A new installment to a series I debuted way back in 2008. More of professional wrestling’s weirdos, creeps and freaks!
One of the greatest and most popular tag teams of all-time were Hawk & Animal, collectively known as The Road Warriors. They were often referred to as the Legion of Doom as well but that was only officially their tag team name while working for the WWF.
In the 1980’s, few wrestlers had as much muscles, power, energy and intimidation factor as these two guys did. People loved them so much that promotions couldn’t keep these guys as heels and they spent most of their career playing the role of good guys.
There were a few variations/spin-offs to the team throughout the years. Hawk (as Hawk Warrior) formed a team called The Hellraisers with Kensuke Sasaki (as Power Warrior) in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Hawk & Animal got a WWF Attitude era update as “LOD 2000” and were briefly a three-man team with Droz. After Hawk passed away, Animal found himself back in the WWF in 2005 with an awful new version of the Legion of Doom with Heidenreich as his partner. The final (?) variation of the team came in the form of The Hell Warriors in All-Japan Pro Wrestling where Animal (as Animal Warrior) was partnered up with Sensuke’s Power Warrior.
None of these versions ever captured half of the popularity, mystique and chemistry and Hawk & Animal had during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Ax and Smash of Demolition were the WWF’s answer to the NWA’s Road Warriors. Ax was played by Bill Eadie while Smash was originally portrayed by Randy “Moondog Rex” Colley. A contract dispute with Colley led to Barry Darsow taking over as Smash.
As a kid, these guys were terrifying to me. The studs, face paint, leather and black masks gave me the heebie jeebies. If a team like this came out today, I would just think they had an S&M gimmick, but as a child, these guys were scary monster. I remember the build-up to SummerSlam 1990 and thinking that the Hart Foundation had no chance against Demolition.
With Ax’s health failing, a third member named Crush was eventually brought in and Ax was slowly phased out of the group and the WWF. Smash & Crush didn’t have the same amount of success that Ax & Smash did. At this point, the WWF had already signed the originals (the Road Warriors) anyway, so there was no need for Demolition anymore.
Smash went on to become the Repo Man in the WWF (and assumed various other gimmicks in WCW) while Crush became a fan favorite who the Hawaiian culture, then became a biker, then simply became himself (Bryan Adams).
Believe it or not, Ax & Smash still occasionally team together on the independent wrestling circuit and there were apparently two short-lived Demolition members under the names of Blast and Hux on the indy scene as well.
Okay, this is the last of the Road Warriors imitators. I promise.
The Powers of Pain were made up of The Warlord and The Barbarian. They originally debuted as heels in the NWA in late 1987 to feud with The Road Warriors. They lasted about a year before jumping to the WWF as faces to feud with the heel team of Demolition to determine which team was the better Road Warriors ripoff. The team split up in 1990 and went on to have mid-card singles careers in the WWF for a few more years.
The Barbarian jumped to WCW in the early ’90s, then came back to the WWF under the name of Sione as a new member of The Headshrinkers, then back to WCW in 1995 where he became a member of the Dungeon of Doom and stayed with the company until it was bought out by the WWF. The Warlord has occasionally wrestled on the independent scene ever since leaving the WWF in 1992. An car accident in 1996 put him in retirement for a few years.
In 1996, the Powers of Pain reunited for one match in WCW under the name of The Super Assassins when they wrestled Lex Luger & Sting on an edition of WCW Monday Nitro. Like Ax & Smash, the team has periodically reunited for various small promotions.
Speaking of imitators…
You can’t blame this one on TNA (not at first, at least). As much as TNA loves to copy the WWE and as much as Abyss seemed like an amalgamation of Mankind and Kane, the character is not an original TNA creation. The Abyss character originally debuted in 2002 in Puerto Rico’s International Wrestling Association.
Once signing with TNA, the character was fleshed out (a bit). From the masks to the mannerisms to the back story to the hardcore matches, Abyss was most definitely inspired by the WWF’s Mankind and Kane characters. And just like those characters, he seems to be involved in some of the worst feuds and angles in TNA’s history.
That’s not to say that Chris Parks isn’t an entertaining wrestler. He’s had some fantastic hardcore brawls and even very good matches against the likes of AJ Styles, but this character has never worked for me.
The Zombie was a one-match joke from when the WWE version of ECW premiered on the Sci-Fi Network. The story goes that Sci-Fi execs wanted the WWE to have something that tied into the channel’s typical sci-fi/horror/fantasy programming so Paul Heyman came up with us the Zombie on the fly and had the Sandman cane the snot out of him. The Zombie was never seen again.
The Great Muta
The Great Muta has always been a unique and mysterious character with a number of interesting looks with the ever-present mist that he sprays into the faces of his opponents. I remember flipping through the channels one time as a kid and catching him attacking and spraying mist into the eyes of Ric Flair (at an airport?) and it freaked me out.
I can’t imagine how scared I would be if I saw the later incarnation of the Great Muta who wore many demonic masks.