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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » WWE Road Warriors - Life and Death
WWE Road Warriors - Life and Death
World Wrestling Entertainment // Unrated // June 14, 2005
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Robert Spuhler | posted July 3, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Depending on where you lived, they were the Road Warriors or the Legion of Doom. Their toughest foes were the Midnight Express or Demolition. They were good guys or they were bad guys.

But for the 1980s, Hawk and Animal were the pinnacle of tag team professional wrestling. At a time before non-Hulk Hogan wrestlers could be movie stars, the Road Warriors were bigger than life figures in the wrestling game.

Road Warriors takes the viewer on a tour of the group's life, beginning in Minnesota and ending with the death of Hawk in 2003. In usual WWE DVD fashion, the disc is just as attractive, if not more so, for its extras than the main feature.

Meeting first in Minnesota at a gym, Hawk and Animal were never mat technicians. They didn't wear opponents down in the ring. They just beat up whoever got in their way. One of the first teams to combine power and energy in such a way (along with facepaint and spiked football pads), the duo quickly gained a huge audience of fans thirsty for blood.

The WWE does a solid job with the main feature documentary. Interviews with Animal and Paul Ellering, the Road Warriors' manager, are interspersed with those of admirers, opponents, and friends to encapsulate what the team meant to the quasi-sport. Especially interesting is footage of Animal touring his old hometown and some of the haunts so influential in the pairing's history.

(NOTE: In old interviews, all references to the WWF are muted on the "F." The "scratch" logo is censored as well.)

The DVD

Video:

The full-screen presentation of Road Warriors is up to the usual high standard of WWE DVD releases. The interviews look great, while the match footage ranges from solid to poor, depending on the age of the footage.

Audio:

The main presentation is in 5.1 Dolby Digital, but that's rather unnecessary for what is, at its heart, a documentary. Still, the sound is solid.

Extras:

Each menu page starts with Hawk's "Ooooh, what a rush!" It's cool the first time, palatable the second, then headache inducing the third and subsequent times.

Matches on Disc 1:

Road Warriors vs. Joe Young/Randy Barber – NWA/Georgia 1983
Road Warriors vs. Arn Anderson/Paul Jones – NWA/Georgia 1983
Road Warriors vs. The Brisco Brothers (Texas Tornado Match) – NWA/WCW 1983*
Road Warriors vs. Mike Jackson/Stone – NWA/Georgia 1983
Road Warriors vs. Baron von Raschke/The Crusher – AWA 1984 *
Matches on Disc 2:
Road Warriors vs. Larry and Curt Henig – AWA 1985
Road Warriors vs. The Fabulous Freebirds – AWA 1985
Road Warriors vs. Magnum TA/Ronnie Garvin – Crockett Cup 1986 *
Road Warriors vs. Ivan and Nikita Koloff (Russian Chain Match) – NWA 1986
Road Warriors vs. Midnight Express (Scaffold Match) – NWA 1986
Road Warriors vs. Tully Blanchard/Arn Anderson – NWA 1987
Road Warriors vs. Midnight Express – NWA 1988
Road Warriors vs. Demolition – WWF 1991
Road Warriors vs. Hart Foundation – WWF 1991
Road Warriors vs. Hulk Hogan/Genichiro Tenryu – WWF 1991 *
Road Warriors vs. The Nasty Boys – WWF 1991
Road Warriors vs. Money, Inc. – WWF 1992
Road Warriors vs. Sting/Lex Luger – WCW 1996
Road Warriors vs. The Godwinns – WWF 1997
* - Alternate Commentary by Jim Ross and Animal

When watching the matches on their own, outside of any storylines that the respective federations might have set up, one fact is glaringly obvious: The Road Warriors were limited in the ring. Most of the team's matches involve the same moves, sometimes in the same sequence. Therefore, the best matches came against teams that could make the usual Warriors routine seem fresh and inspired. That mainly comes on the second disc, especially against Blanchard and Anderson, the Hart Foundation and Sting and Lex Luger.

The most disappointing choice comes in the Midnight Express feud. For this disc, the WWE chose the scaffold match from Starrcade 1986. This unnecessarily risky idea put both teams on a scaffold high above the ring (high enough that, when a non-wrestler is thrown off at some point, he blows out both of his knees on impact). The entire match, then, ends up being four big guys trying really hard to not fall off while fake punching each other. These two teams combined for some classic matches, and this one certainly wouldn't make that list.

The audio and video quality of the extras varies wildly based on the time of the event. The older footage on disc one is in pretty poor shape, but the more recent footage looks respectable. On the alternate commentaries, Jim Ross sounds like he's talking into a tin can, and both Ross and Animal are overwhelmed at times from sounds of the match.

The rest of the extras come on disc one, including a myriad of on-air interviews, a tour of Animal's trophy room, with dolls and other merchandise, a two-part tribute to Hawk from the television show WWE Confidential, more interview cuts with Paul Ellering and Michael Hayes, and a Road Warriors music video that looks like it's from the early-to-mid 80s. Yes, it's Animal and Hawk "singing." Sample lyric: "It's going to be a rumble tonight! Because we're the Warriors – that's right!"

Final Thoughts:

It's an interesting nostalgia trip to watch Road Warriors for anyone who grew up on wrestling, whether it is teenagers who remember the team from its WWF stint in the 1990s or people my age who watched the classic Road Warriors/Four Horsemen feuds in 1980s NWA. Time has not been kind to the way the Road Warriors worked matches, but this two disc set it is a fun and well made reminder of just how big a phenomenon the team was at its peak.
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