Lunde began his career in early 1982, trained by Ted Lipscomb (Allen), spending much of the year wrestling in various independent wrestling companies across the United States, including a minor run in Mid South Wrestling for Bill Watts 1982-1983 By the middle of 1983, he made his way to Southeastern Championship Wrestling, an NWA affiliated promotion operating out of Tennessee and Alabama. Taking the name of Super Olympia, Lunde soon became a member of Ron Fuller's Stud Stable before the year was out. Lunde saw success in the tag team ranks by winning the NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship three times with Mr. Olympia and once with Pat Rose throughout 1984. It was also here in this promotion that Lunde met and began what would become a lifelong friendship with Ric Flair. By the end of the year, however, Lunde left the company and joined Mid South Wrestling based out of Shreveport. Lunde's time in Mid South was coming to an end, and during a TV taping the Junk Yard Dog mentioned to Bill Watts, the owner of Mid South Wrestling, that Lunde looked like an Anderson. Watts called Jim Crockett and convinced him to book Lunde.
Lunde made his way to Jim Crockett, Jr.'s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, based in the Virginias and the Carolinas. By this time, the company extended its range into Georgia after rival promoter Vince McMahon purchased Georgia Championship Wrestling. There was a strong physical resemblance between Lunde and Ole Anderson, who had achieved legendary status in the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic territories as a tag team wrestler. Ole noticed that Lunde's style was a no nonsense approach in the ring and specialized in working over a part of an opponent's body throughout the match, much like Ole himself. Anderson agreed to work with Lunde, helping to hone his capabilities, and re-formed the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with Lunde replacing Gene Anderson and taking on the name of Arn Anderson, Ole's kayfabe nephew. The team quickly became a force in the territory by capturing the NWA National Tag Team Championship in March 1985. Arn and Ole defended the titles throughout the year, with their highest profile match being part of the card for Starrcade 1985 on Thanksgiving night. The Crew successfully defended the titles against Wahoo McDaniel and Billy Jack Haynes.
In the latter half of 1985, the Andersons formed a loose knit alliance with fellow heels Tully Blanchard and Ric Flair, as they began to have common enemies. The foursome frequently teamed together in six-man, and sometimes, eight-man tag matches or interfered in each other's matches to help score a victory or, at least, to prevent each other from losing their titles. The alliance quickly became a force within the territory, working in feuds against some of the biggest stars in the company like Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., The Road Warriors and the Rock 'n' Roll Express. Anderson also saw success as a singles wrestler on January 4, 1986 by winning the vacant NWA Television Championship. Simultaneously, Anderson was still one half of the NWA National Tag Team Champions and, even though Crockett promotions abandoned the National Tag titles in March, Anderson's success as a dual champion elevated his status within the territory. It was also during this time (in 1986) that the Andersons, Blanchard, and Flair began calling themselves The Four Horsemen with James J. Dillon serving as the group's manager. Anderson also had a tremendous ability to do interviews to further the storylines he participated in. His ability to improvise in interviews allowed him to coin the "Four Horsemen" moniker for the stable, as he likened their coming to wrestle at an event and the aftermath of their wrath as being akin to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the name stuck. Anderson continued his reign as NWA Television Champion for most of the year, holding the championship for just over 9 months before losing it to Dusty Rhodes on September 9, 1986.
The first real setback with the Horsemen occurred at Starrcade 1986 after Anderson and Ole lost a Steel Cage match to The Rock 'n' Roll Express, with Ole getting pinned. The subsequent storyline positioned Ole as the weak link within the team, possibly attributed to his age. Ole's position with the group was only further weakened after he decided to take two months off after Starrcade. After Ole's return in February 1987, the other Horsemen turned on him and threw him out of the group, resulting in Ole incurring numerous attacks over the next several months. Afterwards, Ole was replaced with Lex Luger and the Horsemen resumed their dominance of the company.
As a member of the Horsemen, Anderson continued to be involved in high-profile angles within the company. By mid-1987, Anderson and fellow Horsemen Tully Blanchard began regularly competing as a tag team and rose quickly through the tag team ranks. The duo faced the Rock 'n' Roll Express for the NWA World Tag Team Championship on September 29, 1987 and were victorious. This win further solidified the group's dominance in the company as Lex Luger was the reigning NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and Ric Flair spent most of 1987 as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, losing it to Ron Garvin in September, only to regain it at Starrcade 1987 on Thanksgiving night. Anderson and Tully continued to feud throughout the rest of the year and first few months of 1988 with the Road Warriors, the Rock 'n' Roll Express and the Midnight Express being their most frequent rivals.
