Where Are They Now? The Warlord
At 6-foot-5 and more than 300 pounds, The Warlord was a perfect fit inside the ring. This is true, but only came to fruition by chance. (PHOTOS)
It just so happened one night in 1986 that Terry Szopinski was working out at The Gym in Minnesota -- one owned by WWE legend Road Warrior Animal. The former World Tag Team Champion took notice of Szopinski immediately and after talking together, Terry was on the road to the ring.
"I went into training with Ed Sharkey and then Animal came back," recalled The Warlord. "We sat down and came up with a name, then he grabbed a couple pictures and brought them to Dusty Rhodes and the NWA."
Soon after The Warlord was born, getting his start in North Carolina's branch of the NWA. It was there, early in his career, that Szopinski joined forces with The Barbarian to become The Powers of Pain.
"We both were bad guys at the time and both our characters went along so well together, so we just fit really well as a team."
As a duo, The Powers of Pain achieved great success and had a notable rivalry with another legendary ring tandem.
"Working with The Road Warriors was incredible," stated the former Superstar. "To me, they are the best tag team of all time."
The Powers of Pain's peak success in NWA, and against Animal & Hawk, came not as a pair, but as a trio. The Warlord & The Barbarian enlisted in-ring legend Ivan Koloff to win the Six-Man Tag Team Championships.
"Ivan Koloff was a machine and could work forever," he remembered. "I learned a lot from him."
Unfortunately, The Powers of Pain's time in NWA was coming to a close. The instinct of self-preservation came into play when the intimidating duo were asked to face The Road Warriors in a series of Scaffold Matches -- bouts where competitors fight on a platform high above the ring with the loser being the one who falls from it -- in this case, The Warlord & The Barbarian.
"We knew we were going to be the ones taking the fall, and being 300-plus pounds, you're going to blow your knees out doing that."
When one door closes, however, another one opens. Before long, The Warlord and his tag team partner found themselves heading to World Wrestling Entertainment.
"We had a meeting with [Mr. McMahon] and Pat Patterson in Atlanta," Szopinski said, "and it was the first time I ever heard my partner talk. He asked, ‘When do you want us?' I looked at him and said, ‘Man, I didn't know you knew how to talk.'"
Upon entering WWE and immediately battling Demolition, The Powers of Pain found themselves in an unusual position -- they were the good guys.
"It was funny, that Saturday prior we were bad guys in Baltimore against The Road Warriors. A week later, we were with WWE going against Demolition. One week everyone hated our guts and the next they loved us. It was a crazy thing."
The love only lasted for a short time, though. Once WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Fuji betrayed Demolition to manage The Powers of Pain, they were back on the evil side of the action. This, unfortunately, did not work out for the pair and after a while, the duo were given new looks and split up.
"I liked the new look; it was kind of different," stated Szopinski. "The half mask and staff were very unique, so I enjoyed it a lot."
Despite the new look, things just weren't meant to be for The Warlord as a singles competitor. Within two years time, he and WWE parted ways.
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