The Four Horsemen have undergone numerous changes in their roster.
Here, now, are the changes made in this
volatile alliance, as they happened.
NWA World Champion Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard officially begin their reign when the previously-injured Ole
Anderson returns to action. Tully's manager, James J. Dillon is
also part of the group.
March 14, 1987
Young Lex Luger had recently left Florida to join the NWA's Mid-Atlantic
main stage. Despite Barry Windham's objections, Luger accepts the
Horsemen's invitation to become a "junior associate." Soon after,
Ole Anderson catches flack from the others when he misses a match
while he takes time off to watch his young son grapple in the amature
ranks. Ole is booted out of the group and Luger is installed as a
December 12, 1987
Just weeks after losing the US Title, Luger decides to look out
for himself. He does so by refusing to bow out of a Bunkhouse Stampede
battle royal to allow Dillon to win. He tosses Dillon out to win, and
he then proceeds to duke it out with Arn & Tully. The Horsemen lose
their "young lion."
April 20, 1988
In a rematch, Tag Champs Lex Luger & Barry Windham battle former
titleholders Tully & Arn. Feeling that he was being overshadowed by
Luger, Windham attacks his partner during the match. As a result, the
Horsemen obtain the tag team gold -- and another member.
September 10, 1988
Tully & Arn lose the World Tag straps to the Midnight Express
and immediately decide to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Soon after,
The Brain Busters debut in the WWF. Without a full quartet of
wrestling members, Flair, Dillon, and Windham leave the math to the
rest of us and are called just "The Horsemen."
In a bizarre incident often forgotten by wrestling fans, Kendall
Windham teams up with Eddie Gilbert to take on Barry Windham and James
J. Dillon in a bullrope match. Exhibiting an unorthodox version of
"family values," Kendall attacks Gilbert and joins forces with his
brother. Is Kendall a Horseman or just a brother in arms? No one
knows for sure.
Hiro Matsuda, Lex Luger's original trainer, replaces James J. Dillon
as the Horsemen's manager. Dillon was fired for not having prepared
Flair & Windham for their mystery opponant, Ricky Steamboat, who
would beat Flair for his belt by the end of the month. The term "Horsemen" is subtly being replaced by "The Yamazaki Corporation" as Matsuda accompanies the Windhams and Michael Hayes for a while. At about this
time, Matsuda is also seen coaching "Hacksaw" Butch Reed, but
Reed's membership as a bonafide Horseman is debatable at best. Plans to give Horseman membership to Reed and Cowboy Bob Orton might have proceeded if not for Flair's journey from rulebreaker to hero.
Horsemen no more! Matsuda is asked by Flair to leave him alone in
his quest to reagin the World Title. Barry Windham follows his former
partners to the WWF as "The Widowmaker." As if that wasn't enough,
Terry Funk's attack upon Flair on May 7 makes The Nature Boy a
popular martyr in contrast to the hated fiend he once was.
October 28, 1989
At the inaugural Halloween Havoc PPV, Flair teams with Sting to
battle their common foes, The Great Muta and Terry Funk, in a
"Thunderdome" Cage Match in which each team's corner man can end the
match by throwing in the towel. Why is this considered Horseman
History? Flair & Sting's cornerman is "The Rock," Ole Anderson,
which might mean ....
December 13, 1989
... REBIRTH! At Starrcade '89, Flair is accompanied by Ole and the recently-returned Arn during the "Iron Man" round-robin tournament. Although Flair loses the final match to Sting by a pinfall, the classy champion holds no grudge (this time). Sting joins Flair & The Andersons to make the first Horsemen collection of the 1990's.
February 6, 1990
At Clash of The Champions X, Flair & Friends ask (demand) that
Sting bail out of his scheduled challenge for Flair's World Title
at an upcoming PPV (Wrestle War '90). Sting refuses, but pays a
severe price. Not only do the others attack him to close their
relationship, but Stinger destroys his knee later in the night while
trying to climb into a cage to get at them.
Without the Stinger, The Horsemen regroup and expand. Barry
Windham makes a suprise return to the Horsemen while aiding Flair
in a match against Lex Luger. Recruiting continues as massive Sid
Vicious (returning from a punctured lung injury) completes the quartet
while Ole Anderson takes on the role of managing the group.
