A wrestling stable is a great way to turn guys into stars. Whether the group unites for a common cause or against a common enemy, one thing is certain, there is strength in numbers. Without the legendary Four Horsemen showing the world how a stable of wrestlers should be, we probably would not have factions in the world of wrestling today. The Horsemen set the standard for how a stable should look and act. Right down to the way a group of guys should attack the enemy, which is now refereed to as a "horsemen stomp," when every member of the stable is attacking one guy.
Some of the more notable stables in wrestling history may have never existed if The Four Horsemen had not blazed the trail. Even though they were not officially the first stable, that nod goes to The Fabulous Freebirds, they definitely became the benchmark that all stables since are measured up to. So many stables and factions like the nWo, D-Generation X, Hart Foundation, Evolution, Legacy and so many more owe their very existence to The Horsemen. They showed all these factions how to walk the walk and look the part. They were indeed the prototypical heel faction.
They were brash, they were arrogant, and the fans either loved them or loved to hate them. They were involved in some of the most legendary feuds in wrestling history and gave us some of the most memorable moments in wrestling history. From their feuds with Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA to the nWo and Eric Bischoff, they sold out arena's around the world. They broke Dusty Rhodes ankle and hand, they usually held most of the titles and their interviews were usually bragging about their success. So much is known about them that we had to dig deep but we have found the Top 20 things you did not know about the Four Horsemen.
Due to the fact that the NWA was pressed for time at a television taping, they had to combine interviews. It made sense for Ole and Arn Anderson since they were a tag team and Ole was Arn's storyline cousin (he was also billed as nephew and brother). Ric Flair made sense as well since he had recently teamed up with his storyline cousins Ole and Arn Anderson to take out Dusty Rhodes. They had a loose alliance with Tully Blanchard and J.J. Dillon so the NWA thought they could squeeze them all into the same interview. After Arn stated the groups actions were comparable only to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the faction was born and history was made.
19 Living the Life
Most wrestlers play a part on TV and in the Arena, but in their personal lives they are someone much different. That was not the case with The Four Horsemen. On screen, they were all about their Rolex's and expensive suits. They were all about jet flying, limousine riding, and kiss stealing. The thing that made The Horsemen different then most was that they were all about those things in their personal lives too. Arn, Flair and Tully Blanchard were as close as any friends could be outside the arena. They would often fly jets from town to town and ride limos to the arenas.
18 WarGames Losers
Dusty Rhodes claims to have gotten the idea for this match from watching Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The match debuted in 1987 at The Great American Bash and there have been twenty nine matches to date. Originally, it was designed for The Four Horsemen as a way to settle the many feuds they would have throughout the years. One Big Cage surrounding two wrestling rings, participants entering at timed intervals and teams of four beat on each other until someone gives up. The Four Horsemen have competed in seventeen of the twenty nine matches and only won the Wargames match once.
17 Two Constant Presences
The Four Horsemen officially debuted in 1985 and their last incarnation using the name was in 1998. The Horsemen were around for 12 years and during that time there were a lot of legendary names that were inducted into the ranks of the elite. Names Like Barry Windham, Sting, Lex Luger, Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael, Brian Pillman and so many more in total, they had sixteen different members that were officially considered Horsemen. Of those sixteen different members Arn Anderson and Ric Flair were the only two who were a part of every incarnation of the group that appeared in the NWA and WCW.
16 And One Remains
We mentioned in the previous slide that only two members had made every incarnation of the officially named Four Horsemen. There are two other incarnations that are considered Horsemen as well. While Flair was working for the WWE in 2003, he formed a variation of The Horsemen called Evolution. The group consisted of Ric Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista. They acted just like the original group with the expensive suits and fast paced life. For the second group...
15 TNA's Version
For the second unofficial version of the Horsemen, when Flair went to TNA in 2010, he reformed The Horsemen as a group called Fortune (originally spelled Fourtune). This incarnation was managed by Flair and the group members were AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian, Robert Rhoode and James Storm. That made Flair the only member to be associated with all major incarnations of The Four Horsemen.
