SOMEBODY SAY HORSEMEN! SAY HORSE-MEN!
I think I've figured out how things work here at [slash]. Write a straightforward column, nobody cares. Bring the funny and invoke the sacred name of Motorhead and yer Hotmail box gets flooded with positive email. As long as by "flooded" you really mean "I got four emails!! I'm Netcop: TNG, babee!!" Joseph, Bill, Gary, and James...thanks for the positive comments. At least I think Gary's was positive. I just got a picture of a green bar. But it was one hell of a green bar, lemme tell you.
Also, it didn't really dawn on me until I saw these things posted that I had made a Winger reference in both columns. Now, I'm not a Winger fan. Far from it. But I think it's safe to say that I might've found the first of my comedic crutches any columnist-type needs to survive. Know that when I mention Winger it will invariably be in reference to something that is truly bottom of the barrell. Unless I'm talking about someone's teeth being "Kip Winger White," a shade of white so bright that an attempt to replicate it in the paint shaker at your local Ace Hardware would cause the machine to implode, sucking any and all small objects (including children and rodentia) inside, to be forever trapped in a prison of basecoat. That is a compliment. Somehow.
Now that we have that out of the way...
BWAAAAH!! Christ! Who put that there?!?
Tonight's way for me to completely and totally ignore my real job is yet another in a long line of "What If? / Vince owns it all" topics. This one dealing with the greatest heel faction to ever faction heels.
Ever since Vince bought WCW, the smart types have been wetting themselves, and the selves of those around them, with the prospects of the first real "supercard," maybe the rekindling of many a classic feud, or perhaps the reformation of some of wrestling's greatest stables. The nWo certainly looks like it will be headed for a renewal of sorts, if the rumors about Hall and Nash coming in can be believed. Even the almighty Impact Players have been making the rounds again, teaming up in 8-man matches on the house show circuit. (Two words, Vince. "Marie" and "Dawn," although not necessarily in that order.)
But the one possible reunion that wrestling's fandom is seemingly split on is the reunion of....THEM.
Who am I talking about when I say...THEM?
The HORSEMEN!! THE FOUR FRIGGIN' HORSEMEN!
Ohhhhhheeeeelllyeeesssss!!! Whooooooooooooo!!!!! MeeeeeeeeaaaaaaannnnGEeeeeeeeeeeeneee!!!
(huff, huff, huff. That guy is fifty some-odd years old. I'm roughly half his age, and I get winded just typing a good Whooooo.)
Vince certainly has enough Horsemen alumni on the payroll. Active? No. But definitely on the payroll. Sort of. See, just because you've carried the most precious mantle in the history of Our Great Sport doesn't mean you were ever actually in the group. Perhaps for clarity's sake, we should examine just who is and is not considered a Horseman. These, of course, are my humble opinions. Luckily for you my opinions are always correct.
The original early eighties version of The Horsemen (whoo!) were perhaps the incarnation I would least likely get into a barfight with. Not that I hang out in bars mind you. Nor am I drunk right now. At work. The original Four Horsemen were comprised of Ole Anderson, his "cousin" Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard (one of the most underrated mic workers in HISTORY...the guy was nearly unparalleled), and the one and only "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. This foursome, along with manager J.J. Dillon, ran roughshod over Georgia and various incarnations of the Crockett territory until backstage politics and failing health forced Ole out of the group. The exact year of the elder Anderson's departure eludes me, but I'm saying it's circa 1988. Their motives were simple. They beat people up. Your rules weren't their rules. Their rulebook was a tire iron, and if you had a problem with that...well, too bad. You got punked with a tire iron.
As the years went on, the Horsemen underwent numerous lineup changes. Here's where things get sticky. Men like Barry Windham were chosen to carry on the tradition. When he was turfed, it was Lex Luger's turn. If I'm not mistaken (and I'm not, dammit) both of these men got two turns on the Horsemen-Go-Round, if not more. Now, Windham I can accept as a Horseman. Big, tough...just about the best bet they had if they were hell bent to find some young bruiser to play Ole for a new generation. And guess what? I'll even accept Luger as a Horseman. To backtrack: I have never EVER been a Luger fan. Quite frankly, I always wished that Flair and Co. would club him to death like a baby seal. But for the time and at that point in his career, he was a believeable Horseman.
