In a recent hour plus interview on WGD Weekly with Steve and the Scum, WWE Hall of Famer Road Warrior Animal relived his entire career and all points before and after as part of a tribute show, honoring the tenth anniversary of Road Warrior Hawk’s passing. In addition, “Precious” Paul Ellering makes comments on Hawk and Ellering’s daughter, Rachael, speaks about growing up with the L.O.D. and her aspirations to become a WWE superstar. You can check out the entire “WGD Weekly Tribute to Road Warrior Hawk” above. Here are some highlights:
How they got the names Animal and Hawk: “I played traditional sports like football and everything else, and Hawk got his nickname because during the football games as I was playing, Hawk was underneath the bleachers beating up people. So we may have lost the football game, but Hawk was 5-0 underneath the bleachers, so that’s how he got his name and I got the name Animal because everything I touched, I either broke or… in high school I broke every record for lifting there was for my weight class, so that’s why people started calling me the Animal.”
Working as a bouncer at Grandma B’s bar with Hawk, Rick Rude, Barry Darsow, Scott Norton, and John Nord: “You gotta understand, Grandma B’s was one of these places, it wasn’t your friendly neighborhood bar. You’d have had to been a real idiot to mess up at that bar, even though there was probably on any given night 2,500 to 5,000 people in the bar. You had myself and Hawk, ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude, Nord the Barbarian, Scott Norton, and guys like that all working along with Barry Darsow, all working at the same time at the same bar. It was kind of crazy. Rude was probably 235 and he was the smallest guy”
Nearly giving up on the wrestling business before the Road Warriors ever even teamed up and the formation of the team: “Ole Anderson had just brought me in there and was gonna call me the Road Warrior. He brought Rude and I down there together, that was back at the time when all those guys were having this big war on who’s gonna take over Georgia Championship Wrestling. That’s when Ole Anderson sent me to Charlotte.
“If any young wrestlers are out there and think that this wrestling game is easy, let me tell you how it was in my first run with Jim Crockett Promotions. I lived one time on probably for a week on a bag of pretzel sticks and a half a gallon of milk and I only made about a hundred and fifty bucks working nine times a week. At the time Hawk, went up and tried to work in Vancouver. I got in the ring with some great guys, I got to wrestle Ricky Steamboat, I got to wrestle Ric Flair, I got to wrestle Jack Brisco,those guys saw something in me that I didn’t even see, that I didn’t know existed. Visit Wrestling Inc. It was a learning experience, I wouldn’t want to do it again. When I left and Hawk got done in Canada, we pretty much said, ‘forget this wrestling business, man, it sucks.’ Then I got call from Ole Anderson again. The first thing I said to him was, ‘You know, Ole, I really want to beat the heck out of you right now, I don’t even want to talk to you. I starved, I lost fifty pounds.’ nd he apologized and said, ‘Listen, I want to bring you and Mike in and call you guys the Road Warriors.’ We said, ‘ok, we’ll give it one more shot.”
Initially being paired up with Paul Ellering: “Of course the best teacher we had of all, was Paul Ellering. We were like the Three Musketeers, man, Paul used to take the time out of his day and draw the ring on a napkin and say, ‘ok Animal you’re here and Hawk, you’re here.’ He more or less talked to me more because I was more like the ring general out there. I would know what everybody had to do in the ring and that was by the help of Paul. He was terrific with that. Ole said, ‘listen, you idiots just go on the camera and be big and mean and let this guy do the talking,’ and then that’s exactly what we did. Then we started easing ourselves into it. Paul would give a suggestion, Animal say something about this, Hawk say something about this. After a while, nobody needed to tell us what to say. They put him with us because he knew the wrestling business and he could teach us the wrestling business. We learned a lot from him. It looked real.”
The origins of the “Road Warrior look”: “We were sitting there with Bill Watts and Ole Anderson. At the time, Bill Watts had just gave Dewey, the Missing Link the paint. Down there in Louisiana, they said we want you guys to put a couple lines on your face. Then Hawk came up with the brilliant idea, hey, why doesn’t Animal get a Mohawk and I’ll do the reverse Mohawk, so we can look like we can plug our heads into each other. I said, ‘man, are you friggin’ nuts?’ But, we ended up doing it and it worked. Later on, I did the spikes in my garage, next thing you know, we had the spiked shoulder pads.”
