There are many tag teams synonymous with professional wrestling and your own personal list will depend on when you grew up watching the business.
For some it’ll be The Hart Foundation or The British Bulldogs. Others will rank The Fabulous Freebirds, The North-South Connection, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express or The Midnight Express as their number one. Whoever is your personal preference, and there are countless to choose from, The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom and The Natural Disasters will be on most people’s lists.
Recently, the world of professional wrestling mourned the loss of Joseph ‘Animal’ Laurinaitis. It hit everyone hard from former manger Paul Ellering to a generation of devotees who hadn’t grown up with the star but had got to know him through his legendary body of work.
One of the people the loss of Animal hit hardest, was former rival and tag team specialist Fred ‘Typhoon’ Ottman. Recently, Ottman gave an interview to The Wrestling Inc. Daily Podcast while appearing at the Toomey Tools’ Oktoberfest in Florida.
While the subjects of the conversation varied, the overall theme seemed to be gratitude for the time he got to spend with his friends on the road.
Speaking on the death of Road Warrior Animal, Ottman recalled the very last conversation he had with his friend the weekend prior to his passing:
“We would send messages. I post a lot of messages on my Facebook page. A lot of wrestling photos and where we worked and wrestling posters. He would comment and say something. We would comment back and forth. He would send me messages because my wife has been in dire health. For the last two months I’ve had issues with my lower legs. He would talk to me online a lot about that stuff.”
The genuine upset Ottman feels over the loss of his friend will touch fans of the golden age of wrestling when WWE was World Wrestling Federation and everything seemed to be a lot simpler both in and out of the ring.
He wasn’t done talking about Animal, however, and continued the conversation as he discussed at length the appreciation he has for every chance to see his old friends. These included Jimmy Hart, who attended the event alongside the former Typhoon.
“Between music and promotion, he is there and able to do everything. He is the wrestler’s manager, wrestler’s wrestler, whatever you want to call him. Jimmy is just awesome. When I get to see him and have the opportunity, he has a lot of stuff still with Hogan. Just being a part of it and doing these events and the wrestling cons, that’s the best part of this. Seeing guys. We were just talking today about how we are losing guys and just lost Animal. I posted a picture of all four of us [Road Warriors and Natural Disasters] in the ring together. People were like, “Oh my God.” I miss my friend. I’ve been on the phone talking to Animal. I talk to Bobby Fulton. There are a lot of guys. Luke the Bushwhacker is a friend of mine. I like to talk to him once a week or every couple of weeks. I feel that way about a lot of guys. These events you also get to meet some of the new and young talent. I’m still a wrestling fan.”
The Natural Disasters and The Legion of Doom began their rivalry at SummerSlam 1991 when a heel Typhoon and Earthquake targeted Andre the Giant after the gigantic duo had crushed The Bushwhackers.
Racing to the rescue of the legendary ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Animal and Hawk initiated a rivalry with the behemoths over the WWF Tag Team Championships which L.O.D would captured from The Nasty Boys later that night.
The teams met in the main event of the 1991 Survivor Series in a traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match which saw The Legion of Doom and Big Boss Man defeat The Natural Disasters and Irwin R. Schyster.
Away from live events where Earthquake and Typhoon had challenged the popular double act numerous times, Legion of Doom successfully defended the WWF Tag Team Championships against The Natural Disasters on the October 28, 1991, edition of WWF on MSG Network and again in the Tokyo Dome on December 12 at SWS: SuperWrestle.
Their biggest and most memorable bout, however, came at the 1992 Royal Rumble when then Disasters prevailed via countout.
In February 1992, Animal and Hawk took a short sabbatical from the company which necessitated The Natural Disasters undergo a babyface turn in order to challenge new champions, Money Inc.
Credit for the interview and transcript: The Wrestling Inc. Daily Podcast