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The History of the IV Horsemen

by Drqshadow


Section Era Description
Part I 1985 Arn took the mic and told us all that we were witnessing history. Only once had so much damage been caused by so few, Arn screamed, “and to find that source you need to go all the way back to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
Part II 1986 It was early in the year, and already the Four Horsemen were dominating in full. They’d made lifelong enemies out of major powers in Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA
Part III 1987 The early part of ’87 was just business as usual for the stable. Nikita Koloff was given multiple rematches for Flair’s gold, but never walked away a champion. The Horsemen had come together as a cohesive unit and had everything pretty well down to a science.
Part IV 1988 His hair a bleached blonde spike, his face a painted canvas and his matwork risky and unique, Sting shocked the world by asking for Flair.. that very night!
Part V 1989 Coming out of their highly successful set of matches at Starrcade, the Horsemen had reclaimed their status as the elite force in the NWA.
Part VI 1990 Sting goes from member to enemy. Sid joins the group, and Barry Windham returns to the faction that made him famous. Fans sit through Black Scorpion angle.
Part VII 1991-92 The Horsemen had added new blood to their roster with Sid Vicious and a familiar face in Barry Windham, as well as a manager they could trust: Ole Anderson.
Part VIII 1993 Flair returns to WCW to reform the Horsemen.. Arn & Ole Anderson.. The search for a forth member.. The Hollywood Blondes.. The Shockmaster.. New Member Paul Roma.. WCW Turmoil.. Sid attacks Arn with Scissors.. Hogan squashes The Nature Boy..
Part IX 1995 A crazy Ric Flair comes out of retirement to side with Vader in battles Hogan, Macho Man & Renegade.. Reformation of a new IV Horsemen.. Brian Pillman.. Screwing Sting again.. Chris Benoit signs up.. Flair recaptures WCW Gold.. ..
Part X 1996 Horsemen vs Dungeon of Doom.. Pillman departs.. Flair vs Macho.. Benoit vs Sullivan.. Steve McMichaels joins the Horsemen.. Battling the nWo.. Arn defeats Hulk Hogan..
Part XI 1997 Jeff Jarrett.. Arn taken out.. Curt Hennig.. Flair disbanded the Horsemen through a telephone interview..
Part XII 1998+Beyond Horsemen Rebirth.. Malenko brought in.. Mongo disappears.. Fued with Eric Bischoff..

Gregory L. Dennis sent in these comments regarding the IV Horsemen History:

Jim Crockett Promotions didn’t sell to Turner until 1991 (also, note the proper spelling of his name), and didn’t really take anyone with him to TBS. Crockett had been on TBS for years, so it was really just an ownership change that didn’t really mean much at the time. It would be better to note what Turner’s money would do circa 1994-01, when he started burning cash at the behest of Eric Bischoff. Turner and Crockett had no arguments, it was simply a matter of the WWF putting on a show the same night as Starrcade 87, which was designed to mess with them, and succeeded, as it put a major dent in the cash poor Crockett. Turner had always enjoyed wrestling from back in the Georgia Championship Wrestling days (also on TBS), and wanted to own one. Crockett could either sell his Mid-Atlantic territory, or allow it to fold. A similar choice was made by Bill Watts when Crockett bought him out in 87.

Also, Flair was not legit injured after WrestleWar by Terry Funk. Furhter, 99% of the time in wrestling, tables are NOT sawed through. The steel frame is removed from the underside of the table, but they aren’t sawed through. you will notice this when A) tables don’t break, B) they break uneven, and C) If you were going through one, and you weighed 200+ pounds, with inertia in your favor, you would break alot more than a table. That’s also not withstanding the fact that the tables used in wrestling are usually just particle board underneath, with a wood top, and very few tables are designed to withstand that kind of punishment anyhow.

Some proofreading is needed when discussing “Rumble In the Rising Sun” (the supercard in Japan, leading up to SuperBrawl I, Flair/Fujinami). Also, that card happened BEFORE SuperBrawl. The history here skips around liberally, and makes it hard to follow. It should also be noted that the reasoning behind the
decision was that the bout was fought under NWA rules, and discuss the aftermatch, where Flair stormed the set and stole back the NWA belt from a very surprised Fujinami, who, natch, didn’t understand English enough to know what Flair was doing.

Oz-Keep in mind that just because Turner owned WCW, he had NO part in the booking, and always had a hands-off approach to the product, and did until the end. No one from Turner so much as cared about the product, figuring it’s a billionaire’s plaything. At that time, I believe it was Flair booking, or Sullivan. WCW bookers rotated as much as EVP’s at that time, with Bischoff being the only one to last any length of time. Some space might also be given to “Cowboy” Bill Watts and his brief time in Turner-land.

