Arn Anderson Reflects on Being Given the “Anderson” Name

Sep 27, 2019 - by James Walsh

On the debut episode of his podcast Arn, Arn Anderson discussed the early parts of his career including how he ended up getting his ring name and being associated with Ole Anderson. Anderson discussed working in Mid-South Wrestling with Bill Watts and how he ended up being sent to work with Ole based on their physical resemblance. Highlights from the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:

On working for Bill Watts: “During that period of five months that I worked with Bill Watts, I got to work with Tim Horner and Kelly Kiniski and a couple of guys that we would go out there, first match every single night. No punching, no kicking, now these were the rules laid down by Bill Watts. Twenty-minute Broadway, which means 20 minutes through the time limit. Time limit draw. If you’re limited and couldn’t punch and kick, you better learn how to wrestle, because that’s all that it leaves.”

On getting sent to work with Ole Anderson: “So I got my fundamentals in place during that time, we get towards the end of [where] I know time is running out. We’re about the fifth month, and there’s a little TV meeting. And Matt Borne, who was working on top with Bill Watts, Ted DiBiase and Hacksaw Jim Duggan were called the Rat Pack. They were the top heels in the territory. It’s time for Matt, who had been there quite a while, to leave. They were gonna send him to Atlanta with a manager, Paul Ellering, and they were searching for a partner for Matt. And Junkyard Dog, just out of the blue, God bless him, looks at Bill. And I’m just sitting in the locker room, I just happened to be in the geographical area of this. Just a fluke deal, but I was sitting over against the wall, paying attention to getting my boots on. JYD looks across and he goes, ‘Bill, Lundy looks just like Ole Anderson. Why don’t you send him with him, make him an Anderson act.’ Well, Bill Watts looked at me, it’s like he saw me for the first time. He said, ‘JY, you’re absolutely right. I’ll call Ole.’ Well, my head almost blew off, as you can imagine, thinking, ‘This’ll never fly.’”

On being named Arn Anderson: “Next week — of course, I had to suffer through an entire week before I heard anything — I get to TV the next week, he goes, ‘You’re finishing up along with Matt in two weeks. Go to Atlanta, you’ll have a spot with Matt, Paul Ellering — ‘ I didn’t know who Paul Ellering was at the time — ‘will be your manager. And you’re welcome.’ Fantastic. So that was a huge break, which got me on Atlanta TV. More importantly, we walk in. Ole asked me to see me by myself. He talked to us individually and collectively. After those guys left the room, he said, ‘Can I see you for a minute?’ He said, ‘Geez, I thought they were ribbing. You do look like me!’ He said, ‘Tell you what we’re gonna do. You’re not Marty Lundy anymore, you’re gonna be, mmm… you’re gonna me Arn Anderson.’ I said, ‘I sure as hell will! You call me anything you want.’ And just like that, Arn Anderson was born. Ole put the gimmick on me, they put us in a really, really good spot and we started up with Georgia Championship Wrestling and had about a six-month run there.”

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