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Ole Anderson, One of the Original Four Horsemen, Dies at Age 81

One of the founding members of the legendary Four Horsemen has passed away.

By Chris Phelan
Ole Anderson speaks to a WWE correspondent

The WWE Universe is mourning one of the all-time greats as news broke that legendary professional wrestler Alan Rogowski – known to the world as Ole Anderson – has passed away. He was 81. WWE broke the news on its social channels on Monday, February 26.

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According to WWE's statement, Ole Anderson was "trained by WWE Hall of Famer Verne Gagne and was a prolific and decorated tag team wrestler, most famously alongside Arn Anderson in The Minnesota Wrecking Crew."

While Anderson has largely stayed out of the limelight since his in-ring career ended in 1990, most fans who grew up watching 1980s professional wrestling knew him as one of the founding members of the Four Horsemen, arguably the most significant faction in sports entertainment history.

Who Were the Original Four Horsemen?

Founded in 1985, the Horsemen were arguably pro wrestling's first supergroup, a collection of athletes who were unequivocally at the top of their game. Ole Anderson was one of the group's original members (which predictably saw many different iterations over the years), including Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard. 

Originating in Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1985 and eventually crossing over to World Championship Wrestling, the decidedly villainous faction made names for themselves by being the roughest and most physically intimidating wrestlers of their time. The Four Horsemen were also the literal definition of "Work hard, play hard," as their glamorous, limousine-riding, jet-set lifestyles brought an air of arrogance (and authenticity) to their personas.

Close up of Ole Anderson

While the Four Horsemen evolved over time, most members of the WWE Universe would agree that the first generation of the group is the most historic and memorable – thanks in no small part to Ole Anderson himself. His no-nonsense approach to his character made him the most intimidating member of the faction. 

Ric Flair himself took to social media to pay tribute to his fellow Horseman, echoing the sentiment found by many of Anderson's former colleagues:

What Were Ole Anderson's Wrestling Accolades?

Although he never reached the dizzying heights of his fellow Horseman "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Ole Anderson found his groove as a tag team specialist and ring technician throughout his career. He amassed over 15 championships over his illustrious career, leading to him being inducted into the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame in 2010.

However, his biggest claim to fame besides being a member of the Four Horsemen is arguably his time spent as the de facto head of World Championship Wrestling in the early '90s, similar to the role Triple H currently holds in present-day WWE. A few years before the fabled Monday Night Wars started between WWE and WCW, Ole took the reins and led all aspects of the on-air programming for the Atlanta promotion – to varying degrees of success, according to who you ask! 

Is Ole Anderson Related to WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson?

Ole Anderson wrestling an opponent on the mat of the ring

Believe it or not, although the two men were frequently billed as blood family members (often alluded to as real-life brothers on television in the '80s), Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson are unrelated, which may surprise many fans worldwide. 

Although their in-ring styles and general temperament were shockingly similar, that's where their similarities ended. 

USA Insider passes along our condolences to Ole Anderson's family, friends, and fans. 

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's Elimination Chamber on February 24 and WrestleMania on April 6 and 7. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

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