Arn Anderson Should Be Inducted To WWE HOF at Wrestlemania in Atlanta

Brandon HamblenAnalyst IMay 5, 2010

(Note: This is an extremely long article. You may want to print this one out, maybe use it for reading material when you’re on the throne or something.)

What special qualities do you need to become a member of the Four Horseman?

Unselfishness, commitment to excellence, a good business head, the desire to put the good of the unit above individual achievement, and with absolutely no fear or looking back hurt and possibly cripple everybody on the opposing team without hesitation or regret,” replied Arn Anderson in a response to a question during a Prodigy chat in March 1998. [2]

Its qualities like these that made Arn Anderson my favorite wrestler of all time. He may not have been a multiple time world champion but he gave the achievements of the Four Horsemen precedence over his own career goals. Often times going toe to toe, blow for blow with the biggest, strongest and most determined wrestlers so fellow Horsemen Ric Flair could retain (or regain) his world title.

Every time Arn Anderson wrestled he gave one hundred percent. So when a neck injury forced him into surgery with a one month old son at home, he made the decision to retire on August 25, 1997 at Monday Nitro.[1] In a speech with fellow Horsemen Ric Flair, Mongo McMichaels and Chris Benoit in the ring, Arn explained to the fans that he was unable to give one hundred percent in the ring anymore and didn’t want them to remember his as anything less than the Enforcer.

He subsequently offered Curt Hennig his spot on the Four Horsemen as his last formal act as a Horseman.

Arn Anderson’s first match was in January 1982 against legend, Bullet Bob Armstrong in Pensacola, Florida. Although Anderson came up on the short end this night, he learned a valuable lesson. [2]

"Strength, size, and knowledge of the basics are very important but you can know every move in the book and still lose. Experience is the key. Armstrong had it. He astounded me with his experience and smoothness. He just out experienced me."

If experience was the key, Arn was determined to gain it.

After a brief stay in Pensacola, Double A moved on to Louisiana where he met his first tag team partner, Matt Borne, who would go on to become Doink the Clown years later in the WWF. Borne and Anderson relocated to Georgia and began a chase for the NWA National Tag Team Championship, a goal that Borne would never achieve. Arn however, along with his (kayfabe) brother, Ole (Ole was said to be Arn’s uncle when Arn first broke into wrestling) would reform the Minnesota Wrecking Crew and capture these titles on April 28, 1985 in Charlotte, North Carolina.[2,5]

Eight months later, on January 4, 1986, Arn Anderson would defeat Wahoo McDaniel to capture his first singles title, the prestigious NWA World Television title.[2] The bout with McDaniel was the finale of a tournament for the belt vacated by Dusty Rhodes, when Rhodes was physically unable to defend due to an injury.

By sheer happenstance, Arn created the greatest heel faction in wrestling history, The Four Horsemen. [6]

Short on time, interviews for Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and the Anderson’s were amalgamated. During the interview with the four wrestler and Blanchard‘s manager, JJ Dillon, Arn said, "Never before in wrestling have so few wreaked so much damage. You need to go all the way back to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!,” while simultaneously giving the signature four finger salute, and the Four Horsemen were born.[6]

From 1986 until 1988, the Four Horsemen would dominate professional wrestling like no group before or since. There have been many incarnations of the Horsemen but none like the original.

While a member of the Four Horsemen Anderson found great success, both as a singles and tag team competitor. Double A was double strapped when the Four Horsemen was formed, carrying both the NWA World Television title and the NWA National Tag Team title as well.[4]

In a cruel twist of fate, Arn and Ole would be forced to forfeit their tag team title in February 1986 after Ole was attacked by the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes.[1]

Because Ole was unable to wrestle, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew were stripped of their titles. The Anderson’s held the titles for 10 months. Contrary to popular belief, this is the only tag title Arn would win while tagging with Ole.[2]

With Ole injured, Arn would focus on defending his NWA World Television title, a belt he would carry for two-hundred forty-eight days.[2] He would eventually drop the title to arch nemesis Dusty Rhodes.

