THE ROAD WARRIORS. The name alone is symbolic with power, strength,
brutality, and sheer ruthlessness in tag team wrestling. You would have
to go back to the days of Crusher & Bruiser, Dusty Rhodes &
Dick Murdoch and The Minnesota Wrecking Crew to find a tougher tag team.
The origins of the Warriors really began in 1982, when Animal (then
known as the Road Warrior) made his solo debut in the south. His outfit
was a leather motorcycle cap, a jean jacket with no-sleeves, cut-off
denims and big motorcycle boots. While the outfit was different, the
power and attitude that would later define the Road Warriors was there.
Meanwhile, his future partner, Hawk, was wrestling in Germany. His
gimmick was akin to the goosestepping outfits the Nazis used to wear.
Needless to say, this didn't last long. It is unknown what else Hawk
was doing during this period.
Then, in June of 1983, "Precious" Paul Ellering introduced a new tag
team to the Georgia Championship Wrestling area. This team, of course,
was the Warriors. They would regularly come out to the music of Black
Sabbath's "IronMan" and charge the ring and attack their opponents immediatly.
Their matches would usually last about 5 minutes or less!!! This team
would stun audiences everywhere because of the ease they would dismantle
their opponents. Most tag teams of that time would wrestle their opponents
down and then pin them in about 10 or 15 minutes but these guys would
wipe them out in 1 or 2 minutes, sometimes seconds!!!! They were so
dominant that the NWA wanted to ban them at one time from the sport!!!
Many thought that these two bruisers would be nothing but flashes in
the pan but about two or three weeks after their debut, the Warriors
won the Georgia National Tag Team Titles!!! They would go to two more
reigns with that championship, defeating teams such as Buzz and Bret
Sawyer, Ron Garvin and Jerry Oats, Junkyard Dog and Sweet Sugar Brown
Finally, The Warriors and Ellering got bored and decided to go one
to bigger pastures. They left in early 1985 to go to the AWA.
Part 2: The AWA Days
In 1984, The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering decided that it was time
to leave Georgia Championship Wrestling area of the NWA and venture
into Verne Gange's AWA because they had done all they could do in that
area and because of the NWA's efforts to ban them (it would not be the
last time a federation would attempt this, as you will see later in
Upon their arrival, the tore into AWA opponents much the same way they
had been in the NWA. Then, in the summer of 1984, the Warriors defeated
the woefully overmatched veteran team of Baron Von Rashke and The Crusher
for the AWA World Tag Team Belts. This brought an era of dominance that
hadn't been seen before in the AWA.
From my recollection and from reading various magazines from that time,
the AWA wanted them gone too!!! The sent everyone that they could after
the Warriors!!! Makeshift teams such as Curt "Mr. Perfect" Henning/Larry
"The Ax" Henning, Curt Henning/Greg Gange, and Curt Henning/Baron Von
Rashke with no success. In one particularly brutal incident, Henning
got hung up by the neck between the top and middle ropes!!! As he was
trying to free himself, Hawk took a steel chair and bashed him three
times in the face with it!!! Curt was a bloody mess!!! The crowd got
so angry that when the Warriors tried to leave, they rioted!!! The Warriors
ending up fighting off the crowd just to leave the arena!!
The AWA figured out that makeshift teams were not getting the job done,
so they went out and got some real teams like Scott and Bill Irwin,
The Fabulous Freebirds, The Fabulous Ones, and the Von Erics. They even
went and got then-NWA World Tag Team Champions Ivan and Nikita Koloff
to take on the Warriors!!! While these teams had more success, they
too could'nt get the belts from around the Warriors waists.
Finally, in September of 1985 (over one year after the Warriors won
the title), a makeshift team of "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin and Steve "Mr.
Electricity" Reagal (not to be confused with the WCW Lord Steven Regal)
upset the Warriors for the title. Of course, they had a little help
from Michael Hayes of the Freebirds to defeat them. Personally, I still
don't think these guys should've beaten the Warriors. I don't give a
rat's butt who helped them, these guys couldn't lace the Warriors' bootstraps!!!
Anyway, upset by the fact that the AWA turned a blind eye to the whole
incident, the Warriors decided to return "home" (to the NWA that is).
Part 3: The Russian/Horsemen/Midnight Wars
As briefly stated in part 2, The Road Warriors had a couple of run-ins
with then-NWA World Tag Team Champions Ivan and Nikita Koloff. Their
first confrontation took place on April 10, 1985 in Washington, DC.
I'm not sure but I do believe this was a title VS. title affair (the
Warriors were AWA World Tag Team Champions at that point). This match
ended in a double DQ.
Their second encounter occured in July 1985 at the first Great American
Bash in Charolette, NC when The Warriors challenged Ivan Koloff and
Krusher Krushev for the NWA straps. In case you are wondering, the Russians
were allowed to use any two members of their three man team to defend
the NWA belts. This match also ended in a double DQ. Ivan Koloff was
a mess after this match!!! They beat the stuffings out off him!! Of
course, this would not be the last time that these teams would hook
up because in October of 1985, The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering returned
to the NWA.
