By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 41: The Rise And Fall Of The Four Horsemen, pt.3
Lesser Of Two Evils
In the history of pro wrestling, no clique in wrestling has been more vile or evil than The Four Horsemen. No matter whether this group had Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Sting, Sid Vicious, Chris Benoit or Brian Pillman, this group (led by Ric Flair and Arn Anderson) always raised hell whether as heels or faces. That is, until July 18, 1996.
On that day, at WCW Bash At The Beach, The Outsiders of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall made their WCW wrestling debut against Sting, Lex Luger and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Before the match, there had been speculation about who that third man would be for this six man for Hall & Nash. In fact, Earl Oliver was one of the first to report about the rumor of Hulk Hogan himself being that third man. Well, he was right on the money as Hogan came out and betrayed WCW. On that day, he became one of the biggest heel in wrestling history. This turn would have far reaching consequences on everyone there in WCW, including The Four Horsemen, who could no longer be considered true heels when compared to the monumental turn of Hogan.
The first strike by the nWo against The Four Horsemen occured on WCW Monday Nitro as Hall and Nash laid out Arn Anderson with baseball bats as well as Scotty Riggs and WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Another brillant strategy came in late August when Sting and Lex Luger chose to put aside past differences with The Horsemen to team with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to take on Hogan, Hall and Nash along with an unnamed third partner. A week before the bout, "Sting" attacked Luger along with Hall, Nash and Syxx (Sean Waltman). This caused dissention in the ranks of the Horsemen. I have always questioned this angle since it was well known that Sting was on tour in Japan at the time. Certainly, Luger should've known but that's WCW for you.
Anyway, Luger's team bought it. So, when Sting showed up for WCW Fall Brawl, he was pretty much dismissed by Team WCW. Later in that match, Flair and Co. would learn the foolishness of their mistrust as Sting came out to confront the bogus Sting. He singlehandedly laid out the nWo but left his team behind in disgust (this would lead to the "Crow" gimmick that he uses now). The nWo would go on to win the match when the nWo Sting used a Scorpion Deathlock on Luger with Hogan getting in a front facelock, causing Lex to pass out. Flair blamed Luger for the loss but, truthfully, it was just as much his and Arn's fault as it was Luger's because they too didn't believe Sting.
A few weeks later, Flair was injured in Japan by Kensuki Sasaki on his left shoulder. This injury was "aggravated" by an attack from the nWo (actually, this angle was used to explain Flair's abscence as he was getting shoulder surgery for the injury). The Horsemen would not be fully reunited until the following year.
NEXT: Old feud revisited
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Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian. Many of his previous articles are available in the
By: Erwin Michael Green
12/15/75: Bruno Vs. Ivan Koloff (MSG) Bruno retained his title by defeating Koloff in a 15 ft. high steel cage match in 11:46 before an sellout crowd of 26,350 plus 4,253 in the Felt Forum.
2/2/76: Bruno Vs. Superstar Billy Graham (MSG) A sellout crowd of 25,600 plus 3,100 watching on closed circuit in the Felt Forum saw Bruno defeat Superstar Billy Graham when referee Danny Bartfield stop the match at 17:55 because of several cuts inflicted on Graham by Sammartino.
3/29/76: Bruno/Parisi Vs. Graham/Koloff (MSG) Bruno teamed up with Tony Parisi and defeated Ivan Koloff and Superstar Graham before 21,004 fans at Madison Square Garden.
4/26/76: Bruno Vs. Stan Hansen (MSG) Stan Hansen defeated Bruno when the referee stopped the match after Sammartino suffered a cut above his eye and suffered a fractured vertebrae after receiving "The Lariat" before a stunned audience of 17,493.
6/25/76: Bruno Vs. Stan Hansen (Shea Stadium) After 10:19, the grudge match between Bruno & Hansen was settled when after being tossed out of the ring four times bloodied & bruised, the bad man from Borgia, Texas fled the ring with blood streaming from his face and with his manager The Grand Wizard right behind him. The crowd booed hansen after he left and Sammartino stood alone in the center of the ring with his title belt held high over his head.
12/20/76: Bruno Vs. Stan Stasiak (MSG) Bruno defeated the man he regained the WWWF title from, Stan "The Man" Stasiak before a sellout crowd of 22,090 at Madison Square Garden in a "Sicilian Stretcher Match". This was Bruno's 23rd successful title defense at the Garden since he regained the championship in 1973.
3/7/77: Bruno Vs. Ken Patera (MSG) In this, their third outing against each other Bruno emerged victorious in his match against the Olympian strongman Ken Patera. With Gorilla Monsoon as Special guest referee and before 26,492 fans with an additional 4,400 in the Felt Forum.
6/27/77: Bruno Vs. Superstar Billy Graham (MSG) In one of their last few rematches, 22,090 plus 4,000 fans in the Felt Forum paid to see Bruno try to regain his title from the newly crowned champion Superstar Billy Graham. Both wrestlers fought to a time limit draw.
Thunder is live from the Lubbock Coloseum in Lubbock, Texas. Mike Tenay and Legendary Larry are the guys in charge of the desk. Tenay says that Sid Vicious claims a streak of 61-0 now. Didn't he lose by DQ just last Monday night??
