RIP to Philadelphia Native and WWE Hall of Famer Joe Laurinaitis
If you watched wrestling back in the day, you remember the “Legion of Doom” tag team duo, featuring Road Warriors Animal and Hawk.
Animal, real name Joe Laurinaitis, died Tuesday in Missouri at the age of 60. He was a Philadelphia native who found his way into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Here’s a cool memory shared by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark:
#RIP Road Warrior Animal
Born in Philadelphia. Met him at the Eagles Super Bowl 2 1/2 years ago. Was a nice man.
He recorded a message for my younger brother who is mentally challenged. My bro loved it. pic.twitter.com/TPvAFe4wHE
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 23, 2020
The Legion of Doom was always pretty badass. Exciting to watch and always put on a good show. They were a really popular tag team pair back in the day, and they were all over the place, wrestling in WWF, WCW, over in Japan, and then later on the independent circuit. Hawk died in 2003.
You may also recall that Animal’s son was a successful football player. James Laurinaitis was an Ohio State standout who won the Nagurski Award and was twice named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. He then went on to play eight NFL seasons. His brothers were also involved in wrestling.
Successful family, lots of natural talent there.
Here’s an excerpt from his memoir:
I was born Joseph Michael Laurinaitis to proud Lithuanian parents Joseph Anthony and Lorna Ann in Philadelphia on September 12, 1960. Following not too far behind me were my two brothers, John (1962) and Marc (1965).
As I grew up, I had memorable times learning how to play street hockey and football, squashing everyone who got in my way, including my poor brothers, and girls, too. I also developed a monstrous taste for fighting anyone who messed with us, whether they were coming from rival streets to take our toys or making fun of my last name (you can imagine). I also went to Catholic school, where the nuns’ rulers brutalized my knuckles. My offense? Being my good ol’ charming self.
When I was thirteen, we moved from Pennsylvania to Tampa, Florida, where I perfected my baseball skills, was voted best-looking guy in school, and discovered the world of weightlifting. The last discovery changed my life forever.