Wrestling World Reacts To The Death Of Ole Anderson

On Monday, the legendary Ole Anderson died at the age of 81. He was a founding member of the Four Horsemen and the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with his kayfabe brother, Gene. He also known for stints as booker of Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions, in the 70s and 80s, and later held an executive position in WCW.


On "WWE RAW" Monday night, Michael Cole acknowledged Anderson's death on air before a graphic was shown. Anderson famously hated Vince McMahon (and vice versa) after he took over GCW in 1984, and is reported to have told off both McMahon and his wife, Linda, in a meeting. Despite that, WWE also honored Anderson on social media, as did AEW and NWA.


Anderson's passing was also acknowledged by Four Horsemen teammates Ric Flair, who stated he was "forever grateful" to Anderson "for giving me the opportunity to become who I am today" and Arn Anderson.

"Each one of us starts dying the moment we are born," Anderson said. "Some of us live long fruitful lives, some die too soon. All I have been able to figure out in my 65 years is to treat people how you want to be treated and if they teach you anything, be grateful for that. Ole Anderson was brutally honest when it came to how he felt about life and wrestling. He gave me the rub of a lifetime, taking Gene's spot in the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

"The 4 Horsemen followed, and we know how that went. He was a mentor to me without meaning to be. I studied and will teach my son some Ole-isms. To his family and people that loved him, we grieve with you. To those who thought Ole was too ornery to die, 81 is a full life. RIP Rock."

Sgt. Slaughter Credits Anderson For Helping Him Early In His Career

In an interview with "Pro Wrestling Bits," wrestling legend Sgt. Slaughter spoke kindly of Anderson's run, both as a wrestler and as a booker, and revealed how Anderson was instrumental in helping get Slaughter's own career off the ground.


"He was a tremendous talent in the ring, a very good booker also," Slaughter said. "He was very much a no-nonsense guy. He helped me a lot, too. Once time he decided he wanted me to have a Private (apprentice). I really didn't want it, but I went ahead and took the guy that he wanted, Jim Nelson, but I had another fellow in mind—Don Kernodle.

"So I ended up being able to create a tag team which they ended up winning the Mid Atlantic Tag Team Championships and neither one of them had ever been past first match status in their careers, but to further on with Don Kernodle, who became the Worlds Heavyweight champion in NWA, that was quite a feat. Ole Anderson trained Don, along with his brother Gene Anderson."


Several pundits also reacted to Anderson's death, including Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer, and "Busted Open Radio's" Dave LaGreca.

"Sorry to hear about the death of Ole Anderson," Meltzer tweeted. "One of the major characters in pro wrestling of the 70s and 80s. Excellent talker and great heel."

"R.I.P. to the legendary Ole Anderson," LaGreca tweeted. "One of my first interviews on Busted Open Radio was with him and I will never forget it."

Modern Wrestling Stars Remember Ole Anderson

Finally, several wrestlers from Anderson's era and modern times also took to social media to express condolences or pay tribute to him. Former manager/valet "Baby Doll" Nickla Roberts kept her tribute simple, posting a photo of herself and Anderson.


Others were a bit more expansive, with former WCW star Lodi, Tommy Dreamer, the account of late wrestling legend Paul Orndorff, NXT star and second-generation wrestler Brooks Jensen, and WWE authority figure Adam Pearce all noting Anderson's influence on pro wrestling, or themselves as performers. Orndorff's account also included a link to a tag team match featuring Orndorff and Anderson on opposite sides.

"From someone I watched wrestle as a child and grew to know as an adult, Ole Anderson was a tough old cat," Lodi tweeted. "RIP Ole, you were one of a kind."


"I watched him wrestle thousands of times," Dreamer tweeted. "He was great at his job. Heel or babyface. RIP Ole Anderson."

"Saddened to hear about the passing of Ole Anderson, our condolences to his family, friends and fans," Orndorff's account tweeted. "Here's a video of him tagging with Gene Anderson to take on Paul and Jimmy Snuka."

"Today we lost a man who revolutionized this great sport with his no-nonsense, hard-hitting wrestling style and creative input for several territories in the 70s, 80s, and 90s," tweeted NXT star Brooks Jensen. "My condolences are with [the] family and loved ones of Mr. Ole Anderson."

"Godspeed, Ole Anderson," Pearce tweeted. "My heart goes out to his family and friends. Grateful for your myriad contributions to our sport. Rest well, sir."

As of this writing, no cause of death has been given. Anderson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007.