Ole Anderson was many different things to many different people. Wrestling fans who
grew up in the Mid-Atlantic Region remember a brother tag team known as the Minnesota
Wrecking Crew breaking bones and winning championships throughout the region for
decades. Others will remember Ole’s demeanor behind the microphone speaking
harshly about those babyfaces who didn’t act on the best wishes of the legendary Four
Of course there were other times in which Ole teamed with Arn Anderson or Ivan Koloff
and captured regional tag team championships. He even feuded with the Horsemen back
in the ‘80s. His career has a long story behind it, beginning in the Midwest during the late
1960s. After learning from perennial champion, Verne Gagne, Ole competed as Rock
Rogowski for the American Wrestling Association. He won the Midwest Heavyweight Title
and engaged in several memorable feuds. Rogowski soon packed up for the Mid-Atlantic
Region where Jim Crockett was staging some of America’s best action. Rogowski
became known as Ole Anderson and the “Minnesota Wrecking Crew” was born. Gene
Anderson, also a Minnesotan, became known as Ole’s brother and a devastating tag
team was formed.
Upon arrival in the east, the tag team scene took a new course. The Andersons were
ready to make their mark in that region and that’s precisely what they did.
In March 1975, the Wrecking Crew won the initial Mid-Atlantic version of the NWA World
Tag Team Title. Ten months into their reign, Wahoo McDaniel and Rufus R. Jones took
a title victory from the Andersons in Columbia, South Carolina. Ole and Gene regained
the title within a week’s time and went into their second reign.
The Andersons also traded the title with Dino Bravo and Mr. Wrestling. Billed as a cousin
from Minnesota, Ric Flair joined the Andersons in a special six-man tag team match in
Greensboro during the month of October ’76. Flair missed a block and caused Gene to
get knocked to the ground. Words were exchanged and Ole backed his brother.
Outnumbered, Flair was backed into a corner until Greg Valentine ran out to aid his
partner. No actual punches were thrown, but something was about to boil overboard.
Flair and Valentine beat the Wrecking Crew for the NWA World Title in February 1977,
but the Andersons regained the title during the spring. Their fourth reign began. During
a stop in Georgia, Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater captured the NWA World Tag
Championship in a match in which the title could change hands on a disqualification.
Promoters decided that Ole and Gene would be evicted from Georgia if they did not
regain the NWA Title on October 14th at the Omni. The Minnesota Wrecking Crew came
through, much to the dismay of fans, and won their fifth tag title. Later in the year, Flair
and Valentine won the title.
After Gene’s retirement, Ole formed a highly successful tag team with former WWWF
World Champion Ivan Koloff. The two caused havoc all over Georgia between 1978 and ’
79. The two were hated by fans, but devastating in the ring. They captured the state tag
team title on two occasions.
In the early 1980s, Ole Anderson nicknamed Randy Poffo “Savage,” and he has used the
name ever since. On May 1, 1981 in Richmond, the famous Wrecking Crew reformed
and won their sixth NWA World Tag Title from Paul Jones and the Masked Superstar.
Gene suffered an injury which would permanently keep him from competition. NWA
Officials stripped them of the title in December.
Ole formed a team with former West Texas standout, Stan Hansen and entered the
vacant NWA Tag Tournament. They beat Jack and Jerry Brisco in the finals on February
28, 1982 in Atlanta’s Omni Coliseum and claimed the title.
On April 28, 1985 in Charlotte, Ole teamed with his cousin Arn Anderson to capture the
vacant NWA National Tag Team Title from Manny Fernandez and Thunderbolt
Patterson. In a move that changed pro-wrestling history, Ole joined Arn, James J. Dillon,
Tully Blanchard and the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in the creation of the Four Horsemen.
The group was a collection of the top heels in the Jim Crockett Promotion. Everyone else
was on an immediate hit list. The Horsemen preyed on the Rock and Roll Express, Dusty
Rhodes and anyone else vying for championship gold. At one point, the members of the
Horsemen held the NWA World Title, the NWA U.S. Title and the NWA World Tag Team
The Horsemen were not without their problems. In March 1987, Ole slapped the Dillon
after the latter questioned Anderson’s commitment. Anderson feuded with the Horsemen
because of it.
When the Horsemen reunited in late 1989 into early 1990, Ole Anderson was there to
lead. The group consisted of Flair, Arn and Ole. In January ’90, they named Sting to be
the fourth member of the group. Sting had previously won the “Iron Man” Competition at
Starrcade and had become the number one contender to Flair’s NWA World Title. The
Horsemen had to do something about that. During the early moments of Clash of the
Champions X on Tuesday, February 6, 1990 in Corpus Christi, Texas, they gave Sting an
option. Ole stated that Sting was no longer a Horsemen, and, if he didn’t give up his title
shot at WrestleWar, he was going to pay for it. His speech was classic. Sting declined
the option and the Andersons and Flair beat him in the ring. They continued, saying that
he had until the end of the show to make his decision.
During the main event cage match, the Andersons and Flair teamed against the Great
Muta, Buzz Sawyer and the Dragon Master. Ole pinned Master to win the event, but Sting’
s appearance was what caused the uproar. Sting ran out and attempted to climb the
cage. In the melee that ensued afterwards, Sting ruptured his left patella and was put on
the shelf. He wasn’t going to receive the title shot on February 25th in Greensboro after
all. The Andersons set their sights on the NWA World Tag Title and went after the
Steiner Brothers as they had gone after Sting. They made several well-placed attacks
and focused on the arm of younger sibling, Scott Steiner.
On Sunday, February 25th at the Greensboro Coliseum, the Andersons challenged the
Steiners for the belts and were turned back. Rick pinned Ole to remain the titleholders.
Flair was in the main event on his birthday, defending his title against Lex Luger. On
crutches, Sting went to the ring to help motivate Luger during the bout. Seeing this, the
Andersons ran out and attacked Sting, causing Luger to leap from the ring and get
counted out. Flair’s title was safe. In May, the Horsemen grew. Barry Windham returned
to the group and former Skyscraper, Sid Vicious joined.
Organizers forced Ole to be handcuffed to the 7’7’’ El Gigante during Flair’s match with
Sting during the Great American Bash on July 7th in Baltimore. Many knew it would
prevent his interference in the important contest. Sting was able to pin the champ and
capture the World Title. Other “Dudes with Attitudes” prevented a full-fledged Horsemen
attack. Ole Anderson fell out of the picture as the year went on and the Horsemen
disbanded in ’91. He returned as a member of the Horsemen in 1993 with Flair and Arn
In February of that year, Anderson became the Executive Vice President for WCW
Operations, replacing Bill Watts. The Four Horsemen were reformed several times
during the 1990s, but Ole remained on the sidelines. His legacy had already been
stamped into wrestling lore.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Ole Anderson Wrestling History
|PPV Ring Record TV Ring Record Career Record
Legends of Pro Wrestling