The Four Horsemen



Wrestled In: NWA Mid-Atlantic / WCW

Debut: 1985

Disbanded: 1999

Other Related Websites:
Brain Busters - Rollercoaster Bio
The Four Horsemen - Online World of Wrestling Bio
The Four Horsemen - Wikipedia Bio
The Horsemen Files (Fan Site)

Wrestlers
Arn Anderson
Ole Anderson
Chris Benoit
Tully Blanchard
Ric Flair
Curt Hennig
Jeff Jarrett
Lex Luger
Dean Malenko
Steve McMichael
Brian Pillman
Paul Roma
Sting
Sid Vicious
Barry Windham


Managers
Ole Anderson
Dark Journey
J.J. Dillon
Miss Elizabeth
Hiro Matsuda
Debra McMichael
Woman


History: (Last Updated: October 29th, 2008)

If you start a discussion about the greatest wrestling stables in history, you'll hear a lot of different names come up. Depending on the fans you have in this discussion, you'll hear everything from the new World order to Degeneration-X, from Evolution to the Age of the Fall. But I can almost guarantee that, no matter who you have this chat with, someone will inevitably bring up the Four Horsemen, who were major players in the National Wrestling Association and World Championship Wrestling for over a decade.

In the early '80s, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair was becoming the marquee player in the NWA Mid-Atlantic region, having won multiple NWA World Titles. He was backed up by his "cousins" in the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Gene & Ole Anderson (none are officially related), who had regularly teamed together since the '70s. When Gene Anderson, the original Anderson, retired, Arn Anderson came in to replace him, becoming another family member. The Crew was regularly responsible for helping Flair stay the heel NWA World Champion, including causing the DQ at Starrcade '85 to keep Dusty Rhodes from getting the belt. Going into '86, Flair & the Andersons joined up with Tully Blanchard, and brought in J.J. Dillon as their manager, forming a powerful stable. The gang had no weak links, as the Crew won the NWA World Tag-Team Titles, Tully competed for the NWA United States Title, and Flair was still the NWA World Champion. In Flair's autobiography, he mentions that Arn was the one who coined their infamous name, while giving an interview during a television taping. He said, "The only time this much havoc has been wreaked by this few people, you'd have to go back to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!"

And thus, a legend was born.

For the next year, the Horsemen were the most hated heels in the business, feuding with fan-favorites like Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Magnum TA, and the Road Warriors. Their infamous beat-down of Rhodes inside a steel cage, with other fan-favorites unable to make the save, really created the legend of the Horsemen, adding to the hatred the fans felt for the limo-riding superstars. They also added one other familiar symbol, raising four fingers to signify their alliance (Dillon was usually thought of as the thumb). The Horsemen dominated the NWA during this time, at one point having Flair as the World Champion, Tully as the National Champion, and Arn as the Television Champion.

In early March '87, the Horsemen added a "junior associate" in Lex Luger, who began helping the Horsemen win. Soon afterwards, Ole Anderson, who had missed a match due to wanting to attending his son's amateur wrestling match, was betrayed by the rest of the Horsemen, who believed the Horsemen were above family. Luger officially took Ole's place, becoming the young gun of the group. He soon contributed to the stable's history of gold, earning the NWA United States Title in August '87. Arn & Tully, meanwhile, formed their own tag-team, fighting to the NWA World Tag-Team Titles in September '87. Flair continued his usual practice, staying in the hunt for the NWA World Title.

In December '87, Luger, who had recently lost the US Title to Dusty Rhodes at Starrcade '87, competed with Blanchard, Anderson, & Dillon in a "Bunkhouse Battle Royal". The Horsemen, working together, all lasted until the end, where Dillon asked the men he manged to give him the victory, since he hadn't had any glory in a while. Anderson and Blanchard agreed, leaving the ring and eliminating themselves. Luger, however, wanted a win, and decided to take out Dillon, winning the match and effectively leaving the Horsemen behind. Luger, along with a returning Ole Anderson, his former partner Barry Windham, and a growing star in Sting, feuded with the Horsemen. However, Windham soon decided that he could do better on the other side. During a tag match between Luger & Windham(c) and Anderson & Blanchard for the NWA World Tag Titles, Windham turned on Luger, helping the two Horsemen to win the gold. Windham had now taken Luger's place in the Four Horsemen.

