As a tag team specialist for most of his career, WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson spent most of his in-ring days sharing the squared circle with a partner. While The Enforcer won tag gold in just about every promotion he competed in, that doesn’t mean he didn’t have aspirations of winning singles championships.
Speaking on The Arn Show, Anderson revealed he always wanted to win a certain highly-prestigious world title.
“Well, I would be a liar and a fool in the same mouthful, if I didn’t say the NWA World Championship,” Anderson said. “I didn’t harp on it. It’s not like something I feel like my career was not complete, because that never happened.”
After his in-ring days wrapped up, Anderson spent nearly two decades working in WWE as both a road agent and a producer. While the wrestlers are the ones actually executing the moves and high spots in the squared circle, there is always at least one person backstage that helps the talent put the match together ahead of time and then guides the competitors during the actual contest. Considering the variety of producers within promotions, many would assume they would be paired to a similar superstar. Anderson says it was quite the opposite.
“Random. Other than the fact that Michael Hayes took a lot of the gimmick matches,” Anderson said. “That was his forte. The TLC matches. He had a good rapport with The Dudleys, The Hardys, Edge and Christian.”
Despite having mostly random producing pairings, Anderson revealed there was one generational superstar he consistently worked close with.
“I was handed John Cena by Vince and said, ‘Okay Arn, here he is. Teach him how to work,'” Anderson said. “That simple. Other than that, I would suggest–now Finlay had the women.”
Speaking further on Finlay, Anderson had nothing but praise for what the former United States Champion has done as a producer.
“If you have respect or if you have loving of the evolution of the women’s division, you better go find Fit Finlay, shake his hand, pat him on the a–, hand him some cash,” Anderson said. “He is single-handedly responsible for their evolution. Make no mistake about it. He taught the ladies the difference in being able to have a chocolate milk match or a mud bath match to becoming workers.
“He’s the guy that had the most to do with that. Make no mistake and he should get a hell of a lot more credit than what he does because he turned the ladies into warriors. If they tell the truth, they’ll tell you that. So, I think that’s one of those things that should be mentioned. It should be reminded to a lot of people that forget Fit Finlay is responsible for a lot of the success of the ladies in this industry.”
Most WWE producers are retired talent that are looking to give back to the business. While most have their active in-ring days long behind them, a few are wrestlers who’s careers were cut short. Tyson Kidd is one of the first names to come to mind in that sense, as he has been producing for WWE since he was forced to retire in 2015. Speaking specifically on the real-life TJ Wilson, Anderson had high compliments for what he’s done in his backstage role.
“I think TJ’s got a tremendous mind for the business,” Anderson said. “I think he has a lot of patience and being so closely connected to the women’s division by his wife. He’s going to do everything he can possibly do to assist them just getting better and better as the years roll by.
“The business is what it is and it opens up a little bit. They’re able to do a little more. That’s okay. Then, it’ll close down a little bit, but I think he’s a guy much like Fit Finlay, he wants the ladies to get better. He wants to help him in every possible.”
Anderson says he has a lot of empathy for Kidd because he also deals with a similar injury that prevents him from really getting hands on as a producer.
“The only difference I would say because I know I’ve been there.,I’ve been in that ring in the afternoon trying to help guys, but with the neck situation I have in the nerve damage, I was only able to go half, three-quarter speed,” Anderson said. “Same thing with TJ. He can talk them through stuff, but he had a very serious injury.
“So, he’s not able to get in there and go 100% and teach at a level that he would like to. That was frustrating for me a little bit. It’s going to be a little bit frustrating for TJ, but more than actually going 100% with them. It’s being able to communicate, psychology. That’s the most important thing as far as the communication.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The ARN Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.