The greatest honor a wrestler from the deep south could get was to be given full-fledged membership into the elite Four Horsemen. (I guess that the mere existence of such a group, one that bears an evidently heavily Bible-influenced monicker, proves that the deep south is very religiously-inclined indeed - and that sure is a beautiful thing! :) Curt Hennig (left) was given that honor - and turned around and betrayed the elite group to join what was perceived as a better option at the time - the nWo. (Although, to his credit, he subsequently allowed the Horsemen to look good during payback time - all part of the acting gig, really...) Bobby Duncum Jr. (right) was never given that opportunity - and he was the one who should have been elected "the new enforcer" when Arn Anderson retired, in my humble opinion. That would have not prolonged his life, in all likelihood, but to be remembered as one of the Four Horsemen would have been much better than to be forever linked to the "West Texas Rednecks", which was no more than a parody of the Horsemen, really... Whereas the Horsemen were tradition feuding with forces of insurrection, the Rednecks merely hated rap! And sprouted into song about their hatred. Wow. Worse comedy routines could only be found in a very bad episode of "classics" such as The Beverly Hillbillies or Hogan's Heroes...
It was quite hallucinating to see this too: Hennig and former Horseman Barry Windham had betrayed Ric Flair and the real Horsemen in the feud with the nWo - siding with the latter group. That made for "a compelling storyline" and "good television" - see? But then, together with a one-time replacement Horseman like baby brother Kendall Windham and Duncum Jr., Hennig and Barry Windham formed a farce that winds up feuding with a rapper's faction, up-and-comers wet-behind-the-ears newbies such as the Jung Dragons AND the remnants of the aforementioned nWo too! That sure does make sense, doesn't it?
There seems to have been a curse that came with this series of bad choices too: Kendall Windham and his dad, Blackjack Mulligan, were reportedly arrested for producing counterfeit money in 1992. (Hmm... In 1992 and especially 1993, my dad and I were going through hell - but not because of our own doing! Different type of folks, I guess...) Barry Windham's career sagged ever since that wrongest of choices of NOT returning to the Horsemen... Curt Hennig was found dead in a motel one day - just before his scheduled appearance on a sub-par small-time wrestling promoter's card... And Bobby Duncum Jr. died prematurely, at the tender age of 35 years-old, before he ever could truly achieve his potential... (There was a fifth West Texas Redneck; nothing like the "fifth Horseman" that JJ Dillon was, or "Double J" Jeff Jarrett was -the latter of which is not recognized as such by "Double A" Arn Anderson either, even though Jarrett won his spot in a match against Mongo at Superbrawl VII; but that is another story- no, the 5th Redneck was but further proof that the whole angle was a sad, poor parody... The 5th member was the former Virgil aka Vincent aka Shane aka Wild Bill aka Mike Jones...! Having a black man as a prototypical Redneck was only topped in the ridiculous factor by having an Asian play a similar part - in the current WWE crappy product! The black man had connotations of slavery enduring past that sad era of human history while the Asian guy is just ridiculous, granted... But that is another story too.)
To think that these WTR guys could have been true legends. They could have been Horsemen! One of them was, briefly - and ruined it all for himself via his acceptance of the infamous role of the turncoat... Somebody had to do it though - it makes for "good television" like Eric Bischoff used to say... and he was head of operations at the time, so - what he said would go, usually.
Horsemen hard at work - gotta love it!
The two quintessential Horsemen:
Ric Flair and Arn Anderson.
Just listen to them...
Not that being a Horseman went so well for all of those who were... In hindsight, one may think that, maybe, it comes with an intrinsic curse of its own... Mongo McMichael and Tully Blanchard left the business altogether... So did Debra McMichael - after divorcing her husband with no cause, hooking up with another (true redneck) wrestler and getting beaten by him - something her real husband never did. J.J. Dillon -like Ric Flair himself- saw the group's demands take their toll on his personal life, leading to the failure of his marriage... Arn Anderson was forced into early retirement. Ole Anderson was ousted from the business he loved.
Barry Windham and Sting probably prolong their career way beyond it should be...
Jeff Jarrett is guiltier of that than anybody else who ''holds on for too long'' - like Flair himself does... And as in ''Double J's'' case as in Flair's they should know better; for they know damn well that ''wrestling is a young man's sport'' - you do not want to be this era's version of Verne Gagné!Sid Vicious left the spotlight in bizarre disgraceful fashion. And so did Paul Roma.
Long-time Horsemen and DOOM manager, ''Woman'' (Nancy Daus) retired altogether. Lex Luger caused Elizabeth Houlette's untimely death. Brian Pillman died just as suddenly as Hennig did. One-time Horsemen manager, "shogun" Hiro Matsuda died of cancer before retirement age. (He had also trained the execrable, egotistical Terry Bollea...)
Chris Benoit wound up in WWF-WWE-ECW... Not treated as an elite athlete either.These tragedies are what truly elevates Horsemen members other than Nature Boy Ric Flair to near-mythical status now - into ''wrestling legends'' verily. And why I always looked up to the group as favorites of mine.
Once a Horseman - Always a Horseman.
Those four fingers raised up in the air remain the symbol of a tightly-knit, united clan that stuck together at all costs - with both pride and honor (maybe among thieves, but still...) If this was a bad example for an imaginative youngster like me, then so be it. There was much worse readily available out there; and my keen discernment made me choose the "least damaging to my honor role-model" types that were vying for attention at the time! I wasn't alone in that choice either...
Curt Hennig was admitted to the rather meaningless WWE HALL OF FAME this year.
Along with him, were the late SHEIK, uncle to ECW superstar Sabu.
And several old-timers (the Samoans, Mr. Fuji, Dusty Rhodes...)
Oh - and the two broadcasters on RAW - the silly king, Jerry Lawler, along with "good ol' J.R." - Jim Ross.
(One of the good things out of all this was that Ross lost his voice over those week-end celebrations, and so, once Monday Night RAW rolled around on April 2nd 2007, he was not heard much throughout the broadcast! :) But I digress...)
Curt Hennig was the youngest inductee of all of those - or would have been, were he still alive...
His widow and "sort-of good friend" Wade Boggs were on hand to respectively accept and present his induction into the Ball of Shenanigans... sorry... the Hall of Fame.
That was a zillion times better than the guy who inducted Jerry Lawler in to the Hall - William Shatner!
Ric Flair was seen being emotional and holding back some tears when his good friend Curt Hennig was inducted.
Together, they were so-so teammates as Horsemen (it just didn't click) - but they made the best of it in an interesting storyline of betrayal and revenge (that fell just short - but that was due to the limitations of the medium really...) when Hennig turned on the Horsemen and seemed to join the nWo...
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Born in the Age of Aquarius, destined to seek out truths in many an art form, trained as a historian and a journalist but truly a prose-lover... Luciano is out to dispel any clichés and reinvent them all both to the tune of a little something called the truth as also to his own image - being old-fashioned, he does not mind that distinction one infinitesimal tiny bit at all...! "There are two ways to spread the light; be the candle... or the mirror that reflects It." I have chosen to be the latter... okay? ~*~
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