In September '87, the first real hole was formed in the Horsemen dynasty. Anderson & Blanchard, after nearly a 5-month reign at the top, lost the NWA World Tag-Team Titles to the Midnight Express. Soon after, the team opted to leave the NWA and join up with the new powerhouse in wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation (becoming the Brain Busters). Flair, Windham, & Dillon stay together for a while as just "the Horsemen", but the unit just isn't the same without the other two members. In February '89, the Horsemen lost another member, as Flair & Windham turned on Dillon, due to Dillon not knowing about the returning Ricky Steamboat, who was immediately challenging Flair for the World Title (Dillon would also head over to the WWF, working backstage). With Flair & Windham now being managed by Hiro Matsuda, the Horsemen basically seemed done, as Matsuda also managed others under the "Yamazaki Corporation" banner. Soon after, Windham also headed to the WWF, while Flair became a fan-favorite at Wrestle War '89 due to an assault from Terry Funk. The Horsemen stable was now in limbo.

Late in '89, though, signs began to point to a Horsemen reunion. Flair started to get the support of a new manager in Ole Anderson, who managed Flair & Sting in a tag-team match against Terry Funk & the Great Muta at Halloween Havoc '89. Next, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, nearing the end of their WWF contracts, began negotiating with the NWA to make a return. Unfortunately for Blanchard, a failed drug test ended his hopes of returning, which meant that only Arn came back to join up with Flair and Ole. At Starrcade '89, Flair, backed by the Andersons, got all the way to the finals of the Iron Man Round Robin Tournament, only to lose at the end to Sting. Flair was ok with the loss, though, as he and Sting shook hands afterwards. Soon after, Sting was the fourth member of the Horsemen, making it the first "face" collection in the stable's history.

The Horsemen, though, wouldn't remain on the fan's side for long. With Flair as the NWA World Champion again in February '90, Sting was the #1 Contender. Flair, not wanting to fight Sting, asked him to give up his shot for the Horsemen. Sting refused, so the Horsemen turned on him, beating him down. Sting would come for revenge later on that night, but injured his knee while trying to climb a cage, putting him out for many months (the Horsemen later claimed credit for the injury). Once again, the Horsemen were the hated stable in the NWA.

Soon, the Horsemen restructured themselves, as Barry Windham rejoined the group (after an unsuccessful run in the WWF) and Sid Vicious joined up as well, with Ole, who had barely been wrestling to begin with, becoming the team's manager. The group's main focus continues to be the World Title, helping Flair to stay the champion for more than a year, before losing in July '90 at the Great American Bash '90 to the returning Sting. The Horsemen would feud with Sting for the next few months, including nearly pulling off a massive amount of trickery at Halloween Havoc '90. With Sting defending the World Title against Sid, the Horsemen tried a switcharoo, having Windham, disguised as Sting, come in and get pinned by Sid. But Sting was able to escape from his captors in the back, proving that it wasn't him involved in the match, and he was able to beat Sid to retain the title.

The Horsemen didn't give up their unity, though, and in January '91, with his partners' help, Flair managed to take away the NWA/WCW World Title from Sting (the NWA would break away from WCW around this time, making it separate reigns for the Nature Boy). Arn Anderson, meanwhile, added another World Television Title run, getting the Horsemen even more gold. However, just as it seemed like everything was going the way of the stable, the year began to fall apart. In May '91, Sid Vicious disappeared from WCW after losing a "Stretcher" Match to El Gigante (with Sid Justice soon appearing in the WWF). The Horsemen never got around to replacing him in the stable, as Flair was soon at odds with management over a new contract. After disagreements grew to discord, Flair opted to leave WCW for the WWF (being stripped of the WCW World Title), basically taking the Horsemen down with him. Ole Anderson faded out from WCW, while Arn Anderson and Barry Windham split up, with Anderson joining Paul E. Dangerously and the Dangerous Alliance. For the next few years, the Horsemen were only a memory in WCW.

In early '93, Flair surprisingly made his return to WCW, joining up again with his friend, Arn Anderson. Although Flair couldn't wrestle (due to a no-compete clause in his WWF contract), Flair helped out Arn while having a "talk show" segment on WCW television. It was during one of these shows that Flair brought out "Pretty" Paul Roma, who joined up with Flair and Arn & Ole Anderson, forming another incarnation of the Four Horsemen! As fan favorites, the Horsemen fought against groups like the Hollywood Blondes, with Flair & Arn coming close to taking away the Blondes' WCW World Tag Titles. Flair also won the NWA World Heavyweight Title (which was now separate from the WCW title), beating his old partner, Barry Windham, for the belt. Going later into the year, Anderson & Roma become World Tag-Team Champs, while Flair stays in the main-event picture. However, despite doing well with the Horsemen, Roma surprisingly turned on them, joining with Paul Orndorff instead. This basically was the start of another hibernation for the stable, as Ole again faded out from WCW, leaving only the friendship of Flair and Arn for the next year. Even that faded out, though, when Flair was "retired" by Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc '94.

