Arn Anderson Page 2
This region, in the process of merging with Georgia Championship Wrestling, would come to be known as simply the NWA. It was here, that the Arn Anderson fans have come to know and love began to appear. It was here, thanks to the cable station TBS that fans nationwide got to see Arn Anderson. He began teaming with his "uncle" Ole, who at first was playing the face role. After a brief "family" struggle, it was Ole who ended up turning heel to join his nephew in the tag team known as The Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Together, the pair won the National Tag Team Titles when they beat the team of Thunderbolt Patterson and Manny Fernandez.
In May of 1986, pro wrestling history was made when the first incarnation of The Four Horsemen were born. Comprised of Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn and Ole Anderson, this stable of wrestlers put the wrestling world on its ear. In the Horsemen, Arn found wrestlers that were his equal. Each wanted the fame and money that came with being a wrestling champion. Each had the intensity and ability to be that champion. And each knew what it took to be a champion.
During the early days of the Horsemen, Arn won the World TV title when he beat Wahoo McDaniel in a TV Title Tournament created by a vacancy made by Dusty Rhodes. He held the belt for eight months before losing it back to Dusty Rhodes. Shortly after this, Lex Luger was brought in from the Florida region and began hanging out with the Horsemen. Ole had a problem with this and it grew to the point that Ole ended up attacking Blanchard and Horsemen advisor J.J. Dillon. Thus, with Ole turning face and leaving the Horsemen, Arn was left without a tag team partner. At first, he made a serious run at the U.S. title, at the time worn by The Russian Nightmare, Nikita Koloff. Luger eventually, stepped in and won the title. Since the Horsemen generally never fought one another for a belt, Arn and Tully Blanchard began to team and it was as part of this team that Arn had his most success.
In mid-1987, Arn and Tully became involved in a feud with the Rock 'n Roll Express, who were in turn in a feud with the Midnight Express. Prior to a match where the then NWA Tag Team champions, the Rock 'n Roll Express were to defend against Tully and Arn, the Midnight Express viciously attacked Ricky Morton. Robert Gibson, rather than simply forfeiting the titles, tried to defeat Tully and Arn by himself. And though he fought bravely, and the match saw Ricky Morton try to help his partner, the Rock 'n Roll Express ended up losing to Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson, who were crowned the new NWA World Tag Team champions!
Arn and Tully held onto their titles until 1988, when at the first Clash of Champions, they lost the belts in an exciting match to Lex Luger and Barry Windham. Less than a month later, they won the belts back when Windham turned on Luger and joined the Four Horsemen. This time, Arn and Tully held the belts until they lost them to the Midnight Express team of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane. Shortly after this, Tully and Arn left the NWA and headed for the WWF.
In the WWF, Tully and Arn were known as the Brainbusters. Managed by Bobby Heenan, in a federation that was known for their various gimmicks, bright costumes and over-the-top showmanship, Tully and Arn came in just as they were in the NWA. Simple trunks and boots, but full of spirit and intensity. After a little more than seven months in the WWF, Tully and Arn defeated Demolition to capture the WWF World Tag Team titles, in a best of three falls match. Of note with this win, is the fact that Tully and Arn became the first tag team to win both the NWA and WWF tag titles. Since then, other teams have of course done the same with special note going to the Road Warriors, who not only won the NWA and WWF tag titles but also the AWA tag titles. Tully and Arn lost the belts several months later to Demolition. Towards the end of 1989, however, things changed. Blanchard has some personal problems he needed to deal with and left the WWF. Soon after, Arn without his tag partner, also left and returned to the NWA.
When Arn returned to the NWA, things were a bit different. Ted Turner was now the owner and the promotion was more and more referred to as WCW. Ric Flair had been involved in a program with Gary Hart's stable of wrestlers. One particular night, Flair was facing off with Hart, inviting him and his thugs into the ring. As the beat down on Flair began, the crowd screamed and cheered as both Ole and Arn rushed down the aisle and into the ring. The Horsemen were riding again, this time with fourth member Sting. This situation however didn't last long as the Horsemen were the quintessential heel team acting as faces with a strong face presence in Sting. In a memorable Clash of Champions 10, the Horsemen kicked Sting out and firmly returned to their rulebreaking roots. Throughout the rest of 1989 and into 1991, Arn won the TV title twice more, losing once to Tom Zenk and again in 1991 to Bobby Eaton. By mid-1991, however, Flair left the NWA to try his hand in the WWF and once more, there were no Horsemen.
In 1991, with the absence of Ric Flair, Anderson found himself joining another stable of wrestlers called The Dangerous Alliance. During this time, Arn once more found himself a tag title holder when along with Larry Zbysko, he beat Rick Steiner and Bill Kazmaier. They held these titles for a few months before dropping them to Rick Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes. It wasn't long however before Arn was yet again champ as he teamed with another Dangerous Alliance member, Bobby Eaton and together they won the tag titles back from Steamboat and Rhodes. Their reign ended when they were beaten by the then popular tag team of Rick and Scott Steiner. Around the same time, the Dangerous Alliance stable parted ways and Arn was once more on his own.
In 1993, Arn made a run at NWA champion Barry Windham and then got involved in a feud with Erik Watts. Watts, was the very green son of WCW booker Bill (Mid-South/UWF) Watts. Erik was generally viewed as talentless and this feud is seen as more of an embarrassment for Arn then something to look back favorably on. In the storyline/feud with Watts, Arn's knee was injured. After taking some time off to heal, Arn popped up in Smoky Mountain Wrestling where friend Bobby Eaton was working. Arn began berating Eaton for not being there when Arn needed him. Arn returned to WCW and resumed his feud with Watts. Eaton would show up, and through his interference on Arn's behalf, cause Arn to once more lose to Watts. This kicked off a feud between Eaton and Arn that ran in both WCW and in SMW. Right around the same time, Ric Flair returned from the WWF and the Four Horsemen rode again.
In the middle of '93, with Flair's return, the Horsemen came together with members Flair, Arn, Ole and Paul Roma. While Flair and Arn made attempts to win the tag belts from The Hollywood Blondes (Steve Austin and Steve Regal(substituting for Brian Pillman), it was actually Arn and Roma who ended up defeating the team and winning the tag belts. This reign was extremely short though at the team or Anderson and Roma lost the belts just 32 days later to the Nasty Boys.
Towards the end of '93, Arn found himself embroiled in a real life fight when Sid Vicious and Arn got into an out of the ring fight with both men being stabbed with a pair of scissors. Due to this fight, Sid was fired, and he went on to the WWF. Flair, substituting for Sid, in a title bout against Vader, once more won the WCW title and thus, Arn was once more left on his own.
In early '94, Arn found his way to ECW where he was able to chase Bobby Eaton a bit more. Then, he was back in WCW, where this time, he was once more a member of The Stud Stable, where the year closed out with a feud with Dustin Rhodes.
While our profiles end with the year 1994, it should be noted that Arn continued to wrestle until 1997 when due to a long time injury, he was forced to retire. On August 25th 1997, in a speech that was truly touching, Arn (with longtime friend Ric Flair behind him, tears in his eyes), retired.
Arn Anderson was one of those rare performers in this sport. He didn't need to resort to silly gimmicks to get over. He was a normal looking individual who got in the ring, took care of business and made sure everyone knew he was dead-on serious about the sport he was in. He had the ability to prove it and the mic skills to say it and he is truly an icon in the sport of professional wrestling.
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