Around this time, the infamous cage incident between Dusty Rhodes,
Ric Flair, and Ole/Arn Anderson took place in Atlanta, GA. It resulted
in Rhodes' ankle being broken (see Earl's Illustrated History Of The
Four Horsemen for the full story). You might be wondering what the hell
does that have to do with the Warriors?!!! Well, a month later, Rhodes
(armed with a steel-reinforced boot) teamed with the Warriors to battle
the Andersons and Flair in a six-man tag match in Washington DC. The
Warriors proved to be a wise choice of partners because the (pre-) Horsemen,
specifically Flair, had never fought the Warriors before. The match
ended with the Warriors and Rhodes getting a win over Flair and The
Andersons. It was also the beginning of an impressive six-man tag team!!!
That bond would be proven as in January of 1986, the Warriors and Rhodes
once again teamed up to fight the Andersons and Flair. Ironically, The
Warriors and Rhodes broke Ole Anderson's leg during that match. Why
was it ironic? Because the match where this incident occured took place
in Atlanta, GA. The same place where the Andersons and Flair had broke
Also in January of 1986, the Warrior/Russian feud began again when
the Koloffs kept beating on their opponents after the match. The Warriors
came down to stop them but ended up on the worst end of the stick as
Nikita hung Hawk over the top rope while Animal and Paul Ellering were
being assalted by Ivan and Krusher!!! In revenge, the Warriors cost
Krusher his now-defunct Mid-Atlantic Championship in a match with Sam
Houston!!! This led to a leg injury that Krusher suffered during the
match and aggravated during the Warriors attack. Left without a third
man, the Koloffs called on Baron Von Rashcke (the Warriors' old enemy
from the AWA) to help them.
One of their most notable confrontations was on the famous TBS "SuperStars
On The SuperStation" special. This card was actually taped on February
2 and was aired on February 6 on TBS. If you read my Midnight Express
series, then you know that I made serveral references to this card and
I mentioned the Warriors match with the Koloffs pretty frequently. Anyway,
The Warriors battled the Koloffs toe-to-toe but it was interesting to
see Nikita match power with the Warriors as they were considered (at
that time) as the three most powerful wrestlers in the world. The match
ended wildly as the Warriors AND Paul Ellering "brought their six-pack
of whup a**" for the Koloffs and the Baron!!! Yes, Paul Ellering was
whipping the "Mr. Clean" crap out of the Baron!!! By the way, the Warriors
won this match by DQ.
Meanwhile, while all of this was going on, The Midnight Express (Dennis
Condrey/Bobby Eaton) won the NWA World Tag Team Championship from the
Rock n Roll Express on this same card. Their manager, Jim Cornette,
was very outspoken at that time and, while he claimed that the Midnights
would take on all comers, he was pretty evasive when it came to the
Warriors. I think the Warriors was one of the few teams that Cornette
honestly had fear about letting his men wrestle!!! Their first confrontation
took place at the first Jim Crockett Senior Memorial Cup in New Orleans,
LA. The Warriors won this quarterfinal match by DQ and went on to defeat
the team of Magnum TA and Ron Garvin in the finals to win the cup and
$1 million dollars!!!
Part 4: Chains, Championships and Scaffolds
In the mists of their feud with the Koloffs, the Road Warriors won
another championship in April of 1986. Along with Dusty Rhodes, they
won the now-defunct NWA World Six Man Championship from Ivan Koloff,
Nikita Koloff and Baron Von Rashcke (who subbed for the injured Krusher
Krushev) in Baltimore, MD in a brutal cage match.
Also during this period,then-NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair,
Tully Blanchard, and Arn Anderson started to make some noise directed
at the Legion Of Doom. The threesome (who was in the midst of a feud
with the Rock n' Roll Express) obviously wanted revenge for what the
Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes did to Ole Anderson in Atlanta. The Warriors
also were making noise about some single matches against Flair as well.
In June of 1986, Ric Flair was getting ready to wrestle some jobber
on TBS' World Championship Wrestling (now known as WCW Saturday Night)
when "Ironman" suddenly started playing. Out came Hawk and all hell
broke loose!!! As Hawk was dominating Flair, Ole Anderson came out of
nowhere and drove a knee into Hawk's back. The other Horsemen (Tully
and Arn) then came out and joined in the assault. Animal tried to help
but then he got ganged up on as well!!! It was one of the rare times
that the Warriors were left laying. Granted, it was four against two
but to see Hawk and Animal laid out was an awesome sight!!!
Both Warriors recieved NWA title matches during the legendary Great
American Bash tour in 1986. The only one that I have ever seen was the
one between Hawk and Flair (Which is available on the Bash '86 tape,
if it is at your rental store, get it!!! It is worth the money!!!).
Hawk practically dominated the match but Flair won by DQ when Hawk shoulderblocked
the referee (who was Tommy Young by the way). Animal had about the same
success as Hawk did as Flair also beat him by DQ. Still, the Warriors
showed that they could stand on their own in singles matches by wrestling
Flair, who was (and still is) considered one of the best world champions
of the modern era.