Beyond the acceptable substitutons of Windham and Luger, the Horseman family tree has more twists and turns in it than Jake Steed's johnson. Men like Sting, Sid Vicious, The Great Muta, Paul Roma, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit, Mongo McMichael, and Dean Malenko were indoctrinated along the way. Some men were given this prestigious spot for the purposes of short term angles, some to get the Horseman rub, and some were put in for sheer political reasons. Often times men were put in as favors to higher ups in the office, or simply to try to bury the later generation of Horsemen (see:McMichael, Mongo.) Let's examine these faux Horsemen, shall we?
First off, let me say: PAUL FUCKING ROMA?
Sting is a man who had absolutely no business in the Horsemen. Sure, the classic beatdown he got from the boys made the 4H stronger heels and Sting the underdog babyface, but come on! Sammy Hagar had a nice solo thing going before Van Halen, and Van Halen had a great thing going before Sammy. But sometimes two great tastes taste weird together. Thus we can freely refer to Sting's tenure as a Horseman as the "Van Hagar" era. Sure, it was fun for a while. But so's masturbating with a cheese grater.
I think I just became Netcop: DS9.
Sid Vicious...well...he's Sid Vicious. Big, useless. But if your corporate softball team ever needs a ringer, I'm sure his leg's back into one piece by now. He's got business being a Horseman like I've got business being a cock model. Wait...
The Great Muta. Short and sweet? Don't ever say a bad thing against Muta!! I swear to God, I will find out where you live, and your mother will cry when she sees what I've done to you!! And you can't count that "Brothers in Paint/White Lotus/Dark Carnival" crap, either. That never happened, do you hear me?!?
Brian Pillman. Now that guy had "Horseman" written all over him. Cocky, tough, able to jump over the bar in a single bound. He's one of the few "New Horsemen" I had no problem with. I think AA wanted him in the group personally, too. Good enough for "The Enforcer" is good enough for me. Pillman is one of the few and far between who get canonized in death that I think actually deserve it.
Chris Benoit. Now...I don't know what I think about him as a Horseman. Am I on the Benoit Bandwagon something fierce? You betcha. And if being handpicked to carry on that Tradition of Excellence by Naitch and AA is what it takes to be a legit Horseman, then so be it. But for some reason it just never clicked with me. But please don't ever tell him I said that.
Mongo McMichael. Siiiiigh. Look. Vinnie Vincent was never really in KISS. Cousin Oliver wasn't really a Brady Kid. The Phantom Menace isn't really a Star Wars movie. And Steve McMichael on his best day was in no way, shape, form, or fashion a friggin' Horseman. He represents neither "Tradidion" nor "Excellence." The guy could barely represent the Lollipop Guild.
Dean Malenko. Shooter, Shooter, Shooter...He's great, don't get me wrong. But see Benoit up above. His inclusion was just a little too "last ditch effort to please the 'net" for my tastes. Makes one hell of a writer, tho'.
Now Vince has a few of these men under contract. And a certain sect of the wrestling population would love to see a return to Horseman greatness, myself among them. But not now. Not like this. Vince has access to four of these guys in Malenko, Benoit, AA, and Flair. However, Malenko will be a road agent at the start of the New Year, Benoit is still months from a return, AA (in addition to being an agent himself) is the walking incapacitated, and Flair is too busy cleansing sinners of their transgressions to go on the nostalgia trip right now, thank you very much.
So...yes. The world needs the Horsemen. But not these Horsemen. Not now. Not ever. At least not until such time as HHH returns and is allowed to position himself new leader of the Horsemen as part of some convoluted plan to screw Chris Jericho. Or something.
Next time: More Winger! More dick jokes! Free thermal cups and balloons for the kids!