The Four Horseman were informally formed in May of 1986 with Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, and Ole and Arn Anderson. It is as a member of this elite group that Arn is best known. (For more information on the Four Horsemen, see my tributes page for some Four Horsemen Links.) Through some ten or so incarnations, every group of Horsemen has always included Arn Anderson and Ric Flair.
It was as a part of this initial group of Horseman that Arn won his first of what would eventually be four NWA/WCW World Television Titles. Arn, Ole, and Flair had put Dusty Rhodes out of wrestling with a triple team and had broken his ankle. This incident earned Arn and Ole the nickname, the "Bone Busters". (In addition to this injury to Rhodes, during this period the Horsemen would also break Ronnie Garvin’s hand, break Ricky Morton’s nose, and injure Robert Gibson’s back.) In a strange twist, Dusty’s ankle had been broken right after Dusty had saved Flair from a beating at the hands of the Koloffs and Krusher Kruschev. Dusty was unable to defend the title within the required thirty days. Arn was anxious to prove himself as a singles wrestler to deflate the critics who said he couldn’t make it on his own. Impatient youngster that he was, Arn enlisted Tully’s aid and they kicked Rhodes’ crutches out from underneath him before Dusty had a chance to surrender the belt to the promotion. Of course, sometime later, once the American Dream was off his crutches, he paid Arn back with a chair to Arn’s back and took the belt back and returned it to the promotion. Nevertheless, Arn went on to win the tournament by beating Wahoo McDaniel in the final round in Charlotte, NC. Arn would go on to hold the belt for over eight months before losing it back to Dusty Rhodes in Columbia, SC.
In the early months of his first Television Title reign, Arn held both the National Tag Belts with Ole and the TV Belt. However, in revenge for the dastardly attack perpetrated on him, Dusty enlisted the Road Warriors’ help in paying Ole back and put him out of action. Due to Ole’s injury, the Andersons were forced to give up the National Tag Belts and new champions were never crowned. Even though Baby Doll would interrupt one of Arn's interviews to present him with a leg cast and say "You're next", Dusty’s grand plan of putting Arn and Flair out of action as well never came to fruition.
Sometime later, as Lex Luger was brought in as an "associate member" of the Horseman, Ole Anderson was very much against it. This, and Ole’s dedication to his family rather than wrestling and missing two wrestling dates in a row, led to Ole’s ouster from the Four Horseman. Ole, angry at the treatment he was getting from his fellow Horsemen, attacked Tully and J.J. Dillon but got jumped by the remaining Horsemen, including Luger. Ole would enlist Tim Horner’s, Brad Armstrong’s, and a Louisville Slugger’s help to battle Arn and Tully. Unfortunately for Ole, though, this time, the nephew taught his uncle a lesson.
Lex Luger’s stay in the Horsemen was short, as he put his goals above the goals of the group. At this time, as Arn could not wrest the TV Title away from Rhodes, he had turned his sights towards winning the U.S. Heavyweight Belt from Nikita Koloff. These matches between Koloff’s power and Arn’s technical expertise were classic wrestling matches, both grapplers going hold for hold. Unfortunately, Luger true to his narcissistic self alone, had also signed for a series of matches with Koloff. In the end, Luger won the race to take the belt from Koloff.
Luger would eventually be kicked out of the Horsemen due to his loss of the U.S. Title to Dusty Rhodes at Starrcade ’87. Luger and Ole Anderson would later feud violently, but unsuccessfully, with Arn and Tully.
However, Luger would unwittingly later play a large part in Arn and Tully’s second tag team championship.
Arn and Tully became involved in a hot feud with the Rock ‘n Roll Express. To Arn and Tully, Morton and Gibson were a couple of pretty boys who couldn’t fight. Unfortunately for the Rock ‘n Roll Express, the Horsemen’s hate for them was equaled by the Midnight Express’ hate for them. On September 29th, 1987, the Roll ‘n Roll Express were scheduled to defend their World Tag Team Titles against Arn and Tully. Sometime before the match, in a TV interview Jim Cornette had some unflattering words about Ricky Morton and Morton's family. Morton appeared on the scene and after some angry words, he decked Cornette.
Later that night, on the way to the ring, the Rock ‘n Roll Express were attacked by the Midnight Express who concentrated the attack on Morton and broke some of his ribs. Morton was taken to the back and Gibson, rather than forfeit the titles, tried to take Arn and Tully on alone. It was a valiant effort, but he was taking a beating. Morton came to the ring all bandaged up and, before Gibson knew what was happening, tagged himself in. Morton tried to fight both Arn and Tully off but Tully grabbed hold of Morton’s left arm and yanked. Morton refused to submit. Morton’s friends came to ringside and pleaded with Gibson to stop the match. Gibson ran into the ring and shielded Morton and conceded the match. Arn and Tully were the new World Tag Team Champions!
Arn and Tully would hold the belts for almost six months before losing them to Barry Windham and Lex Luger. However, even though they "fell off the horse", they "got right back on" by winning the belts back from Windham and Luger less than a month later. In that match, Luger had taken a tremendous beating and had gotten busted open after being posted. Windham tagged in and was fighting off both Arn and Tully because Lex was out of commission on the arena floor. Windham was taking a horrific beating but had no one to tag out to. When he finally had a momentary advantage, Windham had Arn in the corner and he stood on the second turnbuckle giving Arn shots to the head. Tully came up behind and swung his arm up between Windham’s legs and gave him a vicious shot to the groin. Windham desperately needed to make the tag. Luger was still a mess but finally made his way up to the ring apron. Windham was so incensed at the beating he had taken that he tagged Luger and then pulled Luger into the ring and started beating on his partner! When Windham was done, all that remained was for one of the Horsemen to cover Luger. Three seconds later, Arn and Tully were World Tag Team Champions for the second time. Windham went back to the locker room with Arn and Tully. Just before he disappeared from camera view, he turned toward the camera and gave the four finger Horseman salute.
Arn and Tully would hold the belts for four and a half months and lose them to the men who were so instrumental in their winning their first championship, Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane, the Midnight Express. Immediately after losing the belts in Philadelphia, Arn and Tully would go to the WWF.