Also during the Bash, the Warriors took on the Russians in a series
of cage matches and double-chain matches!!! One of those matches is
also featured on the Bash '86 tape!!! It was brutal and had many groin
shots (the shot on Nikita was priceless!!)!!!
By the fall of 1986, the Warriors was looking for some NWA World Tag
Team Title matches but an obstical by the name of the Midnight Express
(Dennis Condrey/Bobby Eaton) and Jim Cornette was getting in the way.
During a taping Championship Wrestling (predecesor to WCW Main Event),
Jim Cornette came out and verbally assaulted Paul Ellering. Ellering
responded by decking the manager!!!
Later, as the Warriors were beating the tar out of some poor jobbers,
the Midnights hit the ring!!! During the assault, Bobby Eaton delivered
a knee to the back of Animal from the top rope. Jim Cornette also delivered
some blows to Animal's back with his (loaded) tennis racquet!!! Cornette,
as usual, bragged about how his Midnights put the Warriors out and how
Eaton was the greatest high-flyer in wrestling (which he was at that
time). Ellering, in a shrewd move, tricked Jim Cornette into signing
a match for his team to wrestle the Warriors at Starrcade '86. Cornette
assumed that it was a straight tag team matchup but later learned that
the match was an anything goes scaffold match in which the only way
to win was to throw both of your opponents off of the scaffold to the
ring or to the concrete floor!!! This scared the living sh*t out of
Well, the match was a classic and the Warriors got their revenge on
the Midnights and Cornette was also thrown from the scaffold, injuring
his leg!!!! Meanwhile, one of their fiercest enemies, Nikita Koloff,
had turned face and joined the Warriors and Dusty Rhodes in their battles
against the Horsemen.
Part 5: Horsemen Wars
After their temporary dismantling of the Midnight Express at Starrcade
'86, they turned their attention to the Four Horsemen. The Horsemen
was, at that time, comprised of Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson, then-NWA
TV champ Tully Blanchard, and then-NWA World Champ Ric Flair.
While no one was surprised that Dusty Rhodes joined the Warriors for
their battles with the Four Horsemen (they were the NWA Six-Man Champs
and were responsible for putting Ole Anderson on the proverbial "shelf"
for six months in 1986), I think just about everyone was surprised to
see Nikita Koloff join them as well!!! After all, some of the Warriors
toughest and most bitter battles came against this man!!! So why would
the Warriors and Rhodes trust him? Because Nikita was one of the few
guys at that time that could go toe to toe with the Road Warriors (many
fans and wrestling writers dubbed him "The Russian Road Warrior" as
well as "The Russian Nightmare"). I also think it was because of his
battles with Horsemen Ric Flair and the fact that he helped Dusty Rhodes
during a tag team cage match against Ole Anderson and JJ Dillion (the
Horsemen's manager at that time) in Charolette, NC in either October
or early-November of 1986.
Anyway, the bond was formed and what the fans were treated to was some
of the best eight-man tag team wars every seen!!! The first encounter
that I know of was either in December 1986 or January 1987. It took
place on World Wide Wrestling. While the damn show went off before a
winner was decided, it did give me (and other wrestling fans) a taste
of the mayhem that was to come!!! The action was fast and furious!!!
Another famous encounter took place during the spring of 1987 when Lex
Luger replaced Ole Anderson as a member of the Horsemen.
The encounter took place in Miami, Florida at the James L. Knight Center.
The match was covered in PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED and was a feature
story in their SUPERCARDS '87 issue. This matchup was just as wild as
their previous encounter in January. The Horsemen did gain a little
edge in this one because they now had someone (Luger) that could match
power with Nikita and the Warriors. Still, the end came when Rhodes
dropped his famous "bionic elbow" on a prone Arn Anderson and got the
pin. It would not be the last time that these eight men would hook up
in a festival of violence.
Meanwhile, the Warriors were making an attempt to repeat their 1986
Jim Crockett Senior Memorial Cup win in New Orleans, LA by winning the
second annual tournament in Baltimore, MD. The got a bye in the first
round and defeated Shaska Watley and Tejo Kahn in the second round before
losing a disputed decision to Jim Cornette's third version of the Midnight
Express (Stan Lane/Bobby Eaton) by DQ. I call it disputed because this
version had only been together about two weeks and because Jim Cornette
tried to throw fire into Road Warrior Animal earlier in the match!!!
While I do have great respect for that version of the Midnights, they
just were not in the Warrior's league at that point and should've lost.
By the way, their comrades in arms (Dusty Rhodes/Nikita Koloff) defeated
the Midnights in the semi-finals and went on to defeat Tully Blanchard
and Lex Luger to win the tournament.
Anyway, the Warriors shook off the loss and challenged then-NWA World
Tag Team Champions "Ravishing" Rick Rude and Manny "Ragin' Bull" Fernandez.
