I know what you are thinking-Another AEW faction?!
You’ve got the Elite, the Inner Circle, The Dark Order…
Don’t even get me started on Jurassic Express. (Long Live Luchasaurus!)
However, the new talk of the town (and Arn Anderson himself) revolves around a new iteration of a legendary faction known as the Four Horsemen. The Horsemen legend is as embedded in wrestling folklore just as much as Hulk Hogan or Sting descending from the rafters or The Montreal Screwjob itself. With the genesis of the group forming in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1986, The Four Horsemen were the pinnacle of wrestling in the ’80s.
The original group consisted of four incredibly popular champions within the promotion who were billed as the cream-of-the-crop at the time. Naturally, the one-and-only Ric Flair was seen as the flashy and flamboyant leader of the group. He was flanked by his kayfabe “cousins” Ole and Arn Anderson (yep, that guy on AEW), a hardened tag team. In fact, Arn was the person credited with giving the group their name from an off-the-cuff comment during a televised interview. Another Champion, Tully Blanchard (yes, that other guy in AEW) was brought in as the fourth member, and JJ Dillon would provide his management services.
The Horsemen were the Rolling Stones of the wrestling world. They had it all, and they were not afraid to let you know it. And if you didn’t respect the Horsemen, you had a problem on your hands x4. Their feud with Dusty Rhodes, The Rock ’n’ Roll Express, and the Road Warriors (just to name a few) would catapult the Horsemen into legendary status as well as cement the “faction” concept as an angle in wrestling to this very day.
Over the years, the Horsemen went through many changes. Members of the group were transposed as injuries occurred or the territory landscape changed over time. That history in itself is a story for another day. However, the concept and folklore of this group remains a staple of the wrestling world. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Four Horsewomen debate in WWE?
So, with this in mind and with the talk sparking up again about a fresh formation of the group in AEW, let's take a look at who might (or should) be included as the New Four Horsemen:
First up is the most obvious. Just in-case you are unfamiliar with the complete history and reasons Cody makes sense, I’ll spare you the long-winded explanation and give you a list of just a few reasons:
- He is managed by THE Arn Anderson, OG member of the Horsemen.
- His dad, Dusty Rhodes, is the opponent credited with giving the Horsemen the feud that exploded their popularity. Most people might have hated them for beating up Dusty time and time again, but they damn sure knew who the Four Horsemen were. If Cody were to revive the group- talk about sweet, poetic revenge.
- He’s the fearless (and flashy) leader of one big faction known as AEW, after all.
- Do you really think Cody would allow the Horsemen to return while leaving himself out?
This one might be a bit obvious to some but since they are new to AEW let’s discuss a bit further why they should be included.
If you don’t know much about FTR you either have only skimmed the WWE Product for the last few years or only really pay attention to the high flyers in the ring.
FTR, formally known as the Revival, is a smash-mouth tag team from North Carolina.
Shades of Ole and Arn, these dudes will knock your teeth out of your head and make you like it. While individually strong, the combination of the two guarantees an ass-whooping. They are a no-nonsense tag team just waiting for someone to pick a fight.
Having these two as a solid foundation of the group to backup Cody will only enhance the image and in-ring performance of the New Four Horsemen.
It’s almost like it’s meant to be.
Another very obvious choice. Right?
I mean it's obvious- his character is a beer chuggin’ cowboy after all. As much as a phenomenal wrestler as he is, I’d argue that he has yet to be revered as a true top guy in the industry. Page just needs a final branding push to cement him in the conversation.
Hell- his entrance theme could even be THE THEME for the New Horsemen.
Page as a Horsemen makes a lot of sense.
Hangman Page could be a pretty popular name when considering this group's reformation. Unless…
Could Hangman decide to separate himself from this faction as an act of defiance and go his own way instead? I mean, he is a cowboy after all.
Just in case, let's look at more names that could be considered:
The excitement for Shawn’s debut was off the charts when he showed up to AEW. Since then, I’d say his career with the company has been fairly lackluster with perhaps just a few shining moments. With all respect to Tully, Shawn really could use another stamp of legitimacy to his resume. What a stamp becoming a Horsemen would be.
He is managed by Tully Blanchard, another OG Horsemen. If you don’t believe Tully is on board to make Shawn a superstar, just watch this.
On a podcast, Arn Anderson mentioned that he could envision Cody, FTR, and Braun Strowman -of all people- as the new Four Horsemen. Of course, Braun is signed and sealed with WWE, so that certainly leaves a spot open for Spears.
Shawn also recently simply tweeted the Roman Numerals “IV” as if to leave an ominous yet not-so-subtle hint for the internet to speculate over. So, was it just speculation? Or is he just setting us up for one helluva backstabbing and Dusty-level feud with the group once they arrive?
What could I even say about MJF that he hasn’t said already?
The guy is as over as a heel can get. He is brilliant on the microphone, in the ring, and with a ring. It's something special when you can witness talent in 2020 and not fully understand if it’s just a gimmick or if he just truly is Maxwell Jacob Friedman.
So let's state the obvious: He is as heel as one could possibly be in today's wrestling landscape. We hate him so much that we absolutely love to hate him. He is flashy, arrogant, and a master manipulator. Does any of that sound familiar?
If MJF himself was an entire stable, it would be the original Four Horsemen. People hated them. People hated them so much, in fact, real-life riots broke out after their matches. They were THE heels.
So what could MJF offer to the new group?
A better question would be... What couldn’t he?
Brian Pillman Jr.
The idea of the horseman returning sparks images of a fresh blood being IV’d [see what I did there] into a faction that has always been known as “the established best of the best”. That sentiment could actually make or break the case for Pillman Jr to be included within the group.
Pillman has a family legacy behind his name. His father was a legend in the industry and inducted into The Horsemen during their WCW run in the late ’90s.
However, it's only been a little over two years since the son of Flyin’ Brian made his wrestling debut. That doesn’t give us much experience to work with when discussing what Pillman Jr. could bring to the table for the group. The bright side is he is 26 years old and seemingly on his way to a wonderful career within the sport.
Of course, The New Four Horsemen could opt to go the Evolution route of deciding to include an up-and-comer in the mix. With about the same relative experience at the time, Randy Orton joined Evolution and went on to become the youngest world champion ever with the mentorship of Triple H and Ric Flair by his side.
Could Brian Pillman Jr. be on the path to a similar story? Does the history of his name suggest he should be in the conversation, or does his experience limit him on getting such a push right out of the gate?
Let's assume that the Four Horsemen return and that Cody and FTR are pretty much guarantees. I’d be willing to bet if you have made it this far, you can consider that- at the very least.
Let's also assume that for whatever reason the other names mentioned here do not pan out and there is an open spot for the fourth Horsemen. Who might take that spot?
I don’t know.
The reason I don’t know is that perhaps it's someone not yet on the AEW roster.
There are a plethora of names that currently are, or could soon become, free agents in the near future that might make a great addition to the group. That’s not even to mention the indy talent out there that AEW could sign and strap a rocket to.
Imagine if instead of the aforementioned names that seem like the most obvious, when (or if?) the New Four Horsemen arrive, we get not only the reformation of a faction we all love but also a talent debut to boot. That would certainly be one hell of a way to give the fans what they might be expecting and also that unexpected twist back-elbow.
What do you think of the choices above for the next iteration of this legendary faction? Who else do you think should be included in the conversation? Who would your New Four Horsemen consist of? Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!