When Barbarian and Warlord left the NWA while in the midst of a high profile feud against the Road Warriors, a lot of people were puzzled. It was later discovered that the Powers of Pain had backstage heat with the company because they did not want to work a series of scaffold matches.
In 1986, the Warlord started working out at a new gym when he was approached by the owner, better known to wrestling fans as Road Warrior Animal, about a possible career change. Animal sent him to Dusty Rhodes, and a contract with the NWA shortly followed.
"Then finally when I signed my deal deal, my very first deal, they also paid all of my college fees as a bonus. I think I owed like 40 grand, which they didn't have to do, I always felt was very, very cool of JR to do. He was like we're going to take care of your college, by the way. I was like oh, because that had been hanging over my head while I had been trying to just get somewhere and make it. I was like oh, man. I got this 40 grand that's over my head and I'm making 50 bucks on this show. Cool, now I'm making 210, but that's not going to chip away at 40 grand. So they took care of that when I signed my deal."