Before the New World Order, Degeneration-X, The Hart Foundation, The Nation of Domination, and tHE Ministry of Darkness, there was The Four Horsemen, professional wrestling's second greatest stable of all time (The Fabulous Freebirds could be considered the greatest but that is a story for another day).
The Four Horsemen were originally comprised of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Ole Anderson with J.J. Dillon as their manager. But since pro wrestling tends to capitalize on anything that is working, as soon as they became the biggest stable in the sport, others started to join, and leave.
Between 1985 and 1999, 15 members became a part of The Four Horsemen. Besides the original four, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Sting, Sid Vicious, Paul Roma, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Jeff Jarrett, and Curt Hennig had all been a member of the group.
Besides the fact that The Four Horsemen dominated professional wrestling in the early 80's and Ric Flair was easily one of the biggest stars in America, this entire stable featured an unreal lineup of legit professional wrestling studs. Almost all of their members are some of the most loyal and best old school wrestlers in the sports history.
Being as popular as The Four Horsemen were, there are bound to be amazing stories about some of the most insane real life moments that the group shared. Here are the 15 best we could find.
15 What Did We Just Do?
One of the greatest stables in professional wrestling history was not planned. It was not something written into the storyline or even discussed in a backroom somewhere. When the original members of The Four Horsemen happened, it was all by accident. Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, and Arn Anderson had all been partners in various scenarios before and they all knew each other until one day, Arn decided to call them The Four Horsemen.
Arn got the idea based on two things, the bible's version of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 195's backfield, which shared the same nickname. During a shoot interview, Arn described it as if they would roll into a town, completely wipe it out and then leave the destruction behind them in the same way as the bible describes them during the apocalypse.
14 The OG's of WarGames
After watching Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Dusty Rhodes created an idea for a new wrestling specialty called, WarGames. The way it would work is simple. Instead of using just one ring surrounded by a steel cage, it uses three of them with two on the outside and one giant center ring. It also features two teams of at least four members that will enter the cage, one at a time, like a Royal Rumble, except instead of a sixty second window, wrestlers are released at five minute intervals, one from each team.
The idea was created specifically for The Four Horsemen as a match that would help resolve their ongoing feud with Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Paul Ellering, and The Road Warriors. The idea was shown to the members of The Four Horsemen and they apparently loved it because they would go on to wrestle in it three more times over the next two months.
It lasted until the '97 Fall Brawl with The Four Horsemen facing off against the nWo.
13 Lex Luger, From Associate Member to Legend
At the beginning of his career, Lex Luger was nothing more than just another young wrestler with a ton of raw talent that needed to catch a few breaks and get a ton of in-ring work before he was able to reach the next level. He lucked out, however, and ended up getting aligned with The Four Horsemen.
Before he became a member of The Four Horsemen, he had no signature closing move and was simply known as Lex Luger. But after being a part of The Four Horsemen, his career began. He was wrestling and starting to get built up, with the help of Ric Flair and the group, and needed a finisher. That's when the Torture Rack became his final move. And when he was learning how to do interviews like a "true" Four Horsemen member, he became The Total Package.
His entire career can be credited to The Four Horsemen.
12 Arn Anderson's Temper
Many years ago, while sitting on a plane in front of Mike Enos, who was talking on his cell phone, Arn Anderson was not to thrilled about it and turned around, to tell him to turn it off. Without refusing, Mike simply ignores the multiple requests and continues his phone conversation. Sitting next to Mike was another WCW wrestler that went by the name of Disco Inferno. And for any of you Nitro fans, you will remember him and his ridiculously flamboyant style that represented everything about the '70s, especially disco.
Disco was sitting right next to the entire situation and when things escalated to a near brawl between Arn Anderson and Mike Enos, Disco decided to chime in. Just as Arn begins to threaten Mike, one last time, Disco jumps up and tells Arn to take care of him, "Horsemen style" and lifts up four fingers in honor of the groups hand signal.
Arn turns to Disco and slaps him clean across the face quickly putting an end to that situation.
11 Jealousy Turned Them Into Rockstars
Professional wrestling is all about television time. If a pro wrestler is not being put on tv, no one is going to know about him, or her, and they will have to work ten times as hard to become a star. That was what happened after the introduction of The Four Horsemen, the rest of the NWA was going unnoticed and it caused tension in the back similar to what happened to The Kliq.
