Road Warrior Animal dies at age 60: WWE legend remembers Legion of Doom member Joe Laurinaitis

Road Warrior Animal dies at age 60: WWE legend remembers Legion of Doom member Joe Laurinaitis

WWE legend Joe Laurinaitis, aka Road Warrior Animal, died at the age of 60. His family and WWE confirmed death on Wednesday morning.

Laurinaitis was named on the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 with partner Michael Hegstrand (Road Warrior Hawk). Both teams are among the most iconic and dominant tag teams in professional wrestling history, the Road Warriors (Legion of Fate).

Hegstrand died of a heart attack in 2003 at the age of 46.

At the beginning of his career, Laurinaitis paired up with friend and fellow wrestler Hegstrand at the beginning of his career, competing individually as a Road Warriors before forming The Road Warriors in 1983, making short runs. With their trademark face paint and spiked shoulder pads, the powerful duo grew rapidly. Top spot in Georgia Championship wrestling, winning the NWA National Tag Team Championship three times in promotions.

The two have established themselves as one of the biggest draws in wrestling for the legendary reaction of fans, winning the Tag Team Championship at every stop through AWA, Japan and Jim Crockett Promotions (later World Championship Wrestling (WCW)). They were also part of the WCW’s first WarGames match against The Four Horsemen, teaming up with Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff.

In June 1990, the two made a contract with the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) and made their debut under the Legion of Doom, the name they initially used with director Paul Ellering. The standard for the duo, they eventually won the WWF Tag Team Championship, beating The Nasty Boys in a street fight in SummerSlam 1991.

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LOD recorded more runs in WCW, Japan, and WWF, including a short second run with the 1997 WWF Tag Team title. Laurinaitis returned to WWE in 2005, two years after Hegstrand’s death, to reform the LOD with Heidenreich. He dedicated his last WWE match to his Road Warriors teammates.

With their power wrestling and no-selling style, Animal and Hawk were considered one of the most influential tag teams in professional wrestling history. So far, no team has been able to truly capture the aura that exudes such enormous charm when the Lord Warriors reached their peak.

Laurinaitis has four children alive, including Ohio State’s star linebacker James Laurinaitis, who plays in the NFL. Joe’s brother John Laurinaitis has been an executive, producer, and occasional on-air talent at WWE since 2001.

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