They won many of these encounters but did not get the belts because
most of the wins came by DQ's. Still, many fans wondered at this point
had the Warriors lost their killer instinct. I always argued that it
wasn't so much that they lost their killer instinct as it was that teams
were starting to figure them out and were able to counter some of the
Warrior's tactics. Frustrated by their lack of success in the United
States, the Warriors went over to Japan and won the All-Japan International
Tag Team belts. I'm not sure who their opponents were though (if someone
knows, please e-mail me this information). I do know that they were
on a tear and that Japanese officals tried to have them banned because
"they were too good." Sound familiar? Needless to say, Japanese fans
(like the American fans in 1984) would not stand for it and demanded
that the Warriors not be banned. The All-Japan officals, because of
the public pressure, relented.
Meanwhile, Jim Crockett, Jr. came up with a new concept of wrestling.
Have ten tough wrestlers meet in two-rings inclosed inside of a cage
with a roof on top of it. The match ends when one of the team members
gives up. This match, of course, was the WarGames/The Match Beyond.
On one side was the Four Horsemen and JJ Dillion. On the other side,
Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff who were joined by you know who!!! Off
the subject, Eric(a) Bischoff should pull out this tape and see how
a WarGames is supposed to be done because I haven't seen one as brutal
or as good as the first one. The closest that I have seen is one in
May of 1992 when Sting's Squadron took on the Paul E's Dangerous Alliance.
This match was THE ULTIMATE encounter between these teams. The casualties
saw Nikita Koloff get his neck re-injured by Tully Blanchard and Ric
Flair. It also saw JJ Dillion (who was an actual participant as well
as Paul Ellering) get his shoulder seperated when the Road Warriors
put a version of their "Human Sacrifice" manuvear on him (their move
never had an official name, I just call it by the name that my friends
back home used to call it: "The Human Sacrifice." You'll be hearing
me use it more often in this series.). It ended when Hawk choked out
Dillion with his foot. The Horsemen demanded a re-match and got it in
Miami, Florida (the site of their first meeting). Once again, the Superpowers
(Dusty/Nikita) and the Warriors defeated the Horsemen by making the
WarMachine (Dillion's replacement who was really Big Bubba Rodgers)
submit to a steel-spike which Animal used to gouge the eye and head
It would not be the last time that the Warriors would use a steel spike
on someone as you will see later in this series. Anyway, the eight men
would meet again in the WarGames in Chicago, Illinois. This third match
up was signed because of an incident that took place during July when
Animal was getting ready to wrestle Ric Flair for the NWA title. The
Horsemen jumped Animal and Ellering before the match. Flair then took
one of Animal's spiked wristbands and gouged his eye and head in retaliation
for what he did in Miami!!! The Warriors, Koloff and Rhodes demanded
this match and got it in August or September of 1987. This time, The
Warrior team was joined by Ron "Hands Of Stone" Garvin who took Paul
Ellering's place (Ellering had been injured by the Horsemen during the
Miami WarGames). The results, however, were the same as the first two
as The Warrior team defeated the Horsemen again!!!
For the remainer of 1987, the eight men would meet time and again in
both singles and tag competition. Nikita would lose the US Title to
Lex Luger on July 10, 1987 but would defeat Luger's comrade, Tully Blanchard,
for the NWA World TV belt in August. Rhodes would go on to defeat Lex
Luger for the US belt at Starrcade '87 in Chicago, Ill in a cage match.
As for the Warriors, they would continue to battle the Horsemen and
got another shot at tag team glory when they fought Tully Blanchard
and Arn Anderson for the NWA Tag Team belts at Starrcade '87. This was
another disputed match for one reason: referee Tommy Young. Tully had
shoulder blocked the ref earlier in the match but there was no DQ. While
Young was down, he supposedly saw Animal backdrop Anderson over the
top rope (which Animal did do but how in the hell are you supposed to
see someone break the rules when you're laying face down on the concrete?!!).
The Warriors put Anderson in "The Human Sacrifice" and got the pinfall.
Young, however, reversed the decision and gave the win to Blanchard
and Anderson by DQ. The Warriors defiantly walked out with the belts
anyway in true Warrior fashion in one THE most bullsh*t decisions I
have ever seen!!!
The Horsemen, in later years, would admit that one of the few things
that they wanted to do that they never was able to do was beat the Warriors
by pinfall. This statement appeared somewhere on the net. It was either
Flair or Anderson that said it.
Part 6: The Clone Wars
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, in
the world of pro wrestling, that is most definitely false!!! Imitation
could get you beat down in this sport. Wrestling fans have seen this
with Ric Flair and the late Buddy Rogers over the name of "Nature Boy."
We've also seen this with Steve Keirn/Stan Lane feuding with the late
Eddie Gilbert and Tommy "Wildfire" Rich over the name of the Fabulous
Ones as well as the war over the name of the Midnight Express. Well,
between 1987-1988, two teams came on the scene in pro wrestling that
would both challenge The Road Warriors in both appearance out of the
ring and dominance in the ring. The teams were The Powers Of Pain (Warlord/Barbarian)
and Demolition (Ax/Smash).
