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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

Volume 2, Issue 104
January 4, 1997

A Brief History of the Four Horsemen

by Ervin Griffin Jr.

Summary of Bret Hart's Weekly Column from the Calgary Sun

by Rudy Van Koll

Weekend Review: Part 1

This week Ervin Griffin Jr. gives us a concise historical perspective on the greatest wrestling stable in the sport. Griffin is a regular Solie's contributer as well as an editorialist for The Ringside Insider. He has also helped to liven up Solie's Readers' Forum since its inception.

THE FOUR HORSEMEN. In the biblical world, they represent the end of the world in the book of Revelations. In the wrestling world, however, they are the most celebrated "supergroup" of all-time. In fact, the Horsemen practically invented the term because while "stables" of wrestlers have existed before, they never had the talent or success that the Four Horsemen did. Several groups have tried to imitate the Horsemen's success. Those include The Heenen Family, The Hart Foundation (which was a stable at one time comprising of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Honky Tonk Man and Danny Davis) and The Dangerous Alliance (which probably came the closest to matching the Horsemen in championships and sheer ruthlessness).

Still, The Horsemen are the original "supergroup" and (arguably) the best. While I did not care for their tactics, they have all provided some great wrestling memories for me and for fans everywhere. While I don't think they can do what they did in the 80's and the early part of the 90's, they still represent a place in history that will never be taken away. As for the wrestlers that have been (and still are) Horsemen, they are an impressive list indeed:

1. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
2. "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson
3. "The Rock" Ole Anderson
4. "SuperBrat" Tully Blanchard
5. "Total Pakage" Lex Luger
6. Barry Windham
7. Sting
8. "Psycho" Sid Vicious
9. "Flying" Brian Pillman
10. "Canadian Crippler" Chris Benoit

You may have noticed that I have left Steve McMichael's name of the list. I have done this because I have never believed he deserved Horsemen status nor do I think that he has done anything significant yet.

The Four Horsemen have officially been around since 1986, but their roots really go back to a year before. During a TV taping at the studios of TBS, Magnum TA (Terry Allen) challenged then-NWA World Champ Ric Flair to a 10 minute match. Magnum even bet a $1,000 that Flair couldn't beat him within that time limit. During the match, Ole & Arn Anderson came out to "watch" (they were involved in a feud with Magnum and Dusty Rhodes at the time). After the match, all three men viciously attacked Magnum as the show went off the air. They would also be the instigaters in Rhodes' infamous ankle injury which forced him to wear a steel-toe reinforced boot for a time. Meanwhile, Tully Blanchard was involved in a heated feud with Magnum (which ended in their infamous "I-Quit" matchup at Starrcade '85). By spring of 1986, the Four Horsemen had officially been formed when Tully defeated Rhodes for the now defunct National Heavyweight Championship. I cite this match because Flair helped Tully secure the win and attacked Rhodes after the match.

While the fourth slot kept changing over the next two years (Ole Anderson was replaced by Lex Luger, the latter was later replaced by Barry Windham), the core of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard remained until 1988 when Arn and Tully left for the WWF. They reunited in 1989 with original members Flair, Ole and Arn. Sting was pick for the forth slot but was later kicked out. Ole Anderson then stepped down and the two slots were filled by Sid Vicious and Barry Windham. This group remained until 1991. In 1993, the Horsemen resurfaced again as faces. This time, they added Paul Roma to their ranks. This group lasted until the fall of 1993 when Roma joined up with Paul Orndorff and Arn was involved in a stabbing altercation with Sid Vicious in England.

The Horsemen resurfaced again in 1995 when Arn and Ric (after a brief feud) added Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit. Pillman (who had creative problems with Eric Bischoff) left WCW in early-1996. He was replaced by Steve McMichael this past summer. Personally, I see another change coming as there have been problems brewing in the Horsemen.

For another historic look at the Horsemen, see Earl's Illustrated History of the Four Horsemen.

Next week, I'll continue this with Part 2. I'll discuss all of the titles that the various members have held and the managerial side of the Horsemen.

If you have a comment, criticism, or question, e-mail at griffiev@hotmail.com
See ya!!!

Thanks Irvin.

Weekend Review

Unfortunately I missed WCW Main Event Saturday morning. My cable company changed their line-up of channels this week and I forgot to reprogram my VCR in time (the Main Event comes on at 6 am local time so I normally tape it to view after I get up). BTW - Shotgun Saturday Night is not being carried in my market (SF Bay area) so I'll have to get my news on that program from the other newsletters.

WWF Live Wire

Rocky Maivia is the in-studio guest on the program this week. Jim Ross is the host with Vic Venom (WWF Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vince Russo). I read somewhere that there is going to be permanent host named - this combination would suit me fine...