By December 1987, Luger had defected from the Horsemen and began a heated feud with the group, with Ric Flair especially. In early 1988, Luger formed a tag team with Barry Windham and began challenging Anderson and Blanchard for the NWA World Tag Team Championship. The bigger, stronger team of Windham and Luger were eventually successful, winning the titles on March 27, 1988. The reign would be short lived, however, as Anderson and Blanchard regained the titles less than a month later after Barry Windham turned on Luger during their match and joined the Horsemen. Though Anderson and Blanchard were two of the biggest stars in Crockett's company, they were frequently in dispute with Crockett over their pay. Despite the fact that the two, along with the Horsemen, were helping to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the company, they considered themselves to be underpaid. Their last contracted match with the company took place on September 10, 1988 when they dropped the NWA World Tag Team Championship to the Midnight Express before leaving for the WWF.
Anderson and Blanchard left Crockett's company to join Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. Upon being named the Brain Busters, the team took Bobby "The Brain" Heenan as their manager and quickly began rising through the tag team ranks, eventually coming to challenge Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Championship. On July 18, 1989, the Brain Busters won the titles, ending Demolition's historic reign of 478 days; the match would air on the July 29 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. Although they would lose the titles back to Demolition just over three months later, the Brain Busters continued to be a force in the WWF's tag team division.
In December 1989, Anderson left the WWF and went back to WCW. Blanchard was slated to return as well but WWF accused him of testing positive for cocaine. Crockett's company was now called World Championship Wrestling and was under the ownership of billionaire mogul Ted Turner. Anderson helped to reform the Horsemen and he quickly found success in the company, winning the NWA World Television Championship on January 2, 1990. Anderson remained the champion almost the entire year before dropping it to Tom Zenk. Zenk's reign would be short lived, however, as Anderson regained the title, having been renamed the WCW World Television Championship on January 14, 1991. His third reign with the title was also considered successful as he held the title a little more than five months before dropping it to "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton on May 19, 1991. Afterwards, with Horsemen members Ric Flair and Sid Vicious gone to the WWF and Barry Windham having turned face, Anderson entered the tag team ranks of WCW.
In the summer of 1991, Anderson formed a tag team with Larry Zbyszko and they called themselves The Enforcers. After competing for several months and moving up in the tag team ranks, they successfully captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship on September 2, 1991. The reign would be short lived, however, as they lost the titles roughly two and a half months later to Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes. Anderson and Zbyszko went their separate ways shortly afterward. Anderson quickly rebounded from his split with Zbyszko and formed a tag team with Beautiful Bobby Eaton, a long-time friend and best known for his time as one half of the Midnight Express. At this point, they were members of Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance. They quickly moved up the tag team division and were soon a threat to Steamboat and Rhodes. Anderson and Eaton quickly won the titles on January 16, 1992 and defended the titles against all comers for the next four and a half months before losing the titles to The Steiner Brothers in May.
In May 1993, Anderson joined Ole Anderson and Ric Flair to re-form the Four Horsemen. The Horsemen introduced Paul Roma as their newest member. Although athletic and a skilled in-ring competitor, Roma had spent much of his career as a jobber in the WWF. As part of an interview segment for the Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen DVD, Triple H stated that he thought the addition of Roma made the membership the weakest in the history of the group, and Arn himself referred to Roma as "a glorified gym rat". Although Anderson and Roma won the WCW World Tag Team Championship in August, the group quickly split and was seen as a dismal failure by WCW.
Anderson remained a regular, on-screen performer in WCW over the next few years. He rejoined Col. Rob Parker's Stud Stable in 1994 with Terry Funk, Bunkhouse Buck, "Stunning" Steve Austin and Meng. The Stud Stable feuded heavily with Dusty and Dustin Rhodes until late 1994 when Funk left. In early 1995, Meng eventually left to join the Dungeon of Doom.
Anderson's last championship run began on January 8, 1995 after winning the World Television Championship from Johnny B. Badd. Anderson helped restore the prestige of the title, which he held for just over six months before dropping it to The Renegade. He briefly feuded with long-time friend Flair, and was assisted by Brian Pillman in his efforts. However, it was a swerve to reunify the Horsemen with Flair, Anderson, Pillman, and a partner to be named later (who ended up being Chris Benoit).