Psychosis vs. Silver King - SK gets to be the heel in this one - he attacks just before the bell sounds and gets a swinging DDT. Then he charges into the corner and runs his knee into the buckle. Psychosis sets his opponent on the corner buckle then kicks him off. He follows up with a suicide dive and both guys are reeling a bit. Back in the ring Silver King gets a super kick and regains the advantage. He follows up with a tilt-a whirl back breaker. Psychosis comes back with a sunset flip but SK turns the tables back with a clothesline on the rebound. He leaps to the second rope then misses a springboard moonsault. Here comes Sid just as the match is getting good. He devestates both competitors then grabs the mic and goes into his silly rant. Cut to commercial.
Shane Douglas vs. Al Green - it's possible that Green is the more interesting wrestler of these two. I guess I just never have understood Douglas' appeal. He holds Green up for what seems like a minute is a verticle suplex in the early going. Green suckered him out to the floor shortly thereafter but Douglas managed to retain the advantage. Back in the ring he gets a two count out of a suplex then grabs a reverse chinlock. Green eventually escapes and has a short flurry of offense before Douglas puts on the Pittsburgh Plunge and takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
Rick Steiner comes out to talk to Mean Gene. The subject is the Revolution members wanting to challenge him for his TV Title. Apparently a match is made but we aren;t sure who with. Cut to commercial.
Coach "Buzz" Stearn debuts in a promo video...damned if I know...
Bobby Blaze and two other schmucks vs. Steven Regal/Dave Taylor/Chris Adams - I guess Adams has been moved into Fit Finley's vacant spot among the Brits. This is a useless match... Regal faces schmuck #1 and knocks him down then tags in Taylor. Taylor gets a shot or two then tags in Adams, yatta, yatta... I'm going to the bathroom... The Brits are engaging in all kinds of dirty tricks as I return from the commode. Here comes Sid and Steiner...another match out the window. More rants from Sid who says he decided to let Steiner in on the fun. Sid decides to put one more down to pick up another win for his streak. Steiner calls the move as Sid powerbombs one of the schmucks again. They stand and rant some more, then Sids puts another powerbomb on Blaze - this is about as stupid as anything they've ever done in WCW land. Cut to commercial.
The Revolution comes out to accept Rick Steiner's challenge on behalf of Saturn for later this evening. Cut to commercial.
Lenny (w/Lodi) vs. Rey Misterio, Jr. - Cruiserweight Title match - this is a rematch of the one spoiled by Sid on Monday night...which doesn't guarantee that it won't happen again tonight. Before the match begins, Rey wants Lodi to leave the area. The referee agrees and Lodi is banished. From the opening, Rey is all over his challenger. I don't see a Lane Title reign. He does get an extended offense after drop-kicking Rey out of the air. He manages some heavy shots but obviously is not really getting anywhere. It is only a respite until Rey gets into the air. Lodi reappears just as Lenny is starting to to lose focus. Lodi enters the ring and gets drawn into the action when Lenny mistakes him for the champ and hits him. Things gets a little confused as Lodi continues to be involved. Suddenly, Rey is catapulted heads to head against Lodi, rolls backward into Lane's clutches and is pinned! Lenny Lane is the New Cruiserweight Champ??
nWo B-Team vs. Harlem Heat - Tag Team Title re-match - this time it's just Norton and Horace as the challengers. Norton faces Booker T to start. Booker out-maneuvers his opponent then adds a face slap for added insult. Norton comes back with a big slam and the contest is on. Booker ties him up again the tags in Stevie Ray. Norton also tags out leaving Horace to take the impending pounding as we cut to commercial.
Horace is doing a little batter as we return but then Booker hits the air. Norton is tagged in and immediately grounds his opponent and isolates him. he and Horace turn up the heat as Stevie waits impatiently for an opening. The challengers are in charge for quite a while as they take turns laying in heavy shots on Booker who fights on gamely but is being overwhelmed until he manages to hit a double flying clothesline and gets the tag. Stevie cleans house then faces Horace as Booker and Norton brawl out on the floor. In the end, Booker climbs the corner and hits Horace with a surprise missle drop-kick to give his brother the win. Cut to commercial.
Mean Gene invites the First Family to the ring - Jimmy Hart with all his boys. Hart claims that the Family's time has come and he issues a challenge to the Revolution then directs one toward Harlem Heat. Each of the wrestlers, including, surprisingly, the Barbarian, gets in a few lines of rant each. A fan at ringside shows his Thunder faux tattoo as we cut to commercial.
Rick Steiner vs. Saturn - World TV Title match - this has the potential to be a great match as long as Sid doesn't get involved. A Saturn is one of the few wrestlers who can match Steiner powerwise and in mat technique. Steiner goes into brawling mode right out of the chute and grabs the early advantage. Saturn turns the tables with a cross body block then knocks him to the floor. Steiner recomposes himself then regains the advantage as he re-enters the ring. He roughs the challenger up then tosses him to the floor and roughs him up some more as we cut to commercial.
The match is back in the ring as we return. Saturn has taken control during the break but Steiner gets a DDT and takes it back. He applies a surfboard but Saturn powers out and gets a spinning neckbreaker but is slow on the follow-up. He hits the T-Bone suplex a moment later the pounds the Champ in the corner. Oh crap! Here comes Sid again... There is no time for a punk job as Chris Benoit hits the ring and the bad guys bail. Benoit challenges them to a Tag Team match on Thunder next week. The program closes on the mutual rants...
That's all for tonight. I'll be with the Interactive SummerSlam Report on Sunday. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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