10 Things About The Road Warriors' Careers That Make No Sense


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May 22, 2023

10 Things About The Road Warriors' Careers That Make No Sense

The Road Warriors were an iconic team, but throughout their tenures in multiple promotions, there were some moments and choices that made no sense. The Road Warriors, otherwise known as The Legion of

The Road Warriors were an iconic team, but throughout their tenures in multiple promotions, there were some moments and choices that made no sense.

The Road Warriors, otherwise known as The Legion of Doom, are quite arguably the most iconic tag team in pro wrestling history. Animal and Hawk turned heads with their awesome look, remarkable power, and capacity for delivering devastation with moves like their signature Doomsday Device in various promotions all around the world.

RELATED: 9 Things Fans Should Know About Mike Rotunda, WWE's IRS

Despite their legendary status, there are a number of oddities and poor choices that also came to define their careers and legacies. The following moments from The Road Warriors' careers made no sense to fans.

Vince McMahon had the good sense to position The Legion of Doom as staunch babyfaces for their original WWE run, leaning into the spectacle of what they brought to the table to delight fans. Before long, they became a relatively rare babyface act to have a manager, when they were reunited with long-time associate Paul Ellering.

Ellering wasn’t enough to complete the act, apparently, as WWE also introduced Rocco—a ventriloquist dummy that had deep, sentimental meaning to the baddest tag team in the world. This was clearly a move to cater to children, as WWE marketed itself as a family-friendly promotion at the time. However, it promptly became an embarrassing wrinkle that detracted from an intimidating team, and particularly their motorcycle entrance for the first match of SummerSlam 1992.

It made sense that The Road Warriors debuted as heels. In traditional wrestling psychology, it’s hard to root for a dominant force, in contrast to a more vulnerable underdog. Animal and Hawk looked like monsters and booking them as such was only logical.

RELATED: The Rise & Fall Of The AWA Wrestling Promotion, ExplainedHowever, The Road Warriors got over as a white-hot act that threatened to transcend the tag team ranks. Verne Gagne had one foot too far entrenched in old school when he maintained the tandem only made sense as villains, and fought upstream against increasingly loud cheers to keep The Road Warriors heel.

By the time The Legion of Doom returned to WWE during the Attitude Era, their age was showing a bit, and it seemed clear the company largely wanted them there not so much to dominate as to help establish younger acts either in partnership or as opponents.

A low point of this LOD run came when WWE exploited real-life issues Hawk had with substance abuse, including him appearing to be in a chemically altered state of mind when he climbed the scaffolding over the TitanTron. The scene culminated in him taking a big fall that was in especially poor taste.

The Road Warriors are on the short list of the most popular, most revered tag teams in pro wrestling history. For all that success, though, they actually enjoyed deceptively few championship accolades. Indeed, Animal and Hawk only won the tag titles in WWE once in their early 1990s run and once again in 1997. The first reign ran a respectable 165 days; the second only 48. They only got their hands on the WCW Tag Team Championship once, and the same was true in the AWA (albeit that they spent over a year as champs on that reign).

In the end, The Road Warriors had a greater legacy as champions when it came to breadth than depth, picking up reigns in a variety of territories more so than dominating in any one. All the more so, they posed an imposing threat without actually holding titles in a number of instances.

When WWE reintroduced The Road Warriors at WrestleMania 14, they did so via a tag team battle royal. Animal and Hawk were surprise entrants who emerged with a slightly altered look, LOD 2000 branding, and, perhaps most notably of all, Sunny as their new valet.

The idea of pairing one of the most popular tag teams in the world with a popular manager who’d overshadowed much of the tag division in the past made some sense on paper. However, there was little by way of organic connection between the manager and the wrestlers and little on-screen chemistry to bring the new unit to life.

After Hawk had passed, WWE took one more stab at promoting the Legion of Doom, with charter member Animal teamed up with Heidenreich—a younger talent with a great look who had already fizzled out on a couple attempts at getting over as a singles act.

RELATED: Heidenreich's Career Is One Of The Most Bizarre In WWE HistoryThe tag team was OK, but a quintessential example of why rebooting an old tag team with new members hardly ever works. Calling the team the LOD and dressing up Heidenreich like a Road Warrior only drew attention to this version of the team being a pale imitation of the original—Animal well past his prime and his young partner unable to fill Hawk’s shoes.

The Road Warriors were an iconic tag team. However, unlike other legendary pairs like The Hart Foundation, The Rockers, The Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat, Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, or New Day, they never saw either member move on to become top singles star.

Chalk it up to timing or the era they worked in, but it does seem as though Hawk in particular had the potential to ride the team’s momentum to his own star singles run. It may be his personal demons that detracted from the chances of that happening.

In a memorable early Monday Night War era moment, Lex Luger talked his tag team with Sting into a Chicago Street Fight with The Road Warriors. The moment was well-conceived to highlight the oddball dynamic between Sting and Luger as friends, despite The Total Package being heelish and his big mouth putting both of them in bad spots more than once. Sting, still a babyface, sold the appropriate disbelief at finding himself in a street fight with the most imposing team of all time, in their hometown.

Luger wound up not working the match at all, with Booker T subbing in for him. The thing that really undermined the story at hand, though, was that Sting and Booker actually prevailed in an Uncensored 1996 match that seemed completely catered toward Animal and Hawk.

The Legion of Doom were a rare team that WWE pushed as a top-level act and handled with reverence after they were gone despite having first come together and subsequently enjoyed their greatest successes in other wrestling promotions. For how heavily they were pushed, though, it’s interesting they never got much of a WrestleMania spotlight as a tag team.

The lone traditional tag team Animal and Hawk worked together at a WrestleMania came in 1991 when they squashed Power and Glory in under a minute. From there, they worked a six-man Street Fight teamed with Ahmed Johnson, then two battle royals (one of which they lost on the pre-show).

The Road Warriors are synonymous with their dominant presence. When a fan thinks of the teams that could stand up to them, they might be drawn to their super-heavyweight rivals, The Natural Disasters, or fellow powerhouses like The Steiner Brothers or Doom. However, it was Mike Rotunda—perhaps most famous for wrestling in a shirt, tie, and suspenders in the persona of IRS—who deceptively had their number.

In both WCW and WWE, The Road Warriors only enjoyed limited tag team championship success. In both promotions, their first reigns came to an end at the hands of team that included Rotunda—first The Varsity Club in WCW, then Money Inc. in WWE.

Michael Chin is a writer based in Las Vegas, He writes about pro wrestling for The Sportster and has followed WWE and other promotions for over 30 years. He's the author of the wrestling book, The Long Way Home. Follow him on Twitter @miketchin.