When looking at factions in professional wrestling history, an entire generation of wrestling fans look at the nWo and Degeneration X as the best of the best and some younger fans even look at Evolution and The Shield as the top factions. However, none of these factions would exist without the one that started it all -- The Four Horsemen.
The original Four Horsemen were booked to be a family with the fictional Anderson brothers of Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson and their storyline cousin Nature Boy Ric Flair. They teamed with Tully Blanchard and his manager James J. Dillon and took over the NWA's Mid Atlantic Wrestling. Over the years, members came and went but the Four Horsemen remained elite with only minimal stumbles. Here is a look at the 10 best members of the Four Horsemen, ranked.
If and when WWE ever talks about the Four Horsemen, they will never mention Chris Benoit due to how his life ended. However, Benoit was a member of a surprisingly entertaining and strong Four Horsemen group that formed in 1995. This version included Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, and Brian Pillman, who had started to master his loose cannon persona.
While Pillman left for ECW and then WWE, Benoit stuck around as a member of the Four Horsemen and was in a group that included Dean Malenko and former NFL star Steve Mongo McMichael, with Benoit clearly the most talented member of this final incarnation of the Four Horsemen.
Brian Pillman was not a part of the Four Horsemen for a long time but his stay was memorable. Pillman had completely shaken his Flyin' Brian persona and learned how to be a great heel in the Hollywood Blondes with Stunning Steve Austin. He then joined Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in the Four Horsemen in 1995 along with Chris Benoit.
This is when Pillman created the character he was best known for -- the Loose Cannon. He acted crazy, said and did anything he could think of, and even had the Horsemen feuding with him against Kevin Sullivan. Pillman took this character to WWE with him but he developed it in the Four Horsemen.
Sting has one thing that really hurts his reputation as a smart wrestler. He was betrayed by Nature Boy Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen over and over again. Even when Sting would admit he knew he couldn't trust Flair, he would still team with him and the Horsemen would beat him down for it.
In 1989, Sting was actually a member of the Four Horsemen and that is where the pattern of betrayal began. Sting, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair formed the group as babyfaces, feuding with a faction led by Gary Hart. However, when Sting dared to challenge Flair for the world title, the Four Horsemen kicked him out and beat him down.
Ole Anderson was one of the original founders of the Four Horsemen but was never really that important outside of that. He was replaced in the mid-'80s when the Horsemen became really popular and Tully Blanchard proved to be a better tag team partner for Arn Anderson than Ole ever was.
Ole returned later as a member when they reformed the group as babyfaces with Sting, but was once again overshadowed by everyone else. That is when Ole retired and spent a short time as their manager before leaving the spotlight completely. He was a one-time tag champion with Arn.
When Ole Anderson left the Four Horsemen, the group did something impressive. There was a young superstar down in Florida named Lex Luger that was making waves. This was back in the days where only tape traders and Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers knew about all the territories and Luger was someone ready for national TV.
Lex Luger was made the newest member of the Four Horsemen, a relative unknown to the mainstream fans but a very exciting moment for people who followed his rise in Florida. He looked like a star and fit in perfectly with the Horsemen. He was with the Four Horsemen from 1987-88 and made a strong impression.
James J. Dillon may not have been a wrestler but as a manager, he was instrumental to a lot of their success. He joined the group in the start as the manager of Tully Blanchard. It was an interesting pairing since Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard didn't need a mouthpiece.
However, Dillon was more than a mouthpiece. He served as the prototypical manager -- claiming to take care of the Horsemen's affairs so they could just wrestle. He also was there to interfere on their behalf when need be Dillon actually outlasted everyone but Ric Flair in the original iteration of the Four Horsemen.
While Lex Luger was the man who joined the Four Horsemen to give them a young superstar of the future in their lineup, he was not who was with them when WWE inducted them into the WWE Hall of Fame. Instead, the man that most people consider the best "fourth" Horsemen was Barry Windham.
His betrayal was a shock, as he was the cowboy babyface, working in both WWE (U.S. Express) and the NWA as a tried-and-true babyface. However, Windham teamed with Lex Luger when the Horsemen kicked him out and then betrayed Luger and joined the group.
Tully Blanchard was the most technically sound wrestler in Four Horsemen history. In the original iteration, while the Andersons were the tag team and Flair was the world champion, Tully Blanchard focused on the mid-card titles -- first the TV title and then the United States Championship. Blanchard's feud with Magnum T.A. for the U.S. title might be one of the best in Four Horsemen history.
Later, Blanchard worked with Arn Anderson as a tag team and was so successful that they eventually left the NWA and the Four Horsemen and enjoyed success as The Brain Busters in WWE. Sadly, Blanchard was supposed to be part of the Four Horsemen reunion in the '90s but failed a drug test and never worked with the group again.
Next to Ric Flair, no one signifies what it meant to be a member of the Four Horsemen more than Arn Anderson. Anderson was part of the original group that formed in 1985, the tag team partner of Ole Anderson. Later he worked as the tag team partner of Tully Blanchard and held three tag team titles with those men, and one later with Paul Roma.
Arn Anderson also worked as a singles star and held the NWA/WCW World TV title four times. It was Arn Anderson that always came out and worked to keep the team together in the '90s, whether it was with Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit or with Benoit, Malenko, and Mongo. Arn Anderson is the heart and soul of the Four Horsemen.
While Arn Anderson might be the heart and soul of the Four Horsemen, the true leader and the top member of the faction is The Nature Boy Ric Flair. The purpose of the Horsemen, in the beginning, was to dominate the NWA, with the Andersons holding the tag titles and Blanchard holding the mid-card titles but it was always Ric Flair on top as the world champion.
Ric Flair held the NWA/WCW world title eight times as a member of the Four Horsemen. Not only did the group help Flair keep the title and protect his reign as champion but if any of them dared challenge him, the others would instantly turn on them and beat them down, removing the challengers from the faction. Ric Flair is the face of the Four Horsemen and the reason they thrived.