Following the expulsion of Ole Anderson from the Four Horsemen, Arn began tagging with another Horsemen, Tully Blanchard.[3]

Together, they would become NWA World Tag Team champions by defeating the wildly popular Rock-N-Roll Express in September 1987, the first of 6 world tag team championships Arn would hold through his illustrious career.[2] Tully and Arn would carry those titles until March 27, 1988, where they would be defeated by future and former Four Horsemen members Barry Windham and Lex Luger, however the titles would be back around Arn and Tully less than one month later when Barry Windham proved his loyalty to the Four Horsemen by turning on Luger costing himself the title.[2] They would lose them again on September 10, 1988, this time to the Midnight Express.[4]

As Jim Crockett Promotions was looking to sell and before Ted Turner bought WCW, both Tully and Arn, feeling under appreciated and vastly underpaid, headed up north to the World Wrestling Federation.[1]

Now wrestling as the Brain Busters, under the tutelage of legendary manager, Bobby The Brain Heenan, Arn and Tully quickly rose up the tag team ranks and won the WWF World Tag Team titles from Demolition on the July, 18, 1989 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event in a best of three falls match.[1,2,3,4]

With their victory over Demolition, the Brain Busters became the first tag team ever to win both the NWA World Tag Team title and the WWF Tag Team title.

Having lost the WWF Tag Team titles back to Demolition and with his contract expiring, Arn made the decision to head back down south. JCP had become WCW and was now owned by Ted Turner.[1]

The Four Horsemen were reformed with Arn back at his usual spot of enforcer and it didn’t take The Enforcer long to regain the NWA World Television title. Just days after arriving in the WCW, Anderson defeated The Great Muta on January 2, 1990 NWA Power Hour in his home state of Georgia. Double A held the title for almost the entire year.[2,4]

Over the next five years, Arn would win several more titles but it was his non title victories and out of ring events that cemented his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

Late in October 1993, while on tour in England, a wrestler named Sid Vicious came to Arn’s hotel room in the late night, early morning hours. While there are multiple versions of what took place and just as many gag orders I’m sure, to the best of my knowledge this is what happened next.[2]

A brawl ensued between the two and a pair of scissors was drawn by one of the two. In the aftermath, Arn was stabbed twenty times and Vicious was stabbed four. Both were rushed to the hospital to be treated.[2]

Sid Vicious was scheduled to wrestle Vader for the WCW World Heavyweight Title at Starrcade ’93, December 27 in the main event, however, Sid Vicious was fired and replaced by Ric Flair. Proving he’s one of the toughest ever, Double A returned to the ring the night after Starrcade, December 28, beating former Horseman, Paul Roma.[2]

In a span of less than one half of a year, Arn would claim two pinfall victories that no other North American athlete could claim. At the Fall Brawl on September 17, 1995, Arn Anderson wrestled his best friend, Ric Flair. With practically the entire roster at ringside, Arn delivered a DDT to The Nature Boy and covered him for a pinfall victory.[2,6]

On the February 12, 1996 edition of Monday Nitro, Double A was again in the squared circle with another legend of the business. This time his opponent was The Immortal Hulk Hogan and once again, The Enforcer came out on top scoring a pinfall right in the center of the ring.[2]

With this pinfall victory over Hogan, Arn became the first North American wrestler and only the second world wide (Antonio Inoki, Japan) EVER to score a pinfall victory over both the Nature Boy Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.

As 1996 came to a close and 1997 rolled around, The Enforcer was wrestling less and less. He was still cutting the best promos in the business and doing run in attacks when necessary but it became obvious that there was a serious medical issue. His neck had been so severely damaged (he suffered two serious neck injuries in his career) that he was suffering paralysis in his left hand.[2]

He went under the knife to fuse the vertebrae in his neck in April of 1997. As I mentioned at the beginning, Arn would return on August 25, 1997 to announce his retirement.[2,4]

