EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch for Donnie Abreu's column every Thursday.
Friday, June 26, 1998
Without Ric, Horsemen have no Flair
Imagine The Cosby Show without Bill Cosby, R.E.M. without Michael Stipe, Knight Rider without David Hasselhoff, or to a lesser extent, the six-time World Champion Chicago Bulls without Michael Jordan. They're all classics and to even consider any of them without their central figure seems impossible. So why is WCW going to reform the legendary Four Horsemen ... with or WITHOUT Ric Flair?
I'll preface all of this by admitting that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a big supporter of Ric Flair ... It just seems to me that Mr. Bischoff is looking for something - anything to put him back on top.
The REAL Four Horsemen began in the 80's with Arn Anderson, his frequent tag partner Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, and the perennial champion and very flamboyant "Nature Boy". They were the original "super gang". Before The NWO, The Nation of Domination, DX or anyone else it was all about the Horsemen. No other group in history commanded so much respect from fans, promoters and fellow wrestlers. Originally, it was believed that the Horsemen were constructed strictly to serve Flair and his needs. How many times have we seen Flair defend the NWA / WCW World belt and be on the verge of coughing it up, only to have one of his buddies make the save? Ask Nikita Koloff, Barry Windham, Lex Luger, Magnum T.A. or Ricky Steamboat ... they know all about it.
When Ole left the group it started a chain reaction that would continue right up until 1997. The search for the elusive fourth member seemed to be a constant one. Numerous individuals held the spot but never really stuck. The problem became a bigger one when Tully retired in the early 90's to become a preacher. Over the years we've seen Brian Pillman, Sting, Sid Vicious, Windham, Jeff Jarrett, Luger, and a ton of others. The only constant was Flair at the top, and Arn by his side.
The most recent incarnation (disbanded late last year) featured Flair, Double A, "The Canadian Crippler" Chris Benoit, and for whatever reason ... Steve "Mongo" McMichael.
Part of the reason they broke up the crew was the sudden and unexpected retirement of Anderson. A nerve injury to his hand forced him to hang up the tights forever. Flair didn't want to continue without his old friend and felt that the days of the Horsemen were over. Their memory is a great one and should not be tainted anymore ... the way that The Midnight Express has been. Since the split, Benoit has continued to toil in singles ranks, Mongo had dropped off the face of the planet until two weeks ago and Flair has been involved in a long drawn out contractual feud with Turner Sports.
Many are speculating that Flair will be back on Nitro in two weeks times ... while others are suggesting that since he's not under an actual contract, he'll never go back. Whatever the case may be, WCW really tipped their hat as to what they had planned when Benoit and Mongo both gave the symbol ... Four fingers raised in the air. The Horsemen are back??
It makes perfect sense IF Flair does iron out his differences; but what if he jumps to the WWF or leaves the wrestling world altogether? Are YOU interested in seeing Horsemen 2000? Rumors of possible members have been spewed forth by the WCW / NWO Hotline. The most likely combination of characters would be Benoit (as the leader), Mongo, Dean Malenko and FIT FINLAY!! Just the thought of it strikes fear into my heart!
Puh-lease!! Other names that have been tossed around include, Bill Goldberg, Kevin Greene, Booker T, Jerry Flynn, and Curt Hennig. Some folks even believe that if World Championship Wrestling is unable to bring back Flair, then Bret Hart will become the new leader. Obviously just ANOTHER stale attempt to get the fans to care about "The Hitman". All you diehard Bret fans can send me your hate mail, death threats and insults, but the facts remain, that in over 6 months, Bret has accomplished NOTHING in WCW and has been virtually ignored by the fans. If he led the Horsemen, it would be the same thing. We are also hearing that whatever the combination is they will be managed by Arn Anderson (who still works backstage).
It's a farce. It's just plain stupid. Imagine: Nirvana without Kurt Cobain, Seinfeld without Jerry, Pearl Jam without Eddie Vedder or SLAM! Wrestling without me!!
I should be fair and not point ALL of the blame at Bischoff (this time) because this whole idea is apparently coming from the small, disillusioned mind of Dusty Rhodes. For those of you who aren't aware, Rhodes is the head booking agent and comes up with all of the bad ideas that WCW has attempted over the years. He also helped KILL the NWA in several regions with his all too predictable or ridiculous endings. Now he's alienating WCW from an entire generation of fans who love Flair and the Horsemen. Can't he just put together four men and come up with a new name? Is he THAT lacking creatively? Unbelievable.
Support tradition. Screw Dusty Rhodes! Don't accept this proposed facsimile! If it bothers you, then don't watch Nitro, don't order the pay per views, and don't attend house shows. This is the only way Bischoff or anyone else will change their mind. Affect their bottom line and heads will roll!
