Wrestling superstar Joe Laurinaitis, better known as Road Warrior Animal, passed away this week at the age of 60. His son, James, played at Ohio State from 2005-08 and went on to play eight seasons in the NFL.
A prominent Ohio native took to Twitter late Wednesday night and offered his memories of the Road Warrior Animal: LeBron James. He certainly has many memories of the famed wrestler.
“My favorite tag-team of All-Time bro!! Forever Hawk & Animal,” James tweeted.
Authorities told TMZ Sports that Laurinaitis passed at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Mo.
“RIP Animal,love you my brother,” Hulk Hogan said in a statement on Wednesday. “I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of! God speed and blessings to your beautiful family,one love4Life.”
Laurinaitis was part of a fan favorite tag team with Road Warrior Hawk, who passed away from a heart attack in 2003.
“I don’t have the right words to say,” his son wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m absolutely crushed. I miss you already. I hate that I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Say hello to Mum Mum, Pop Pop, and Hawk for me. Thank you for your love and support and the many lessons you’ve taught me. I can’t believe you’re gone. I love you Dad.”
The Road Warriors were Hall of Fame wrestlers and tag-team champions across the world. The term “Road Warrior pop” is still used today in professional wrestling to describe reactions similar to the explosive chairs the duo received when they entered the ring. The Road Warriors initially built their fame in the territory system in the 1980s, including Japan, Minnesota’s AWA and Jim Crockett Promotions in the Carolinas.
The Road Warriors went national in the 1990s with runs in both major promotions, the WCW and WWF, where they were two-time champions. Animal won a third tag-team championship in WWE with a different partner, and entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 alongside Hawk, Shawn Michaels, Paul Ellering, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bob Armstrong, Abdullah the Butcher and Sunny.
247Sports’ Brad Crawford contributed to this report.