Sunday, February 10, 2019

Best of the Gateway: Andersons Don't Wear Fedoras

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Arn Anderson (1985)
(Photo by Eddie Cheslock)
When Arn Anderson arrived in Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1983 and began teaming with Matt Borne, the two began wearing fedoras to the ring. It was a trademark Arn kept through his time in Georgia and Southeastern Wrestling in Alabama, and on through his early days for Jim Crockett Promotions in the Carolinas.

During a visit to the Conradisson in August of 2015, I asked Arn about the origin of the fedora.

"That was all Matt Borne," he said. "He wore it when he was part of the "Rat Pack" in Mid-South Wrestling teaming with Ted DiBiase. I liked it and so we started wearing them as a team [in Georgia]." Their manager, Paul Ellering, would occasionally wear one, too.

Right away, Georgia booker Ole Anderson didn't like it.

Ole: "What the hell are you wearing?"
Arn:  "It's a fedora,"
Ole: "Well I hate it."

"Ole just shook his head and walked away," Arn told me. "I'm not sure I completely fit the Anderson mold yet."

When Matt Borne was fired from the Georgia promotion a few months later, Arn lost his spot with the company. Bob Armstrong was leaving Georgia, headed to work for the Pensacola, FL booking office known as Southeastern Championship Wrestling. Bob got Arn booked there and the fedora went with him.

Arn soon formed a very successful tag team with Jerry Stubbs in Southeastern Championship Wrestling. Stubbs wore a mask working as "Mr. Olympia" and Arn came in also under a mask as "Super Olympia." Eventually they both worked without their masks and held the Southeastern Tag Team championships many times. Just as Matt Borne had passed on the fedora tradition to Arn, Arn now passed it on to Stubbs, and the two wore the trademark hats during their championship run there.

Southeastern Tag Team Champions Jerry Stubbs and Arn Anderson in 1984

When Arn went to work for Jim Crockett Promotions in the spring of 1985, he occasionally wore the fedora there, too. This time, when paired with Ole Anderson as the new Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole put his foot down.

"Ole told me,  Andersons don't wear fedoras.  And that was that."

Ole made Arn ditch the fedora (although it popped up a time or two after that) and order the trademark maroon and gold striped boots that had been worn by Andersons going back to 1966 when Gene and Lars first wore them in Georgia. Those boots became the Anderson trademark, and had been worn by Gene and Ole ever since. While Arn didn't wear them all the time, he did often wear them teaming with Ole in 1985 and 1986.

Personally, I always loved Arn in the fedora. It just suited him well and was a common thread through his early career in his first three territories.

So at least one Anderson did wear a fedora. And in the great tradition of the Anderson family, that Anderson had one of the great tag-team careers in the history of pro wrestling.

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This story was edited from a larger post about Arn Anderson originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway in August 2015.  

Check out the complete timeline history of the Andersons in the book "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" available on or directly from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway (look for the PayPal link.).

For more information visit the Minnesota Wrecking Crew page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.