By the end of 1996, Anderson rarely competed in the ring as years of wear and tear on his body finally started to catch up with him.
On the August 25, 1997 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Anderson formally announced his retirement from the ring. While standing in the ring, surrounded by Ric Flair and newest Horsemen members Steve McMichael and Benoit, Anderson declared that his last official act as the "Enforcer" for the Four Horsemen was to offer his "spot" in the group to Curt Hennig, as he was forced to retire due to extensive neck and upper back injuries. He worked a couple tag matches afterward, including teaming with David Flair on an episode of WCW Thunder, but his physical involvement was extremely limited in those bouts.
On the September 14, 1998 edition of Nitro, alongside Steve McMichael, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit, Anderson ceremoniously reintroduced Ric Flair to WCW after his 12-month hiatus. In doing so, they reformed the Horsemen who then feuded with WCW President Eric Bischoff. Flair won the presidency of WCW from Bischoff on the December 28, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro followed by winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Uncensored 1999 and turn heel in the process. Anderson remained Flair's right-hand man during this time as he attempted to keep Flair's delusional hunger for power at bay.
In 2000, Anderson was a member of the short-lived Old Age Outlaws. Led by Terry Funk, the group of veteran wrestlers battled the revived New World Order. WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in 2001, ending Anderson's tenure there.
Not long after the closing of WCW, Anderson became a road agent for WWF, renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in May 2002. He occasionally appears on WWE television trying to, with the help of other WWE management, pull apart (kayfabe) backstage brawls. Soon after the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline, Anderson took up color commentary for a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell, WCW Cruiserweight Championship match with Billy Kidman and Gregory Helms as well as another WCW Championship match between Diamond Dallas Page and Booker T, which would be his only appearances as a commentator in WWE. He made an appearance on Raw in 2002 delivering a video to Triple H before he was supposed to renew his wedding vows to then-heel, Stephanie McMahon. Anderson was also assaulted on Raw by The Undertaker leading up the Undertaker vs. then-babyface, Ric Flair match at WrestleMania X8. During that bout, Anderson made a brief in-ring appearance, delivering his signature spinebuster to The Undertaker. He would later turn heel once again by helping Ric Flair in his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, leading to Austin literally (kayfabe) urinating on him. Several months later he became a face once again and attempted to help a then-babyface Flair gain (kayfabe) sole ownership of WWE during a match with Vince McMahon, but backed down from a confrontation with Brock Lesnar, who entered the ring to assist McMahon.
Anderson made a special appearance at the October 2006 Raw Family Reunion special, in which he was in Ric Flair's corner for his match against Mitch of the Spirit Squad. Anderson was in the corner of Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, and Ron Simmons at Survivor Series 2006, where the four faced the Spirit Squad, but was ejected from the arena during the match.
On the March 31, 2008 Raw, Anderson came out to say his final goodbye to Ric Flair and thank him for his career. At the No Mercy event, he was backstage congratulating Triple H for retaining the WWE Championship against Jeff Hardy.
On an episode of Smackdown Live in August 2016, Anderson made an appearance as one of the people asked by Heath Slater to be his tag team partner for the tournament to determine the inaugural winners of the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship. Anderson refused to help Slater upon learning that he was not Slater's first choice as a tag team partner.
On the August 8th, 2017 episode of Smackdown Live, Anderson made a guest appearance on Fashion Peaks, revealing himself to be the one who destroyed Breezango's toy horse, Tully, and boasting he was the best horse from the Four Horsemen, and that "Tully" should have been named "Arn".
Anderson and his wife Erin have two sons, Barrett Anthony (born 1985) and Brock (born 1997).
Although he was billed as such at various times, Arn is not related to Gene Anderson, Lars Anderson, Ole Anderson, C.W. Anderson or Ric Flair. He was given the Anderson name and was originally billed as Ole's brother, and then later billed as Ole's nephew, because of his resemblance to Ole in appearance and wrestling style and billed as Ric Flair's cousin. Flair is not related to any of the Andersons, but he is a longtime friend of Arn.
