Where the Road Warriors stand in the pantheon of professional wrestling’s greatest tag teams is subject to conjecture. Anyone who was a fan in the 1980’s and 1990’s knows the team as a destructive force, an influential and very visual force, as well as a team that incorporated new ideas and drove the concept of professional wrestling into the modern era.
The Road Warriors can be listed among the greats for many reasons: they were Champions, but they grew into Championship status despite being relatively green when Ole Anderson made the controversial decision to simply hand them the Georgia version of the NWA’s National Tag Team title belts; once they established themselves, they did have a longevity ‘” even though interrupted by Hawk’s irresponsible actions; and of almost all tag teams, they retained a sense of being over no matter where they appeared, no matter how they were treated, and often despite the contempt shown for them by major players in the business — at least on this side of the Pacific Ocean.
Of course, the Road Warriors made use of the “Rock ‘n Roll” connection like few others. Once they appeared on the scene to the triumphant power of Back Sabbath’s “Iron Man”, their legend was cemented. The melding of one of Heavy Metal’s most endearing power tunes with the angry, powerful and unrelenting image of the Road Warriors was a decision that rarely was repeated.
Actually, it’s non-existent in a time when faux-music and elevator music and Muzak arrangements dominate the wrestling scene. Once upon a time the Freebirds made it fashionable for entrance music, and “Enter Sandman” made a journeyman a hardcore icon, but “Iron Man” made the Road Warriors a mainstream professional wrestling machine.
But the Road Warriors being cutting edge wasn’t all that positive.
With the Warriors and their physical look and their chemically enhanced bodies ‘” for both power and “the look”‘” their arrival on the scene marked the beginning of the modern era. Sure, Billy Graham is more appropriate face of the Steroids era of professional wrestling, and a far more suitable symbol with his health issues, but once the Road Warriors crashed on the scene, there was no turning back.
The teams that really did knock off the Road Warrior look kept coming. The Powers of Pain, Demolition, and a dozen other teams on a dozen different levels. Ironically, the Road Warriors became a rip-off of themselves when they finally appeared in the WWF as the Legion of Doom, and the book provides more insight into that era.
One relationship that reads mostly between the lines, until the end, is the one between Joe and his brother John — who happens to be Vice President of Talent Relations for the WWE. There’s a great commentary on the situation towards the end of the book, where Animal shows his true feelings about being let go from his very own brother, the one he helped immensely in getting into the business.
Strangely, that story isn’t exactly detailed — but one can readily understand why.
So what did Animal have to say? I’ve got three words for you: read the book!