Over 30 years later, Demolition and The Road Warriors still draw comparisons to one another.
The Golden Era of WWE (1983-1992) can be defined by many figures, but within the tag team division, two duos stood out in particular — Demolition and The Road Warriors (aka Legion of Doom). While both teams achieved their own successes, their presentations were often compared to one another. They each wore face paint and often adorned their black gear with spikes. The Road Warriors’ spikes were much more prominent though.
As such, many have been curious if Demolition (Ax & Smash), who formed a few years after The Road Warriors, took direct inspiration from Hawk and Animal when crafting their look. In a recent appearance on The Wrestling Perspective Podcast, Barry Darsow (who portrayed Smash) described how their gimmick was presented to him by WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
“He had pictures of what the gimmick was going to look like. So, when I when I met up at his office, when I quit [Jim] Crockett’s territory, he flew me up there. He says, ‘Barry, this is what I’d like you to do.’ And he had a picture of what the Demolition would look like with that mask and the smaller spikes and leather. And he said, ‘What do you think of it?’ I said, ‘I love it,’ but I never even thought of The Road Warriors. I don’t even know why I never thought of that, because it looked different.”
“And then I said, ‘Well, who would my partner be?’ And he said, ‘It’ll be Bill Eadie.’ Well, I knew Bill Eadie from being the Masked Superstar. He was one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He’s not going to be just that strongman guy. He’s going to be taking guys down. It’s a whole different wrestling than what The Road Warriors were doing. So that’s why later on, like the last ten years, somebody says, oh, they’re copies of The Road Warriors, whatever. I never heard that for 30 years until just in the last ten years. So, it’s like somebody said that and then went, ‘Oh, right. They were like The Road Warriors up there.’ Well, you see, I never knew that.”
Later on in the interview, Darsow was asked if there was any creative pitch that they were excited for that ultimately fell through or was scrapped by WWE. “Well, I thought when The Road Warriors came in [in 1990], I thought that was going to put us to the next level,” Darsow said. “We were really excited for them to come in because they were our friends. Plus, they were an over tag team. But the way it was all put together, it just was a huge let down. It was a let down for those guys too, because we’ve all talked about it. It was like, ‘why did they do that?’”
“And I think what it was, was they were trying to kill us off. But the people weren’t the people weren’t letting us get killed off. [WWE] wanted The Road Warriors over as babyfaces, but they were heels. They should have kept them as heels because they would have gone over as heels. So, that was one of the moments that I thought that would have put us into a whole nother category. It ended up going the other way. It made us worse. And that was when Crush came in and all that too.”
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