Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Reimagining the Horsemen: 80s Edition

It should be well documented by now that I am a huge fan of the IV Horsemen.  "Nature Boy" Ric Flair is my favorite wrestler of all-time for instance.  "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson is another guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for as well.  Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger and Barry Windham are all guys I enjoyed as a child all the way up until now.

That being said, I got to thinking this weekend about how you could do the Horsemen back in the 80s without using any of these six individuals.  Some of the choices were difficult, but some were fairly easy for me.
  • Nick Bockwinkel--"The Man"/"The Champ"
  • "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff--"The Total Package"
  • Larry Zbyszko--"The Enforcer"
  • Harley Race--"The Grizzled Vet"
First, I'm going to acknowledge that this isn't exactly a Horsemen lineup we ever saw.  In this scenario I used a Flair, Arn, Ole and Luger version of the group as opposed to the original four.  Why?  Well, it just seemed to give me the best foursome even though it did not exactly follow the template.  Let's take a look at some of these decisions.

Honestly, the biggest issue I had was coming up with "The Grizzled Vet"/Ole Anderson.  Actually in one sense it was difficult and in another it was simple.  As soon as I started thinking about it the name Harley Race came to mind.  My only issue was that I wasn't sure that a seven-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion was the best fit for that role in the Horsemen.  Ultimately, I went with Race for a couple of reasons.  One is that he exudes that same tough guy aura that "The Rock" Ole Anderson did.  Two, I knew that him and Bockwinkel had some history together.  Lastly, the idea of two multi-time world champions in the group was too good to pass up.

 Paul Orndorff was a bit easier.  He had the physique and he had the swagger of Lex Luger.  As seen when he turned on Hulk Hogan, he also had the mean streak that a member of the Horsemen would need.  I have even heard there were some discussions about putting PO in the group during his WCW run.  It really makes a lot of sense and I thought this chose was fairly straightforward.

If you can't have Flair, I really believe the obvious choice is a flashy, articulate champion who was well respected and could talk the talk and walk the walk.  Nick Bockwinkel fits the bill perfectly.  He is not the same kind of guy as Flair by any stretch, but he certainly has the look of a guy who is "THE. MAN."  I cannot think of a better guy to build a stable around outside of "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

I'm saving the most controversial for last.  Larry Zbyszko is not necessarily someone that everyone really appreciates.  A lot of this is due to his habit of stalling.  I think his run with Arn Anderson as a member of "The Enforcers" shows that Larry would be solid in this part.  I have repeatedly mentioned that I thoroughly enjoyed his run in the dying days of the AWA.  He is always entertaining and could really get the fans riled up.  Have him do some of the dirty work in order to make sure that Bockwinkel leaves as the champ and you've got a great "Enforcer."

I would be interested to hear some thoughts about this list.  Let me know on Twitter @S_ATL_Wrestling or via the comments section.  I hope to do a 90s and today version of this list soon.

Just remember, "Diamonds are forever and so are the Four Horsemen."