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WRESTLING COLUMNS

A Legacy Passed Down"
November 1, 2005 by Jesse Lee


The night was July 14, 2005. Something felt new on this night, but I was unable to place my finger on it. Could it be that it was due to the Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero feud might be taking a new twist" No. Could it be that I was pissed off at how the Muhammad Hassan character was coming" Well, probably, but that wasn't it. Then it hit me, as I remembered that Animal has signed back up with the WWE, I was anticipating on how the reaction would be on the appearance of one-half of my all time favorite tag team.

It worried me. Although Hawk was the more talented one of the two, you cannot help but hold some envy for Animal carrying on the LOD. I remember watching him and Hawk team up throughout late 1997 and early 1998 and going up against the uprising team of the New Age Outlaws. I remember getting angry every time they were humiliated and even saddened when the two had "disappeared" from the WWF. On the night of March 29, 1998 at WrestleMania 14, my first WWF Pay Per View, my friend and I were in total shock once we heard the LOD's theme music hit and the reaction was tremendous. I can't begin to describe exactly how that felt to find out that your favorite tag team was back and with a new look.

Of course, time passes. Now it is 2005, I am officially a "smark," and the better member of the Road Warriors has passed on. I heard that fans for wrestling were always changing, what was new in 1997 is new in 2005 or 2006, depending on what happened. Due to this, I was surprised at the reaction Animal received when he ran out to help Heidenreich from a beating at the hands of MNM. This, of course, was the new beginning of a legendary tag team.

While by far not as great as it once was, the LOD name "officially" began to carry on during the night of August 18, 2005. On this night, Animal passed down the spike pads to Heidenreich. When I first saw this, I began to have memories of the LOD moments of the past, both good and bad. This is when the question started, how will the LOD name be carried on"

So far, with an impressive win-loss streak going, this newer version seems to be hitting off on the right foot. A slow process will probably be carried out for the next few years. Animal seems to be instructing the not-so-impressive Heidenreich ring tips on how to use the Road Warrior psychology and to improve his in-ring technique. So although Heidenreich isn't as great as Hawk was, he will still be responsible for having the chance of passing on the name of the Legion of Doom, the question is, who will replace Animal"

I realize that there is plenty of time for this to happen and knowing the WWE, it may never happen. As for me, I'm searching for someone with ring experience, yet, still fresh in the industry. The requirements would be that they need a "tough-guy" look, size, athleticism, and a drive to help the name of the Legion of Doom once again hit the top of the wrestling circuit.

My top three picks are Matt Morgan, Antonio Banks, and Gene Snitsky. Here is why...

Matt Morgan: After two unsuccessful runs in the WWE, Morgan is now wrestling in Japan, improving his ring skills and maybe even practicing his mic skills. After a period of time, the WWE could offer this huge, yet, athletic-enough athlete a contract to sign back up. Morgan could add the athleticism and promo skills to the team much like how Hawk did. Heidenreich would fill the anger role of the team. I actually think this team could really work if given a chance; it seems like a fitting role for both wrestlers.

Antonio Banks: Antonio Banks is an indy wrestler, whom had showed up in ROH and TNA a few times and even on RAW and SD! Brand dark matches! He isn't too well known and has an impressive size to play this role. It could give him a great chance to shine, especially if Animal stays a while to be a manager of the team.

Gene Snitsky: Now here's the controversial part. Snitsky isn't much of star quality and his career is most likely dead after the whole Kane-Matt-Lita-Snitsky-Edge storyline. This change could revive his career much like it did with Heidenreich's. I think Snitsky has decent skills on the mic and with more practicing, he could get even better. The bad thing is, neither Heidenreich nor Snitsky have any talent to put each over unless the storyline writers use them as an unstoppable force.

This is not an attempt at overanalyzing the WWE, nor is it a way for me to offer any booking suggestions towards the WWE. This is just a column about how I believe the Road Warriors are reviving as a newer version and a few examples of how I believe they could get over once Animal decides his time is done. This could also pave the way for a long line of Legion of Doom versions to come in the future. Just imagine it; in the year 2008, you are watching Heidenreich and new member Matt Morgan win the tag team titles. Then, in the year 2030, one of the two pass the legacy of the Road Warriors onto you to help you become the next member of LOD. It is a fantasy, yes, but it could be real... and let me tell you, it'd be quite a rush.

by Jesse Lee ..


Jacob Kuhn wrote:
While I am glad you have some enthusiasm for your favorite tag team perhaps having some sort of immortality through other wrestlers, I feel it's necessary for me to tell you that the best thing to do is just move on.

The Road Warriors are without a doubt the greatest tag team of all time. To watch them in their prime, the mauled through their competition in a way that no other tag team had or ever will again. They dominated both the AWA and NWA before coming to WWF as the LOD and doing the same thing.

