWA). The team consisted of wrestlers Michael "Hawk" Hegstrand (September 12, 1957 – October 19, 2003) and Joseph "Animal" Laurinaitis (January 26, 1960 - September 23, 2020) with manager "Precious" Paul Ellering (born on August 22, 1953).

The Road Warriors were one of the biggest draws of The '80s and The '90s, comparable to Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. They introduced several things into wrestling still seen today, such as their tag team finisher, the Doomsday Device, and face paint, still used today by wrestlers such as Jeff Hardy. They also popularized the Zubaz workout pants within the industry, which they helped develop with bodybuilders Bob Truax and Dan Stock.

They are the only team to have ever held the AWA World Tag Team Titles, the NWA World Tag Team Titles and the WWE World Tag Team Titles.

They attempted a comeback in mid-to-late 2003 but nothing came of it. Sadly, Road Warrior Hawk (the guy sticking his tongue out) died of a heart attack on October 19, 2003. Road Warrior Animal returned to WWE in 2005, teaming up with Heidenreich, but unfortunately, the new combination didn't take off, even with Christy Hemme as their valet.

They were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in the Class of 2011 along with "Precious" Paul Ellering. On September 23, 2020, Road Warrior Animal died of natural causes.

"WELLLLLLLL!, the following tropes are associated with the ROAD WARRIORS!"

