Road Warriors DVD Review

If you ask most wrestling fans past or present to name the most dominate tag team of all time, I would except that about 99.9% of them will fire back with the same answer…The Road Warriors. There is no team in the history of professional wrestling that has dominated wrestling federations like Animal & Hawk, and now for the first time their story is documented on a special WWE DVD – Road Warriors: The Life & Death of the Most Dominant Tag Team in Wrestling History.

road-warriors-dvd-cover

Cert: 15

Length: 352 mins

No team in wrestling history has been able to make such an impact on wrestling like Animal & Hawk, dominating every major wrestling organisation from the AWA, NWA, All Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW and the WWE, as well as winning Tag Team Championship belts in nearly all of these companies.

The face paint, the music, the entrance attire and those haircuts made the Road Warriors not only one of the most feared tag team in wrestling, but also one of the most loved and celebrated tag teams in wrestling. But away from the ring, the tag team had may challenges and difficulties to encounter, and while they may have “snacked on danger, and dined on death” in the ring, outside of the ring the road the Road Warriors took was also dangerous to say the least.

This DVD for the first time ever documents the rise and fall of wrestling most dominating and feared tag team, looking at famous matches, moments and interviews, let us check out the highs and lows of this DVD.

Highs and Lows

Growing Up – After the initial introduction of the DVD with various wrestling personalities speaking about the Road Warriors, we go to the first chapter, “Growing Up”. In this first chapter, Joe “Road Warrior Animal” Lauriantis talks about how he and Hawk grew up in Chicago, Illinois and talks about how they were good friends at a young age. Animal takes us to the place were Hawk lived and he talks more about Hawk and himself growing up.

The Gym – Animal talks about The Gym being the top fitness centre in Minnesota, with wrestlers like Curt Henning, Demolition Smash, and Rick Rude all being associated with The Gym. Animal talks about stories from The Gym with comments from Barry “Smash” Darsow and Animal’s brother and WWE Official John Lauriantis.

Bouncing – As a lot of wrestlers, Animal & Hawk were bouncers at clubs before stardom. Firstly Animal talks about some of the less than respectable bars he worked in, and goes on to talk about a particular bar called Grammy Bee’s, in which Hawk, Animal, Rick Rude, Barry “Smash” Darsow & John Nord worked at. Barry & Animal recall some memorable stories from their bouncing days, as well as Animal showing us around the nightclub, I get the feeling that this wouldn’t be the best place to get thrown out of.

Training – Animal talks about meeting Eddie Sharky at a bar , Sharkey was a former wrestler and trainer of Jesse “The Body” Ventura , and after meeting with Animal he asked if Animal, Darsow and Hawk wanted to join his wrestling training school. Darsow and Animal talk about the training facilities being less than impressive and how Sharkey would never get into the ring with any of his pupils. Darsow talks about how Ole Anderson met up with Animal, Hawk and Darsow and how he recruited Animal and then Hawk to Georgian Championship Wrestling.

For far so good, really nice bit of background into The Road Warriors, and more some how they became the. Road Warriors

The Road Warrior Look – Animal talks about how originally The Road Warriors were supposed to look like bikers, so some of their first matches they looked like rejects out of the Village people, complete with leathers, chaps, gloves and leather hats. Animal the goes onto talk about how Ole Anderson & Bill Watts wanted them to be a little different, so Hawk came up with the idea of the Mohawk and Semi-Mohawk hair cuts, and how they were asked to wear face paint, and how their designs came about. This is an interesting chapter because its great too see how the look of the Road Warrior’s came about, and how they managed to develop their style into the unique look we have all came to be accustomed to, and thank goodness they got rid of the leathers.

Georgia Championship Wrestling – Gerry Brisco talks about The Road Warriors initial impact on the wrestling scene, about their unique style and his initial thoughts. Barry Darsow talks about The Road Warriors being very tough, and Jim Ross backs this up by talking about how jobbers or as JR says “extras” would be in mortal fear of being up against The Road Warriors in matches because of their brutality. Barry Darsow recalls a nice little story about when he and Arn Anderson tagged up against The Road Warriors. Gerry Brisco talks about the difference between the “old school” tag teams like the Brisco brothers and the new style team of The Road Warriors. Jim Ross talks about their style being “smash mouth” and totally in your face. Jerry Lawler talks about an instance from Memphis where The Road Warriors faced Austin Idol and Lawler in a match at the Mid South Coliseum, and we see the footage of the match that really shows how powerful the Road Warriors were being portrayed in their matches. Some good comments in this chapter from people like Arn Anderson and Gerry Brisco, who worked with the Warrior’s in their first run in Georgia, really portrays how tough they were in the ring.

