Friday, November 27, 2015

The Last Match: The Four Horsemen

August 2009 NWA Legends Fanfest
The Four Horsemen are arguably the greatest wrestling faction ever in wrestling.  Their creation was not the idea of a promoter but happened organically as 4 of the very best wrestlers in the world were teamed together because of various feuds and even though they were supposed to be bad guys, you couldn’t help but cheer them.   Starting in the National Wrestling Alliance and continuing into World Championship Wrestling the Horsemen lasted for 14 years with an ever changing line up of members never reaching the dominance of their initial mid to late 80’s run. 

 “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Last Match September 12, 2011 Impact Wrestling TV Taping, Orlando, FL
Lost to Sting via submission to the Scorpion Death Lock

In an attempt to rewrite history Ric Flair and the WWE commonly refer to WrestleMania 24 vs. Shawn Michaels as Flair’s official last match.  However wrestling fans know that Flair first stepped back into the ring on a tour of Australia wrestling and losing to Hulk Hogan in several matches before he signed with TNA.  Flair’s time in TNA did nothing to enhance the legacy of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, at least though his final match was against old foe Sting. 

Tully Blanchard
Last Match August 11, 2007 Charlotte, North Carolina NWA Legends Fanfest
Managed by “The Perfect 10” Baby Doll lost to Dustin Rhodes

I never had the opportunity to see Tully Blanchard wrestle live and that saddens me.   Tully Blanchard is one of the greatest of all times both in the ring and on the mic.  His career on a national level was cut off due to his decision to use drugs but he did clean up and change his life.  A couple of times he almost returned to WCW but unfortunately for one reason or another it didn’t work out.  Tully did wrestle several one shots in the mid 90’s for WCW, ECW and various independents.  He had a great feud in Carolina Championship Wrestling in 2004 – 2005 with Dusty Rhodes. 

I once saw a promo by Blanchard for this match on the internet, but I have never seen the actual match and can’t find a copy of the show.

“Enforcer” Arn Anderson
Last Match January 27, 1997 WCW Monday Nitro Des Moines, IA
Teamed with Steve McMichael w/ Debra McMichael defeated The Amazing French Canadians: Jacques Rogeau & Carl Ouelette

This match is available on the WWE Network which is cool because you can watch the match.  Arn has minimal offense taking the beating most of the match before tagging in Mongo who picks up the win.  Not what you would want to see as the Enforcers last match after the career that he had.  If you have the network you should check out WCW Slamboree 1993 which features Arn Anderson against NWA World Champion: Barry Windham.  This match was cut from the home video release but restored to the card on the Network.   Much like Ole, Arn ended his tenure in the horsemen as the groups Manager. 

Ole Anderson 
Last Match April 28, 1990 NWA House show Baltimore, MD
Teaming with TV Champion: Arn Anderson was defeated by Road Warrior Animal & Tag Team Champion “The Dog faced Gremlin” Rick Steiner.

Ole Anderson was the original veteran of the Horsemen, prior to that teaming with both Gene and Arn Anderson as part of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.   Ole was wrestling primarily in Tag Team matches with Arn with his last PPV appearance being at WrestleWar 1990.  After his last match Ole stayed on as Manager of the Horsemen and later running WCW after Bill Watts was fired.  Ole was fired by Eric Bischoff when he took control in 1993.  The last appearance of Ole that I can find was at Slamboree 1994.  Ole has made several convention appearances being a regular guest at NWA Legends Fanfest.  I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Anderson when I attended the Charlotte convention in 2009.
“Total Package” Lex Luger
Last Match UWF06 Ardmore, OK August 26, 2006
Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell defeated Jeff Jarrett & Scott Steiner

Lex Luger replaced Ole Anderson as a member of the Horsemen in February 1987 and was kicked out of the group by the end of the year for not being a team player.  Luger was not picked up by WWE upon the closure of WCW.  Luger would win the WWA Championship and have one match in TNA in 2003.  After this match for Universal Wrestling Federation 2006 Luger would experience health issues with drugs and alcohol that eventually landed him in jail before becoming a born again Christian. 

Barry Windham
Last Match February 26, 2010 St. Petersburg, FL
Teamed with Jesse Neal defeating Kennedy Kendrick and Sin Bohdi for ACW/CCW

Barry Windham is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and his addition to the Horsemen in 1988 spawned my favorite version of the team.  Barry Windham’s career spanned over 30 years starting in 1979 where he wrestled JJ Dillon in his debut match.   Personally Windham is one of my all-time favorite wrestlers.

Sid Vicious
Last Match WWE Monday Night Raw Fort Wayne, In June 25, 2012
Sid Vicious pinned Heath Slater after a Powerbomb

Sid was a guy that jumped around a lot from company to company and when he came in because of his look and size always made a big impact.  A multiple time World Champion for WWE & WCW he has always been a fan favorite.  I myself enjoyed seeing him in the ring dropping people with the powerbomb. 