Dealing with Greg Gagne showing them animosity in AWA: “At the time, Greg Gagne had a little bit of an attitude toward us. He was the booker and his dad owned the company. But, we took care of that real quick. We wrestled Greg and Jim in Winnipeg and I think Hawk press slammed Greg and threw him in about the third row. That took care of that.”
The Warriors refusing to drop the titles to the Fabulous Ones: “YOu guys know our gimmick, we are street fighters. They wanted to do a finish called the ‘switch-a-roo.’ I kept looking to Paul, we were in the locker room and I said, ‘man, that ain’t right. It just doesn’t feel right.’ They give us the finish in the locker room, we say, ‘ok, we’re gonna do it, we go to the ring.’ First thing Hawk says to Keirn and Lane, he says, ‘We ain’t doin’ the finish. Listen to us and nobody will get hurt.’ We came back to the locker room and Greg Gagne is yelling. Verne come down to the locker room and says, ‘Jeez, nobody has changed a finish on me in 25 years.’ I said, ‘Well Verne, first time for everything, we just did.”
The Powers of Pain feud, the eye injury, and Warlord and Barbarian going to WWF before the culmination of that feud: “Warlord was a good friend of mine. I helped train him. Barbarian is a great guy, a good friend of mine, we all worked out together. A lot of people don’t realize with that bench press contest… the night before in Hammond, Indiana, Warlord went to do a Samoan slam with me and landed on my head and he popped out my left eye and when it went back in it went in too far. In one move I had a skull fracture, a fractured cheek bone, a broken nose, and my orbital rim was shattered. The next night in Greensboro, my eye was shattered and I still ended up doing a ridiculous 545 or whatever it was with my orbital socket blown out. People didn’t know because I painted over the swelling.
“Then we were supposed to do scaffold matches, Warlord and Barbarian came to me and said, ‘listen, Joe, actually we’re really kind of afraid to go up on those scaffolds.’ I said, ‘bro, listen, I really don’t want to go up there with you two big guys anyway.’ At the time, Hawk was the lightest guy and he was 270. On that three foot wide scaffold, I didn’t trust it. Warlord came and talked to me, he said, ‘we’re thinking about going to the WWF.’ I said, ‘my recommendation to you is go, because you guys are gonna fall off that scaffold. I ain’t falling off that scaffold, and you’re too big to jump off that scaffold.’ They didn’t refuse anything, they came as a friend and asked and respected me. I told them, ‘I’d go to the WWF tomorrow if I was you,’ and they actually kind of did go the next day.”
Their move to WWF and first dealings with Vince McMahon: “At the time Vince had the Ultimate Warrior. At first he tried to tell us, nobody knows who you are up here. I said, ‘Vince, come on, they know who we are.’ He said, ‘well, I gotta change your name, I can’t call you the Road Warriors, I got the Ultimate Warrior.’ Hawk and I were thinking, ‘that’s kind of dumb that he is acting like this.’ So, we said, ‘how about the Legion of Doom?’ And we used that, at the time, there was no rhyme or reason to anything he did. I was just literal chaos. People that you think should be wrestling each other were not wrestling each other and it was just the opposite, the other way around.”
“I even cornered Vince McMahon one time, I told him I feel like you’re backing us in a corner here and you’re really starting to piss me off.”
His thoughts on Ryback, John Cena and some of the problems with current product: “One thing that they have gotten away from a little bit is now they shove people down the people’s throat so much that they don’t get a chance to have a relationship with the fans. One guy, for instance, that wasn’t ready for the push, a guy like Ryback was not ready. You throw him on pay per view and you end up killing him on every pay per view. What does that do for Ryback? Nothing. Guy looks like a million dollars. Talk about someone similar to Goldberg, he looks just like Bill Goldberg. But then you kill him every pay per view, and god bless, John Cena who is a great champion, but he is another guy that they shove down people’s throat, and a lot of people don’t care for it. The people have to choose who they look up to.”