Top Fifteen Stables in Wrestling- Number One
We have reached the end of our countdown of the greatest stables of all-time, and we bring the stable that not only was the best of all-time but the one that started it all. Of course I mean, none other than the Four Horsemen. They began in 1986 as part of the National Wrestling Alliance, before the creation of World Championship Wrestling.
The original lineup was Ric Flair, Arn and Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard with James J. Dillon as their manager. The Four Horsemen moniker was never actually planned, due to time constraints in a television production production threw together an impromptu tag team interview that involved Flair, the Andersons, Blanchard, and Dillon. In this interview Arn said something to the effect of, “The only time this much havoc had been wreaked by this few a number of people, you need to go all the way back to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!” And with that comment, the name stuck. The stable’s gimmick was that of a group that flew everywhere in private jets and rode around in limos with beautiful women on their arms. The members also began to live that lifestyle outside of performing as well.
In February 1987, Lex Luger was made an associate member of the Horsemen. The other members also began to leave Ole out of things after he cost himself and Arn the NWA Tag titles at Starrcade 1986; he was kicked out by March and replaced by Luger. During this time they faced Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, the Road Warriors, and Paul Ellering in series of WarGames matches. Dillon suffered a separated shoulder during the first match and was replaced by the masked War Machine– who would later become the Big Boss Man– for the rest of the series.
Lex Luger began having trouble with the stable. First he blamed Dillon for costing him the United States title after tried to help Luger win by cheating but the move backfired. Then Luger was kicked out after the Horsemen had agreed to let Dillon win a Bunkhouse Stampede match and Luger did the opposite. Luger then teamed with Barry Windham to take on the Horsemen and they defeated Arn Anderson and Tull Blanchard to win the NWA Tag Team title. In April 1988, Windham turned on Luger and became the newest member of the Four Horsemen. This incarnation of Flair, Anderson, Blanchard, and Windham has been known as the greatest incarnation of the Four Horsemen in their history. This incarnation is also considered the greatest faction of technical wrestlers of all-time. During this lineup, every member held a major title at the same time. Flair held the World Heavyweight Championship, Windham was the U.S. Heavyweight champ, and Anderson and Blanchard held the Tag titles.
Unfortunately, this lineup was short-lived as Arn Anderson and Blanchard left for the World Wrestling Federation in September 1988 to become the Brain Busters and be managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. They had to drop their tag titles to the Midnight Express at the last minute. Flair, Windham, and Dillon continued to refer to themselves as the Horsemen and the NWA even flirted with bringing a new member. They signed Butch Reed but nothing came of it. Then Windham’s brother, Kendall, seemed to have joined the faction after turning on Eddie Gilbert but that didn’t happen either. Dillon left in early 1989 to take a front office job with WWF, and they dropped the Horsemen name. They hired Hiro Matsuda as their new manager and became the Yamazaki Corporation. Their major feuds were with Luger, Ricky Steamboat, Gilbert, and Sting– doing whatever it took to rid themselves of their opponents. After losing the U.S. title to Luger, Windham left the group due to a hand injury; he later signed with WWF as The Widowmaker. Kendall became no better than a jobber. Michael Hayes was added to the stable to feud with Luger, but they disbanded when Hayes reformed the Fabulous Freebirds and Matsuda left the promotion.