Again, keep reality and the storylines separate, or risk credibility issues. AA & Tully left for the WWF because they felt they had done all they could in Turner, and it was time for a natural progression of their careers, which they felt would not be complete without a WWF run. Tully never returned to WCW due to his failure to pass a drug test.

Pillman/Yellow Dog-Midnight Rider/Rhodes: In the early part of the 90’s, loser leaves the promotions gimmicks were still “in vogue”, and bringing the guy back masked was used for tease purposes. Before “dirt sheets” and the ‘net sent out spoilers announcing everything, the logic of “how does he get paid if no one knows who he is under the mask” didn’t come into play.

Flair’s WWF jump: the final straw in his contract had nothing to do with improper booking, as Flair has let himself be booked for worse, and had already jobbed to Luger in non-title bouts. There was a financial dispute, which led to Kip Frey, then EVP, to fire him. The $25,000 deposit was secured in a trust fund, and gievn back with interest to the former champion, as soon as the belt was returned. This was not just to insure the be;t’s well-being, but also to insure there could never be a double-cross by the champion. If he refused to lay down and drop the title, he would forfeit the deposit. Flair kept the old NWA belt because no one had even mentioned returning his deposit to him, so until such time, that belt was his. There was litigation regarding the belt, and WCW did win, with a restraining order against Flair using the belt on TV. If you look close at some olf Coliseum videos, you will notice that Flair had taken to wearing an old WWF tag strap, since he could not wear the WCW belt anymore. Vince McMahon had nothing to do with that decision, nor did he encourage Flair to hold on to the WCW belt, and he would pay the legal fees. Flair’s deposit was returned, and so he returned the belt. However, in the meantime, WCW had no belt, so they made the new belt that Luger won. At G.A. Bash 1992, Sting had the title, and if memory serves, battled Vader. Look at the video box; it clearly shows Sting with the title. Another source would be the Best of the G.A. Bash video. Luger did not battle Windham at G.A. Bash that year. Flair’s return to WCW had more to do with Flair wanting to leave, and Vince (similar to Goldberg) feeling Flair was not doing enough in the WWF. Flair agreed to lose a loser-leaves-the-fed match to Mr. Perfect, so as to elevate someone and Vince would get something out of the deal.

Arn and Tully are never mentioned after jumping to the WWF, I guess they must have died up in Stamford, because Arn’s return is not mentioned even as late as 1993 (I saw the part about the Dangerous Alliance, but it isn’t mentioned when he came back, or why). Again, this is such a rich history, and as long as you’re going to have 10+ parts, might as well make the most of it and expand on it. Flair also came back, but not because he was asked to, but because he wanted to. Kip Frey wasn’t in power long enough to burn bridges with anyone, so that’s inaccurate. Also, it was management’s idea for Flair to host a talk show, and it had nothing to do with a WWF contract clause. Flair was given a complete release, as WCW at the time was no competition for the WWF, and Vince didn’t think the organization was important enough to worry about.

The reason Tully didn’t come back was mentioned before. Originally, both Anderson and Blanchard were set to jump back to WCW, but management got cold feet about his failing a drug test, since the WWF was just beginning to feel heat about drugs. The classic NWA belt had ALWAYS been Turner’s property; the reason for the dispute had to do with the planned NWA title switch to Rude that had him filming promos as champ, and planning title defenses without first consulting the NWA Board of Directors (which does actually exist, and still does). They vetoed the switch, and pulled their recognition of the belt, which was renamed. There wasn’t a lawsuit for it.

RAW was just beginning in 1993, but spoilers weren’t found online at that time; not even dirt sheets really gained a following. I’ve never heard of WCW audiences being screened. It was mostly free admission to watch a few hours of wrestling in air conditioned studios vs. in the hot Orlando sun. Most people WEREN’T wrestling fans, it was FREE, so people came. They didn’t know how to react BECAUSE it was non-fans. Similarly, not everything taped came on TV, as even back then, storylines were randomly re-done and other thrown out. Sid’s attack on Anderson went much deeper then is shown on the page. Sid was boasting about how he was so big, and Anderson had no charisma, and how Sid was due a big World title push, and then proceeded to make fun of Flair, who was booking at the time.

Rick Steamboat and Hogan were all in 94, and it isn’t really discussed why hogan wanted to leave the WWF, or how it fits with the Horsemen. Also, the WCW International title was killed by the end of Starrcade, as it wasn’t around at Stanpede 94.

Also, no mention is given of the HB’s breakup, which paints why Austin was gievn a singles run, but none of that has anything to do with the Horsemen. Also, in the first round of Orlando tapings with Hogan, he was still cheered, and Flair was the heel in the fued. He was only portrayed as a baby for the purpose of making him a hero for Starrcade. Also, if you’re going to combine years, then make sure your history states it at the top of the page, which only states 1993, and not 1994.