May 19, 1991
At SuperBrawl I, the lumbering El Gigante wipes out Sid Vicious in
a stretcher match, and "El Sid" is gone from WCW. The Horsemen seem
ignorant of the disappearance of their partner, and the group begins to
stray apart in the weeks that follow. In July, Sid Justice makes
his WWF debut.
July 1, 1991
Ric Flair refuses to renew his WCW contract and is stripped of the
World Title. Flair was slated to defend against (and lose to) Lex
Luger in a cage match on the July 14 Great American Bash PPV, but
he refused to do the job. He was then told to lose it to (fellow
Horseman?!?) Barry Windham at a card shortly before the PPV, but that
doesn't happen either. Flair departs, eventually joining the WWF.
Later in the year, Barry Windham returns to his scientific roots
while Arn Anderson joins the Dangerous Alliance.
By this time, The Dangerous Alliance had already folded, but Arn
finds an old friend in the returning Ric Flair. Not thought possible
just a few years ago, The Horsemen become popular heroes, especially
after they are insulted by the despised tag team champions, Steve
Austin & Brian Pillman - otherwise known as the Hollywood Blonds.
May 23, 1993
Flair, unfortunately is kept out of competition (due to a clause in his WWF contract) until June. However, that doesn't stop him from having a "talk show" a là Piper's Pit. In this edition, he introduces the newest member of his family, Horseman Paul Roma.
September 19, 1993
A truly horrific incident occurred between Arn Anderson and former
Horseman Sid Vicious while on tour in England. It involved heated
words, a pair of scissors, and a great deal of blood. Despite this,
WCW had already taped matches involving Sid fighting along side with
Arn & Ric Flair. Although Sid could have been the Fourth Horseman,
this altercation ended Sid's WCW career (until 1999) and almost Arn's as well.
Despite having held the WCW Tag Titles with Arn Anderson, Paul
Roma walks out on Arn in a tag match against Paul Orndorff and Steve
Austin and forges a partnership with Orndorff and The Asssassin. Not
much is done about this situation as Arn starts spending time in ECW
and SMW. Flair, meanwhile, pursues the WCW World Title.
August 24, 1994
Hints of a Horseman reunion are eventually misleading as a masked
Arn Anderson attacks Hulk Hogan and aids Flair in his match with the
Hulkster. However, this fact ends up having no bearing in WCW's
final scenerio, as the masked character is eventually "exposed" as
The Butcher (Ed Leslie) in October and Flair is forced into
"retirement." Hopes of a Horseman reunion appear permanently dashed.
March 19, 1995
Flair returns in the first-ever Uncensored PPV. Along with Arn,
they try their best to help Vader in his strap match against Hogan,
but to no avail. In Horseman style, the trio of Vader, Flair, and
Anderson vow to cripple Hogan and his buddies, Randy Savage and The
August 6, 1995
After having a falling-out with Vader, the duo of Slick Ric and
Double-A face him in a handicap match. Not only do they lose the
match, but Arn & Flair have an unfriendly confrontation in the ring
which leads them to accept a match, one-on-one, at the Fall Brawl
Sept 17, 1995
Going into their first-ever encounter, it appeared that Arn would
try to silence his long-term ally with sportsmanship and integrity,
while Flair would use every trick in the book to maintain his status
as "The Man." Surprisingly, Flair wrestled an honest match while Arn
relied on interference from Brian Pillman to pull off one of his
greatest victories. Pillman and Anderson proclaimed themselves to be
the only true Horsemen and were determined to end Flair's career (or so
it seemed at the time ....)
October 27, 1995
After weeks of begging, Flair had managed to talk Sting into teaming
up with him against Pillman & Anderson. In a classic Horseman scheme,
Flair reunites with the "New" Horsemen and delivers a beating to the
Stinger, as was done some five years before. In an interview after
the carnage, Flair and Pillman share their versions of the big
"Wooooo!" as Arn warns everybody else to stay out of their way.
November 4, 1995
The fearsome foursome is completed when the Candian Crippler,
Chris Benoit joins the Four Horsemen. Along with the part-time
assistance of Jimmy Hart, the Horsemen aided Flair in winning yet
another World Title at Starrcade '95.
February 11, 1996
Brian Pillman walks out of the ring and The Four Horsemen (and WCW
in general) on this night. For more on this, the infamous "bookerman"
incident, check out
Section 10.4 of the RSPW FAQ.