Paul Ellering – Animal talks about the original Legion of Doom with Jake Roberts, King Kong Bundy , The Spoiler and The Road Warriors with Paul Ellering. Jim Cornette and Barry Darsow talk about Paul Ellering and how he became a manger. Paul Ellering talks about how he literally managed The Road Warriors both inside and outside of the ring. Animal, JR and Jim Cornette talk about how clever Ellering was. Various wrestling superstars comment on the effect Ellering had on The Road Warriors and how valuable he was to the Road Warriors. What a manager Paul Ellering is, as many of the people in this chapter said, Ellering was the glue which kept the Legion of Doom together . If the WWE brought Ellering into the WWE to manager one of their tag teams today then I’m sure they would be a success, without a doubt.

AWA – This chapter looks at the move The Road Warriors made from Georgia to the AWA. Comments from people like Michaels Hayes, Animal and Barry Darsow explain why the team made the move.

Baron Von Raschke & The Crusher – Animal talks about the high profile match that Hawk & Animal had with Baron Von Raschke & The Crusher in Las Vegas, Animals talks about both Animal & Hawk being relatively new to the AWA yet they were pushed into a match with two AWA legends and then proceeded to beat them for the Tag Team Championship belts. We see some footage of Bill Apter giving Animal & Hawk the PWI Tag Team of the year, as well as awarding Paul Ellering the PWI Manager of the year. Michael Hayes makes some very interesting comments about wrestlers needing to dare to be different in order to succeed, and because the Road Warriors did this they were a huge success and the fans loved them for that. He also mentions that in the history of professional wrestling there isn’t any other team that had the ability to draw fans as The Road Warriors did.

Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher – Animal talks about the match Animal & Hawk had with the AWA Legends Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher.

The Fabulous Freebirds – A look now at the Freebirds, Jim Cornette and Michael Hayes talk about how the Freebirds were the first cool “heel” tag team. Michaels Hayes talks about some of the matches he had with The Road Warriors, in particular the AWA Superclash match from 1985.

The Fabulous Ones – Jim Cornette and Paul Ellering recall a match when Verne Gagne wanted Animal & Hawk to drop the AWA Tag Team belts to the Fabs, but the Road Warriors weren’t happy about doing so, so they changed the match plan as they went out to the match and refused to lose the titles to the Fabs. Animals talks about how Verne Gagne didn’t like this. Michael Hayes talks about how Verne Gagne couldn’t move with the times and this led to the Road Warriors leaving the AWA and heading back to the NWA in Jim Crockett Promotions.

Koloffs – The chapter looks at how the Road Warriors turned face when they were pitted up against The Koloffs. Jim Cornette and Michaels Hayes talk about how powerful the Koloffs were in the NWA, and how physically they were a team that could match the power of The Road Warriors.

Crockett Cup – Arn Anderson talks about how the Road Warriors took a huge risk as “baby faces” because at the time you had whiter than white “baby faces” like Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Morton etc, and the Road Warriors were two anti establishment in your face type of guys who didn’t really portray the average “baby face” in the ring. Animal talks about how important winning the Jim Crockett Memorial Cup was, especially when they faced Jimmy Garvin and Magnum T.A in the finals.

Interviews – This chapter looks at the unique style of Road Warrior interviews that we have all become familiar with, with some classic clips of class interviews. “What a Rushhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Midnight Express – This chapter obviously looks at the famous Road Warrior / Midnight Express feud . Jim Cornette talks about how the Road Warriors had a tour of Japan scheduled , so in order to create an angle for their absence, it was agreed that the Midnight Express would beat them up with a loaded tennis racket a number of weeks before Starrcade, which was the NWA’s premier wrestling event. The Road Warriors were set to face the Midnight Express in a scaffold match, so in order to hype the match we are shown a Road Warriors promo in which they are up in a scaffold throwing pumpkins over the top to illustrate the damaged they would do to the Midnight Express. Animal talks about while on the trip to Japan Hawk broke his leg, but because the match at Starrcade was so important they had to go ahead with it. We see footage from the match, including Jim Cornette nearly breaking both of his legs after the match. Jim Ross talks about how great the feud was, and how great a manager Jim Cornette was. I suppose this was an extreme match before extreme became cool, high risk but very entertaining.

