As the WWE world mourns the death of Joe Laurianaitis, better known as Road Warrior Animal, The Rock paid an emotional tribute to the legacy and the lives of The Road Warriors, the legendary tag team where the Road Warrior Animal once belonged.
The Rock, whose real name is Dwayne Johnson, explained in a lengthy but heartfelt post that both Laurinaitis and his partner Michael Hegstrand or the Road Warrior Hawk, became instrumental in guiding him during his early years in the WWE. He also shared that they took care of him while he was a budding wrestler until they felt sure that he already learned the ropes of the professional wrestling industry.
The Hawk died on Oct. 19, 2003, due to a sudden heart attack at the age of 46.
According to Johnson, now retired and making waves in Hollywood as a blockbuster actor and producer, The Road Warriors that people also call the Legion of Doom are the “greatest tag team of all time.”
Wrestling fans can recall the legendary feud between The Rock and his Nation of Domination faction and the Legion of Doom in 1997. During the WWF In Your House: Badd Blood event, The Rock, Kama Mustafa [The Godfather], and D-Lo Brown beat the Legion of Doom in a handicap match. The rivalry persisted until the Survivor Series that took place until the last months of the year when Ken Shamrock and Ahmed Johnson partnered with the Legion of Doom to overpower The Nation in a traditional elimination match.
But despite the rivalry, The Rock and the members of The Road Warriors maintained their friendship beyond the ring. They even have an inside joke about “apple fritters.” He also shared that he has nothing but love and appreciation for the legendary wrestling duo.
Over the past days, the fans and the entire wrestling community paid their tributes to Laurianaitis.
One of the first to pay their respect to Animal is Hulk Hugan, who acknowledged that the Road Warriors still has a lot of unfinished business together, which they can accomplish now that both of them are together again in the afterlife. Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon also offered their condolences. On the other hand, Rick Flair recalled the famous feud between The Road Warriors and the Four Horsemen, the faction he is a part of. According to Flair, their feud on the ring was one of the most iconic professional wrestling rivalries in history.
The Animal, who celebrated his 60th birthday early this month, passed away due to natural causes on Tuesday, September 22, at the Margaritaville Resort (formerly known as the Tan-Tar-A Resort) Osage Beach, Missouri.
A report from TMZ revealed that the police received a call from Laurinaitis’s wife on Tuesday night. The authorities declared him dead when they arrived at the scene. He and his wife were supposed to celebrate their wedding anniversary at the resort the day before he passed away.