Whether you knew them as the Legion of Doom in World Wrestling Federation (WWF) or The Road Warriors elsewhere, everybody loves Hawk and Animal.
Many peoples favourite tag team of all time. Hawk and Animal together were the quintessential hard man wrestlers that ruled the roost during the 80s and 90s. Two big burly Chicago natives, every time Hawk and Animal stepped into the ring you felt sorry for the poor souls standing across from them.
Their imposing figures, famous face paint and classic spikes all added to the intimidating presences surrounding them.
When WWE fans heard “Oh, what a rush!” blaring throughout the arena they knew to get excited. Same with non-WWE fans of the time when they heard the like of Black Sabbath inspired ‘We Are Iron Men’ both iconic.
All of this helped them become one of the most decorated tag teams of all time. Hawk and Animal won tag gold in the likes of the NWA, WWF, WCW, AWA, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling.
So, when the world heard about the recent death of Animal (Joseph Laurinaitis) at the age of 60 the wrestling community was in mourning.
Sadly, Animal now joins his partner Hawk in the great big wrestling ring in the clouds. With Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) himself tragically dying back in 20003 due to a heart attack at the young age of 46.
Now seems the best time to reflect on the in-ring career of the iconic duo.
While other members like Droz, Power Warrior and Heidenreich came into the group over the years. Nothing will beat the originally pairing of Hawk and Animal destroying fools in the ring and delivering their devastating Doomsday Device finishing move.
So, without gabbing on too much about these legends lets get into our list of the day.
We are going to look at the best five moments in the career of the Legion of Doom/Road Warriors.
As always, I’m sure some of your favourite moments may be missing. So, let us know yours in the comments below. You will also only find moments from them as a tag team, no individual moments will be included here.
5. Scaffold Match
While I tried to stay on specific moments instead of matches this one does just sneak in. In my defence it was one moment at the end of the match that makes it memorable for me.
This match took place at Starrcade which was the biggest show in the yearly WCW calendar back in 1986.
The Road Warriors faced their long term rivals the Midnight Express which consisted of Denis Condrey and Bobby Eaton at the time. The two teams battled in a high profiled and very dangerous scaffold match.
One of the reasons I decided to include this match was that during this time the popularity of the Road Warriors was at fever pitch. They really had the ability to draw a crowd and bring in serious money. Especially when involved in a heated and long-term rivalry such as this one.
Ultimately the Road Warriors won the match on the night. But it’s what happened at the end that leaves a lasting impression in more ways than one.
After the match Hawk and Animal cornered Jim Cornette who was the manager for the Midnight Express at the top of the scaffolding. While now Cornette is looked back on as one of the greatest managers of all time. Back then he was hated with real venom by fans.
The confrontation upon the top of the high structure led to Cornette falling feet first to the ring below.
It was a very impressive fall for a manager to take and the crowd that night loved to see Cornette get his comeuppance.
Unfortunately for Jim Cornette the stunt led to him suffering long term knee damage. As he was meant to be caught at the bottom by fellow manager Big Bubba Rogers.
Rogers failed to do so, and it was a night to forget for Cornette but overly a cool moment for the visual alone.
4. Brawling with The Funks
While Hawk and Animal became huge stars in the United States, they also had massive international pedigree.
The Road Warriors were worldwide phenoniums. With the people of Japan worshiping the two behemoths.
They mostly worked for All Japan Pro Wrestling when working out East.
Another popular tag team in All Japan at the time was the Funks, brothers Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr were another successful import in Japan.
The Funks and the Road Warriors met on two occasions during this time in Japan. With the best encounter coming in October of 1986.
The two hard hitting teams met in an uncharacteristically long match for the Road Warriors. But the long match was fantastic and had a lot of memorable moments during its run time.
However, it’s what happened after the match that will stick in the memory of fans, especially the ones in attendance.
The four beefy boys broke out into a brawl outside of the ring after the match. This was during a time when we didn’t have snarky intellects telling us wrestling isn’t real like we didn’t know.
Punches and chairs were swinging, and you can see the fans are terrified and are cowering away from the action throughout the entire ordeal.
3. Legion of Doom Arrive in London
Their time in WWF/WWE was very forgettable compared to their runs away from the watchful eye of Vince McMahon. Legion of Doom as they were known as during their spells with the then WWF certainly had their moments.
This was one of their finest and it happened at SummerSlam 1992 in front of a packed Wembley Stadium in London.
Legion of Doom were scheduled to face the team of Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) known as Money Inc.
It was the first match on the main part of the show and you always want to start with a bang. Especially in a packed stadium full to the brim with 80,000 screaming fans.
The show opened with the legendary theme music of Legion of Doom blaring around the stadium. Out came Hawk, Animal, and their manager Paul Ellering on motorbikes on route to the ring.
The fans in attendance went wild for this and the show was off to an electric start. It was all very early 1990s indeed but looking back now that reaction will still give wrestling fans goosebumps every single time.
2. Turning Heel
Due to their popularity Hawk and Animal spent a lot of their careers as the fan favourites. While they were never the goody superheroes that would save the day, they did work as the tough big men that would clear house.
However, they both embraced the dark side in 1988.
During this time, the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes were the reigning NWA Six Man Tag Team Champions. The trio were due to defend their titles against the hated Varsity Club. Dusty wasn’t going to be able to attend the match and had fellow fan favourite Sting take his place.
Sting would get on the wrong side of his teammates that night. The Road Warriors attacked him and hit him with the Doomsday Device leaving Sting unconscious in the ring.
Later in the year the feared heels turned their attention to Dusty Rhodes.
Hawk and Animal attacked Dusty and to the disgust of the fans watching put a spike in the eye of their rival.
This set up a match between the Road Warriors and Sting teaming with Dusty. A match that Hawk and Animal would lose via disqualification.
While the heel turn didn’t last long with fans wanting to cheer the Road Warriors. At the time it was completely shocking.
1. WWF Tag Team Champions
This was the peak of all their runs that Hawk, and Animal had under Vince McMahon.
Legion of Doom just had a very underwhelming feud with fellow face paint connoisseurs Demolition.
Better things would come for L.O.D as they would face the Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs) at SummerSlam 1991.
The two teams battled it out in a street fight, and it was a classic. Very fast paced and hard hitting, it had the fans inside the infamous Madison Square Garden on their feet from the opening bell.
To the delighted of the 20,000 fans Legion of Doom won the match and their first WWF Tag Team Titles.
This made Legion of Doom the first ever team to hold tag titles in all three major American promotions at the time the NWA, AWA, and WWF.
Hawk and Animal would hold the gold for about half a year. They would lose their titles to Earthquake and Typhoon, the Natural Disasters.
While they never reached their full potential in the WWF/WWE. This was certainly the height of any of their runs with the company and really cemented them as one of the greatest tag teams of all time.