Each week at the end of my article I will include a random selection of letters I received from the readers of SLAM! Wrestling.
I like your column, but I had to call you on something you said in your most recent. I firmly belive that you were smoking some funny stuff when you said the "Starrcade" where Hogan lost the title to Sting was among the best ever. I will never rent another WCW pay per view because it was so much the opposite! I rented it for the sole purpose of seeing Nash/Giant... that match was cancelled. I understand that Nash may have been injured legit, and that was the reason behind it. If so fine, don't wait until you start the show to mention he's "not coming." WCW instead chose to hype that bout all through the free preview.
To be totally honest with you I wasn't a big fan of Starrcade 97 either. To me the show had little heat. I wasn't all that interested in seeing Sting win the gold. I hated the fact that I actually found myself rooting for Hogan!! The only reason I included it in my list of best pay per views of all time, is because it did have a VERY high buy rate and general consensus seemed to be that people loved it!!
In response to what you had to say about Bob Costas' ignorant comment regarding Karl Malone and his chance to do something that he has evidently wanted to do for some time, get in the wrestling ring, I think Costas showed his true colours with that statement. Costas had no problem taking money from the WWF when he was a celebrity guest at one of their PPV's (don't ask which one) but now that Malone is having some fun, and supposedly live out a childhood dream, it's bogus. All Costas did was show that he is a shallow, petty little man, with absolutely no concern for the interests of others. Maybe Malone is getting in the ring because his son wanted to see his daddy fight Rodman. Maybe Malone is getting in the ring because he made a list of what he wanted to do in life, and since he knows he'll never get the NBA championship, he may as well wrestle. But whatever the reason, Malone has EVERY right to do what he wants, and Costas has absolutely no right to badmouth wrestling OR Malone's motives on national tv.
Everyone keeps bringing up the fact that Costas has taken money from the WWF before. First of all, it wasn't (as I've seen on MANY newsboards) a whole bunch of pay per view events in the 80's ... it was a single match. He was a guest ring announcer for Piper - Hogan on MTV! Reportedly he did it because the money was excellent and because he had done previous work with MTV. Does this make Costas hypocrytical? Maybe. But if the president of the Lawn Bowling association came forward and offered me a cheque for 50 grand to do "play by play", I'd do it! How many of you have ever done things you didn't really want to do, but did anyway because the money was good? If anything, Costas is a bit of a media slut ... So?? What's wrong with that? He still has every right to voice his opinion and state what he feels is true. Don't try telling me that a broadcaster should just "stick to the game and not worry about other issues" because then I'll dredge up Don Cherry and this whole thing will get out of hand!!
How does Too Much expect to pin The Head's shoulders to the mat? Or how is The Head suppose to tap out without any arms or submit when it is a mute? The best Too Much can hope for is to throw The Head out of the ring for the countout but I expect the crowd would keep throwing The Head back into the ring to break the count. And people will pay money to see this. Chalk up another win for Vince.
Brent Sams BSams@ameslandg.com
My favourite part of RAW this week was when Al screamed "The Head lays down for NO ONE!" Al Snow is quickly becoming just as popular in the WWF as he was in ECW. He is a sure fire Intercontinental Champion ... and it's ALL thanks to "Head".
Ya` wanna` know somthing? You are just a punk kid who knows nothing. You should have your internet address revoked and your head hanged on a spear. A BODY SPEAR that is. (Even though Goldberg is a bunch of bull, he`d kick your ass in real life, you stupid idiot) I can`t believe that you would dis Bret Hart, the greatest Canadian Wrestler of all time. Bret Hart would kick your ass too!!! Anyway GETWITHIT. Don`t deny the facts!
A TRUE LIFELONG WRESTLING FAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There seem to be quite a few of you who seem to think I'm just a "punk kid" who knows nothing. Well I've been watching wrestling since 1979 and have been working within the industry since 1993. I think I may know a thing or two ... but like I've said before, I'm not going to post my resume with every article I write.
Goldberg isn't half as tough OUT of the ring as he appears to be IN the ring. Just ask Bradshaw ... The big Texan nearly knocked his head off in a recent bar room brawl!! This whole Bret Hart thing is starting to become repetitive. I didn't "dis" Bret ... I simply stated that in MY opinion he is NOT the greatest of ALL time. People took offence. I said he was failing in WCW. People took offence. I never said, "Bret's a bad person" or "Bret's a bad father" or "Bret likes watching naked midgets wrestle" ... all I said was in my opinion his days are numbered. He HIMSELF told me that this contract with WCW (a three year deal) will be his LAST.
Send your comments to me, Big Daddy Donnie. email@example.com. I can't promise that I'll respond, but I'll definitely read them all!