Written on 7/12/15
A/N: Back in May of 2012, I wrote a short fiction story called “Here Comes That Rainbow Again” about “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson and his efforts, after he and the other members of the Four Horsemen, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard and James J. Dillon were into the WWE Hall of Fame, to pass on the name and legacy of the Horsemen to another group of young wrestlers, a group of talented young men with strong ties to the original group. You don’t have to read that story first unless you’d like to. I’ve included the main part of that story in this one as a flash-back scene so it’s pretty self explaniatory. All characters belong to either the WWE or the wrestlers themselves and I’m just using them. Thoughts and comments are welcome and appreciated.
The End OF The Rainbow…
Cleveland, Ohio and the Friday night house show for the WWE had just finished up. Road Agent and former superstar Arn Anderson sat in a small office writing up his reports for the evening as he waited for his traveling partner, Kane, to finish showering and cleaning up. After they left the arena, it would be off to find something decent to eat and then to the motel so they could rest before catching a flight the next morning to Detroit for the Saturday night show.
Arn was filling out his reports when his cell phone started buzzing. Glancing at the number, he saw that it was current WWE Superstar Heath Slater calling. Arn answered and spoke for a few minutes to the “One Man Band”, patiently answering his questions and listening to Heath suggest different potential ideas for getting back on television more often.
“I’ll talk to Vince for you”, Arn told the anxious young wrestler. “That’s all I can do.”
After promising to continue to their conversation the next night in Detroit, Arn ended the conversation and put his phone in his pocket. Looking at his watch, he noted the time and decided that the reports could wait and it was time to go find Kane and call it a night. As Arn gathered up his papers, he picked up an old notebook that he used for writing down storyline ideas that came to him and a picture fell out and fluttered to the floor. Arn reached down to pick up the picture and could almost feel his heart stop as he saw what and who it was in the picture. Arn could feel his eyes starting to burn as memories started playing vividly in his head…
Flashback to Monday, April 2, 2012 on the live edition of Monday Night RAW.
WWE Agent Dean Malenko is in the middle of the ring with the microphone…
“It is my pleasure and honor to introduce the most elite group in wrestling history, the men who set the standards for professional wrestling, and who were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame two nights ago in Miami… this is The Four Horsemen.”
As Dean makes his introduction, the Horsemen theme plays loudly and he introduces everyone as they come to the ring.
“Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson, James J. Dillon and ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair”, Malenko says, hugging each man as they enter the ring. “These are the newest members of the WWE Hall of Fame… these are The Horsemen!”
The crowd explodes in excitement as Flair, Windham, Blanchard, Dillon, Arn and Malenko stand in the ring. This lasts for several minutes and the retired legends are not even able to speak due to the loud and rowdy crowd. Suddenly, we do hear a voice ring out through the arena.
“Excuse me! I said excuse me!”, Vickie Guerrero says as she walks out from the back. And she’s not alone as she’s accompanied by Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Jinder Mahal, Mark Henry and The Miz.
As the crowd boos Vickie, she gets on the mic.
“We took a poll in the back and… EXCUSE ME!”, she screamed as the booes grew louder and louder.
Mark Henry reached over and took the mic from Vickie.
“Ya’ll shut the hell up!”, he said to the fans. Then Mark looked down at the ring.
“Look at all those washed up old bums standing in my ring”, Mark Henry said. “Trying to steal my glory! Trying to take money from my family! Don’t you guys realize it’s not 1980 anymore. You’re just bad memories!”
Mark Henry handed the mic to The Miz.
“Really? Really? Really? You guys stole the spotlight and tried to crush the careers of everyone for years and now, what happened? Was there a breakout at the old wrestler’s home? Why are you here? Your day is over. It’s finished! This is our ring and our time!”
Cody Rhodes reached for the mic next.
“It was bad enough that I had to grow up hearing about you losers from my senile father, but now, here you are again. Why don’t you just go away and die already?”
Dolph Ziggler got the mic next.
“In case the senility is really acting up and you retirement home rejects don’t get it, we’re here to take our ring back. And you’ve got two choices. Leave now and not get hurt, unless you slip and break a hip or something like that. Or else, we make you leave… now!”
Finally after listening to everyone talk, The Horsemen all look towards Ric Flair, who has the mic. Ric is staring at the assembled heels on the ramp and looks as if he’s getting ready to say something, but instead reached over and hands the mic to “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson.
“I don’t know what the hell you punks think you’re doing”, Arn said into the mic. “But this night is for the Horsemen! So I’d suggest that the group of you turn around now and go to the back.”