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Spawned several, including The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian), (arguably) Demolition and the Blade Runners (Flash [Sting] and Rock [the Ultimate Warrior])
  • Annual Title:
    • Known as "L.O.D. 2000" when Sunny reintroduced them at WrestleMania XIV (in 1998, oddly enough) with a new look.
    • Animal's team-up with Heidenreich in 2005 tended to be called as "Legion of Doom 2005".
  • Arch-Enemy: The Four Horsemen, The Midnight Express, the Russians (Ivan Koloff/Nikita Koloff/Krusher Khrushchev [Barry Darsow]), the Powers of Pain, Demolition, The Nasty Boys, The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon), Money Inc. ("The Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster), The Nation of Domination, the Godwinns, D-Generation X.
  • The Band Minus the Face: After Hawk died in October 2003, Animal tried doing the Road Warriors with Heidenreich and Christy Hemme but it didn't work. Comebacks in Japan with Power Warrior were more successful.
  • Bash Brothers: Hawk and Animal were this until 2003. Animal tried being this with Heidenrich but to no avail.
  • Biography: Animal's autobiography The Road Warriors: Danger, Death and the Rush of Wrestling.
  • The Cameo: Hawk made some appearances in NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1993-1994, even teaming with NWA ECW Heavyweight Champion Sabu in the main event of the first November to Remember, where they successfully defeated NWA ECW Television Champion Terry Funk and King Kong Bundy, with Sabu pinning Funk to win the title, after Bundy turned on Funk.
  • Captain Ersatz: Had them in Fire Pro Wrestling since at least combination tag in 1989.
  • Catchphrase: "WHAT A RUSH!" Also, if Animal spoke first during a promo, he'd end his part by saying "Tell 'im, Hawk!" and Hawk would open by shouting "WELLLLLLLL!"
    • They used to end interviews by saying, "We snack on danger and we dine on death!"
  • Celebrity Resemblance: When they debuted, Ellering bore one to Uncle Sam.
  • Chicago: Specifically, they were invoked the Gangster Land image of Chicago, though this was kind of lost by the Time The Road Warriors were the only members of the Legion Of Doom left, since it's hard to have a biker gang with only two members. All the same Hawk and Animal did have some resemblance to tough biker outlaws.
  • Crowd Chant: "L-O-D, L-O-D, L-O-D!"
  • Distaff Counterpart: Legion Of Womb (Jetta and Skye) in Triple X Wrestling and Bellatrix. The Divas Of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya Neidhart) in WWE.
  • Doomsday Device: Well, duh. It was only the name of their Finishing Move, a top-rope clothesline by Hawk to an opponent who is seated on Animal's shoulders.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Their monikers, "The Legion of Doom," and "LOD 2000."
  • Enemy Mine: While they and the Midnight Express were usually intense enemies, at NWA The Great American Bash 89, the LOD joined forces with the MX (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to defeat the Fabulous Freebirds (Terry Gordy, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin) and The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu [Rikishi] and Samu) in the War Games match.
  • Everyone Went to Wrestling School Together: They, Rick Rude and Barry Darsow all trained with Eddie Sharkey together in Minneapolis.
  • Eye Scream: Spike in the eye of Dusty Rhodes!
  • Evil Counterpart: The Powers Of Pain were put together to be this after The Road Warriors had a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Facial Markings: Hawk and Animal's face paint; Heidenreich when he joined animal too.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: At the beginning.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Precious Paul Ellering. In Real Life, Ellering personally booked the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom's matches, scheduled their flights, set up hotel reservations, and kept track of expenses. He is a member of MENSA and was a wrestler himself, holding the Southern (Memphis) Heavyweight Title, the Southern (Memphis) Tag Team Title, and the IWE IWA (Japan) World Tag Team Title, thus qualifying for the designation of Genius Bruiser.
  • Implied Death Threat: As the Quotes page demonstrates, they were famous for threatening to perform acts of violence on their opponents that would at times stretch the limits of what is humanly possible—or permissible. In a vignette to hype their scaffold match against the Midnight Express ("Loverboy" Dennis Condrey and "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton, w/Jim Cornette) at NWA Starrcade 86, they dropped a pumpkin off of a fire escape.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Not many guys purposefully draw attention to their bald spots, much less intentionally create them. Still it worked so long as they were together.
  • Large Ham
    Animal: TELL EM HAWK!
    Hawk: wwwWWWWELLLLLL...
  • Legion of Doom: Well, they started as one anyway, one that had both the Original Sheik and the Iron Sheik, but were eventually reduced to just two members, Hawk and Animal, who would occasionally bring in someone else. On the 2005 Road Warriors: The Life And Death of the Most Dominant Tag Team in Wrestling History DVD, Animal admits that they got the name "from the Superfriends cartoon."
  • Lightning Bruisers: Big, strong, fast and practically unstoppable without massive heaps of interference a lot of the time. Compared to each other, Hawk was more of a Stone Wall, being tougher in that he could take more physical punishment while Animal was more of a Mighty Glacier, being the stronger of the two. Unless they were fighting someone of comparable size and strength, though, these differences were rarely noticed and they still tended to be faster and or more agile.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Hawk and Animal would get a little money off of Zubaz pants sales, but would often give out "free samples" to other wrestlers anyway. They also made sure to put over Rivera Steakhouse jackets.
  • Minnesota Nice: Defied. Despite being natives of Minnesota, The Road Warriors always claimed to be from Chicago simply because "Minnesota Nice doesn't cut it in Professional Wrestling".