Flair would eventually return from his retirement the next year, joining with Arn Anderson & Big Van Vader against Hulk Hogan and his allies. Soon, though, Flair and Anderson seemed to start having problems, leading to the two having a match at Fall Brawl '95. Anderson won the match, thanks to help from Brian Pillman, leading to Flair asking Sting for help against the duo. However, this turned out to be a Horsemen trick, as Flair, Anderson, & Pillman combined to beat down Sting, reforming the group! Shortly thereafter, Flair found their last member, as Chris Benoit signed on, creating a new foursome to terrorize WCW. The design of the Horsemen again worked well for Flair, who won another World Title at Starrcade '95 over Randy Savage (thanks to Anderson's brass knuckles). While Flair would lose the belt just a month later, he continued to fight for it, reclaiming it in a "Steel Cage" Match against Savage at Superbrawl '96.

Around the same time as Flair's victory, though, the Horsemen ended up losing a member, as Brian Pillman suddenly departed WCW after the "Booker Man" incident (during a "Strap" match with Kevin Sullivan, Pillman suddenly stopped and said "I respect you, Booker Man!", revealing a little of Sullivan's backstage work with WCW). The Horsemen continued on with only three members for the next few months, with Flair losing the World Title to a massive newcomer in the Giant (later known as the Big Show in WWE). All the while, Flair, Anderson, & Benoit were keeping an eye out for a new member to complete the foursome. At the '96 Great American Bash, Flair & Anderson had a match against two former pro football players, Kevin Greene & Steve "Mongo" McMichael. In a surprising twist, though, McMichael turned on Greene, becoming one of the most stunning recruits for the Horsemen!

With Anderson, Benoit, Flair, & McMichael, the Four Horsemen were strong again, battling against other groups, like the Dungeon of Doom. Flair also added another title to the history of the Horsemen, winning the WCW United States Title in July '96. However, on the same night that Flair won the gold, at Bash At The Beach '96, the new World order was born, creating a stable that was finally a major threat to the Horsemen, as well as WCW. The Horsemen were soon on the front lines, becoming fan favorites, as they fought against the threat of the nWo. It was during this time, though, that Flair tore his rotator cuff, putting him on the sidelines (and vacating the US Title). With Flair out of action for a while, the Horsemen were short one member. This changes, in a way, with the arrival of "Double J" Jeff Jarrett, who immediately becomes a major follower of the Horsemen. Despite problems with many members of the group, Jarrett hangs around, becoming an item with Debra McMichael (Mongo's ex-wife).

In early '97, at Superbrawl VII, Jarrett defeated Mongo McMichael, officially earning himself a spot with the Horsemen. However, it turned out not to be McMichael's spot, but Anderson's, as damage to his back caused Anderson to have to step out of the ring. Anderson would undergo back surgery in April '97, which would have serious consequences to the Horsemen. Things grew worse a few months later, when McMichael turned on Jarrett during a tag-team match. Surprisingly, Flair sided with McMichael, kicking Jarrett out of the group. This left Flair, Benoit, & McMichael, as Anderson later announced his retirement from the ring due to his injuries. Anderson was able to convince another star, Curt Hennig, to take his place in the Horsemen, seeming to make the group even stronger. However, at Fall Brawl '97, Hennig turned on the Horsemen during a "War Games" Match, helping the members of the nWo win the bout. With this betrayal, the Horsemen basically fell apart, with Flair going after Hennig for the next few months (and the rest of the nWo), while Benoit & McMichael occassionally still teamed up. The Horsemen seemed to be disbanded.

In the late spring of '98, Flair, due to contract issues with WCW, disappeared from ringside. It was a bitter battle between Flair the the WCW President, Eric Bischoff, with the fans firmly on Flair's side. At many arenas around the US, "We want Flair" became a unifying chant, and it was not odd to see Horsemen symbols in the crowd. During this time, Dean Malenko, one of the faces going after the nWo, pleaded with Arn Anderson to reform the Horsemen. It took some time, but Malenko succeeded in getting through to Anderson, who announced the reforming of the group in September '98. It would consist of Malenko, Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael (the current United States Heavyweight Champion)... and Ric Flair, making his first appearance in months. The Horsemen came together and battled again against the nWo, looking strong for the first time in years.

