Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Fred Avery, Jr.
Michael Hegstrand Height: 6-2 ½ weight:
279 lbs. Animal-- Joseph Laurinatis height: 6-1 weight: 288 lbs.
From Chicago, IL together known as The Road Warriors.
two men have left a path
of destruction and pain wherever they have gone.
In the summer of 1983 Joe Laurinautis and Mike Hegstrand made their
professional wrestling debut in Georgia Championship Wrestling and lit a
fire that to this day people are still talking about.
Animal arrived on the scene first.
He wore cut off blue jean shorts, a bikers vest and a black bikers
hat. Animal was as
green as grass and knew very little about the world of pro wrestling, but
man was huge. This was the
beginning of the end for the “beer belly” type wrestler and the start
of the “muscle man” type wrestler.
He would walk into the ring and beat his opponent with a couple
basic power moves. It only
took the bosses a couple of weeks to see that this monster of a man needed
something to put him over the edge. Into
the picture steps Hawk another monster man with little more experience and
a journeyman wrestler named Paul Ellering. Overnight the Road Warriors
became the hottest thing in wrestling.
Gone was the rough biker gimmick and in its place was wild face
paint and strange haircuts. Taking a chapter from the movie of the same name (The Road
Warrior starring Mel Gibson) Hawk and Animal looked like two post world
war 3 refugees. Paul Ellering
took over as manager and led the two green wrestlers to the history books.
in a week of the debut of the team they won the National Tag Team
Championship in a tournament. They would defend the title against the hot
team of Buzz and Brett Sawyer.
These two teams traded the title back and forth but the Roadies
came out on top and Buzz left the area. (that’s a story all by its
self). Over the course of the next few months the Warriors and
Paul Ellering ran rough shod over everybody.
The Warriors even jumped and then dumped Paul for about a month.
When the three got back together Paul started to form the Legion Of
Doom. The LOD was a
collection of some of the biggest names in GCW,
Jake Roberts, The Warriors, The Iron Sheik, and even King Kong
Bundy for about a minute or so. Later in the careers of the Road Warriors they would be
called the Legion Of Doom in the WWF but the name was the calling card of
the top heel group in GCW for about two years.
The LOD were involved in some of the best feuds with all the top
stars. Teams made up of
different combinations of such stars as: Tommy Rich, Jerry Lawler, Dick
Slater, Bob and Brad Armstrong ,Junkyard Dog, and even the late Andre the
Giant tried to upend the Roadies but they could not do it.
Finally The Masked Superstar and King Kong Bundy upset Hawk and
Animal for the National Tag Team Title.
The Road Warriors would regain the title in less then a month and
rule the rings of GCW for the next several months.
Roadies never had the great scientific matches of a Jack Brisco or Bob
Backlund but they could beat a person up.
close this story I would like to say that on a personal note that the Road
Warriors were two of the most professional men I have had the pleasure to
be in the ring with. It made
me sick to my stomach to see what the WWF turned them into towards the end
of the run with them. To see
Hawk talking to Droz about a drug problem and then watching the fall off
the big screen TV was more then I could stand.
Wildfire Tommy Rich