In late 1989, the Horsemen reformed with Flair, the Andersons, and long-time rival Sting joining in a shocker– Tully Blanchard was also supposed to return but after failing a drug test with WWF,WCW decide not to rehire him. Unlike past versions, these Horsemen were faces and took on Gary Hart’s J-Tex Corporation of Terry Funk, Great Muta, Buzz Sawyer, and The Dragonmaster. At the culmination of this feud the Horsemen again became heels and kicked Sting for daring to challenge Flair for the World title. In 1990, Windham returned to NWA and the Horsemen, Ole became the manager, and Sid Vicious was added to the stable. During this time, Ted Turner bought Jim Crockett Promotions, the largest NWA promotion, and renamed it World Championship Wrestling. The Horsemen feuded with the Dudes with Attitudes of Sting, Luger, the Steiner Brothers, Paul Orndorff, and the Junkyard Dog. A Horsemen legend took place in October 1990, when Vicious faced Sting for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. During the match the participants took the fight backstage and a few moments later they returned to the ring. Sting attempted to slam Vicious but fell back with Vicious on top to earn the pinfall. As Vicious was about to celebrate, the real Sting came out. It was revealed that while backstage, the Horsemen attacked Sting, and Windham came out dressed and painted just like Sting to give Vicious the win. The was restarted and Sting came victorious. The line-up of Flair, Anderson, Windham, and Vicious broke up and went their separate ways. In April 1991, Vicious left for WWF, Flair was fired by WCW in May and was with WWF by August. Windham was part of a double turn while losing to Luger for the WCW World title as he turned face while Luger went heel. Arn Anderson began teaming up with Larry Zbyszko as The Enforcers before both joined up with Paul E. Dangerously’s Dangerous Alliance with Rick Rude, Madusa, Bobby Eaton, and Steve Austin.
In May 1993, Flair returned to WCW and rejoined with Arn to promise a Horsemen reunion. Pretty Paul Roma was added as the third member after Blanchard and WCW were unable to agree on terms for a deal. This is considered the weakest incarnation of the stable. They were once again faces, feuding with Barry Windham and the Hollywood Blondes (Steve Austin and Brian Pillman). This group ended due to Arn’s stabbing incident with Vicious during a tour of England in October, and Roma turning on Erik Watts during a tag match to join up with Paul Orndorff to become Pretty Wonderful.
In 1995, back as heels, Flair and Anderson added Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit for a new incarnation of the Four Horsemen. They feuded with Hulk Hogan, Sting, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Luger. By early 1996, Pillman began his “Loose Cannon” gimmick and feuded with Kevin Sullivan. Pillman would leave WCW and joined ECW before eventually arriving in WWF. The Horsemen briefly joined forces with the Dungeon of Doom to End Hulkamania but were unable to coexist. This to brief feud with Dungeon of Doom– mainly the feud between Sullivan and Benoit. In the storyline, Sullivan’s real-life wife Woman, left Sullivan for Benoit. In a case life imitating art, Woman actually did end up leaving Sullivan for Benoit. The feud became heated due to this and the matches were shoot-style matches with each wrestler landing stiff, hard hits on his opponent.
In June 1996, Steve “Mongo” McMichael turned on NFL player Kevin Greene and joined the Horsemen. When the New World Order was created a month later, the Four Horsemen became defacto faces as did the rest of WCW. Flair and Anderson teamed with bitter rivals Sting and Luger to face nWo in a WarGames match at Fall Brawl. They lost when Luger submitted to Fake Sting when he was put into a Scorpion Deathlock. Jeff Jarrett then joined WCW and wanted to join the Horsemen.
Flair allowed him to join though the other members didn’t want him. Jarrett began bickering with Mongo over Debra’s attention and, in June, won the U.S. Title from Dean Malenko– with help from Eddie Guerrero. By July, Flair grew tired of the instability Jarrett’s presence was creating and fired him. It is believed that WCW, which had a chokehold on stroyline decision at the time, forced Jarrett’s membership on the stable– up until this point the group handpicked their members. In August, Anderson was forced to retire due to back/neck injuries. He handpicked Curt Hennig to join the Horsemen as the new enforcer. However, Hennig would turn on the Horsemen a month later and joined nWo. Flair then disbanded the faction and everyone went their own separate ways.
In September 1998, after several attempts by Malenko and Benoit to convince Anderson to reform the Four Horsemen, he finally relented and the lineup included Flair, Mongo, Benoit, and Malenko with Anderson as the manager. They feuded with nWo and Eric Bischoff.
In early 1999, the Horsemen once again became heels. Mongo had recently left the business and they were down to Flair, Benoit, Malenko, and Anderson as the manager. They had a referee biased to them, Charles Robinson, who they called “Little Nature Boy” (after his resemblance to Flair). Flair, who was Executive Vice President at the time, handed the U.S. Title to his son David and ordered the stable to help him keep the title. Eventually, Benoit and Malenko left due to Flair’s selfishness and joined Revolution, ending the Four Horsemen.