Although Pillman made a few more weird appearances for the
promotion, his WCW days were effectively over, and he would join
the WWF despite a severe ankle injury.
June 16, 1996
Few of us expected Steve McMichael to show us anything impressive
when he teamed with Kevin Greene in his debut match against Flair
and Anderson. Even fewer expected "Mongo" to turn on his partner and
fill Pillman's vacancy as a Horseman!
October 8, 1996
After Ric Flair is sidelined with a shoulder injury, Jeff Jarrett
arrives on the scene and, instead of joining the nWo, immediately
becomes Horseman Fan Number One. Flair unofficially endorses Jarrett's
role as an extra Horsemen, but the others are increasingly sceptical.
In the following months, Jarrett begins to romance Debra McMichael
and has violent altercations with Arn, McMichael, and Benoit.
February 23, 1997
After Jarrett defeats McMichael at Super Brawl 7, he is an official member. Initially, it was thought that Jarrett replaced Mongo as a result of this match. Instead, they're both Horsemen, due to the neck injuries of Arn Anderson, who had his last match in January.
June 30, 1997
Two weeks after McMichael turns on Jarrett in a tag match, Ric
Flair officially proclaims Jarrett is no longer a Horseman in any
way, shape, or form. The oddest thing here is that, despite all of
the internal trouble Jarrett had caused, the group allows
him to walk away unscathed -- not traditional Horseman behavior!
August 25, 1997
Flair had been campaigning since July for Curt Hennig to join the
group, but Hennig kept avoiding the question. Finally, at the request
of the retiring Arn Anderson, the second-generation star joins The
Four Horsemen. However ...
September 14, 1997
... during a Horsemen - nWo WarGames match, Curt Hennig turns
against his partners and joins the New World Order in a savage attack
upon Flair. In a telephone interview on September 29, Flair announces
that he is dissolving the Horsemen indefinitely.
April 9, 1998
A date that Ric Flair and his lawyers will never forget. Although
Ric Flair had requested this night off in order to be with his
son at an amature tournament in Minnesota, WCW booked him to be in
Talahassee, FL instead. Flair's absence lit the fuse for a lengthly
legal battle concering Flair, his contract, and his future.
In the subsequent months, the innumerable Horsemen signs and "We Want Flair" chants at WCW TV events are stubbornly ignored by the announcers.
September 10, 1998
Less than a week after Curt Hennig tried to smash Dean Malenko's
head with a steel cage door (as he had done to Flair one year before),
Arn Anderson stood face to face with Malenko in Lexington, KY.
Finally succumbing to Dean's requests from previous weeks,
Arn announces that he'd be proud to call "The Iceman" a Horseman.
September 14, 1998
In Greenville, SC, Arn Anderson unveils the completed team of The
Four Horsemen: McMichael, Benoit, Malenko, and the returning ("Mean -- Wooo! By God! -- Gene!") Ric Flair, who is seen on live TV for the first time since April.
January 17, 1999
Steve McMichael fails to appear for his match against Fit Finlay at WCW's Uncensored PPV. Although a legitimate transportation snafu is to blame, McMichael is not seen nor mentioned on WCW televsion for months (and has yet to surface as of this writing). The Horsemen continue to exist with only three active wrestlers (Flair, Benoit, & Malenko) while Arn Anderson becomes an Enforcing manager.
May 24, 1999
Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko had been feeling as though they have been victims of "age discrimination." Most of WCW's heavily-promoted stars are nearly 20 years older than them. In spite of Ric Flair ascending to the presidency of WCW, he awards the team Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow a shot at the WCW tag titles --- a shot that Benoit and Malenko felt should be theirs. Being young Horsemen apparently has no perks, so they openly defy Flair and Anderson on Monday Nitro. Benoit, with Malenko's comradery, comes to blows with The Nature Boy.
Malenko and Benoit became part of Shane Douglas' Revolution in 1999. By aligning with Douglas, one of Flair's most vocal detractors, they made it clear that they had no ties to the Horsemen. Since then, Flair has worked with former Horsemen Arn Anderson and Lex Luger, but no mention of a Horsemen reunion has been mentioned. As of this writing Benoit and Malenko are wrestling in the WWF.
As bleak as it may seem for any future incarnations of The Four Horsemen, the group had spent years of inactivity in the past. Don't bet against them!