PLEASE NOTE: Our
corrections to this original news stand magazine article are
included in footnotes to the article. Click the links at
each of the six notations to take you to the correct
The Minnesota Wrecking Crew. It
is a name which has long been associated with excellence in
tag team wrestling. Whether the team involved Ole, Arn, Gene
or Lars, it was always one of contention. Not since the
famous Dusek clan of the 1940s and 50s has there been a
"family" of feuding siblings of this magnitude. Today, no
other team comes close to the exploits of these Mid-Western
question, the pivotal member of this wrestling dynasty is
Ole Anderson, a big, bruising unorthodox and totally
unpredictable son of a gun who has consistently proven his
mettle against the very best the National Wrestling Alliance
has to offer, whether it is in single or tag team
competition. Ole has the dual distinction of being the only
member of the family to tag up with the other three, as well
as feud with them.1
The elder statesman of the
family, Gene, began his career in the Mid-West during the
early 1960s and was followed by Ole approximately six years
later after completion of military service. The first
collective effort by Gene and Ole occurred in 19712
in the Mid-Atlantic region under the Jim Crockett
promotional banner where they eventually won most of the
regional titles of the area.
They continued as one of the
most successful tag teams for the next eleven years. They
were also one of the most inconsistent teams as far as fan
support went. They were intensely despised by the crowds
when facing such duos as George Becker and Johnny Weaver,
Steve Keirn and Tiger Conway Jr., as well as Jay Youngblood
and Ricky Steamboat. At other times, the fans couldn't have
cheered any louder for the "Crew" when they were pitted
against the likes of Ernie Ladd and Ivan Koloff or the
unfortunately, retired in 19823
after neglecting a serious neck injury which cut his
impressive career short.4
Since that time, he has remained with the sport in the
capacity of manager and matchmaker. Gene and Ole will go
down in the history of the sport as one of the most exciting
bad boy teams in the mat game.
During the early 1970s, Gene
and Ole incorporated another Mid-Western grappler into the
fold named Larry Heinemi and dubbed him Lars Anderson.5
Lars, during his formative years in the sport, had a style
remarkably similar to Gene and Ole; however, within five
years of competition, his philosophy and attitude had
changed drastically. By the mid 1970s, he was ostracized
from the group and wrestled, using both his real name as
well as the Anderson name, in the International Wrestling
Lars continued to develop his
own ring persona and proved to be a superb mat technician,
incorporating aggressive, sadistic maneuvers with the
fundamentals of amateur wrestling. His crowning achievements
occurred in 1979 when he dominated the competition in
Florida. As state champion, he offered one thousand silver
dollars and the title to anyone who could pin him in the
center of the ring. The challenge eventually swelled to ten
Winter of 1980 saw Lars and Ole
reunite in the Georgia area as they went on a six month
campaign in the region in hopes of defeating the Georgia tag
team champions, the Assassins. Their attempts were fruitless
and the duo quickly began to bicker amongst themselves. A
split-up was inevitable and a major feud was imminent. Their
matches were so bloody that the NWA refused to sanction them
and they were presented throughout the "Peach State" as a
"lights out" (non-sanctioned) event.
In the latter part of 1980,
Lars entered into the promotional end of the sport, creating
the World League Wrestling Alliance with several partners.
The arrogant mat man, who calls Aspen, Colorado home, was
indeed ahead of his time as he combined video taped matches
from other wrestling booking offices (mostly Louisiana,
Texas and North Carolina) along with his own studio matches
featuring local talent under the WLWA banner.
Lars negotiated with cable
systems across the United States and Canada to broadcast his
program. It was the first opportunity fans had to witness
matches from other parts of the country and gave wrestling
fans a choice in their television viewing.
as WLWA champion, led his promotion into various regions of
the United States that had long been held as strongholds of
local promoters. Although he was able to obtain bookings in
high school gyms and small arenas, the larger venues were
virtually off limits due to monopolistic contracts which
local promoters had entered into with the arenas in their
Had the necessary opportunities
been present for the survival of this new venture, we would
probably see the World League Wrestling Alliance as a force
to reckon with within the sport today.
The last member of the Anderson
family to enter the squared circle was Arn. He began his
career under the name of Marty Lunde for the Fuller
promotion in Alabama and attained great success in the area,
winning the Southeastern tag team title on several occasions
with an assortment of partners.
Later, venturing into the NWA
Georgia group, Marty slowly climbed the ladder of contention
and all the while, he used his real name.
He left the area for a two year
stint back in Alabama and was brought back to Georgia as
"Arn Anderson" and touted as the cousin of Ole Anderson. He
has been with the Mid-Atlantic group ever since and has
never looked back.6
Earlier this year, Arn, along
with Tully Blanchard and Ric Flair, cast Ole out of their
organization known as the "Four Horsemen" to make room for
Lex Luger, wrestling's hottest new find.
This situation erupted into a
blood feud between Ole and Arn. They have had many battles
within the last few months, but as of this writing, there
has not been a clear cut victor in this ongoing war.
Arn and Ole had a very
successful run as tag team partners and one must wonder if
Arn will eventually jump ship to side with Ole against the
Horsemen. The youngest Anderson claimed he had been carrying
Ole for far too long and had grown weary of the experience.
With each passing battle, Arn
must be coming to the realization that Ole is far from being
washed up and that his evaluation of the Rock's capabilities
were sorely underrated. Will this lead Arn to a review of
the situation and a possible apology to Ole?
Only time will tell.
CORRECTIONS TO THIS ARTICLE
Ole and Gene never feuded with
each other. Ole and Lars had big issues in the state of
Georgia in the early 80s, and Ole battled Arn and the other
members of the Four Horsemen in 1987 and 1988. But he never
wrestled against or feuded with Gene.
Ole first teamed with Gene and Lars Anderson in June 1968.
Gene continued to wrestle semi-regularly well into 1983 and
sporadically into 1985.
Reportedly more to do with the after affects of a stroke.
Major error here. Lars actually teamed with Gene two years
before Ole was involved. As best we can determine, Gene and
Lars first teamed together in March of 1966, for Nick Gulas.
Arn wrestled under his real name, Marty Lunde, in several
different territories following his breaking in the business
in Georgia in late 1981. He first became Arn Anderson when
Ole Anderson brought him back to Georgia to team with Matt
Borne in April of 1982. His first real headlining stint was
with Southeastern Wrestling (Dothan office) teaming with
Jerry Stubbs (Mr. Olympia) to win the Southeastern tag
titles several times. In 1985, he went to Jim Crockett
Promotions right at the time they took control of the NWA
Georgia office. It was here that Arn and Ole teamed up to
recreate the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.
Article posted 1/17/10