BUT, it's not something that can be carried on forever. In fact, any other incarnation of the Road Warriors/LOD is nothing but a mockery of the original. No one will ever live up to the original and any future incarnations are nothing except a cheap way to make money. It's sad and disrespectful to the team and to Hawk.

So that being said, Animal and Heidenreich are NOT the Legion of Doom. They are simply Heidenreich and Animal. I mean honestly, if Jeff Jarrett started calling himself the "Nature Boy," would people take him seriously" Probably not. If John Cena started calling his fans "Hulkamaniacs" would anyone think he was anything but an idiot" Probably not. This double standard should not apply to tag teams. The Road Warriors are gone now because Hawk is dead. Let them live in their legend and don't tarnish that legend with second and third rate tag teams trying to capitlize on their legacy.
Mike Adams wrote:
To me the whole Heidenreich as a Road Warrior smells worse than Lance Von Erich or Kona Crush becoming a member of demolition. No matter what you do or who you add, its still a copy of an original, which causes it to lose its luster in the process. If they can make it work as a tag team for themselves more power to them, but sometimes its just better just to leave the past where it belongs, in the past.
Jim Rush wrote:
I couldn't agree more, I'm afraid there may be alot of negative feedback to this column but I've been arguing with my friends for a couple of months now that, if for nothing more than their sheer size, strength, and presence John Heidenreich and Matt Morgan would be a great duo to make a dominate tag team. When Animal's wrestling days are over why not have him be a "manager" who could also step in the ring occasionally, a la Paul Ellering.
Ike Eisen wrote:
The idea of a gimmick being perpetuated over the years by different wrestlers isn't new, but I think it usually works only when the gimmick is:

A. a masked man gimmick | B. a stable gimmick

A masked man gimmick can live on by simply finding a replacement with a physique similar to the original. There's been at least three guys who played Doink in the WWF, and while the gimmick is now seen as crap by some, it became wrestlecrap only when the character turned face, not because Matt Borne (Original Doink) was replaced by other wrestlers. Part of the Tiger Mask gimmick is that it IS supposed to be handed down from one generation of wrestler to another.

Stable gimmicks like the nWo and Four Horsemen worked with various lineups because stables operate as gangs. You have a clear leader and his enforcers, which is a different dynamic compared to a two-man team. Of course, the lineup in a stable doesn't always pan out (e.g., the Horsemen with Paul Roma), but I do think fans are more open to the idea of a stable replacing its members, compared to a tag team changing members...provided you find the right replacements to fit the roles vacated by the original members.

That's what keeps revamped tag teams from being taken seriously. The dynamic in a two-man partnership is different from the dynamic you have in a larger group. The prominence of the replacement is magnified in a two-man team compared to a new stable member stepping into the lineup. What more if the replacement has to fill the shoes left by a larger-than-life figure.

If anything, I'd say Heidenreich's repackaging is more an indication of WWE's failure to create new, credible stars. Look how many times they have had to rely on blasts from the past in their shows just to give the rub to their current talent. The LOD themselves were brought in to put over Kane and Rob Van Dam as Tag Team Champs, because they had no one else in their roster to do the job.
Jesse Lee wrote:
While I'm not a big fan of responding to one's own column in order to speak back to the comments received, I think I have to say this.

While it's true that nothing passed on will never be as good as they origional, you have to remember that wrestling is traditional in spirit. Ric Flair took "the Nature Boy" and brought it to a new level. Tiger Mask has passed his name on to three others. Rey Mysterio Jr. was given permission to use the name Rey Mysterio out of respect from his uncle, Rey Misterio. Villano was an origional and has passed his name down onto four others.

Final point is that names are always passed down in the wrestling industry, whether it be with or without the permission of the former. The fact is, Vince own the LOD name and can use it at his own will. How could anyone speak for Hawk when no one really knows his opinions" That's just like people trying to tell Matt Hardy how to live his life. I'd rather enjoy seeing a lagacy move on into the future, especially a tag team name. Think of how much of a push a new team could get once they've "earned" a legendary team's name. Of course this won't happen and even if it did, WWE would surely give it to a couple of jobbers down the line.
Ian Stuart wrote:
I am in agreement, the LOD are one of the finest tag teams ever to grace the planet and there legacy deserves to live on. It seems as though even though LOD are the legends they they are they were not given the same push as some more undeserving teams. The LOD's title reigns seemed to be less than others and why can the Dudleys and the New Age Outlaws have won the titles as many times as they did and the LOD did not. Long live the LOD
Ike Eisen wrote (in response to Ian Stuart):
Part of the reason why Hawk and Animal never had long title reigns in the WWF was because their characters were toned down to fit the company's cartoony, kid-friendly promotion.

Another reason was because if they kept the belts for a long time, people would get bored and would demand a change.

And the third reason...well, the LOD's second run was crap because Vince Russo hated them and worked to discredit them any way he could.
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