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The Anderson family is a group of professional wrestlers, a fictional extended family largely consisting of brothers and cousins. It started in the Minnesota area in the late 1960s with a tag team called The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, consisting of "brothers" Lars Anderson and Gene Anderson (the only actual 'Anderson' of the original group). Later versions of the Crew included "brother" Ole Anderson and "cousin" Arn Anderson (Arn at other times was a nephew and a brother) in various combinations with the original two. In total, the four original Andersons won over 11 different tag team championships together across the country. Several modern tag teams have taken names similar to the Minnesota Wrecking Crew as an homage to the group.
In the 1980s, Ole and Arn allied themselves with Ric Flair, a Minnesota native who they claimed was another cousin of the family, and formed the famous wrestling stable The Four Horsemen. The stable was a major influence on professional wrestling in North America, creating the blueprint for future groups such as the New World Order, Triple Threat, and Evolution. Flair's sons David and Reid (the latter now deceased), as well as his daughter Ashley who wrestles in WWE as Charlotte Flair, can be counted as part of the family by extension.
Ole and Gene ran tryout camps for prospective wrestlers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, "stretching" several future stars, including Al Snow.
Other wrestlers claiming the Anderson heritage popped up on the independent circuit in the 1990s. These include Pat Anderson, Rocky Anderson, Extreme Championship Wrestling alumnus C.W. Anderson, and former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Karl Anderson. Gene Anderson had a son, Brad, who began wrestling in 1988. Ole Anderson had a son who wrestles under the name Bryant Anderson.
When wrestler Ken Anderson joined WWE he used the last name Kennedy to avoid confusion with the Anderson family (as well as the former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback of the same name), despite Anderson being his actual last name. He subsequently wrestled under his real name or "Mr. Anderson" for other promotions, though he remained unrelated to any member of the Anderson family in either reality or kayfabe.
Another WWE star was born Steven James Anderson, but his family name changed to Williams when he was adopted by his stepfather in early childhood; he would achieve fame as Stone Cold Steve Austin. He also is not related to any member of the kayfabe Anderson family.
Anderson family members
- Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr)