Ole Anderson Dead At 81 - Wrestling Legend Passes Away

Ole Anderson Dead At 81. Wrestler, booker, hugely influential and controversial figure passes away.

Ole Anderson
WWE Network

Ole Anderson, one of the most powerful and influential professional wrestlers of the 1970s and 80s, has passed away at the age of 81.

Anderson - real name Alan Rogowski - debuted in 1967 and wrestled his final match in April 1990, but his career and legacy will be defined as much by what he did behind the camera as everything he managed over a remarkable 23 years on screens.


An original member of the first incarnation of the Four Horseman in 1985 alongside Arn, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon, he re-joined the group in 1990 when the quartet turned on Sting to set up his long-awaited World Heavyweight Title feud with Ric Flair. As integral as Anderson was in these angles, he was by this time penning everybody else's during a tumultuous time for non-WWE North American wrestling.

Trained by Verne Gagne and introduced as a member of the fictional Anderson Wrestling Family alongside Lars and Gene (later folding in Arn), Ole was a famous draw across the Carolinas and Georgia, holding down dual roles as wrestler and booker during his second stint with Georgia Championship wrestling in the early 1980s. He eventually juggled those jobs with booking responsibilities in Jim Crocket Promotions at the same time - positions he held until Vince McMahon's hostile takeover of the GCW slots on WTBS that lead to the infamous "Black Saturday".


When McMahon's WWF product immediately burned the locals, Ted Turner made a second slot for the Anderson-booked GCW. It was a position Ole held in different incarnations during the transition to WCW in 1989, before being out then back in to the organisation via presidents Jim Herd and Bill Watts respectively. His tenure ended permanently when Eric Bischoff became Executive Producer in 1994.

Though Anderson maintained a relatively quiet life outside of wrestling's spotlight in retirement, his notoriously uncompromising and cantankerous attitude became a part of his latter life legacy.


He made no secret of the enemies he'd made of former friends and colleagues, notably having very public and uncompromising disputes with the likes of Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and Dusty Rhodes, and wrestling power-players Bischoff, McMahon and Paul Heyman. His 2003 book "Inside Out: How Corporate America Destroyed Professional Wrestling" was infamously scathing about these and others he'd encountered in an industry he felt he had little connection to by the 1990s. He was conspicuous by his absence when WWE inducted The Four Horsemen into their Hall Of Fame in 2012.

Anderson battled health issues for several years before his passing.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back almost 35 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz" Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast and its accompanying YouTube channel, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 60,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times, GRAPPL and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett