WWE wrestler Road Warrior Animal, real name Joe Laurinaitis, has died. He was 60.
Animal and Road Warrior Hawk (real name Michael Hegstrand) made up tag teams the Road Warriors and Legion of Doom (later simplified to “LOD”). As The Road Warriors, Laurinaitis and Hegstrand terrorized the AWA (American Wrestling Association), NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) and WCW (World Championship Wrestling).
In 1990, when they came to WWE — which was still WWF at the time — the team was renamed Legion of Doom.
By either name, the guys wore face paint and spiked shoulder pads inspired by 1981 film “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.” The intimidating duo used a tandem finishing maneuver, the Doomsday Device, to defeat their opponents.
And defeat opponents they did: Animal and Hawk won the tag team titles twice and were enshrined into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 alongside manager Paul Ellering.
The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom are generally considered among the best professional wrestling tag teams of all time.
“WWE is saddened to learn that Joe Laurinaitis, known to WWE fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away at the age of 60,” the professional-wrestling organization said in a statement on Wednesday. “WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis’ family, friends and fans.”
Joe Laurinaitis is the brother of John Laurinaitis, a retired professional wrestler and a wrestling producer. John Laurinaitis, who wrestled under the name Johnny Ace, is married to the mother of the Bella Twins.
Joe and John have another brother in the business: Marcus Laurinaitis, a.k.a The Terminator, wrestled in WCW.
Road Warrior Hawk died of a heart attack in 2003. He was 46.
Over the course of their long pro-wrestling run, Legion of Doom returned to WWE several times. Road Warrior Animal, who found a new teammate following Hawk’s death, left the company for good in 2006.
During his wrestling heyday, Animal stood 6’2” and weighed in at 300 pounds.
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