As noted recently in this space, the Four Horsemen gimmick was organic. They drifted together via serendipity. Arn Anderson uttered his throwaway line. The rest is history.
One key night occurred in Greensboro, NC, not long after Arn’s proclamation. Those involved didn’t see the potential. But the semi-legendary Front Row, Section D gang showed up in suits and with their faces taped to mock Ricky Morton’s broken nose. They held up signs that spelled out HORSEMEN. When the Rock N’ Roll Express came out, they flipped the signs to spell out ROMPER ROOM.
The Horsemen popped. Imagine, being clapped by Ric Flair.
Jim Crockett Jr., the owner of Jim Crockett Promotions, asked (ahem) what was causing all this. He was informed about Arn’s “Four Horsemen” moniker. JCP decided to run with it.
From then on, JCP crowds were split. Girls and young guys cheered the Horsemen. Older, traditional fans cheered the faces. It was a different twist on the John Cena dynamic. Center Stage crowds for TV tapings in Atlanta provided a microcosm easily witnessed on YouTube. Shrieks and “whooos” bracketed by boos and catcalls.
It was a booking conundrum, especially in those days of tradition. You can’t turn four wrestlers and a manager babyface. Cheering the Horsemen made the faces look weak, or so it was thought.
So Dusty Rhodes F’d it all up.
Dusty was JCP’s booker and top babyface – always a dangerous combination – and he used the Horsemen to get himself over. The stronger act built the weaker act. Not that Dusty was weak. He was a great working-class babyface in a day that embraced characters like that.
But Dusty’s booking benefitted no one. He’d either lay out all the Horsemen with a chorus line of bionic elbows, or he’d blade a gusher and go out like Christ on the cross. The former was absurd, the latter too much. Great concepts, like War Games, got ruined by predictable results like J.J. Dillon jobbing. Things got trite. Silly. Disgusting.
Dusty even tried to make himself into a sex symbol, taking Baby Doll from Tully Blanchard. Then Baby Doll betrayed him. Dusty was effective as the everyman. In his effort to outshine the Horsemen, he blew himself out of proportion. It still pisses me off all these years later.
A note on Baby Doll: When Tully (pre-Horsemen) had the “contest” to find his Perfect 10 and Baby Doll won, fans said, “She’s not that good-looking.” THAT’S THE POINT. That’s the heel clowning himself. Baby Doll was also taller than Tully. He could hide behind her. Baby Doll – unlike most of today’s divas and knockouts – knew the business well enough to play an effective role. Vickie Guerrero is a good heel because she’s not a beauty queen, she’s an annoying bitch.
Marks remember the Horsemen as this entity that was around forever. But the faction's glory days ran from January, 1986 through September, 1988. That's from the original formation to the departure of Arn and Tully to WWE. Barry Windham was only in the group six months.
Coming soon: STILL MORE HORSEMEN!
THE MADDEN CHALLENGE
As a footnote to my commentary on Chair Shot Reality, I’d like to issue a challenge. Lots of people were excited by the end of Raw. Me, too. It was entertaining.
But…where’s the beef? WHAT’S THE PAYOFF?
When an angle takes place or a storyline advances, ask yourself: What might result that I would PAY TO SEE?
So, what happened at the end of Raw that could lead to money? Punk vs. Laurinaitis? Mick Foley in the Royal Rumble? E-mail answers to:WZMarkMadden@hotmail.com.
TWEET OF THE YEAR
If you don’t follow The Iron Sheik on Twitter, you should. Here’s his tweet the day after the American Idol premiere:
“this american idol this year is for the jabroni. i beat the f*** out of the jennifer lopez and suplex her ass make her humble”
Speaking of things I would pay to see…
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA (105.9). Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MARKMADDENX.