In 1993, Anderson was involved in a brutal stabbing incident during a WCW tour of Europe. On October 27, 1993, in Blackburn, Lancashire, Anderson and Sid Eudy were involved in an argument at a hotel bar. After being sent to their rooms by security chief Doug Dillinger, Eudy later attacked Anderson with a chair leg. A pair of safety scissors was introduced into the brawl by one of the participants, with Eudy receiving four stab wounds and Anderson receiving twenty, losing a pint and a half of blood. The fight was broken up by WCW wrestler 2 Cold Scorpio, who was credited with saving Anderson's life. Neither man pressed charges against the other, and British police declined to do so since both men were leaving the country. Eudy was later fired over the incident.
As stated in his biography, in a match in 1994, Arn was thrown into the ring ropes. The top rope broke from the turnbuckle, but he was able to land on his feet. Six months later, the same event happened again, but this time he landed full-force on to the concrete and hit his head, neck, and upper back. He never took time off to heal. As time passed, with no down time, the injuries worsened. In his biography, Anderson states that the first sign of problems was, during a match, his left arm suddenly went numb and unresponsive. Later on, they found a rib, possibly torn away from the spine during the accident, was popping in and out of joint, causing shoulder discomfort and weakness.
Upon seeing his chiropractor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and consulting medical experts in Atlanta, Georgia, the damage was found to be much more severe and surgery was deemed the only option to keep his left arm functioning at all. Surgery occurred in Atlanta in late 1996 (resulting in a left posterior laminectomy of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th cervical bones and a fusion of the 7th cervical and 1st thoracic bones) and was successful in repairing most of the damage, but there does remain some muscle weakness, loss of fine motor control, and loss of muscle mass in his left arm. He spent many weeks in the hospital during that time, crediting his recovery to his wife, his physical therapist, and the fact he did not want his children to be fatherless. However, he would be readmitted in March 1997 with symptoms akin to cardiac arrest and pulmonary failure, but was released soon afterwards.
The Comedy Central series Tosh.0 has referred to Anderson on a regular basis beginning with its October 15, 2009 episode featuring a backyard wrestler redemption. Host Daniel Tosh stated that real wrestling is all about "showmanship and tights", and that if "being a great technician were all it took, then Arn Anderson would be the most famous wrestler in the world". Tosh has continued to "call out" Anderson, even referring to a gap between mentions as "(going) easy on you". Tosh's March 6, 2012 memorabilia dump included a signed Arn Anderson action figure.Finishing moves
Double A spinebuster(Spinning spinebuster)
Double axe handle
Gourdbuster (Inverted suplex slam)
Hammerlock, usually transitioned into a scoop slam
Single arm DDT
With Tully Blanchard
Double team finishing moves
James J. Dillon
Col. Robert Parker
"The (Original) Enforcer"
Cauliflower Alley Club
Lou Thesz/Art Abrahams Lifetime Achievement Award (2016)
Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling
NWA/WCW World Television Championship (4 times)
NWA National Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Ole Anderson
NWA (Mid-Atlantic)/WCW World Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Tully Blanchard (2), Larry Zbyszko (1), Bobby Eaton (1) and Paul Roma (1)
NWA World Television Championship Tournament (1986)
WCW World Tag Team Championship Tournament (1991) – with Larry Zbyszko
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI ranked him #8 of the 500 best wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1991
PWI Feud of the Year (1987) Four Horsemen vs. The Super Powers and The Road Warriors
PWI Tag Team of the Year (1989) with Tully Blanchard
PWI Tag Team of the Year (1991) with Larry Zbyszko
PWI Stanley Weston Award (1997)
PWI ranked him #62 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
Southeastern Championship Wrestling
NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Jerry Stubbs (3) and Pat Rose (1)
Southern States Wrestling
Kingsport Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2001)
World Wrestling Federation/WWE
WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Tully Blanchard
WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2012)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
5 Star Match (1992) with Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton and Larry Zbyszko vs. Nikita Koloff, Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes (May 17, WarGames match, WrestleWar)
Best on Interviews (1990)
Worst Worked Match of the Year (1996) with Ric Flair, Meng, The Barbarian, Lex Luger, Kevin Sullivan, Z-Gangsta and The Ultimate Solution vs. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, Uncensored, Towers of Doom match, March 24
Autobiography: Anderson, Arn. Arn Anderson 4 Ever: A Look Behind the Curtain. Kayfabe Pub Group, 1998