The Four Horsemen's greatest rivals
The Four Horsemen are, without a doubt, one of the most influential and dominant factions to enter the squared circle. As they captured championships and lived the first class life many can only dream of, the group made more than their fair share of enemies.
Now, with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon set to enter the WWE Hall of Fame, WWE.com looks at the most heated rivals of the legendary faction.
5. The Road Warriors
WWE Hall of Famers The Road Warriors are synonymous with tag team supremacy — especially in regards to NWA and WCW. One of the most popular duos of all-time, Hawk and Animal crossed paths with The Four Horsemen on numerous occasions, often times on the receiving end of a beatdown.
The most memorable moments in their heated rivalry came in 1987. The Road Warriors enlisted the help of fellow Horsemen rivals Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff to take one the nefarious foursome. That year, The Great American Bash was spread over three separate events throughout July. In the first and last Bash events, The Road Warriors, teamed with Rhodes and Koloff, would get the better of The Horsemen in War Games Matches ( WATCH). In the second Bash event, Animal defeated Arn Anderson in a Taped Fist Match, but Hawk failed to defeat Ric Flair for the NWA Championship.
4. Magnum T.A.
Following their initial formation, one of The Four Horsemen’s first rivals was Magnum T.A. After capturing the United States Championship and successfully defending it a few times, Magnum’s popularity rose, drawing the ire of The Four Horsemen. Magnum T.A. battled all of The Horsemen, even challenging Ric Flair for the NWA Heavyweight Championship. However, Magnum’s most significant and memorable interaction with The Horsemen was his heated rivalry with Tully Blanchard.
The two competitors clashed over the coveted United States Championship. Blanchard would defeat Magnum for the title, but it was their confrontation at Starrcade 1985 that highlighted not only the animosity between two individuals, but the enmity between Magnum T.A. and The Four Horsemen. Battling in a brutal “I Quit” Match, Magnum T.A. defeated Blanchard and regained the U.S. Title, gaining a final victory for himself over The Horsemen.
3. Lex Luger
In 1987, “The Total Package” Lex Luger made his NWA debut as an associate of The Four Horsemen. When original Horsemen member Ole Anderson was kicked out of the faction, Luger was tapped to take his place. As a member of faction, Luger found success in winning the United States Championship. However, during a battle royal in 1988, The Total Package was left in the ring with his fellow Horsemen, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon. When Dillon asked his compatriots to leave the ring so he could win, Anderson and Blanchard complied, but Luger eliminated Dillon, effectively leaving the faction.
Turning on The Horsemen was something few dared to do, so Luger joined forces with Barry Windham to take on the group. However, shortly after Luger and Windham won the NWA Tag Team Titles from Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, Windham shockingly turned on Luger and joined The Four Horsemen ( WATCH). In response, Luger teamed with Sting to defeat Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard in a tag team tournament. Throughout 1988, Lex Luger unsuccessfully challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World Title, culminating in a bout at Starrcade 1988 which Flair won by using the ropes to pin The Total Package ( WATCH). However, at the Chi-Town Rumble in 1989, Luger defeated Windham to capture his second United States Championship.
One of The Four Horsemen’s greatest rivals was also one of Ric Flair’s most memorable adversaries. The man called Sting burst onto the scene in 1987, but he truly made a name for himself at the inaugural Clash of the Champions in 1988. Battling NWA Champion Ric Flair to a 45-minute time-limit draw, The Stinger quickly became a neon-colored target for The Horsemen. Teamed with Nikita Koloff at The Great American Bash in 1988, Sting and his partner challenged Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson for the NWA Tag Team Titles. Once again, Sting went the distance with The Horsemen and the bout ended in a time-limit draw.
In 1989, The Horsemen decided that Sting was a formidable enough competitor to join their ranks. For a time The Stinger rode with Flair, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson as a Horseman. However, the face-painted star could not be held down, winning a tournament and earning an opportunity to battle Ric Flair for the NWA Title. Because of this insubordination, Sting was kicked out of the faction, but he would have the last laugh at The Great American Bash 1990. In the legendary bout, Sting defeated Ric Flair to win the NWA Championship, further igniting a rivalry that would come to define WCW. ( WATCH ON "WWE GREATEST MATCHES")
1. Dusty Rhodes
The Four Horsemen lived what they preached. They wore the finest clothes, flew in private jets and were chauffeured in limousines. Thus, it is no surprise that the greatest rival of The Four Horsemen is the “Common Man” Dusty Rhodes.
The rivalry between Rhodes and the faction was intense and drew in other competitors, such as The Road Warriors, to support The American Dream. If this rivalry was still going today, it would be the perfect embodiment of the “occupy” movement represented by Rhodes, and the “one percent” represented by The Four Horsemen going to war. ( WATCH)
The enmity between Rhodes and The Four Horsemen culminated in brutal matches and even spilled outside of the ring. One of the most shocking moments of the rivalry came when The Horsemen broke Dusty Rhodes’ hand in the parking lot of Jim Crockett Promotions. Although the working class competitor was always at odds with the first-class faction, Rhodes will honor the impact and the careers of the legendary Four Horsemen at the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.