14 Better Than the Rest
Even though there have been many different incarnations of The Four Horsemen, they did have one group that stood out against all the rest. In 1988, Lex Lugar, who had been kicked out of The Horsemen earlier that year, joined forces with Barry Windham to feud with the renaming members. During a tag team title defense, Windham turned on Luger and joined tTe Four Horsemen. Arguably considered the greatest version of the group, Ric Flair held the world title, Barry Windham held the US title while Arn and Tully held tag team gold. They were also considered four of the best technical wrestlers in the world at the time. This is the incarnation of The Horsemen that was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
13 Almost A Gladiator
In 1989, Jim Herd took over as the Executive Vice President of WCW. One of the first things he wanted to do was take Ric Flair and have him shave his head and start dressing like a gladiator named Spartacus. His reasoning was because he felt that Ric Flair's time as a main eventer was up and he needed to change with the times. They got into a dispute a little over a year later about Ric's contract. Herd wanted him to take a pay cut and drop the Heavyweight belt to Lex Lugar. Flair felt Herd was going back on a promise he had made to let Flair drop the belt to Sting. so negotiations stopped and Herd fired Flair, who showed up in the WWE shortly after.
12 Eric Bischoff Screws Up... Again
On April 9th of 1998, Flair attended his son Reid's wrestling tournament. Flair had been planning this absence for the better part of a year. He was not scheduled to appear at the WCW Thunder event, nor was he contracted to be there. The WCW gave Flair 24 hour notice that he needed to appear and because of his previous commitment he did not show up. Eric Bischoff then filed a lawsuit against Flair for breach of contract. Due to the impending lawsuit, Ric was off TV for five months, returning in September to reform the Horsemen again. Bischoff has since admitted that the Lawsuit was a mistake and the reason he did it was to make a statement in the locker room. He stated that he felt the guys were getting out of control and felt this was a way to get some control back.
11 Fight For Your Life
On October 27th 1993, while WCW was touring Europe, Arn Anderson and Sid Vicious got into an argument at the hotel bar. Doug Dillinger, who was the security chief for WCW at the time, sent them to their rooms. Sid had a hard time letting the disagreement go and attacked Arn in his hotel room with the leg of a chair. At some point during the scuffle, a pair of scissors entered the fight. Sid suffered four stab wounds and Arn received 20. Thankfullym 2 Cold Scorpio was there to break up the fight and save Anderson's life. Sid was fired shortly after the incident took place.
10 The Faction That Almost Never Was
It's hard to think of a world with out The Four Horsemen, or Ric Flair for that matter, but the legend almost never even got started. In 1975, a plane carrying Flair, promoter David Crockett, and three other wrestlers ran out of gas on its final approach to the Wilmington North Carolina airport. Johnny Valentine and Bobby Bruggers sustained significant injuries and never wrestled again. Flair, who suffered a back that was broken in three places, went on to become the legend that he is today. The most dominate faction in wrestling history almost ended years before they even got their official start.
9 Ole/Flair Pushed Bischoff
It really does seem like arguably the greatest performer of all time was not appreciated during his time. After a previously mentioned dispute with Jim Herd, Flair left to go to the WWE. In 1993, when Flair was leaving the WWE, he did the honorable thing and lost to Curt Hennig to give a rising star a much needed boost. When he returned to WCW, his former Stablemate, Ole Anderson, was in charge of booking the shows. Ole told Ric that he had no value to him since he had lost the night before on national television. Flair was so mad he went to Bob Dhue, the president of WCW at the time, and said either Ole goes or he will. When Bob couldn't think of an adequate replacement, Flair suggested Bischoff, who he viewed as extremely creative. That's how Eric Bischoff got his start in upper management.
8 Championship Gold
During their time as Horsemen, the members won a total of 26 titles. Ric Flair held the Heavyweight title 14 times as a Horsemen for a total of 1,236 days. That's over three years for Flair as the Heavyweight Champion with his longest reign of 411 days coming between August of 1986 and September of 1987. The original formation of the Horsemen in 1985 started with Tully as the United States Champion, Flair as the World Heavyweight Champion and Ole and Arn as the National Tag Team Champions.