The Demo's came on the scene first. They appeared in the WWF in early
1987 under the management of "Lucious" Johnny Valiant. Later, Valiant
sold their contract to Mr. Fuji. All the while, however, they were labeled
as fakers, clones, Road Warrior wanna-be's, etc. The Warriors themselves
dismissed the Demo's when asked about them, saying how they would demolish
(no pun intended) Ax and Smash if they ever met them. At that point
in time, the Warriors without question was the superior team but the
Demos got better and better over the next two years. In fact, they improved
so much that fans actually started to give Demolition a chance against
Hawk and Animal if they ever met. This had to disturb the Warriors very
much. There will be more talk about the Warrior/Demolition feud later
in this series.
Meanwhile, in 1988, a new tag team was formed in the NWA under the
guidance of Ivan Koloff and Paul Jones. This team was the Warlord and
The Barbarian, collectively known as The Powers Of Pain. In January
of that year, Jones began making claims that his team was stronger than
the Warriors. Naturally, the Warriors took exception to this and challenged
The Powers to a $50,000 weightlifting contest. The contest took place
at an arena card in Greensboro, NC. Both team bench-pressed impressive
numbers. The contest was actually quite civil until Ivan threw powder
into the eyes of the Warriors and Paul Ellering as Animal was attempting
to bench-press over 600lbs.!!! The Powers then took Animal and smashed
his face into the weights, fracturing his orbital socket!!! It was originally
feared that he would suffer permanent blindness in his left eye but
While Animal was recovering, The Powers and Koloff took advantage of
the situation and won the now defunct-NWA World Six Man Tag Team titles
from Hawk, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering (who was subbing for Animal)
in a cage match. The Warriors got some revenge later when, during a
match between Hawk/Paul Ellering against The Powers, Animal stormed
the ring with Jason Vorhees-type mask with Road Warrior paint on it!!!
He used it to protect his face but he also used it as a weapon of revenge
as well!!! This show of force was a message to The Powers. The message
was that nothing will stop the Warriors from getting revenge!!!
The two teams met several times in both tag team and specialty-matches.
The two most famous confrontations both took place in Greensboro, NC
within a month of each other. The first was a six-man Chicago Street
Fight/Barbwire match that was televised on the first Clash Of The Champions
event. The Warriors and The Powers were joined by their respective six-man
partners in this battle (Dusty Rhodes for the Warriors/Ivan Koloff for
the Powers). The match was exciting but, suprisingly, non-bloody. This
could've been due to the fact that it was on national tv and because
they didn't want to lose the viewers to their "competition" that day
(WWF's WrestleMania IV was also being shown at the same time on PPV).
Anyway, The Warriors and Rhodes won but Animal nearly paid for it when
The Barbarian kicked his face-mask off of him. Hawk and Rhodes, however,
prevented the Powers and Koloff from doing any damage. The second confrontation
took place at the third annual Jim Crockett Senior Memorial Cup in April.
Both team were trying to advance to the semi-finals to face Sting and
Lex Luger. The Powers won by a screwjob decision when Animal clothesline
attempt hit the referee instead of the Barbarian. I call it a screwjob
because the Warriors had gotten the pinfall moments before the ref made
that call!!! This only added fuel to an already hot rivarly.
The feud ended in June of 1988 when Paul Jones signed The Powers to
face The Warriors in a series of scaffold matches during The Great American
Bash. He did so, however, without consulting the Powers first. When
they learned what Jones did, they were furious!!! They wanted to go
on to better matches as well as face the Warriors but they didn't have
this in mind. The Powers, feeling that their manager was only using
them for his own benifit, left the NWA virtually overnight and headed
to the WWF where they faced their " Road Warrior clone brothers" Demolition.
Jones, meanwhile, sent the overmatched team of Ivan Koloff and The Russian
Assasin (Angel Of Death) to face the Warriors in place of the Powers
in the scaffold match. Need I say who won?
The Warriors, however, were also getting frustrated. They felt that
they were not getting the respect that they deserved from NWA promoters
and were determined to change that. That change came in October of 1988
in Richmond, VA.
Part 7: Domination
Frustrated by a lack of respect from NWA promoters, the Road Warriors
a plan in motion. Part of that plan took place in Richmond, VA in October
1988 during a six-man tag team match with The Road Warriors and Sting
against The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, Rick Steiner).
The Warriors, noticably, did not tag Sting for most of the entire bout.
When Sting was tagged in, he cleaned house and had Rotunda in position
for the Scorpion Deathlock. Hawk, out of nowhere, pulls Sting off of
Rotunda!!! As Sting and Hawk argued, Animal came in from behind and
leveled Sting. They then put a double-clothesline on him, used a combination
gorrilla press/ax-handle move off the top rope onto Sting's neck, and
put him in the dreaded "Human Sacrifice." Sting was a crumpled heap
in the ring. Lex Luger tried to come in and help but he got hammered
as well. Afterwards, The Roadies (in an issue of THE WRESTLER) declared
that "Sting, Dusty and the fans can go to hell!!!" Their next step was
a title match against their long-time nemisis, The Midnight Express.
