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Delivering an inside account of one of wrestling's most famous fighters, this autobiography offers a rare chance to learn about Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis's life both inside and outside the ring. Revealing riveting stories about his participation in the 1980s and 1990s superstar wrestling team the Road Warriors, it recounts memorable fights with his partner Mike "Hawk" Hegstrand. He describes how he and Mike rose to become a revolutionary tag team—reinventing themselves with spiky accessories and wearing face paint...
Delivering an inside account of one of wrestling's most famous fighters, this autobiography offers a rare chance to learn about Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis's life both inside and outside the ring. Revealing riveting stories about his participation in the 1980s and 1990s superstar wrestling team the Road Warriors, it recounts memorable fights with his partner Mike "Hawk" Hegstrand. He describes how he and Mike rose to become a revolutionary tag team—reinventing themselves with spiky accessories and wearing face paint before it was popular—and chronicles famous rivalries, movement between different wrestling associations, and dealing with Mike's longtime struggle with drugs and alcohol. He also invites fans into his personal life and discusses his family and newfound Christian faith. Featuring stories of incredible physical feats and deep-felt companionship, this testimony will help fans relive the glory days of a wrestling legacy.
"A riveting memoir that pulls no punches and is every bit as powerful as the pair that once dominated the wrestling scene." —Mike Mooneyham, Post and Courier (March 2011)
"In a business where so many copy so many others, the Road Warriors stand tall as originals in both performance and presentation and are undoubtedly the greatest professional tag team wrestling duo of all time." Powerlifting USA
"This excellent book will bring him back, hopefully to the WWE Hall of Fame."Alan Wojcik, Gerweck.net: Pro Wrestling and MMA News (March 4, 2011)
"If you are a fan of The Road Warriors, then you definitely want to read this book. The writing is easy to follow, and once you pick it up, you won’t put it down. In the end, The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling was a ‘rush.’" —Rick Rockwell, The Examiner
"An extraordinary tour de force, enthusiastically recommended to wrestling fans in general and Road Warrior fans in particular." —James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review (March 2011)
"A unique insight into professional wrestling. . . . Laurinaitis speaks with a welcome candor." —Publishers Weekly (February 2011)
I'm no dummy. There's no question that everyone who picks up this book wants to jump right into the story of Animal and Hawk and read the tales of the Road Warriors through the good, the bad, and the unbelievably ugly. So I've smashed my early years down to size for you here.
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.
But as I was settling in, not even two years later, I had to trade my flip flops for snow boots as my dad was transferred again, this time from Florida to Minnesota. It was like moving to Mars. I hated it ... at first.
Everything started making sense when I quickly proved myself at Irondale High School in Minnesota. At sixteen years old, I bench-pressed 300 pounds, beat out the baseball team's captain for his catcher's position during tryouts, and on the football team went from tight end to starting fullback my senior year. I was also still beating the hell out of anyone who messed with me and my brothers. Ask the poor sap who thought it would be funny to egg John's prized '66 Mustang.
In 1978, after being offered a partial scholarship to the football program, I entered Golden Valley Lutheran College in Golden Valley, Minnesota. By now I was six feet one and 225 pounds. As offensive guard, I was slamming the defense, helping our team go 6-0 my first year. By the end of my second and final year, I was twice named First-Team Junior College All American guard and a Second Team linebacker.
While at Golden Valley, I also met a guy named Scott Simpson, my cocaptain, my best friend, and the future National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) professional wrestling star "The Russian Nightmare," Nikita Koloff.
But everything changed before I was to begin my junior year at Brigham Young University. My serious girlfriend from Golden Valley, Nancy, was pregnant. I dropped out, got a dead-end job, married Nancy, and on February 22, 1981, welcomed my first son, Joey, into the world.
I quickly realized it wasn't the right time in my life to be married, and I divorced Nancy six months after Joey's birth. We shared equal custody.
At twenty-two years old, I was making a name for myself as a potential powerlifter. I weighed around 250 pounds and was benching 500 pounds. A couple of guys at The Gym, the most popular facility in the area, introduced me to the anabolic steroid Dianabol. Soon my strength and size skyrocketed even further.
At this point, my life really picked up steam, so hold on tight and prepare yourself for a hell of a ride ...
Excerpted from The Road Warriors by Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis Copyright © 2011 by Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis . Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted April 13, 2011
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