Joseph Michael "Joe" Laurinaitis (born January 26, 1960) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Road Warrior Animal (or simply Animal). Along with Road Warrior Hawk, Animal was one-half of the tag team the Road Warriors/the Legion of Doom.

Early life[edit | edit source]

While living in Chicago, Laurinatis met Michael Hegstrand, later known as Road Warrior Hawk, and the two became close friends. When Laurinaitis was around eight years old, he and Hegstrand both moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota Laurinaitis grew up in Minnesota, having to work for a living from a very early age. He attended Irondale High School. Because of his size and love of power lifting, Laurinaitis was an imposing figure and thus a very effective bouncer. He worked as a bouncer at Grandma B's in the Twin Cities where he caught the eye of Eddie Sharkey, a well known wrestling trainer. Sharkey thought that Laurinaitis and Mike Hegstrand, Richard Rood, and Barry Darsow could make it big in professional wrestling, and trained all four of them.

Professional wrestling career[edit | edit source]

Early career (1982–1983)[edit | edit source]

Laurinaitis made his debut in November 1982, competing as The Road Warrior using a biker gimmick. After only a few matches as a singles competitor, Joe’s career and life would change forever thanks to an idea by Paul Ellering.

Georgia Championship Wrestling/American Wrestling Association/All Japan Pro Wrestling (1983–1986)[edit | edit source]

When Paul Ellering was looking to put together a stable of heels in Georgia Championship Wrestling called "The Legion of Doom", it was decided to put Laurinaitis together with his good friend Mike Hegstrand and change their names to "Animal" and "Hawk" respectively. Thus, the Road Warriors were born. They first started out as biker gimmicks; on The Road Warriors DVD, Animal said he felt like one of the Village People. To look more intimidating, the two shaved their heads into Mohawks and started wearing studded dog collars, spiked shoulder pads, and face paint. The look and name were taken from The Road Warrior , helping to paint the two as no-mercy monsters. Their interview style was vicious, yet charismatic and a bit humorous. The team was an instant hit, revolutionizing the tag-team scene with their power moves, no mercy attitudes, and innovative face paint that would spawn many future imitators in wrestling.

The team was an instant hit, revolutionizing the tag-team scene with their power moves, no mercy attitudes, and innovative face paint that would spawn many future imitators in wrestling. In Georgia, they won the NWA National Tag Team Championship four times before moving on to bigger promotions, such as the American Wrestling Association in the US and All Japan Pro Wrestling, winning more tag team titles.

In wrestling[edit | edit source]

  • Finishing moves
    • Scoop powerslam
  • Signature moves
    • Jumping elbow drop
    • Leaping shoulder block
    • Military press slam
    • Scoop slam
  • With Road Warrior Hawk
    • Doomsday Device
  • Managers
    • Paul Ellering
    • Tammy Lynn Sytch|Sunny
    • Christy Hemme
  • Entrance themes
    • "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath

Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]

  • All Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI Comeback of the Year (2005)
    • PWI Feud of the Year (1987) with Road Warrior Hawk and The Super Powers (Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff) vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Lex Luger)
    • PWI Tag Team of the Year (1983–1985, 1988) with Road Warrior Hawk
    • PWI ranked him #64 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
    • PWI ranked him #1 of the 100 best tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Road Warrior Hawk in 2003
  • Super World of Sports
    • One Night Tag Team Tournament (1991) – with Hawk
  • Tokyo Sports
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
    • Rookies of the Year (1983) with Road Warrior Hawk
    • Tag Team of the Year (1984) with Road Warrior Hawk
    • Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
  • 1.0 1.1 "Statistics for Professional wrestlers". PWI Presents: 2007 Wrestling Almanak and book of facts. Kappa Publications. p. 38. 2007 Edition. 
  • 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named alumni
  • Joseph Michael Laurinaitis Facebook status about his and Hawk's birthdays .
  • OWW Profile .
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