The match was signed for October 29, 1988 in New Orleans, LA. As the
introductions were being made, Paul Ellering grabbed Jim Cornette (the
Midnights' manager) and started beating him up. As "Sweet" Stan Lane
came down to help Cornette, the Warriors took advantage and jumped "Beautiful"
Bobby Eaton. They threw him to the outside and rammed his head repeatedly
into the ringpost!!! Eaton was a bloody mess outside the ring as Stan
tried to fight off the Warriors in the ring. Stan actually gave a good
accounting of himself but no one can take on both Hawk and Animal at
the same time and expect to win. Finally, Eaton made an ill-advised
tag to his partner and, after holding off the Warriors for about 20
seconds, fell victim to a running clothesline from Animal. Three seconds
later, there were new NWA World Tag Team Champions.
A few days after they won the title, Dusty Rhodes came out and challenged
Animal to an unscheduled match on TBS' World Championship Wrestling
(now known as WCW Saturday Night). This would prove to be a costly mistake
as Animal and Hawk both jumped Rhodes and planted a spike from their
shoulder pads into his head and eye. This set off confrontations between
Rhodes and the Warriors at both Clash Of The Champions IV and Starrcade
'88: True Gritt.
The Clash matchup was to determine who would keep the six-man title
held by Rhodes and the Warriors (in case your wondering, the Warriors
and Rhodes regained the title during the summer when The Powers Of Pain
and Ivan Koloff vacated the belts due to the Powers' departure to the
Animal won this match by DQ when Sting interfered in the match. This
led to a NWA World Tag Team title match at Starrcade '88 in Norfolk,
VA between The Warriors and Sting/Rhodes. This match ended when Paul
Ellering got his team DQ'ed intentionally to save his team from losing
the tag belts.
Over the next month, the Warriors faced various teams with great success.
Their toughest challenges came from The Varsity Club, who by this time
had replaced Rick Steiner with Steve "Dr. Death" Williams. This rivary
would go on for about six months and would result in the Warriors losing
another controversial decision to Rotunda and Williams and thus, lost
the NWA titles. This match took place in (ironically) New Orleans, LA
at the Superdome on April 2, 1989.
Part 8: Samoans, Skyscrapers, Steiners and Doom
April 2, 1989 will be one of those days the Road Warriors would rather
forget. Almost six months after they brutalized The Midnight Express
for the NWA World Tag Team Titles in New Orleans, LA, the Warriors returned
to defend the title in this same city against Steve "Dr. Death" Williams
and Mike Rotunda at the Superdome. The match was even until the end
when the Warriors put Rotunda in the "Doomsday Device" (Yes fans, I
finally acknowledged the true name of their finisher. Your e-mails were
not in vain.). As Hawk went for the pin, referee Teddy Long claimed
he couldn't make the pin because of an earlier shove by Animal. This
turned out to be a ploy because the second Williams rolled up Hawk for
the pin, Long made THE fastest three-count I have ever seen!!!!
Williams and Rotunda were the new champs but had to face the Warriors
at WrestleWar '89 in Nashville, TN with Nikita Koloff as the special
referee. Again, the Warriors should've had the victory after the "Device"
was applied (this time on Williams) but Kevin Sullivan and Danny Spivey
interfered by attacking Nikita, causing their team to lose the match
by DQ and lose the NWA titles. In case your wondering what I meant by
that last statement, the NWA stripped Williams and Rotunda of the NWA
Tag Titles immediatly after that match because of Sullivan and Spivey's
actions on Nikita. This pretty much led to the breakup of the Varsity
Club as Williams soon left the group and feuded with them.
Meanwhile, the NWA held a tournament to crown new tag champions. The
Warriors faced two of the "Original" Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes/Terry
Gordy) in the first round. It was this duo (not the Hayes/Jim Garvin
combo) that eliminated the Warriors with some unexpected help from some
old rivals of Hayes' in World Class Championship Wrestling. They were
the Samoan Swat Team (Samu/Fatu). The Warriors later got their revenge
as they helped the Midnight Express (the very team that they virtually
murdered seven months before to win those belts) defeat the SST.
The SST would strike two blows to the Warriors during June and July
of 1989. First, they attacked the Warriors' manager, Paul Ellering,
during an interview. But the worst was yet to come in July as the SST,
along with the Freebirds, ganged-up on the Warriors while they was wrestling
in a cage match against Garvin and Gordy. They handcuffed Animal to
the top rope and beat Hawk into oblivion!!! Animal watched helplessly
as Hawk bleeding all over the place!!! I would dare say this was the
worst beating the Warriors have ever taken, PERIOD!!! This promted the
Warrior camp to challenge The SST and the Freebirds to the WarGames
match. It was signed for July 23, 1989 at the Great American Bash: The
Glory Days (looking back, they didn't know how appropriate that title
would be years later but they truly were glory days). The Warriors got
Steve "Dr. Death" Williams and The Midnight Express to help them in
this war. The Warriors' entrance on the Harley's was one of the better
one's that I have ever seen. I'm no biker but I was impressed. Anyway,
the Warriors' team won when Hawk made Garvin submit to neckbreaker manuvear.