7 The Elite
Unlike The Bullet Club or the nWo, The Four Horsemen required more than a pulse to be a member. Being a Horsemen meant that you were the best the business had to offer. It was a tight knit group and being a Horsemen was an achievement and an honor that wasn't just handed out, it was earned. You didn't necessarily become a part of the faction because of friendship or because of a common cause, you became a member when you impressed Ric Flair or Arn Anderson enough to earn that spot.
6 Big Names Galore
Being a member of The Four Horsemen meant you were one of the elite in the wrestling business, so it is no surprise that big names and future world champions were members at one time. People like Sid Vicious, Lex Lugar, Sting, and Chris Benoit all went on to become World Champions. Other names that went on to have solid careers were Barry Windham, Curt Hennig, Dean Malenko, and Brian Pillman. Tully Blanchard was a huge name in the wrestling business before he became a Horsemen and, even though he fell off the map after a run in WWE, he is still considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
5 Real Horsemen?
Jeff Jarrett entered the WCW in 1996 and lobbied hard to be included in the elite group. While using the figure four leg lock and doing the Flair strut, he eventually caught the eye of The Nature Boy. Jeff Jarrett won his way into the Horsemen by defeating Chris Benoit at Starrcade 96. He was a reluctant entry because he wasn't trusted by McMichael, Benoit or Anderson. In the middle of 97, he was told by Flair he was no longer a Horsemen and he then started a feud with McMichael. The reason why people question whether or not he was a real Horsemen is because he was allowed to leave the ring without a "horsemen stomp." Arn Anderson stated in his autobiography that Jarrett was never a Horsemen. Ric Flair backed that sentiment on his pocdast where he said it was talked about but never made official.
In 2013, a group of mixed martial arts women adopted the name The Four Horsewomen with the blessing of Arn Anderson and "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, and Jessamyn Duke all fight for the UFC. The fourth member of the group, Marina Shafir, fights for Invicta Fighting Championship. The group sat together in the front row and were acknowledged on air when they attended SummerSlam in 2014. Then again they sat in the front row at WrestleMania 31 where Ronda had an in-ring segment with The Rock, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
On a side note, Ronda got her rowdy nickname from Rowdy Roddy Piper, after she asked him for permission.
3 Just Keeps Ticking
Starting in 1989 when Jim Herd took over WCW and continuing with Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair was considered the past and was consistently trying to be replaced. Herd tried to Despite that, Ric Flair continued to excel in the ring until 2008. Twenty years after Jim Herd told him he was the past and tried to make him a gladiator. Ten years after Bishoff sent him home, told him The Horsemen were dead and sued him for breach of contract. Decades after people told him he was done. he had the Match of the Year with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV. Makes us wonder if WCW would still be around today had they put their trust in Flair and let him be the man to lead the company.
2 A Man Called Sting
Throughout their history, The Four Horsemen have had many enemies, Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, all of the nWo. But none were a bigger thorn in their side then Sting. Flair vs Sting was the main event of the first ever Nitro in 1995 and also the main event of the last ever Nitro in 2001. Flair befriended Sting twice, only to betray him later. The first time was when Sting joined The Horsemen in late 1989. At Starrcade 89, Sting became the number one contender for Flair's Heavyweight Championship. That resulted in Sting being kicked out of The Horsemen when Flair sucker punched him. The second time was in 1994 when Flair convinced Sting to tag with him against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Flair would turn on Sting during the match and reform The Horsemen with Anderson and Pillman.
In 1997, Arn Anderson gave an emotional retirement speech in front of a live WCW audience due to doctors ordering him to never wrestle again. The next week, the nWo came out to do a parody of that retirement speech. In a shoot interview with Ric Flair, he stated that Kevin Nash's portrayal of Arn Anderson was insulting and he was upset because Arn's kid was watching it at home. Flair also stated that the part that upset him the most was The Horsemen were never given a chance at a rebuttal. The Four Horsemen were embarrassed on national television and were never allowed to retaliate.