Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Anderson Brothers' Greatest Year


by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Gene and Ole Anderson had many fabulous years while wrestling under the Jim Crockett Promotions banner, but for my money 1975 was their greatest of all. Upon returning to the Mid-Atlantic area on New Year's Day 1975, the Andersons became the NWA World Tag Team Champions in a month's time and dominated the territory's tag team division for the entire calendar year.

This domination was so noteworthy that when the promotion did their 1975 Year-In-Review show, Gene and Ole were featured in that program's initial segment. Showing three separate film clips from the year that Ole and announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett discussed, 1975 was succinctly dissected and put in perspective as it pertained to the Anderson Brothers.

The initial clip depicted perfectly the brutally effective ring style that truly became Gene and Ole's calling card in 1975. Bob Caudle opened with, "Let's call in a pair right now, as we say it was a great year for Gene and Ole Anderson, the Anderson Brothers...and Ole, you and Gene competed in the big tournament in California and you won the World's Tag Team Championship belts in the year 1975."

Ole responded, "Well, 1975 was without a doubt our greatest year. It was a year that our greatness was finally realized when we won that tournament and became the World's Tag Team Champions." Bob went to break saying, "We're gonna be seeing some of the great matches the Anderson Brothers were in during the year, and we'll be back with that action right after this message."

Caudle then continued, "Fans as we mentioned earlier it was a great year for Gene and Ole Anderson, 1975, and a year I think the Andersons tried to strike a little fear in the hearts of some of the opponents, Ole. We have a match here where you were against Tony Atlas and Rick Kelly, and it was a match where you hurt Rick Kelly's arm." Ole answered, "Well, there were a lot of matches like that and like you say, we were trying to show everybody what it means to be a professional wrestler and especially what it means to be in the ring against the Anderson Brothers."

As the tape began to play of a televised match from the fall, Caudle said, "All right Ole, let's look at that match and as we look at it we're going to be telling the fans just what was happening and what you and Gene were doing." Ole retorted, "Well, as usual what we're doing is winning. But in order to win, you've got to be able to wear your opponent've got to be able to control him. And that's something we do better than anybody else. We take one man, in this case whatever his name is..." Caudle immediately responded that the opponent was named, "Rick Kelly."

Unimpressed, Ole then barked out the Andersons' basic wrestling philosophy to the fans at home, "What difference... it doesn't make any difference who the guy is, we do it every match. We grab one man, and we continually work on him."  Bob then picked up on another part of the tape that highlighted another of the Andersons' ring maneuvers that helped define their dominant run in 1975 noting, "All right, right there Gene was slamming him right down to the mat, and he had his arm behind him...pinned behind him."

Ole elaborated, "Well, we've made it even more devastating, a lot of people just slam. In this case we've been working on the arm, so we make sure we jack that arm up around behind his back, and then we slam him on that arm." Bob then commented on another section of the tape where Ole pulverized Rick Kelly's arm and shoulder with a knee from the top rope. "Watch're off the top rope," Caudle exclaimed!

"The idea here is to give him a good shot in that shoulder...a lot of times we set him up; the guy has been weakened from things we've done previously and we get him in a position where we can set him up to hopefully either dislocate that shoulder or even to  break it if we can. We're not too concerned about which one happens, just so long as the man knows he's been in a match with us," Ole elucidated.

Caudle then challenged Ole, "So what you're saying then Ole is that you and Gene really don't mind hurting your opponent or breaking his arm or breaking his leg?" Clearly annoyed, Ole shot back with, "Don't mind?! That's what we're there for! That's what we intend to do every time we get into the ring."

A bit taken aback at Ole's last response, Caudle would shift gears. "All right fans, that's the way the Anderson Brothers were going in 1975 and of course you were the winners in that match as you hurt Rick Kelly," Caudle stated. Still irritated, Ole fired back, "We were the winners in EVERY match as a matter of fact."

But at this point, Bob Caudle had irrefutable evidence to the contrary and was ready to hit Ole with it! Bob quipped, "Well I was gonna say, all of them were not that way Ole..."

To be continued in Part 2:
Gene and Ole's Low Point in 1975