Bookers would favor Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn and Ole Anderson. They would put them in positions to win belts, all the time. In fact, if you were to add up all of the members, during their time with The Four Horsemen, title reigns, it equates to the most by any stable ever. They held various title belts for almost 2,900 days combined which basically means no one else was winning any of these things. That caused a problem backstage because everyone wanted to join The Four Horsemen just to get a chance at winning something.
10 The Drunken Squirrel Bet
Arn Anderson was a man's man. He was a true friend and a really good guy that you wanted to have in your corner. If things were to go down, you would never have to look over your shoulders because if Arn was with you, your back was covered.
But he also enjoyed messing around with the boys in the company, especially Sid Vicious. Arn would challenge other wrestlers to do things that were sometimes a bit crazy. One time he allegedly bet Sid Vicious that he could not take his pet squirrel down his pants for more than 60 seconds. Alcohol was more than likely involved so it was easy to understand that it was not a brain buster for Sid to take this bet and easily win it.
However, it did not take very long before his pet squirrel went nuts and decided to chew his way out, biting him in the genitalia in the process, giving him the need for a quick trip to the emergency room.
9 Andre the Giant as a Wingman?
Ric Flair is known as the leader of The Four Horsemen and all of the members of the original group, besides Ole Anderson of course, would agree and have said this about him at one point or another. As the unofficial group leader, Ric became the superstar of the entire NWA. His celebrity status as the leader of the NWA can be compared to being the lead singer of The Beatles. The women were just tossing themselves at Ric. But he partied all the time and started bringing other wrestlers along for the ride.
He told Rolling Stones magazine about this time he brought Andre the Giant out with him and it turned into being a great move as Andre was a real hit with the ladies. He was the main attraction and that was perfect because it allowed Ric the chance to talk to someone without one hundred people trying to get next to him. Surprisingly, Andre the Giant turned out to be the best wingman on the roster.
8 Tony Schiavone, remember him?
When WCW Monday Nitro started airing on TBS, Tony Schiavone was the play-by-play announcer along with Bobby Heenan. The two of them formed an amazing partnership that lasted throughout the shows entire run and he has even become one of the greatest pro wrestling announcers the sports has ever seen. But that is not where he got his start in the business, he actually began working in the industry many years before that, when The Four Horsemen were becoming the biggest stable on the planet.
When Tony was announcing for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, he would also interview the wrestlers and during one of his interviews with Arn Anderson, it happened. Arn was speaking freely and unintentionally started talking about The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. After the interview ended, Tony said to Arn, "I think you just named yourself."
It was not a big moment but had Tony not told Arn that, he would have forgotten all about the promo and moved on. That simple comment helped them to come up with the creation of the entire stable.
7 The Plane is Going Down
The true wrestling fans out there know about the Ric Flair plane crash story but for the ones that have no clue what that means, we wanted to tell you about it.
In the early part of his career, in 1975, Ric Flair was heading to an event with promoter David Crockett, Tim Woods, Bobby Bruggers, and Johnny Valentine. The pilot of their plane had to dump some fuel before takeoff to counter the weight of the wrestlers on the plane, he had to find a balance to fly and dumping fuel was the easiest idea. It turned out to be a bad idea because they rain out of fuel mid-flight and that was when things got out of hand and the plane started to sink.
The only fatality from the flight was the pilot, he died two months after the crash after struggling to live. Ric Flair, however, survived and came out of the accident with a broken back and the idea that his career was over. The only reason it was not over was because he was lucky enough to change seats with former pal Johnny Valentine, who ended up suffering the worst injuries of the group because of where he was seated on the plane.
6 Manny Fernandez Saved Tully Blanchard's Life
Back in the '80s, professional wrestling was of a product of Hollywood and more of a sport that walked along a very thin line between real and fake. Today, everyone knows that the sport is fake. They understand that the bumps hurt and the dangerous moves can cost a person their life, but the story itself is all pre-fabricated by some writer sitting alone in a dark room with a typewriter.
Manny Fernandez was a star during that time period in professional wrestling with a legendary feud with Arn Anderson. He also battled in real life with The Four Horsemen and he has very few pleasant words to share about them.
So when he comes out and speaks about The Four Horsemen, people should listen. During an interview with Wrestling INC radio, Manny talked about Tully Blanchard and the time Manny saved his life. As Manny says it, "I got stabbed eight times trying to save his life in San Antonio, Texas." He continued, "When this incident happened, it wasn't me that started the incident, it was him (Tully) and I came to the rescue. It wasn't him that took the stabbing, it was me and then he went running off like a coward..."
