During his recent appearance on The Wrestling Inc. Daily, two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair recalled the time in 1988 when two of his Four Horsemen stablemates, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, jumped ship from NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions / WCW to the WWF.
Upon joining WWF, Anderson and Blanchard were introduced as “Brain Busters” and were managed by Bobby Heenan. They quickly rose through the tag team ranks and eventually defeated Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Championship, ending Demolition’s historic reign of 478 days.
Flair was asked if he was tempted to follow suit and join WWF in 1988.
“No,” Flair said emphatically. “I just talked to Vince [McMahon]. They wanted me to come and wrestle Randy Savage, but I was just too loyal to the NWA. When you’ve been the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, how do you just skip out? Everything is a work in pro wrestling except when you are the NWA Champion. And it should be that way for anybody. ”
Flair cited the example of Matt Riddle winning the WWE U.S. Championship last Sunday at Elimination Chamber.
“If you watched Matt Riddle, he looked so excited to become the U.S. Champion,” stressed Flair. “And that [reaction] was as much a part of the match. Those are the moments that matter. I know people say its a work, but people who perceive it [wrestling] that way will never be successful. You’ve got to have your heart into it and moments like that, when you become a champion, should be huge.”
Flair was asked to clarify rumors that he has been recently attending creative meetings with the WWE.
“No. Absolutely not,” said Flair, denying the reports. “I do like to offer suggestions, but I’ve learned through trial-and-error that I’m OK just agreeing to everything they’ve laid out. If it [any storyline] involves me intricately, I want to give input. But I am better off just listening. This business has changed a lot, you can’t make everyone happy. It’s a thankless job to be an agent.”
The Nature Boy was asked by Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman to elaborate on the origins of The Four Horsemen.
“When I was a traveling NWA World Champion, I basically turned into a recruiter [laughs],” recalled Flair. “Every time I liked someone, I tried to get them to Carolina [to join Crockett]. So, I met Tully in Kansas City and Arn in Pensacola. I don’t recall how we exactly got together but I think they decided to make Arn a brother to Ole, which was a great rub for Arn.”
“When I returned [from my travels], Bill Watts brought in Arn. Then one day, after Arn and or Ole became tag champions, we were all in the ring together. Arn just raised his fingers and said we’re The Four Horsemen. It just happened out of nowhere. That’s exactly how it happened. Arn was a very smart guy, I don’t even know if he put any thought into it. I always tell kids the importance of leaving an impression.”
Flair went onto talk about AEW tag team FTR’s admiration for The Horsemen. The 16-time World Champion said that although he hasn’t see Dax Harwood or Cash Wheeler since their WWE departure last year, he remembers them telling him how much they wanted to be like Tully and Arn.
“Arn and Tully were just a great team. I really can’t think of a modern team, maybe except The Usos, who are on that level. It’s just unfortunate that Arn and Tully never got the big contract. Until this day, I don’t know why they [Jim Herd and Crockett Promotions] couldn’t realize the value of Arn and Tully.”
Flair said that anyone who was close to him – during the Eric Bischoff and previously Jim Herd era – did not get compensated adequately.
“It was always a detriment to them and their career. The perception was if anyone is close to me they had to be punished. I remember Jim Herd asking me to cut my hair and how much anxiety it gave me. I think jumping ship to New York [WWF] in 1992 was when I started having a great time again.”
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