In January '99, while defending Flair against the nWo, McMichael had an unknown liquid thrown into his eyes by "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan. Shortly thereafter, McMichael disappeared from WCW, never to return. For some reason, McMichael was never replaced in the Horsemen, as Flair continued to be a singles wrestler, while Benoit & Malenko tore up the tag-team division (with the aid of Anderson as their manager). The Horsemen experienced one of their best nights in March at Uncensored '99, when Benoit & Malenko w/ Arn won the WCW World Tag-Team Titles from Curt Hennig & Barry Windham, while Flair, as the new President of the company (after beating Bischoff in a match), won the WCW World Heavyweight Title from Hogan. Despite what seemed like a great moment, though, it turned out to be a heel turn for Flair, as he began to make more and more evil decisions as President. Meanwhile, after Benoit & Malenko lost the tag-team titles, Flair opted to give a title shot to another team (the Triad), causing Benoit & Malenko to leave the Horsemen and instead join up with Shane Douglas & Perry Saturn as the Revolution. This proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Horsemen, as Flair never reformed the group before the end of WCW in 2001.

Say what you may about the way the Horsemen operated, but you can't deny the stable's effectiveness. For decades, the Horsemen were the guys you loved to hate. They dominated the sport, always causing waves wherever they went. If you want to cause a fierce debate (and maybe a few thrown punches), bring up this question to some hardcore wrestling fans: "Which was the greatest formation of Horsemen?" Now there's something worth talking about.

Title Summary: (If you see any I'm missing, let me know)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion (Flair) (2/23/84 - 7/26/86)
- NWA National Tag-Team Champion (Arn & Ole Anderson) (2/22/85 - 2/86)
- NWA World Television Champion (Arn) (1/04/86 - 9/09/86)
- NWA National Heavyweight Champion (Blanchard) (3/04/86 - 8/28/86)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion(2) (Flair) (8/09/86 - 9/25/87)
- NWA World Television Champion(2) (Blanchard) (11/27/86 - 8/17/87)
- NWA United States Heavyweight Champion (Luger) (7/11/87 - 11/26/87)
- NWA World Tag-Team Champion (Arn & Blanchard) (9/29/87 - 3/27/88)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion(3) (Flair) (11/26/87 - 2/20/89)
- NWA World Tag-Team Champion(2) (Arn & Blanchard) (4/20/88 - 9/10/88)
- NWA United States Heavyweight Champion(2) (Windham) (5/13/88 - 2/20/89)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion(4) (Flair) (5/07/89 - 7/07/90)
- NWA World Television Champion(3) (Arn) (1/02/90 - 12/90)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion(5) (Flair) (1/11/91 - 3/21/91)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion (Flair) (1/11/91 - 7/01/91)
- WCW (Formerly NWA) World Television Champion(4) (Arn) (1/14/91 - 5/19/91)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion(6) (Flair) (5/19/91 - 9/08/91)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion(7) (Flair) (7/18/93 - 9/93)
- WCW International Heavyweight Champion (Flair) (7/18/93 - 9/19/93)
- NWA World Tag-Team Champion(3) (Arn & Roma) (8/18/93 - 9/93)
- WCW World Tag-Team Champion (Arn & Roma) (8/18/93 - 9/19/93)
- WCW International Heavyweight Champion(2) (Flair) (6/23/94)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion(2) (Flair) (12/27/95 - 1/22/96)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion(3) (Flair) (2/11/96 - 4/22/96)
- WCW (Formerly NWA) United States Heavyweight Champion(3) (Flair) (7/07/96 - 9/96)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion(4) (McMichael) (8/21/97 - 9/15/97)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion(4) (Flair) (3/14/99 - 4/11/99)
- WCW World Tag-Team Champion(2) (Benoit & Malenko) (3/14/99 - 3/29/99)

PWI Achievement Awards: (1 win, 1 1st RU, 0 2nd RUs, 0 3rd RUs)
- 1987 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (The Four Horsemen & the War Machine vs. the Road Warriors & the Super Powers)
- 1987 Feud of the Year (The Four Horsemen vs. Super Powers & the Road Warriors)