5 How to Gargle Whiskey Like a Champ
Most people in the entertainment industry drink alcohol at one time or another. It could be at parties, award shows, private events, or just simply to fit in.
Chris Jericho paid his dues in the wrestling industry before he started adding people to “The List” in the WWE. He learned how to work, wrestle, shoot, do promos, and, most importantly, drink alcohol. He was shown how to drink like a professional wrestler when he first started out and by the time he became the WWE World Champion, he was a master at drinking alcohol. He was also a master of gargling whiskey, which is harder than it sounds because it feels like someone is slicing your throat open as you do it and it just keeps getting harder and harder to do each second it is in your mouth, by NOT gargling whiskey thanks to some training from Ric Flair.
Ric showed him how to seem like you were gargling whiskey by positioning yourself in a way where you could appear to be gargling whiskey on one side of your mouth while you spit it out on the opposite side without anyone noticing.
4 Derby's Bar & Grill Brawl
Before we tell this next story, keep one thing in mind, this is coming from a few fans that have told this story many years ago on a Livejournal blog post.
Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, and Nikita Koloff were having a good time at Derby's when all of a sudden a woman starts screaming and yelling at Ric, claiming he called her a derogatory name which he was trying to tell her he did not. She would continue until finally she left them alone and all seemed to be calm again. But as Ric and the boys were leaving, she was outside the bar just waiting to start round two with him. So Ric politely asks her to please calm down and move aside, and he gently touches her arm in a way to suggest which direction to move, it was not done in a violent manner, according to this eyewitnesses story.
As he touched her arm, her boyfriend stepped in a joined in the argument by grabbing Ric and yelling at him. That was when Ric began shooting a promo as if he were at Nitro, right to this guys face. The guy actually walked off after Ric finished his spiel but as he walked off, he muttered a name towards Ric that made Arn Anderson spit at this guy which set everything off and a brawl ensued. As the bar patron turns around to charge at Ric, Nikita grabs him by the collar and slams him to the ground and begins punching him along with Ric and Arn, to teach him a lesson in respect.
3 Partying Like a Rockstar
There would be plenty more stories of The Four Horsemen but most of them partied a little too much to remember any of them.
During an interview about their party days in the late '80s, Ric talked about the constant partying and said, "We had our own private jet. We were on the Great American Bash tour in 1985...we worked in Frisco, Seattle, Portland, LA, Alburquerque, and Vegas...we stayed at the Tropicana for a five day run. I got drunk and spent $40,000 on two fur coats..."
He spent more on fur coats than most people spend on their car or even their college education.
Ric would continue on, "We flew back to the hotel at midnight and partied until 8:00 a.m, worked out and then laid in the sun all day. We did not go to bed for five days. It was phenomenal."
2 Arn Anderson Defends Ric Flair's Honor
After traveling with WCW through Europe, Arn Anderson was getting a little tired, and so was Sid Vicious apparently. It is only natural that after spending so much time on the road, especially overseas and far away from home, that some of these guys would eventually get into some serious shoot fights.
Well, it happened while in a Germany hotel bar and it quickly became one of the most legendary shoot fights in WCW history.
Sid Vicious was apparently saying some ugly things about Ric Flair and he was overheard by Arn Anderson. Both men had been drinking throughout the night and were pretty well liquored up by this point. So in defense of his friend, Arn got into a very heated exchange with Sid and they had to be broken up and both men ended up going back to their hotel rooms to cool off.
However, that cooling period did not work for Sid and he just had to settle the argument that night so he went back to Arn’s hotel room where he allegedly attacked Arn, with a hotel chair leg, as he opened the door. That turned into a brawl between both men that happened in the hallway and involved a pair of scissors which ended up doing some damage to both men.
What did everyone learn? Don’t mess with The Four Horsemen.
1 300 Women Show Up in Baltimore
The Four Horsemen might not have been the first stable in professional wrestling but they were the first kayfabe stable that turned them into rockstars. All four of the Horsemen were growing in popularity every time they made an appearance in the late '80s, especially Ric Flair, who was becoming one of the biggest stars in the sport. So when one of the men would speak, the fans, mostly the female ones, would listen and that gave Ric Flair a brilliant idea.
One night, during a live television taping, Ric Flair said to the crowd, “The Four Horsemen are renting a suite on top of the Baltimore Marriott. Any girl between the ages of 18 and 28 is invited – no husbands, no boyfriends…”
He did not expect so many women to show up. There was almost 300 women in the hotel, just packed down the hallways, looking to party with them. That one instance turned into a regular occurrence that Ric would do at every show.