I should also note that this event marked the first PPV appearance of
The Skyscrapers ("Dangerous" Dan Spivey/"Sycho" Sid Vicious).
Meanwhile, the Warriors continued to battle the Samoans in single,
tag team and eight-man tag team matches. Interesting to note that their
partners in many of those eight man's were The Steiner Bros. (Rick/Scott).
A team that would go on to be great rivals of the Warriors in the "future."
Anyway, the Warrior/SST feud ended in September of 1989 at The Clash
Of The Champions VIII in Columbia, SC. The Warriors got the pinfall
after the "Device" put down Fatu for the pin. You would think that after
a brutal feud like this that Hawk and Animal would get a well-deserved
rest, right? Wrong!!! They almost immediately were challenged by The
Once again, a powerful team had come to challenge for the unofficial
crown of the Roadies as "The Most Awesome Team In The World." They had
a series of matches throughout late-September and most of October but
their first national confrontation took place at Halloween Havoc '89:
Settling The Score in Philedelphia, PA. I still have the original PPV
broadcast of the event and it still feels like it happened yesterday.
Anyway, the Warriors won this encounter by DQ after about 10-12 minutes
of brutal action. Also on this card, another future rival made their
first appearance. It was the team of Doom (Butch Reed/Ron Simmons) and
they were managed by Woman at that time. They also wore masks as well.
The next Warrior/Skyscraper collision was scheduled for Starrcade '89:
Future Shock in Atlanta, GA. It was going to be part of a round robin
tournament called the "IronTeam" tournament. It also featured Doom and
the Steiners. But in November of 1989 at The Clash Of The Champions
IX: New York Knockout in Troy, NY, Sid suffered a punctured lung after
Scott Steiner put him in his "blockbuster suplex" (a bodyslam/flipover
combination). Sid was unable to compete and the Skyscrapers were forced
to forfeit the tourney.
The Warriors, meanwhile, defeated Doom but lost to the Steiners by
pinfall. Still, they won the tourney by defeating The Samoans (A full
detailed description could possibly be found in Earl's back issue section.
The original story appeared in December of last year.). The Warriors,
however, could not shake the Skyscrapers as Teddy Long (the 'scrapers'
manager) brought in "Mean" Mark Callous to take Sid's place. This, by
the way, is the reason for the on/off feud between Sid and Mark Callous
(aka The Undertaker). This version was not as powerful but made up for
it with better wrestling skills. They laid the Warriors out at The Clash
Of The Champions X in Houston, TX after the Warriors won the match by
The Warriors challenged The Skyscrapers to a Chicago Street Fight at
WrestleWar '90 in Greensboro, NC on February 26. The 'scrapers accepted
but Spivey left Callous high and dry and Long (not wanting to forfeit
another big card) got some sh*tty masked man to take his place!!! Needless
to say, the Warriors made short work of them. But, wouldn't you know
it, another power team comes to challenge the Warriors!!! This time,
it is the team of Doom, now managed by Teddy Long at this point. They
confronted the Warriors after the street fight match and they got it
on right then and there. The Warriors got the better of this encounter
but this is one of the few feuds of the Warriors that really ended undecisive
because both Doom and the Warriors got their share of wins and losses.
Wanting to go on to new challenges, the NWA released the Warriors from
their contract in June of 1990. Their last televised appearance was
in a match against Arn Anderson and Barry Windham of the Four Horsemen.
They won by DQ.
Part 9: The WWF Days
After terminating their contract with the NWA, the Road Warriors decided
to head up north to the WWF under their other nickname "The Legion Of
Paul Ellering was invited to come but declined, deciding that the LOD
didn't need him anymore. Ellering was proved to be right for the most
part as the Warriors, while not as violent as before, were just a awesome
and effective. In fact, it was about two years before they even lost
by pinfall in the WWF!!! That ought to be a record in itself!!! During
that time, they faced archrivals Demolition (Ax, Smash, and Crush),
The Oriental Express (Pat Tanaka, Kato), and The Hart Foundation (Bret
Hart, Jim Neihart).
Yes, they did face the Harts. I saw the match on one of the WWF's various
video tapes. It was one of those "exclusive dark matches." The match
saw the Harts actually holding their own against the LOD!!! It shouldn't
be a surprise though, as the "HitMan" and "The Anvil" was a formidable
team at that time. The match ended when Bret tried a flying bodypress
but got caught with a powerslam from Animal for the LOD victory. I think
this match took place right after WrestleMania VII to decide the top
conteders to then-WWF Tag Team Champions The Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags/Brian
Knobbs). Speaking of which, the Nasty's were going around saying how
they were the Nastiest team in the world. While they were no doubt a
vicious team (I think their battles with the Steiner Bros. in 1990 for
the now defunct-WCW United States Tag Team Titles proved that), they
were no where near as vicious as LOD. Still, given the tenacity they
showed against the Steiners, you knew that this was not going to be
an easy win for Hawk and Animal.