They reviewed the supposed Bret/Shawn verbal confrontation first thing. I was disappointed in that interview because they didn't let Shawn have his say. Bret got to speak his mind but then just as Michaels started his spiel he was interrupted by the arrival of Sid, then the Undertaker, then Vader, etc.

They segued into a discussion of the increasingly muddled WWF Title situation (with amazingly pertinent fan phone calls coming in right on cue) - one caller suggested that they put "all ten guys" into the ring at once to settle it. Russo thought a better idea would be to put them in an alley somewhere...

Jim Ross picked up on another caller's suggestion of a Triangle match pitting Bret/Shawn/Sid - he called it a "Triple Threat" match and implied that it is being considered for a future PPV.

Rocky Maivia lights up the studio with that smile of his - I am in no way a gay person (I'm a 47 year old grandfather, thank you very much) but even I find this guy very attractive (I see your point JL...) and what a heritage - I can't imagine this kid not being a major star someday.

Faarooq and the entire Nation of Domination were announced as the in-studio guests for next week show - I may skip that one...


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They've really been pushing that bore, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, in recent weeks. I figure they're setting him up for the eventual fall sometime in the not to distant future - they have to be, because this guy (in my humble opinion) is not capable of being truly "over" with the fans. He had a shot at it as part of the defunct "Perfect Alliance" but that's clearly not in the cards...the WWF will be forced to cut their losses on the investment they made in this loser...

Jim Ross had quite a bit to say about the WWF/WCW battles during the "Off the Record" segment toward the end of the show. His truculent attitude seems to extend passed Vince McMahon to the fans - he was cutting off callers right and left, lecturing them on "being prepared" to speak on the air, etc.

Ross read a fax from a fan who asked if it was true that Hall and Nash were planning to attend the Royal Rumble. he said they are welcome and went on to plug the ticket sales. One caller said he thought that "Diesel and Razor" were a better tag team then Hall and Nash ("or whoever..." as he put it). Ross agreed and said they are certainly "more athletic and have healthy knees..." (Sorry JR - Hall and Nash would wipe the floor with "Razor and Diesel" IMO).

Ross was then asked whether he would consider returning to WCW but nixed that idea saying "...I've been there, done that".

When asked about the possibility of Randy Savage reappearing in the WWF, Ross said that the promotion is "...concentrating on the future - not the past". He was asked to comment on the Hogan/Piper match at Starrcade and said that Piper was "once a valiant athlete..." but that he doesn't belong in the ring these days (or Hulk Hogan for that matter). He mentioned Piper's plastic hip. Then he said he fell asleep in the middle of the match (...sure you did JR...)

Bret Hart's Weekly Column Summary

Hi Earl.

Today's column is titled "Micheals, McMahon Two of Kind."

Bret starts out by mentioning that Jim Ross asked him if he would fly to Albany, NY, to do a live interview on RAW in regards to the upcoming Royal Rumble. "As far as I can see, J R has always been straight up with me and the fans of the WWF, so I don't mind repaying that by doing the occasional favor for him."

He says that when he got to the arena, he found that they had been anxiously awaiting his arrival. He mentions that Shawn Micheals had asked for some interview time on the same show, but he had been turned down. He says it wasn't personal. There is only so much air time and the show had been planned out in advance. He says that Shawn demanded time and "the powers that be hemmed and hawed and said they couldn't reschedule the interview." He says that Shawn said he would talk to whomever had the interview time, and ask them to give it to him. Then he found out it was Bret. "From what I heard, Shawn had quite a hissy fit about it. He's been doing that a lot lately."

Bret says Shawn didn't ask him to give up his time. Shawn "told the WWF that he'd like to say a few words to me on the air." The WWF officials asked Bret if he would object to that. He says he was all for it. "I thought Shawn would show us all an example of how he's making such a point of calling himself a 'man's man' " He thought Shawn might follow Jose Lothario's example and apoligize for costing Bret the title. He thought Shawn might challenge him to a match-belt or not. "I thought it would be great to get in the ring with him and work it all out."

"Unfortunately, Shawn has become two-faced." He says he went out on live TV to hear what he had to say to Bret and it turned out that he didn't have anything to say at all. "He swerved me and Jim Ross. He copped a really sarcastic attitude and said he wasn't worthy of being the first to talk before the almighty Hitman-complete with a reverant bow!" Bret says he stood there thinking that he should have known better than to expect the Boy Toy to have the integrity of a man's man. Apparantly on the November 16 WWF Live Wire, Shawn said "I have a lot of respect for Bret Hart and nothing he says or does is gonna change that."