“You know what you can do with your suggestion, old man?”, Jack Swagger answered.
And with that, the large assemblege of heels headed down, running towards the ring. Quickly, Dolph, Swagger, Cody, Miz, Jinder and Mark Henry were in the ring brawling with Flair, Arn, Malenko, JJ Dillon, Windham and Tully. The Heels quickly got the advantage and seemed to be dominating the Horsemen.
And then, here comes Reid Flair climbing over the guard rail and coming from the audience, climbing into the ring. The crowd erupts as more bodies come from the back, quickly identified as Michael McGillicutty and WWE Developmental Talents Husky Harris, the nephew of Barry Windham and Richie Steamboat, who Michael Cole identifies as the son of Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat and one of Reid Flair’s oldest friends.
Harris, Flair, Steamboat and McGillicutty add their presence to that of the Horsemen and the ring clears quickly. First Dolph and Swagger are tossed by Reid and Richie. McGillicutty takes out Cody Rhodes. We see Tully and Arn eliminate Jinder Mahal. Ric Flair backdrops Miz to the floor. And finally, we see Husky Harris power Mark Henry over the top rope and to the floor.
Vickie Guerrero is there to quickly gather her forces and flee as referees and officials come down and force the Heels back up the ramp and the back.
In the ring, we now have a face-off developing as on one side of the ring stands Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, Dean Malenko, James J. Dillon and Arn Anderson… The Four Horsemen. And on the other side of the ring is Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris, Richie Steamboat and Reid Flair.
The crowd is screaming and going nuts as we see the ten men just stand and stare at each other. And then finally, after what seems like an eternity, Ric Flair moves first and goes over and whispers something in Arn’s ear. And then we see Ric hug his son, Reid Flair, before climbing out of the ring and walking towards the back. Tully Blanchard is the next to move as he shakes Richie Steamboat’s hand and gives him a hug before leaving the ring. Windham moves next, embracing his nephew, Husky Harris and then leaving the ring. Dean Malenko embraces Michael McGillicutty before leaving the ring. And then J.J. Dillon finally hugs Arn, whispering something in his ear before walking out of the ring.
All the Horsemen, save Arn Anderson, have left the ringside area and are at the top of the rampway. With a nod to Double-A, but never saying a word, we see Flair and the others raise the four fingers into the air before walking to the back.
In the ring, Arn is standing there with McGillicutty, Husky, Richie Steamboat and Reid Flair.
Arn gets the mic.
“The other night in Miami”, he started, “it was the end of an era as myself, Ric, Barry, Tully and J.J. were all inducted into the Hall of Fame. We, the Horsemen, got our kudos, said our good-byes and figured that we’d come out here tonight, speak to the fans and that’d be it. But I’m looking here at these four men, all of who have Horseman blood in their veins and you know what? I don’t think it’s over. I don’t think it’s time to end.”
Arn paused for a moment to take a breath and let the fans cheer for a bit before speaking again as he turned to the men in the ring.
“So I know you four men very, very well. Reid, my godson… Joe, the son of the legendary Curt Hennig, Richie Steamboat, the son of the legendary Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair’s godson and Husky… Barry’s nephew and the son of Mike Rotundo… a third generation superstar… All of you are damn good in the ring and damn good men outside of it. And I’m making a challenge… an offer to each and every one of you right now. And think before you speak because if you say yes, you will be part of the biggest thing ever in professional wrestling. It’s not just a group – it’s a life. It’s the life of being the very best in the world… period and never accepting anything less than 150%. Do you guys understand that?”
Arn looked at each of the four men in the ring.
“So… Joe Hennig, Richie Steamboat, Reid Flair and Husky Harris… the others have given their blessing. Are you ready to be one of the elite, the very best… are you ready to bleed, sweat and sacrifice… are you guys ready to become the newest members of The Horsemen?”
Arn handed the mic to McGillicutty.
“No more of this Michael McGillicutty crap. My name is Joe Hennig and I am proud and honored to join you and the Horsemen.”
Joe handed the mic to Richie who replied, “It would be an honor, sir!”
Husky was next to speak.
“Forget this Husky Harris crap. My name is Windham Rotundo and you’re damn right I’m ready and damn honored to be here.”
And finally, Reid got the mic.
“As my Dad often says, diamonds are forever and so are the Horsemen! Wooooooooooooo!”
Arn smiled and took the mic from Reid and then turned to the crowd.
“We’ve always warned you to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it! Ladies and gentleman, these are the new Horsemen!”