LOD finally caught up with the Nasty Boys in August of 1991 in New
York City, NY at Madison Square Garden. It was the site of that year's
SummerSlam event. The LOD took the titles from the Nasty's in a no-DQ,
no-countout event. This win made LOD the only team to win titles in
the AWA, NWA/WCW, and the WWF (the only other teams to get two out of
the three were the Brainbusters and the Steiners). It was also the first
title they had won without Paul Ellering, their long-time manager. You
know he had to be somewhere smiling!!!
Over the next seven months, LOD took rematches with the Nasties as
well as faced the formidable duo of The Natural Disasters (Earthquake/Typhoon).
A duo whose combined weight was double the LOD's. In fact, Earthquake
weighed as much as both Hawk and Animal!!! Still, LOD was not intimidated
as they faced their much bigger challengers. The faced off at the 1992
Royal Rumble. The Disasters gave LOD all they could handle and had won
the match by countout. However, LOD retained the belts because it was
a countout victory. To their credit, the LOD were not certainly dominated
by the Disasters. Still, when faced with two talented 400lbs. plus men,
you are not going to have an easy day.
In February of 1992, the LOD lost the WWF titles to the previously
unranked team of Money Inc., Ted "Million Dollar Man" DiBiase and Irwin
R. Schyster (Mike Rotunda). Over the next seven months, they would chased
Money Inc. as well as feud with The Beverley Bros. (Wayne Bloom/Mike
Enos). They finally caught up with Money Inc. at SummerSlam '92 in London,
England at Wembly Stadium (in case your wondering, this was the card
when Davey Boy Smith defeated Bret Hart for the I-C belt). Unfortunley,
it was not for the titles as Money Inc. dropped them to the Natural
Disasters a few weeks before. Still, LOD got some redemption as Animal
planted DiBiase with a powerslam for the pin. The next day, however,
Part 10: The Breakup and The Reunion
After defeating Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase/Irwin R. Schyster) at SummerSlam
'92, the LOD split up and left the WWF!!! Animal decided to take a break
from active competition to heal some nagging back problems while Hawk
bounced around the world. His stops included a tag team with Kensuki
Sasaki in Japan. This team was known as the Hell Raiders. They had a
run as IWGP Tag Team Champions. Their most notable encounter was a January
1993 match with the Steiners. That match ended in a double-DQ. Also
in 1993, Hawk had a brief solo stint in WCW. He teamed with Dustin Rhodes
to face "Ravishing" Rick Rude and The Equilizer at an August Clash Of
The Champions event. Animal was at ringside for the match and was also
the captain of the Dustin Rhodes, Sting, Davey Boy Smith and Shockmaster
team at the 1993 WarGames event held at Fall Brawl 1993 in Houston,
Hawk also challenged Rude for the now defunct WCW International Heavyweight
Title at a November Clash Of The Champions, participated in BattleBowl
'93 and teamed with Sting to challenge the Nasty Boys at Starrcade '93
for the WCW World Tag Team Titles. Hawk also was the CWA (European)
Heavyweight Champion for a brief time as well. He was also a participant
in World War III in the 60 man battle royal.
In 1995, the Warriors appeared together in Japan but did not team.
Hawk was wrestling Scott "Flash" Norton in a singles match when Animal
interfered and helped Hawk win the match. In January of 1996, the Warriors
made their full-scale return to the national scene when they challenged
then-WCW Tag Team Champions Sting and Lex Luger. Sting wanted to accept
the challenge but Luger was reluctant (perhaps he remembers the hell
the Warriors put him through during 1987-1988).
Nevertheless, the Warriors got their shot at the winner of the Sting/Lex
Luger VS. Harlem Heat match. Sting and Lex won thanks to interference
from the Warriors and wrestled them that night!!!
The Warriors also rekindled their feud with The Steiner Bros. Remember
that classic encounter on WCW Monday Nitro?!!! It put their first match
at Starrcade '89 to shame!!! The Warriors won when Animal took one of
their steel spikes and nailed Rick Steiner in the head with it. They
also had matches with Public Enemy, The Nasty Boys and Harlem Heat.
In May of 1996, the Warriors left WCW after a dispute with Eric Bischoff
(and WCW in general) about the "sweet" contracts of Kevin Nash and Scott
Hall. The traveled to the AWF and wrestled there for a brief time. Now,
as everyone knows by now, the Warriors returned to the WWF. In their
short four months, they have helped Ahmed Johnson all but destroy the
Nation Of Domination at WrestleMania 13 and nearly won the WWF Tag Titles
(Sorry NOD but the LOD could show you a thing or two about domination).This
was a breath of fresh air because you know your tag team ranks suck
when your best wrestlers are two of your top single wrestlers. I am
speaking, of course, of Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. I would have
given this match to the Warriors by a landslide but given the reformation
of the Hart Foundation, I think it's going to be awhile before anyone
defeats them for the tag straps. Still, I hope to see some gold around
the Warriors' waist just one more time!!!
Written by Ervin Griffin Jr. for Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
called in to the Doc Mike Lano Show 08-24-01
And spoke to Hawk ! What A RUSH!!!
For the Interview with Hawk, Click the links below . Time is - 6 mins **** CLICK
better appreciate what you now have, it is necessary to know what has been."