Kingsport TN Times-News – May 10, 2001
By Matthew Lane
Wrestling legend and Four Horsemen founding member Arn Anderson is scheduled to appear at the Mark Curtis Memorial Weekend of Champions, being held at 8 p.m., Saturday at the National Guard Armory. Presented by Southern States Wrestling, the match honors WCW referee Mark “Brian Hildebrand” Curtis who died on Sept. 8, 1999 after a long battle with cancer. Proceeds go to Children’s Miracle Network.
I spoke last week with The Enforcer from his home in Charlotte about what he’s doing now, about the sale of WCW to the WWF, and if we’ll ever see Double A on television again.
Matthew: What are you doing these days?
Arn: I’m working a few little shows that are within driving distance around here. I worked a couple in Hickory, and Concord. Basically, I’ve had 18 years in the business. I’ve had two stretches of off time and both were as a result of a broken neck. One in 1990 and this last time, which ended my career. In 18 years, I’ve never had over 10 days off. This is a first for me to have a few months off. I’m getting to be a dad and getting to be a neighbor and kinda getting to be a husband and it’s pretty cool.
Matthew: What is your status with WCW?
Arn: Time Warner treated me more than fairly. I can go out and make a living tomorrow and Time Warner honored everything we had pending. I couldn’t be happier. After being with them 10 years, it meant something to be treated the way they treated me on the way out, and I have nothing but good things to say about the way they handled everything where I’m concerned.
Matthew: Your comment on the future of WCW.
Arn: [Vince McMahon] is going to produce a WCW show and I take him at his word and it’s just a question of when he can get all of his ducks in a row. One thing I know about Vince McMahon after working for him for 14 months in 1989, he runs everything like a business and he’s very professional and will do this also and it’ll be a success.
Matthew: Was it emotional for you when WCW was sold?
Arn: It’s a funny thing. I was there that night in Panama City and a lot of people were handling it in different ways. The people who had been around since day one, it was a real harsh reality. Some of the younger guys didn’t really understand what was going on but it was a very emotional day. I didn’t look at it as the death of anything because the meeting Shane [McMahon] had earlier in the day was very positive. To me, it was the birth of something new, it wasn’t the death of anything. It’s going to be a brand new day, a brand new product and I hope and think I’ll be apart of it, but you never know.
Matthew: Has the WWF been in contact with you?
Arn: I’ve had a meeting with Jim Ross, a very good, very positive meeting, just discussing their philosophy of the business. I met with them in Atlanta. No promises were made and nothing was signed. It was a general “find out what we’re all about” meeting.
Matthew: How much arm-twisting did [SSW] have to do to get you to appear this Saturday?
Arn: All they had to do was ask. I was honored. I knew Mark Curtis. I’ve never seen anyone that loved the business to the degree he did, with maybe the exception of Jim Cornette. Anything we can do to honor his memory, I’m honored to be apart of.
Matthew: Which wrestler today impresses you the most?
Arn: Chris Benoit. I’ve been saying for the past three years, of the younger guys, he’s got it all. You may say, Benoit’s too small. Maybe when he walking to the ring, he’s got a good physique, but he’s not that tall. Five minutes after the match starts no one asks how tall Chris Benoit is.
Matthew: Who was your best opponent in the ring?
Arn: The match that will always stand out is when I wrestled Ric [Flair] at a pay-per-view event in Asheville, N.C., Fall Brawl. It was a learning experience, a pleasure, and a horrible beating. It was the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I did something I’ve never done before or since…before the match I was so nervous, I threw up.
Matthew: During your career, how has the wrestling business changed and has it been for the better or worse?
Arn: What we’ve done as a business, we’ve almost made it impossible to follow our own act. The one-upsmanship on a weekly basis. I think how you establish yourself in this business is over the course of time, people see you and every time, bell to bell, you give them everything you have. We’ve just hot-shotted ourselves into a hole.
Matthew: Who were the best of the Four Horsemen?
Arn: There’s no way to ever duplicate the original. It’s the best scenario you see in most situations. I would say the first group was the best because it was unique for that time. Tully Blanchard is probably the best partner I ever had. Ric has been the constant and without him, the Horsemen wouldn’t have had the glitz and glamour and power and stroke that they had.
Matthew: I want to throw a few names at you and for you to give your impression or opinion of them. Hulk Hogan.
Arn: Bigger than the business.
Matthew: Eric Bischoff.
Arn: I’d rather pass.
Matthew: Vince McMahon.
Arn: Smartest man in the history of the business.
Arn: The most honest guy I’ve ever met in the wrestling business.
Matthew: Vince Russo.
Arn: A lot of great ideas, but the nuts and bolts of the business was his weakness. Very creative but on scale of what people would actually swallow, he had a few problems with that.
Arn: Phenomenon, unprecedented. May not see another.
Matthew: The Rock.
Arn: Don’t know him personally, but he came from nowhere and got somewhere real fast. My hat’s off to him.
Matthew: Ric Flair.
Arn: The quintessential pro.
Matthew: And how would you describe yourself?
Arn: Probably a guy that should have been more politically oriented. Maybe should have said “no” more. Was just glad to be one of the boys and when all said and done I’m able to walk into the dressing room without anybody going “shhhh.” That’s a compliment.
Matthew: Any regrets?
Arn: Not really. Only thing I regret was not watching my first son grow up. I’ve got a 4-year-old and when my first boy was his age I was with the WWF and working 24 days a month. The WWF treated me like gold, but to be gone 24 days a month, if you’ve never done it for 14 months, it’s pretty extreme. People think you show up on TV and you go out and for 10 minutes you showcase your talents and that’s the end of it. If they only knew that most nights you get a shower, lay on an ice pack for 15 minutes, fold up into a car and drive 200 miles, get in at 2:30 in the morning and pray there’s a Waffle House there so you can grab some food to take to your room only to get up at 9 a.m. the next morning because you’ve got to be there by noon. I’m not complaining because it’s the life I chose. In the 1986 I wrestled 336 days. A lot of those days were double-shots. That’s the kind of grind that if people really knew that the guys used to go through, it kind of makes you look at wrestlers a little differently and appreciate what they do a little more.