RIP Road Warrior Animal: The WWE legend’s most iconic moments
Animal and Hawk have been reunited due to the devastating passing of sixty-year-old Joseph Laurinaitus, who was one half of the famed WWE tag team the “Road Warriors”’ and “Legion of Doom”. The Road Warriors were one of the most successful tag teams in pro wrestling history; the other half of the duo was Michael “Road Warrior Hawk” Hegstrand, who died from a heart attack in 2003.
The Road Warriors, managed by Paul Ellering, were known for their rough & tough personalities, exemplified by face paint & spikes. Laurinaitis & Hegstrand became tagteam champions in the AWA, NWA, WCW, and WWE during the 1980s and were popular in the United States as well as in Japan, where they worked for WCW.
In the 1991 SummerSlam, Hawk & Animal took down Knobbs & Saggs, dubbed the Nasty Boys, in a street fight and walked away with the WWF Tag Team Championship. Although The Road Warriors were known to win almost every one of their matches, this one was important because they became the first & only team to win the titles in all three of the major U.S. wrestling leagues of the 1980s.
In 2011, The Road Warriors were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and won Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Tag Team of the Year for the years of 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1988. (Even if you aren’t familiar with WWE, these titles reveal just how important Joseph Laurinaitis was to the wrestling world.)
The cause of Laurinaitis’s death has not been disclosed; however, his death has been heartbreaking & upsetting for his loved ones & many fans. According to a tweet, “The family is planning to release a statement later today. At this time we ask for you to keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers. #OhWhatARush.”
WWE was distraught when they heard about Animal’s passing and released this statement:
“With their intimidating face paint, outfits covered in metal spikes and impressive array of power moves, the duo captured titles and destroyed opponents wherever they roamed . . . Their dominance made them so popular that the phrase ‘Road Warrior pop’ has been used in locker rooms to describe particularly deafening reactions from the crowd ever since.”
Famous former wrestler Hulk Hogan also had a few words to say: “RIP Animal, love you my brother, I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of! Godspeed and blessings to your beautiful family, one love4Life.”
Animal’s stardom was passed down to his son, James Laurinaitis, who was the NFL linebacker for the Rams from 2009 to 2015, before finishing his career with the Saints in 2016.
Animal’s passing has been a tragedy for us all. His titles & championships reveal just how amazing a WWE wrestler he truly was.