Life on the Road – Various people talk about life on the road with the Road Warriors, which you can surely imagine was wild from all accounts.

The Four Horsemen – Animal talks about how much he loved working with Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard of The Four Horsemen. Jim Ross talks about how great the Road Warrior vs. Horsemen feud was, and how beneficial the feud was to both teams. All I can say is that I would have loved to have been a wrestling fan at this time, two great tag teams and one great feud, much better than today’s tag team wrestling.

Dusty Rhodes – Animal talks about The Road Warriors feud with Dusty Rhodes, and how this helped them turn heel and also created an opening for them to leave the NWA/WCW, and go to the WWE. Animals talks about Jim Herd taking over WCW and how this was a catalyst for Animal & Hawk to leave company. By all accounts it seems Jim Herd was as popular as Eric Bischoff is today.

WWE – This chapter briefly looks at the transition from being in the NWA/WCW to joining the WWF in 1990. Animal talks about how this was a major jump for the team as they hadn’t really worked for any North East promotions and didn’t know how they would be received.

Imitators – A look at how the Road Warriors were imitated, particularly by WWE’s Demolition. Various stars comment on Demolition’s imitation, including Barry “Smash” Darsow who says that Demolition weren’t ripping of the Road Warriors, even though they pretty much did. We see some clips of the match in which all three members of Demolition teamed up against the Road Warriors and the Ultimate Warrior on Saturday Night Main Event, Animal says that when the Road Warriors and Ultimate Warrior won this match it made him feel like the WWE wanted the Road Warriors and not Demolition. Whether you think Demolition copied the Road Warriors is debateable, one thing is for sure at least in my books, the Road Warriors were so much better.

Creating their Legacy – Animal talks about the winning the WWE Tag Team Championships at Summerslam 1991 in an epic match with The Nasty Boys. Various stars talk about how dominate the Road Warriors were by winning the NWA/WCW Tag Team belts, WWE Tag Team belts, and the AWA Tag Team belts, the only tag team ever to do so. I’ll always remember their Summerslam 1991 match as being one of my all time favourite L.O.D moments, and the crowd in MSG were just unbelievable.

The Road Warrior Pop – A look at the fantastic entrance of the Road Warriors, which comments from people like Edge, Jerry Lawler and Michael Hayes. We also see some footage from Wrestlemania VIII in Indianapolis when Paul Ellering was brought into the WWE and reunited with the Road Warriors. The Road Warrior entrance for me is probably the greatest entrance of all time in my books, just hearing the music and seeing both Animal & Hawk marching down to the ring with the shoulder pads on just gave me Goosebumps.

Summerslam 1992 – Animal talks about the Summerslam 1992 event, saying that it was totally phenomenal , Jim Ross states that he doesn’t think the Road Warriors have ever been as popular as they were on that night.

Hawk & Animal Split Up – Paul Ellering talks about Hawk disappearing after the Summerslam 1992 match , Animal talks about Hawk having mood swings and the drink and drug subject is touched upon by Animal, Michael Hayes and Jim Ross. Animal talks about how people influenced Hawk, and how he was a danger to people in the ring by nearly dropping them on their heads during matches. Animal talks about Hawk and Vince McMahon having a personal feud, because Hawk was outspoken as well as the fact he refused to go into rehab when Vince McMahon offered to put him in. Animal talks about how Hawk joined the London section of the Hell’s Angels and handed in his notice with the WWF and left Animal high and dry. Animal speaks candidly about how upset he was with Hawk, especially because he listened to people like Jake Roberts, rather than Animal who had been a long time friend of Hawk . Animal talks about how he stayed with the WWE and completed the remaining dates on his contract, but unfortunately was injured in a handicap match with the Beverly Brothers while in Japan.

