There is no question that during the mid to late 1980’s, the Four Horsemen were the premiere attraction for Jim Crockett Promotions and the National Wrestling Alliance. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and manager J. J. Dillon were the cornerstones of that beloved heel faction. It also saw a rotating door of other wrestlers like Ole Anderson, Lex Luger and Barry Windham among others joining and then leaving the group. Promoter Jim Crockett Jr knew where his “bread was buttered” and wanted to market the Four Horsemen as much as possible.
In 1988, things were quickly changing within Crockett Promotions and as history will tell us….it saw Horsemen Tully and Arn jump ship to the WWF and Crockett sell his company to Ted Turner. A few months before all that unravels, Crockett was trying to compete nationally with Vince McMahon and the WWF. Crockett came up with his version of a fail safe marketing gem that involved his hottest act…the Four Horsemen. The world of professional wrestling was going to be introduced to a line of Four Horsemen vitamins.
The vitamins would make their commercial debut on March 27th, 1988. That was the date of the inaugural Clash of Champions. The same show that made a star out of Sting as he went to a 45 minute draw with Ric Flair for the NWA world title. What better program to debut the new vitamins that advertises Energy…Endurance and Power than seeing Flair go the distance with the Stinger?
The vitamins came in two forms…in capsules and chewable wafers. Ric Flair would go on NWA television and cut promos while eating a handful of the product. If you ever wondered how Flair and the Horsemen could go all night long, then you had to buy the vitamins according to the Nature Boy. Crockett would even put out a Flair endorsement in Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine. No doubt something the Crockett marketing team wrote up themselves.
Dear Wrestling Fan,
When I say the Four Horsemen are the best thing going today, I mean something that extends far beyond our matches. I mean the best in all walks of life.
There is a secret to our success. A secret that has been ours alone until now.
You don’t know how many letters I get daily asking: “Ric, you are the Nature Boy! You are Space Mountain! You are the best thing going today! Please, how do you do it?”
Let me say, first of all, no one can do it like the Nature Boy. I am the finest wrestler in the world, and just ask around. My abilities cannot be duplicated. However, now the secret is out with the Four Horsemen Top Performance System.
This system is designed to improve performance in all walks of life. It has been formulated to provide peak performance, endurance, energy, power as well as health and fitness.
Formula I is designed to give you a quick burst of energy. They are great tasting chewable wafers which are made up of a unique blend of vitamins and minerals.
Formula II is our Power Formula Plus. These caplets are the latest breakthrough in power enhancement. They are made up of amino acids, bee pollen, extracts and vitamins which help in providing strength and endurance.
Together they make up the Top Performance System, and believe me, taken every day, you will improve in everything you do. From that rigid workout in the morning, until that – whoo – late night get together with that special person.
More importantly, turn on your TV. Each and every time you see Ric Flair looking only as I can look, you can tell your friends, “I know his secret.”
Now you can take that secret home!
Now you would think that as popular as the Four Horsemen were, that there would be a large portion of the NWA viewing audience that would order this Top Performance System. Think again. After only a few months on the market…the vitamins disappeared. According to Arn Anderson, the faction didn’t see a dime of the profits…if there were any to begin with.
Years later, Ric Flair said the idea and the marketing behind it was “lame.” Lame indeed considering that Crockett’s main competition…the World Wrestling Federation were coming out with dolls, tee shirts, ice cream bars and an assortment of other products geared towards kids. Kids are the ones who will haunt their parents to go to the shows and buy them this merchandise. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen vitamins were geared towards adult men to try and perform like Flair….I guess in the bedroom or in the gym. Big difference in marketing philosophies.