THE ROAD WARRIORS
Hawk & Animal
AWA, NWA, WWF, All Japan Tag Team Champions
Written by ZAH
Whether you called them The Road Warriors or The Legion of Doom, the tandem of Hawk and Animal were just so incredibly unique and bad-ass upon their debut as a team that no matter how hard they tried to be heels, fans just wanted to cheer the hell out of them.
After briefly competing as “The Road Warrior” in early 1983, Animal (Joe Laurinaitis) was paired-up with Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) by Ole Anderson down in Georgia Championship Wrestling. And honestly, if you’ve ever seen their earlier matches you will obviously tell that they were about as green as you can be. They made up for their lack of in-ring skill by no-selling and legit brutalizing everyone they were in the ring with.
The team made some waves initially, but it wasn’t until they tore into the competition in the AWA and became tag team champions there that they began to garner national attention. The team was the AWA’s top attraction throughout 1984 and 1985 and began to split their time between the AWA and Jim Crockett Promotions, where they feuded with the NWA tag team champions The Russians (Ivan & Nikita Koloff).
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They made the NWA their full-time home in 1986 and won the inaugural Jim Crockett, Sr Memorial Tag Team Tournament. They faced the Midnight Express in one of the most famous scaffold matches of all time at Starrcade ’86. They battled the Four Horsemen (with teammates Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff) in first-ever WarGames match during the 1987 Great American Bash.
When all was said and done, LOD were AWA tag team champions, NWA tag team champions, and 2-time WWE tag team champions (the only team to win titles in all three “major” promotions). Add to that multiple regional/territory titles, being the 4-time Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year (1983-1985, 1988), and being WWE Hall of Famers and you can understand why they were as popular as they were.