Arn's Retirement Speech

Monday Nitro

Columbia, South Carolina August 25, 1997

Gene (Okerland), I'd like to tell you, to get a response like this means what I got to say tonight means that much more. You see, I'm a realist. Everybody knows I've got average size and speed and average ability but I've parlayed that into what I would call a very successful career. (And) I did that on sheer will alone but another reality is four months ago, they took four vertebrae out of my neck. Consequently, I'm left with a hand, my left hand, too weak to hold a glass, too weak to button a button but I thought in my mind, I knew in my mind, I could overcome that too, through sheer will and I was doing just like that. I think I've come back a long way but the other day I had something happen at the gym that was like a cold slap in the face of reality. A guy about your size, Gene (Okerland), come up to me, slapped me on the back and said, ‘Double A, where ya been? We haven't seen you on TV.’ And just that slap, sent a jolt through me, I dropped the water I was drinking and just for a second, my system shut down and it became crystal clear as I watched a few little drops of water draining out of that bottle, the symbolism that was involved. It was like someone had turned an hourglass over and the sand was running out of the career of Arn Anderson. Well, the fact of the matter is, not only do I put myself in a suicide situation by trying to wrestle again, I endanger these two men's (Benoit and McMichaels) careers, and I respect them too much for that. And other, than be anything than the Enforcer, in my best friend's (Ric Flair) eyes, I'd rather walk away.  (And) for all you people out there that have ever bought a ticket to see Arn Anderson wrestle, whether you loved me or you hated me, you knew when that bell rang you got all I had that night. Whether I won, whether I lost, I gave you everything I have, and you knew that.  (And) when you did this (hold up four fingers) to me, that was your acknowledgement. That fact is, I have nothing left to give and I want you to remember me as I was, not as I am. But being the man that I am, my last act formally as a Horseman, I got one last challenge, and that's to you Curt Hennig. Now don't misunderstand me, its not for a fight. You've got something special. I've seen you in this ring, your skills, your maturity, your commitment to excellence make you something special. And what my challenge is to you, Curt, is stand beside my best friend, Ric Flair, and lead these two men back to the glory and the prominence that the Four Horsemen once had.  (And) I'm going to tell you what your prize is, its not a spot with the Horsemen, because this is worth a lot more than that to me. I'm going to give you the only thing I got left. Not a spot, NOT A SPOT, I'll give you MY spot.

(Note: I transcribed the speech from the video Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen)

 Why should a wrestler who never reached the pinnacle be considered for the Hall of Fame?

First, there are many grapplers currently in the WWE Hall of Fame who never became a World Heavyweight Champion. Just as there are members of other sports hall’s of fame who never became champion of their sport. Dan Marino never won the Super Bowl, yet no one would argue his inclusion into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And despite never winning a world title, he was still recognized easily as one of the greatest wrestlers of his generation by placing in the top 35 in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500 every year from its inception in 1991 through his retirement following 1996.[1,7]

Arn never backed down and was always the Horsemen leading the charge. Whether it was Magnum T.A., Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors, The Steiner Brothers or even another member of the Four Horsemen who needed to be tuned up, it was Arn who would deliver the first blow.

When he was asked why he let Ric Flair run the Four Horsemen, Arn responded by saying, “That's just it, I LET him run the Horsemen!”[2]

Never one to mince words, his interviews along with his signature thumb across the throat became legendary. No one in pro wrestling history has given us so many gems of wisdom. Not only was his delivery flawless but the message was crystal clear.

On success: "I don't want to toot my own horn but...toot, toot."[2]

On the pressure‘s of pro wrestling: "Adversity introduces a man to himself."[2]

On family: "You don't jump a dog in his own backyard and you don't mess with family."[2]

On women: "Over the course of history, the kiss of a woman has poisoned a lot of great minds."[2]

On Dusty Rhodes showing his unique sense of humor: “I'm not sure Dusty speaks English.”[2]

On protecting Four Horsemen territory: "There has been one rule of thumb all through professional wrestling that has always held true: When a burglar breaks into your house, you don't squirt him with a water hose, you pick up something and you bash his brains out with it.‘[2]

On revenge: "Intense pain is a wonderful thing, Gene Okerlund. Your life flashes before your eyes, things that are the most important to you become crystal clear. You start to begin to learn the meaning of life. Last week when they stuffed me in that ambulance and I looked across and I saw Flair, Sting, Woman, Bagwell and myself, I realized that we were people brought together not by philosophy, but by necessity. And I started to think, new world order, new world order, where have I heard that? And I remembered in the Good Book it says, 'When the new world order is put into place it signals the beginning of the end of time.' Well, WCW is our world, it's where we live and breathe. And if you want to destroy it, Hogan and The Outsiders, you've already made a mistake that jumps off the page. If you're gonna take a baseball bat to a Horseman, finish the job. Because there's one rule of gang fighting. See, we are the original gang and we're the most vicious in all of professional wrestling history. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send two of theirs to the morgue."[2]

Double A was a promoters dream, giving one hundred percent each and every night. Now its time for the industry he helped build to recognize his many contributions.

Wrestlemania XXVII will take place at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the first time ever on Sunday, April 3, 2011[1,3], just seventy miles from Rome, Georgia, where Arn grew up. Atlanta was also the home of Jim Crockett Promotions where the Enforcer inadvertently created the Four Horsemen, the most influential stable ever in professional wrestling.

Perhaps Vince McMahon decided Wrestlemania XXVII would be in Atlanta to honor Arn Anderson. This is the only logical reason why Arn hasn’t already been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Sources [1]; [2]; [3]; [4];

The Wrestler [5];

Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen (video) [6];

Pro Wrestler Illustrated [7]

*photo courtesy of*


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