Arn Anderson, Joe Hennig, Reid Flair, Windham Rotundo and Richie Steamboat all stood there, holding the four fingers in the air as RAW went to commerical.
The Horsemen were back!
As the memories ended, Arn wiped a small tear from his face. What a great night that was for the Horsemen as they passed the legacy to the next generation and how excited was he, The Enforcer, to be able to lead these men into the future.
“But dreams don’t always work out and sometimes they turn into nightmares”, Arn thought to himself.
It wasn’t very long after their debut as a team that Vince, as he often does, waffled a bit on his decision to recreate the Horseman franchise. He decided that the team needed more seasoning before they were ready to be on the WWE’s main roster and full fledged WWE Superstars so Vince ordered the entire team back to the developmental roster down in Florida with promises to bring them all back as soon as possible for a feud against Vickie Guerrero and her associates. But then, it all started to fall apart.
Richie Steamboat was the first to fall as he injured his back in a match and required surgery which effectively ended his professional wrestling career. Joe Hennig was quickly brought back to the main roster and paired with Paul Heyman, repackaged as Curtis Axel. After a feud against CM Punk and then an unsuccessful tag team with Ryback, Hennig was once again repackaged as a Hulk Hogan wannabe character called “Axelmania”. Windham totally changed his character while in developmental and after both teaming and feuding with his brother, Bo Dallas, was brought back up to the main roster as the new face of fear, Bray Wyatt.
Arn could feel another tear burning as it rolled down his face, thinking about his godson, Reid Flair.
“Reid had always been a bit on the wild side, but as the son of Ric Flair, what did everyone expect?”, Arn thought to himself.
And then Reid started having his legal problems and was released from his WWE contract. He seemed to be trying to get his act together, wrestling in Japan and training with Harley Race, but then…
Arn remembered that phone call like it was just yesterday. It was the end of March in 2013 and Arn had just finished a production meeting with Jamie Noble and Dean Malenko about the matches for an upcoming house show when his phone rang. Glancing at the ID, Arn noted that it was his wife, Donna and quickly answered.
“Reid”, Donna said, her voice cracking and breaking. “I just talked to Beth.”
“What about Reid?”, Arn asked. “You just talked to Beth? Donna, what’s wrong?”
“He’s dead”, Donna cried.
And Arn, still listening to his wife on the phone, felt his heart shatter and die. His godson was dead. The dream was dead!
Arn wiped the tears from his face. The memories were still raw and the pain was still strong. Even after just over two years. Arn took the picture, still in his hand and placed it back inside the notebook from where it had fallen. He pulled out a white hanky and wiped his face once more. Arn took a deep breath.
“We had such big plans for those kids… all of them. But I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. The Horsemen legacy? Maybe Charlotte and the girls down at NXT can keep it alive or maybe Tully’s daughter. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just dead!”
Arn’s thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. Snapping out of his thoughts, Arn looked over and standing there, dressed and ready to leave was the big red monster, Kane.
“Hey Arn, are you ready to go?”, Kane asked.
“Yeah”, Arn said as he quickly gathered up his papers and belongings and tossed them into a briefcase. “I’m just about ready.”
Kane looked at Arn for a moment and then spoke up.
“Are you okay? Have you been crying?”, Kane asked.
“Just a few stray memories from the Boulevard of broken dreams”, Arn muttered. “I’m okay!”
Kane started to say something, but then reading the look on Arn’s face, decided to let it drop. Clearly, Arn didn’t want to talk about whatever it was that was bothering him. So Kane decided to let it go.
“If Arn wants to talk, he will”, Kane thought to himself.
A few minutes later, Arn had gathered all his belongings and the two men were headed for the garage area to pick up Kane’s rental car and go find some food.
As they entered the garage area, they glanced over and saw Bray Wyatt, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel aka Axelmania and Damien Sandow all climbing into a large Lincoln Towncar, preparing to leave and go out to find some dinner for themselves.
Arn stopped and glanced at the group.
“Hey Kane, wait here just a moment”, Arn said as he walked over to the four wrestlers and briefly spoke to the group.
A few moments later, Arn was back and following Kane to the car.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I invited Bray, Hennig, Bo and Sandow to come to dinner with us”, Arn told his traveling companion. “They’re going to meet us at the motel and then we can all go out together.”
“I don’t mind at all”, Kane said. “So long as you’re picking up the tab, the more, the merrier. But why?”
“Because diamonds are forever… and so are the Horsemen”, Arn said with a small smile.
“I don’t understand”, Kane said with a puzzled look on his face.
“You don’t have to”, Arn said. “Let’s go!”