  • Mood Dissonance: On the Road Warriors DVD, in their AWA run, Animal talks about the contrast between them rushing out to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher coming out to polka music.
  • No Indoor Voice: Hawk and Animal never spoke below a mezzo forte.
  • No-Sell
    • A lot of times, it wasn't even an issue because they would win the match so quickly that their opponents wouldn't have had a chance to try any offense in the first place. Though it seemed they had to be ready for it, as the best way to get the Road Warriors to sell was usually a sneak attack before the match.
    • This caused one famous incident when Hawk and Animal began stiffing and no-selling Mean Mark Callous (who would go on to become The Undertaker later on) in a Tag Team match. This caused the ire of Mark's Tag Team partner, Dan Spivey, who broke kayfabe and proceeded to cave in the skulls of both Hawk and Animal note  with chair shots, basically forcing them to sell.
    • Downplayed in that Hawk would sell some specific moves less rather than not at all. He could kick out of pins after a pile driver due to his trapezius muscles, instead of taking the move like a shotgun blast as most wrestlers did.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • When the Road Warriors came to WWF, they already had The Ultimate Warrior and the Modern-Day Warrior Kerry Von Erich on the roster. Thus their name was changed to the Legion of Doom.
    • After the Animal/Heidenreich team broke up, Animal was reverted to his original straightforward biker gimmick of "The Road Warrior" because Triple H's buddy Batista was now using the Red Baron "The Animal."
  • Power Stable: The Legion of Doom started this way, including The Iron Sheik, Arn Anderson, King Kong Bundy, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer and the Spoiler, before it was reduced to just Hawk, Animal and Ellering.
  • Power Trio: They won the NWA Mid-Atlantic Six Man Tag Team Title belts with Dusty Rhodes, as well as with Genichiro Tenryu. And even outside of tag teams the Road Warriors were often shadowed by Paul Ellering. Ellering did win at least one six man match alongside them in WCW by pinning Jim Cornette.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Both of them became born-again Christians in 2003 and appeared at a number of Christian wrestling events run by Ted DiBiase and Nikita Koloff.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In real life, Hawk was red and Animal was blue. Not that one know that if they only saw them wrestling. Genichiro Tenryu was a blue to Animal and even more obviously to both when Hawk and Animal were together, as he cared very little for posing and posturing, before the bell, usually just stretching in the corner.
  • Screw This, We're Outta Here!: Hawk eventually left the WWF due to their gimmick where they brought around a ventriloquist dummy named Rocco. Animal attempted to fulfill their commitments, teaming with Demolition Crush, but left due to injury.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In the second interview mentioned on the Quotes page, Ellering said, "Kevin Sullivan, you are an unctuous miscreant. You have been reduced to the lowest common denominator of life."
  • Shoulders of Doom: Not that they were needed, or even used that often. An shoulder block from Animal without gear would still floor the opponent, more often than not, and a successful diving shoulder block of Animals often had mean contemplating quitting altogether.
  • Shout-Out: Other than the obvious Superfriends and Mad Max references, on the October 3, 1987 episode of NWA World Championship Wrestling, Hawk offered up an unlikely one during their post-match interview.
    HAWK: "WELL, Tony Schiavone, There are two kinds of people, as far as me and Animal are concerned. Clamheads and Neo-Maxi Zoom Dweebies."note 
  • Spikes of Doom: They were mainly for show, but not just for show as they were occasionally weaponized and could still be dangerous even after being broken off.
  • Squash Match
    • This was how they got over, running in and splattering their opponents all over the mat usually in less than five minutes.
    • They once had one on WWF Shotgun Saturday Night that was so fast that the sound guy barely had time to stop and restart their music.
  • Start My Own: Helped start the Zubaz company, which produced athletic pants for wrestlers.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute - Power Warrior (Kensuke Sasaki), who filled in for Animal when he was injured (New Japan; 92-95) and for Hawk when he passed away (All Japan; 2007). In 1996, he was more of a Sidekick, as all three were together by that time.
  • Tag Team
    • As Jim Ross once said, "They are the Legion of Doom and they have defined tag team wrestling. They are tag team wrestling."
    • Although the Road Warriors are the best known team, being the top drawing tag team out of the United States during their run and one of the top drawing teams to ever come from the country, Hawk also held the IWGP Tag Team Title belts with Power Warrior, the Midwest Territorial Wrestling Tag Team Title belts with Bobo Brazil Jr. and Mid Eastern Wrestling Federation title belts with Ultimate Comet. Animal also won the UWA Tag Team Title belts of the defunct Lucha Libre Internacional with Power Warrior after they were acquired by Toryumon Mexico.
  • The Rival: Hawk had a personal rival in the German based Catch Wrestling Association with the Canadian wrestler Rambo, which lead to Hawk winning the CWA Heavyweight Title belt.
  • Tiered by Name: At one point, they were repackaged in 1998 as LOD 2000, with little changing except more colorful shoulderpads and the addition of Sunny as their manager. This lasted for about six months.
  • Wrestling Family: Road Warrior Animal is the older brother of John Laurinaitis and of Marc Laurinaitis, aka Fury of the Wrecking Crew (WCW/CWA [Catch Wrestling Association in Austria/Germany]/AJPW) or the Terminator. Other than those three promotions, he also competed in "Cowboy" Bill Watts's Universal Wrestling Federation (Louisiana/Oklahoma) and in Florida independents.

"We snack on danger, and we dine on death, and dead men don't make money!"

Alternative Title(s): Road Warriors, Legion Of Doom, Road Warrior Animal, Road Warrior Hawk