Backstage politics in either WWF or WCW weren’t really much in 1994-5, it only involved Hogan for the most part trying to get all his old friends work (and OLD friends is about the word for it). WWF really had minimal in the early 90’s, as most of the company was worried about the steroid trial, and Vince wanted to rid himself of as many augmented physiques as possible.

Ric never actually “managed” Vader. If they accompanied him to the ring, that’s one thing, but he was never really a “manager”. Same for Woman, who was more of an associate or valet than manager. In wrestling, they are two different things, and that needs to be remembered.

As far as NJPW, Liger had been with the company before. Check out the first SuperBrawl with the Light Heavy title that Pillman and Liger traded. It wasn’t really an “invasion”, though. Also, Orndorff is mentioned as injured by Pillman, but the circumstances of the injury aren’t mentioned. This is why say the history jumps around way too much. Not everyone is fmailiar with history (especially in the modern day era of fans), so you have to talk as if no one knows, so you don’t lose anyone.

For 1996, the G.A. Bash is totally glossed over, despite Mongo McMichael being the fourth Horseman, and Hogan wasn’t really out of the picture at the time, considering he took part in the 8-on-2 cage match at Uncensored, that Pillman was supposed to compete in. Further on Pillman, if you are going to mention
his “Loose Cannon” days, then you have to mention his most famous match at Clash of the Champions where he attacks Bobby Heenan, who curses audibly on live TV, thinking Pillman will injure his bad neck (“What the F*CK are you doing?!?”)

I’m not sure what is being said about Arn & Mongo’s tag match vs. The Canadian’s, but if you’re trying to imply that Arn’s surgery RESULTED in his bad arm, that is 100% false. He had the surgery done to CORRECT a nerve problem in his neck that was CAUSING his arm to go numb. The surgery was a complete success, but due to the removal of several vertebrae along his spinal cord, Arn couldn’t risk taking bumps on an unprotected neck. Check Arn’s book for further reference. Jarrett was thought of as an associate, but mainly because he was hanging around. He was never considered seriously for a Horsemen spot, unless it was to put a better worker than McMichael in the group, although the purpose of Mongo, like Luger, was to teach him something alongside one of the greatest workers in the business, Flair.

Hennig’s joining the 4H again makes mention of a “botched” neck surgery, which again, is not the case.

A legal note: a letter of intent is basically nothing more than a document stating that the parties named would agree to negotiate, nothing more. It had nothing to do with Flair taking the time off to watch his son; nor did the letter have any legal ramifications of such.

As far as run-ins go, the only reason it’s expected now, is because Russo booking has trained modern fans not to expect a clean finish, so naturally, everyone looks to the runway every few seconds. This continued in the WWF for ages with Steve Austin doing the run-ins when he was the most popular guy on the roster.

A side note: look at pictures of the last Horsemen lineup. For those who like to talk about how Benoit and Malenko are “midgets”, you’ll see that they’re all about the same size as Flair and Anderson. Also, to make fun of Dusty’s lisp in print looks horrible. Not only because most people won’t get it, but also because in print, it makes no sense. Also, it has no place in a historical document.

Overall, as long as this history is in so many parts, you might as well break it up some more to discuss Sting’s arrival from the UWF, his knee injury that would haunt him for most of his career, and devote some time to Luger’s arrival on the Horsemen radar as an “associate”. This is as close to a rewrite as I could get in an e-mail without printing the original file, looking at it, and making corrections on the file itself. However, the glaring inaccuracies and ommissions made it necessary for me as one of the biggest fans of the original supergroup of wrestling that only came close to being overshadowed by The Dangerous Alliance, never the nWo.

Rich Jones wrote:

A correction for Gregory L. Dennis’s comments. Kip Frey didn’t fire Flair. Frey wasn’t even in power at that time. It was Jim Herd. Flair went into great detail about it on the 3 Disc Ric Flair DVD the WWE released a few years back. Jim Herd wanted Ric Flair to change his image, wear a leather jacket, and have an earring. Flair disliked Herd, because he was put over WCW, because he ran a local wrestling show that had recieved a high rating, however Herd’s main profession prior to WCW was being an executive for the Pizza Hut company. They had an argument on the phone, when Herd wanted Flair to lose the belt to Luger. Finally, Herd told him not to even show up, and fired him. Herd was going to send Kevin Sullivan to pick up the belt from Flair, but Flair insisted on recieving his $25,000 on the belt, for which Herd told him to forget about it. When Flair contacted Vince McMahon, he told him to bring the belt with him, which then they ran the angle about the “Real World’s Champion.” Again, this is all covered on Ric Flair’s 3-disc DVD released by the WWE.