Paul Roma
Last Match IAW, Independent Associate of Wrestling, March 24, 2007, Mishiwaka, IN
Lost the IAW Heavyweight Championship to Brian Costello at Clash at the Cave II

Many consider Paul Roma to be the X-Factor of the Horsemen.  Every member of the Horsemen had been a main eventer and well known to the fans except for Paul Roma.  Roma had been a member of some less than memorable tag teams in the WWE as one half of the Young Stallions and later Power and Glory never breaching the mid-card level.  He last wrestled in the WWE in July of 1991 and wasn’t seen again until he appeared at Slamboree 1993 as a member of the Horsemen.  Apparently a deal with Tully Blanchard was in the works but never came to fruition and we got Paul Roma.  Except for his time with the Horsemen his WCW run ended with nothing of note. 
Brian Pillman
Last Match WWE House Show October 4, 1997 St. Paul, MN
Lost to Goldust w/ Marlena

The differences between the beginning and end of Pillman’s career are as extreme as anyone I can think of in Professional Wrestling.   After leaving football Pillman started his career in Stampede Wrestling then came to WCW as “Flying” Brian Pillman a lightweight high-flyer and white meat baby face.  Pillman became more erratic near the end of his WCW run with the Horsemen where he was attached to the moniker “Loose Cannon.”  After a cup of coffee in ECW Pillman surfaced in WWE continue his crazed ways until his unexpected death on October 5, 1997. 

Chris Benoit
Last Match WWE ECW TV Charlotte, NC June 19, 2007
Chris Benoit defeated Elijah Burke by submission with the Sharpshooter

Chris Benoit is one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the history of wrestling.  His explosive, stiff, and snug style was honed in Stampede Wrestling and Japan before he exploded on the US scene in ECW, WCW, and the WWE.  Sadly, Benoit’s contribution to wrestling will be forgotten because of his heinous crimes that ended the life of Benoit and his family. 
Steve “Mongo” McMichael
Last Match WCW House Show Bethlehem, PA March 6, 1999
Four Horsemen: Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Dean Malenko, & Chris Benoit defeated Wrath & Tag Team Champions: Barry Windham & Curt Hennig

McMichael played football for the Chicago Bears winning a Superbowl with the team before ending his NFL career.   His first appearance in wrestling was in the WWE seconding Lawrence Taylor at Wrestelmania XI.  A few months later McMichael appeared on the debut episode of Monday Nitro as part of the commentary team.  About  a year later he ended up in the ring teaming with Kevin Greene to take on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson.  McMichael would turn on Greene for a briefcase full of money and join the Horsemen.  Somehow even though he had way less wrestling experience than Paul Roma, McMichael is still generally more accepted by fans than Roma as a member.

Dean Malenko
Last Match HWA Heartland Wrestling Association Cincinnati, OH 12/11/2001
Dean Malenko defeated Chad Collyer by disqualification

Malenko has the distinction as being the last member added to the Horsemen when they reformed during a historic Monday Nitro Segment September 14, 1998.  Malenko is one of the finest mat technicians wrestling all over the world.  He is currently a road agent in the WWE.  

James J. Dillon
Last Match NWA Live Event Albuquerque, NM December 1, 1988
Bam Bam Bigelow & Eddie Gilbert defeated Horsemen: Barry Windham & JJ Dillon when Gilbert pinned Dillon.  JJ was substituting for NWA World Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

The manager of the Four Horsemen Dillon also competed in a Manager Bunkhouse Battle Royal on January 1, 1989 at the Omni in Atlanta.  JJ Dillon also competed in a six man tag at Deaf Wrestlefest 2009 in Edgewood, PA teaming with Frank Stalletto & Lou Marconi losing to Dominic DeNucci, Dr. Cody Michaels, & Shane Douglas.  Although I am primarily familiar with JJ being manager of the Four Horsemen and an authority figure with WCW he was also an active wrestler starting in the 60’s.

Other Horsemen
As far as I’m concerned Jeff Jarrett and Curt Hennig were never real members of the Horsemen and therefore I will not include them on this list.  Also I do feel that Sting was an official member of the Horsemen but he is still technically an active wrestler on the WWE roster. His most recent match as of this post was a losing effort against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins September 20, 2015 at WWE Night of Champions. 

The Last Horsemen match 
This has been the most difficult match to find because trying to pin down an exact date when the final incarnation of the Horsemen disbanded is hard to do.  Essentially when Ric Flair became on air president of WCW the storyline was that Flair became all about himself and not the Horsemen.  The tension between Flair and Benoit & Malenko began.  From my research I would consider the Last Horsemen match to have taken place June 7, 1999 at Monday Nitro in Cleveland, OH.  

Ric Flair setup a match with he and Chris Benoit taking on Diamond Dallas Page & Bam Bam Bigelow for the WCW Tag Team Championship.  During the match Benoit went to tag in Flair who in turn short armed Benoit and then walked to the back.  Arn Anderson was at ringside and he climbed up on the apron and extended his hand to Benoit to take the tag, Perry Saturn ran out, Benoit tagged Saturn and the two went on to win the Tag Titles.  Yes that’s how things worked in WCW. 

So to me, that is the final Horsemen match with Flair turning his back on Chris Benoit, who at that point had been a member of the Horsemen since 1995.  To further show the end of the Horsemen, on the June 14, 1999 episode of Nitro Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, & Buff Bagwell would team together defeating Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, DDP, & Kanyon.

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Later Readers!! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks I appreciate the link. I'll have to check it out. I went to NWA Legends Fan Fest in 2009, the greatest weekend of my life! I'd love to go back to another as they seem to me to be the best Wrestling conventions for your money.