Animal talks about how he was also upset at Hawk because he split from Animal and went to Japan without asking Animal and tried to recreate the Road Warriors with Kensuki Sasaki which didn’t really turn out so good. Animal talks about how the team eventually reconciled with each other. We see some footage of the Road Warriors returning to WCW in 1996, as Eric Bischoff talks about why he decided to sign the Road Warriors. Animal speaks about the fans reaction to the both of them when they returned. Animal talks about a contract dispute that occurred with WCW revolving around the Road Warriors having two separate contracts for WCW Japanese dates, and WCW American dates, Animal says the contract never came about. Bischoff says he can’t remember if he did offer them that contract or not, but says he though the Road Warriors thought they were more valuable than they actually were. I enjoyed this chapter because it was so insightful regarding the Road Warrior break up, and Animal talks candidly about his feeling towards Hawk at the time. It seems Hawk really went of the rails at this point and really should have got help then.

LOD 2000 – JR mentions that the Road Warriors hadn’t burnt any bridge beyond repair, and we see L.O.D 2000 return at Wrestlemania 14 with Sunny. Animal mentions that LOD changed their style with new shoulder pads and helmets to try and reinvent their self. Then we see footage of Paul Ellering returning with D.OA and feuding with L.O.D in 1998 .The worst part of this section is the fact that the WWE seem to have forgotten about 1997, which is a huge surprise because I always thought L.O.D enjoyed a good run in 97 feuding with the like of The Nation of Domination and The Godwins, but I guess the WWE decided to forget about that. Which is strange?

Droz – JR talks about how the WWE creative team wanted to use LOD 2000 to elevate Droz, as he was an up and coming new superstar. Various comments from people including Droz & Animal as to why Droz was brought into L.OD.2000. Talk moves to the incredibly insensitive angle in which the WWE portrayed Hawk as a drunk, which was a reflection on his real life state of mind. Animal says one reason that Hawk offered to go ahead with the angle was to try and get into Vince McMahon’s good books so to speak, Animal says the angle was too close to home. Jim Ross say that people shouldn’t be embarrassed by the angle because Hawk was ill just like any other illness and he needed treatment, which I’m no totally sure makes any sense when you consider some of the things that the WWE made Hawk do. I wasn’t pleased with this chapter, just simply because I wasn’t a fan of the angle, I just believed it was un needed and really too close to home, but kudos to Animal and Hawk, because at least they were humble enough to do the angle, and they did it very well.

Hawk Gets Help – The chapter looks briefly at Hawk’s recovery from his alcohol and drug abuse, mentioning that he was a born again Christian and got his life back on track and became completely clean. Animal talks about how the Road Warrior wanted to have one final stint with the WWE, Animal mentions that Hawk had tried to contact Vince McMahon on a number of occasions to try and make peace with him before they were invited to RAW and Smackdown in 2003 for some try out matches. I would have loved to see L.O.D back in the WWE for one final run, I’m sure they could have brought something to the company, but I guess it wasn’t to be.

The End of the Road Warriors – Various superstars comment on Michael “Hawk” Hegstrand’s death, including emotional comments from Michael Hayes, Animal and Paul Ellering. Animal mentions what the Dudley Boys did in 2003 to pay tribute to Hawk on a broadcast on Monday Night RAW. In my opinion the wrestling world lost one of the biggest and most popular stars of all time when Hawk past away, as part of L.O.D he was a true great and will always be remembered.

The DVD closes with some classic footage of the Road Warriors and some comments from the people who worked with both Hawk & Animal over their illustrious career.

Overall

This DVD was super, the main feature was really in depth and showed how and why the Road Warriors were so dominate throughout their run, but it also showed us a side that has never been seen before, looking at the close friendship of Hawk & Animal, and looking at their trails and tribulations both in and out of the ring.

One fault I can pick out is that the WWE have seemingly mislead viewers regarding the Road Warrior’s return to the WWE in the late 90’s, as many people know Animal & Hawk returned in 1997, not 1998 as the DVD may lead you to believe. This seems a strange move to me because firstly L.O.D had quite a successful run in 1997 being involved in a number of high profile tag team feuds and also winning the Tag Team Championships, secondly, on the DVD extras there is also various footage from L.O.D’s run in 1997 including matches and promos. Apart from this, I can’t see any major faults, I’m sure wrestling historians will be able to pick fault with the DVD’s historical accuracy, but for me it’s just about right.

