The wrestling world lost a legend this week with the passing of Joe Laurinaitis aka Animal. One half of the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom, Animal won multiple tag titles alongside partner Hawk and together they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Towards the end of his in-ring career, Animal did an international tour where he worked with a young Aleister Black in Europe. Black was asked about Animal’s impact on his career when he joined Table Talk w/ DVon.
“[Animal] was actually the first person to tell me to go to WWE,” revealed Black. “I tagged with him for a company in Germany called Westside Xtreme Wrestling which was my home company at the time and they did these shows called Superstars of Wrestling where they would bring in legends. Basically, anyone who has been wrestling and still is, they bring and they run shows with them. He was very soft, very kind, really took the time that he didn’t have to do to teach me things, tell me things. I kind of bonded with him. Afterward, even once in a while, when I would run into him, he was always kind, always giving me advice.
“He was a firm believer in myself, which in that being said, that meant the world to me. So, this morning, the first thing I did when I woke up, I grabbed my phone as I was walking down the stairs and I see this news that he, unfortunately, passed away. So yeah, that took me for a second and I sat down for a little bit and kind of took a few minutes to kind of process that because despite my personal interactions with him, the entire world has lost one of the greats. I think no debate on anyone’s mind, that he was one of the greats. So yeah, it was a thing, absolutely.”
Black mentioned he got the opportunity to team with Animal but he was asked if he ever got the change to lock up with Animal in the ring.
“As I said, I have not. I tagged with him. I have not tagged against him, but just being in the ring with him and going through the paces, the little cues of me during that match was something ? the advice that he gave me is something that I legit still use to today. And I have passed on to the generation that is now coming in with me and even some of the newer kids,” stated Black. “It’s something that I still teach today. The guy was a wealth of knowledge and like I said, very soft-spoken. We lost one of the greats today. We did.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Table Talk w/ DVon with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.