All Elite Wrestling has never shied away from honoring the past of professional wrestling
The fledgling promotion has used such stars as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “Diamond” Dallas Page, and “The Human Suplex Machine” Taz to elevate the status of the stars of today. But as of late AEW has been teasing their biggest nod to wrestlings past yet: A reimagining of one of the greatest factions in the history of the sport, The Four Horsemen.
For those who could use the history lesson, the Horsemen are one of, if not the, most iconic stables in the history of professional wrestling. The group, consisting of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson, and their manager J.J Dilon, ran roughshod over the National Wrestling Alliance and the rest of the southern wrestling scene. The quartet was famous for their dirty tactics, expensive tastes, womanizing ways, and in-ring success. All four members would hold championship gold on multiple occasions throughout most of the late ‘80s.
Now for fans of AEW, two of those names are going to immediately stick out: Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson, as they are both are featured in prominent TV roles within the company. Tully as the manager/mentor of Shawn Spears, and Arn as the “Head Coach” of the Nightmare Family (Cody Rhodes in particular). The question in the title of this article is being asked by fans because of the very interesting behavior of Blanchard on Dynamite as of late.
Over the past several weeks, he (along with Spears) has been seen in the audience scouting the competition going on in the ring. They’ve been seen sporadically throughout the last month, but there is one constant in their appearances: Every match he has observed has either featured the newly-signed tag team FTR, or Cody. You’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone that this is a coincidence, rarely anything in wrestling ever is, especially given the similarities that all three men each have with former members of the Horsemen. Is this Blanchard scouting possible recruits for the new age Horsemen? Many fans seem to think so.
So let’s say that this theory comes to pass, and AEW is on the verge of writing a new chapter in the legacy of the Four Horsemen. What will the group look like? Judging by the pattern of Blanchard & Spears appearances it would appear that the four in the group would be an open-and-shut case (the math even adds up too), but rarely do things go as smoothly as that. Let’s analyze the likelihood of each potential member.
The American Nightmare becoming a member of the new Four Horsemen would be like a mutiny to his family’s legacy, given that his father Dusty was arguably the group’s biggest rival, but Cody has never shied away from going against the grain of the Rhodes name. Ever since he left WWE and created the “American Nightmare” persona (In direct contrast to his father’s “American Dream” moniker), the current TNT champion has shown many similarities to his dad’s old rival Ric Flair. If Cody were to join this supposed faction, he would undoubtedly be the figurehead, just like the Nature Boy was all those years ago. Add that to the fact that his closest confidant in AEW is a founding member of the group, and the grandson of a plumber seems to be a likely bet to be included if this theory does come to pass.
The comparisons between FTR and The Brainbusters (The WWF Tag name for Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) have been made ad nauseum, but not without good cause. The duo is arguably modern wrestling’s greatest ode to the previous generations of the sport. The two are constantly paying homage to teams such as The Midnight Express, The Hart Foundation and, of course, Arn & Tully. Their ring names, Dax & Cash, are even a subtle nod to former WWF World Tag Team champions Demolition (Whose in-ring names were Ax & Smash). To say that a reincarnation of the Horsemen would be right up Harwood & Wheeler’s alley would be an understatement. Dax even added fuel to this fire earlier this week with these very interesting tweets:
A sign of things to come? Maybe. A coincidence? I think not.
Spears’ relationship with Tully (and his hand in the “scouting’ of the aforementioned competitors) makes him a no-brainer addition to the squad at first glance. The former NXT star has the look, skills, and character to fit in well with an ensemble like Cody, Dax, and Cash. The only issue with Spears being a part of this faction is that his current status within the AEW pecking-order would stick out like a sore thumb amongst the other proposed members. AEW’s resident chairman has been on a downward spiral of sorts since his loss to Cody at last year’s All Out event. His most recent PPV outing involved him getting stripped down to his underwear in the middle of the ring (with a picture of Tully Blanchard’s face on his crotch, no less). It’ll be interesting to see just how Spears fits into all of this, if at all.
“Hangman” Adam Page
While there’s no current connection between Page and Tully, there is one between the beer-loving cowboy and FTR. The three men shared a moment (and a drink) over their shared love of alcohol this past Wednesday on Dynamite. Page would be an interesting yet fitting addition to the group. His in-ring style is a nice blend of new and old, but his persona is one that would fit right in with the NWA stars of yesteryear. Such a drastic change in the Hangman’s plans wouldn’t be out of place either, as his tense relationship with fellow AEW World Tag Team Champion Kenny Omega could implode at a moment’s notice. Page could add a ton of credibility to the group amongst fans, as he’s arguably the most popular star in all of AEW.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman
If Cody shows flashes of Ric Flair, Maxwell Jacob Friedman is like looking into a feather-and-glitter covered mirror. The Dynamite Diamond Ring holder has never been afraid to wear his inspirations on his sleeve, and the Nature Boy just might be the biggest one of them all. From the way he carries himself, to the extravagant way he dresses, even down to him breaking out the iconic Ric Flair strut from time to time, MJF is the closest thing we have to the former Four Horsemen frontman in today’s era of wrestling. While the inclusion of MJF in the group would be a perfect fit, there is a major obstacle getting in the way of it. It’d be a hard sell to the AEW audience if MJF and Cody ended up being apart of the same stable with how checkered their past is, and Cody being involved with AEW’s Horsemen appears to be much more likely than Max at this point.
You can catch AEW Dynamite live every Wednesday at 8 PM Eastern on TNT.
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