The DVD contains all sorts of old footage from the NWA, WCW, WWE, AWA and Memphis, so wrestling fans can see how the Road Warriors have evolved. I know the WWE did publish a warning on the DVD to say their maybe a few distortions in the footage, but apart from one or two moments, there really isn’t a problem at all, and my view pleasure was not affected one bit.

I’m not going to lie to anyone, I’m a Road Warrior mark, so you’d expect me to say this DVD is good, but from an objective point of view not as a Road Warrior fan , but as your average wrestling fan, it’s a great DVD. It’s well put together, it tells a great story and it really doesn’t pull any punches. Without any doubt in my mind this DVD ranks up their with all the great DVD’s we have seen over the past few years, and it’s a testament to the greatest tag team of all time, The Road Warriors.

DVD Extras

Disc One Extras

  • NWA Georgia Championship Wrestling (11/06/83) vs. Joe Young & Randy Barber
  • NWA Georgia Championship Wrestling (07/08/83} vs. Arn Anderson & Paul Jones
  • NWA World Championship Wrestling Omni (28/08/83) Texas Tornado Match vs. The Brisco Brothers – Commentary by: Jim Ross & Animal
  • NWA Georgia Championship Wrestling (03/01/83) vs. Mike Jackson & Stone
  • AWA All Star Wrestling (25/08/84) AWA World Tag Title Championship vs. Baron von Raschke & The Crusher – Alternate Commentary by: Jim Ross & Animal
  • NWA Georgia Championship Wrestling (27/08/83)
  • AWA All Star Wrestling (28/07/84)
  • AWA ESPN Championship Wrestling (15/10/85)
  • NWA World Championship Wrestling (03/10/87)
  • NWA World Championship Wrestling (10/10/87)
  • NWA World Championship Wrestling (28/01/89)
  • WCW Wrestle War (25/02/90)
  • Brutus the Barber Beefcake’s BarberShop Wrestling Challenge (28/09/91)
  • Royal Rumble (21/01/92)
  • In Your House: Degeneration X (07/12/97)
  • Hawk Tribute Part 1 Confidential (08/11/03)
  • Hawk Tribute Part 2 Confidential (08/11/03)
  • Trophy Room
  • Paul Ellering “Go For It”
  • Michaels Hayes “A Lesson in Striving for Success”
  • Road Warriors Music Video

Disc Two Extras

  • AWA All Star Wrestling (21/08/85) vs. Larry ‘the Axe’ & Curt Hennig
  • Superclash (28/09/85) AWA World Tag Team Title Match vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
  • Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament Cup (19/04/86) vs. Magnum TA & Ronnie Garvin – Commentary by: Jim Ross & Animal
  • Great American Bash (05/07/86) Russian Chain Match vs. Ivan & Nikita Kolaff
  • Starrcade (27/11/86) Scaffold Match vs. Midnight Express
  • Starrcade (29/11/87) NWA Tag Team Championship vs. Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson
  • New Orleans (29/10/88) NWA World Tag Team Championship vs. Midnight Express
  • Challenge (09/02/91) vs. Demolition
  • Wrestlefest (12/03/91) vs. Hart Foundation
  • Tokyo Egg Dome (30/03/91) vs. Hulk Hogan & Genichiro Tenryu – Japanese Commentary, Alternate Commentary by: Jim Ross & Animal
  • Summerslam (26/08/91) WWE Tag Team Championship vs. Nasty Boys
  • Summerslam (29/08/92) vs. Money Inc.
  • Superbrawl (02/11/96) WCW Tag Team Championship Match vs. Sting & Lex Luger
  • Raw (13/10/97) WWE Tag Team Championship vs. The Godwinns

Look at them DVD extras will you, what a selection of great interviews, matches and moments. Just to mention a few of my good picks from that list; The Hawk confidential segments are really good, and look at the death of Hawk in quite a lot of detail, more than the actual main feature does. Two outstanding matches are WWE Tag Team Championship vs. Nasty Boys, and Wrestlefest (12/03/91) vs. Hart Foundation probably two of L.O.D’s best matches, and two of my all time favourite L.O.D matches. All in all this is a classic selection of extras for a classic tag team.

Points: 10 / 10

Buy It:

UK: £24.99 (DVD)

USA: $22.46 (DVD)

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