With all the hullaballoo (such a fun word to type, let alone say) in WWE / NXT of late, it seems I have fallen off the What If Wednesday wagon, so thanks to a suggestion from NAI Fan Friday contributor and host of RealWorldChamp.com Josh Petrie (@jpetrie18), let’s get back on the horse.
Speaking of horses. . .
What if the Four Horsemen existed in WWE today?
It’s no secret that I love a good stable (ANOTHER horse reference, HA!), and from the myriad conversations I’ve had on Twitter, so do many of you. Arguably the greatest stable in history, the Four Horsemen set the stage, in many ways, for all the greats to follow: DX or the nWo wouldn’t have existed without the Horsemen, and Evolution was just the Horsemen without the name.
There will be arguments aplenty about this idea, which is good – that’s why I get the big bucks – but I think we can all agree that the “Horsemen build”, stable wise, is as follows.
It might not have been this way every single time, but when you think of the “ultimate” Horsemen, that’s what you had. Flair was the leader, Arn was the enforcer, Tully was the mat technician and Ole Anderson was the veteran. They also benefited from having The JJ Dillon, a manager to help guide the way.
So, using this build as a model, let’s take a look at some prospective Horsemen, shall we?
Seth Rollins, Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Randy Orton
It’s What If Wednesday, so we’ll be creating our own stories here, hence why Orton and Rollins would be on the same team. Orton provides experience and, being pretty much the only one of these guys to actually share a ring with Ric Flair, Horseman-Pedigree-by-Proxy.
Rollins is the leader, obviously, and Cesaro and Kidd can remain as a tag team. While I doubt Orton would win the IC or US championship (though he could), this is a unit that could easily win just about every major title in WWE.
Cody Rhodes, Luke Harper, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler
Obviously we’d need to clean Harper up a bit, but is there anyone else who screams “Enforcer” as much as Luke does? As for Jack Swagger . . . You remember him, right? . . . This guy looks like he’d have been a Horsemen in the late 80’s, if not a member of the Varsity Club.
You can pick either Rhodes or Ziggler to be the leader or the veteran, it doesn’t matter much either way. And for those, like Mr. Petrie, who wonder whether a RHODES could ever be a Horseman, what better way for Cody to get some serious heat than by defying his family legacy and aligning himself with the group so synonymous with Ric Flair?
The NXT Horsemen: Finn Balor, Baron Corbin, Chad Gable and Adrian Neville
Cheating a bit here, as Neville isn’t technically on the NXT roster anymore, but I like the fit, and its my column, so he stays. Corbin, like Harper, is an obvious fit for enforcer, even with the total lack of wrestling talent. I’d stick him and Chad Gable (he of the one NXT match and hopefully still the leader of Shoot Nation) as a tag team, letting Gable get experience while doing the lion’s share of the work.
Newer fans are going to tell me that Balor should be trying to duplicate his Bullet Club, not the Horsemen, but again, I submit to you that without the Horsemen, there’d be no Bullet Club.
The Four Horsewomen – Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Natalya
Ever since I saw the WWE.com piece on the ladies of NXT, I’ve thought that the ‘NXT invasion’ everyone keeps debating and mulling over should happen with the ladies, and the ladies only.
Just imagine, after the Naomi, Paige and Nikki Bella triple threat at Elimination Chamber, we see Sasha, Charlotte, Becky and Bayley (yes, Bayley) run to the ring and take out all three of the Diva’s title participants, no matter who wins. A group of other Divas (Brie Bella. . . Umm. . .Is Alicia Fox still around? I swear, I need to hire D-Jay to write all my women’s wrestling pieces) come out to try to save the WWE women, but are rebuffed. Natalya emerges, one would think to save the day, but she winds up joining forces with the NXT ladies, serving as veteran and JJ Dillon all at the same time.
People keep saying they want to give Divas a chance. People keep wondering if women’s wrestling will ever be taken seriously in WWE. THIS would do both of those things. Give them a storyline that’s solid and some ring and promo time to make it work, and people will buy in, especially once they see the depth of the NXT talent.
I’m on the fence about Bayley, I truly am. She’s good, but I don’t know if she could ever be anything other than the hugger. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt that she could turn the gimmick around if the need arose.
Also, you could talk me into Paige being the one behind the NXT invasion, and the ladies I mentioned help her win the Diva’s title. That’d be fine, too.
Should Have Been Horsemen
In no particular order, here are some talents I feel would have made great Horsemen.
William Regal – Besides Arn Anderson, could there be a better enforcer than Regal? Tough as nails and will either punch your lights out, throw you around, or twist you into knots. Dear Lord, I love this man.
Shelton Benjamin – Fun fact, friends. There has never been a Horseman of color. . .Ever. . . We’ve had Canadians, we’ve had Italians and we’ve had. . .whatever planet Mongo McMichael was from. . . But never anyone of an ethnic minority. Yeah, sure, Butch Reed was an associate of the Horsemen, but that doesn’t count.
I try not to get into racial issues in my columns, as being a white guy, its not really my position to say anything, but still, that’s an odd stat. Shelton Benjamin would have been perfect for the Horseman – the young wrestler who anchors a tag team or who wins the mid-card titles 10-15 times.
Billy Gunn – This is quickly just turning into “DC’s Favorite Wrestlers”, but that’s OK. Billy Gunn could have been the wily veteran or the enforcer.
Steve Austin – Not Stone Cold, of course, but while watching WCW PPV’s of the 90’s, “Stunning” Steve seemed like a perfect Horseman. Here’s a little mini-What If Wednesday for you – What if he had been one? What if WCW had hung onto Austin a little longer and given him enough to do where he would have been a productive member of their roster? What happens if Stone Cold never becomes Stone Cold?
(Note: I honestly can’t remember if I’ve done a What If Wednesday on that topic or not already. If so, move along.)
Alberto Del Rio – I’m honestly shocked that Del Rio never led a stable of some kind in WWE. He seems like an ideal guy for that. Hopefully he’ll get his chance in Lucha Underground.
Damn, now I’ve got an idea. . . OK, this is the last one.
Lucha Underground Horsemen – Alberto El Patron, Big Ryck, Johnny Mundo and Chavo Guerrero
This wound up just being “Former WWE All-Stars”, but it works. Or so I think.
What do YOU think? If you could re-cast the Horsemen in 2015 WWE / NXT, who would you pick? How would you fill wrestling’s greatest stable? Be Heard.