"He sure has a funny way to show it!" He doesn't know why Shawn set him up with the forum to blast him on live TV. He figures Shawn was getting ready to cheap shot him "but then Sycho Sid ran in and the whole thing blew up in Shawn's face."

"I'm really disappointed with how two-faced Vince McMahon has been become since I've come back to the WWF. To my face he acts like my biggest supporter but, in his commentary, he makes all kinds of insidiuos little remarks."

On the November 25 RAW, Vince asked JR what he thought about Bret's match with Stone Cold Steve Austin. But before JR could answer, "Vince said my performance was a 'a little shy of being stellar against the likes of Steve Austin'." He then says Vince predicted on international TV, that Bret would lose to Sid-"which would appear to be accurate until you consider that Shawn cost me the match and the title." Bret than says that McMahon said something that really bugshim. He said "that I'm not the fightingest champion of all time any more since Shawn's schedule was heavier than mine. That is an outright lie and Vince knows it." He wonders why McMahon would pay him the big bucks to bring him back and then stab him in the back.

He says he is training hard for the Royal Rumble, and he feels he is in great shape. He says his fans have mixed feelings about his Rumble participation. "To those of you who have written to me saying that it's too soon after my return to take on 29 guys-you need to consider that when I was off I wasn't sitting on the couch eating pizza!"

And that's his column for this week Earl.

See you next week.
Rudy

Thanks Rudy - another fine report.

Correction...

Several of my obviously well educated readers pointed out that I mis-identified the composer of "The Great Gate of Kiev" (Jerry Lawler's entrance music). Of course that piece is from Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. Sorry guys, I guess as an amateur astronomer I have "The Planets" on the brain...

Coming soon...another Solie's Exclusive!

Solie's Vintage Wrestling is proud to announce that we will soon have on permanent exhibition an exclusive interview with the man for whom this site was named - yes, that's right folks...Gordon Solie was interviewed for TBR's Saturday Night Shockwave last month and Solie's has been granted permission to reprint the interview in its entirety. Its quite an extensive talk with the Dean of Wrestling Announcers. Watch for it beginning January 23rd!

There is so much material this weekend that I have decided to break the Weekend Review into two parts. I will finish it when I put up the regular Monday Night Wars edition. Untill then...

Anyway, that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver,
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


(Editor's Note: If you have found anything I have said here to be particularly offensive please read this disclaimer).


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This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.

Copyright 1996 - Jump City Productions their existence. I didn't care for their tactics...I didn't like the way they propped Ric Flair up as NWA World Champion. But they perservered and they started to grow on me. The Horsemen stood for straight-ahead wrestling excellence plus skullduggary, back-stabbing, eye-gouging, cheap-shotting...love 'em or hate 'em - they were consistent!

Now everything is in a muddle. They can't decide whether to be heel or face - Arn talks about loyalty to WCW, complains about Benoit's dalliances with Nancy Sullivan (where was he when Ric Flair was hinting at an illicite relationship with Randy Savage's ex-wife...?) and feuds with another wrestler (Jarrett) who seems to want to help their cause. Not that I blame him for not wanting anything to do with Jarrett. This guy is sleaze personified (or, at least his character is).

The McMichaels' entry into all of this has not served to exactly bolster the Horsemens' image. Mongo may be a great football player but he is certainly no wrestler - and don't even get me on the subject of that ditzy wife of his...but the Horsemen could have survived even the horror of Mongo and Debra.

No. In my not-so-humble opinion the real cause of the Horsemens' troubles can be laid at the door of...Hulk Hogan. Yes, I said Hogan. When Hulk Hogan turned heel last year he blew all the previous heel wrestlers out of the water. I mean, think about it, after Hogan's monumental betrayal of the fans (the "little Hulksters" if you will...) what worlds were left to conquer? There was nothing the Horsemen (or the Dungeon of Doom, for that matter - a group expressly created to destroy "Hulkamania") could do to top it. At that time Arn Anderson issued a moving statement about loyalty to the organization and "standing for something...", it was pitifull!

Now, if you are not with Hogan...you are against him...and by definition you are no longer a heel. This fact is having a chilling effect on the greatest bunch of villians that ever put on the tights and I, for one, am very sad about it.

Anyway, that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver,
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


(Editor's Note: If you have found anything I have said here to be particularly offensive please read this disclaimer).


Readers' Forum

Come join in the liveliest discussion of Wrestling Topics on the Web!!
(Please watch your language - we have children surfing in here!)

Express Yourself!!

(Note: If you'd like to correspond with me personally it's probably better to e-mail jumpcity@earthlink.net )

Read what others have said


Back to the Main page

This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.

Click the banner above for great wrestling DVDs

Copyright 1996 - Jump City Productions