One of, if not the, greatest tag teams in all of professional wrestling has been undoubtedly the Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal, looking straight out of a Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome film, were two of the toughest brawlers in all of sports entertainment and are Hall of Famers. Unfortunately, Hawk passed away in 2003, and now his tag partner is joining him in the big squared circle in the sky. Joe Laurinaitis passed away on Tuesday evening at the age of 60.
WWE is saddened to learn that Joe Laurinaitis, known to WWE fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away.
WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis’ family, friends and fans. https://t.co/hurorEDVff
— WWE (@WWE) September 23, 2020
Joe Laurinaitis, best known as Road Warrior Animal, was in the wrestling business for nearly 40 years, starting in 1982. His first year he competed as a singles competitor until he was approached by legendary manager, Paul Ellering, to join into a heel tag team, The Legion of Doom, with Hawk. The team throughout the years would traverse the line between heel and babyface, but fans always knew where they stood based on what name they used (Legion of Doom was their heel name, and The Road Warriors was their babyface name). Rocking spiked football pads and the crazy face paint, Hawk and Animal were incredibly intimidating, regardless of their current allegiance. Their no nonsense, no frills, smash-mouth style mimicked a bar room brawl.
Besides a few small runs as a singles competitor out of necessity, Laurinaitis has one of the long runs as a pure tag team competitor in wrestling history. The team wrestled all over the world, and were over anywhere they went. The lost of his friend in 2003 was a blow for sure, causing Animal to take a year off from the business, and never truly coming back on full time runs for any real length of time. Joe never went the route of his brother, John Laurinaitis, and took a producer or backstage role with WWE, but was always welcomed at any show.
The cause of death has yet to be announced and his family has yet to comment, but wrestling fans around the world will certainly mourn the loss of such an iconic wrestler. Rest in peace, Animal.
What is your favorite Road Warriors memory? Let us know in the comments below!