Bear With Me: Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael Becomes a Member of the Four Horsemen

Brian Damage

When talking about the legendary faction known as the Four Horsemen, fans can’t help but bring up members of the group that perhaps had no business holding up the four fingers. Individuals, that should have been steered clear of the elite group of wrestlers. The most mentioned name is Paul Roma, who was a last minute addition after Tully Blanchard legitimately failed a drug test. After that, names like Sid Vicious, Jeff Jarrett are considered. Then, there is the ex NFL player turned pro wrestler….Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael that gets a lot of votes. While not a fan favorite of the Horsemen fandom, he was a big favorite of the members themselves. This is his story.

After retiring from pro football as a member of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, Steve McMichael had aspirations of trying his hand at pro wrestling. McMichael certainly wouldn’t be the first, nor the last to switch from the gridiron to the squared circle. There have been countless others like Wahoo McDaniel, Alex Karras, Ernie Ladd and Ron Simmons…just to name a few. McMichael wanted to be the next football player to make the transition.

Mongo’s first stop was with the World Wrestling Federation in 1995. McMichael provided guest commentary alongside Vince McMahon and was involved in a brawl with Kama Mustafa on Monday Night Raw. He also seconded Lawrence Taylor in his Wrestlemania XI match against Bam Bam Bigelow, providing protection from outside interference from the Million Dollar Corporation. After Taylor’s Wrestlemania victory, McMichael was not asked back to the company, but McMichael was not through with his wrestling dream.

Five months later, Eric Bischoff and World Championship Wrestling gave Mongo a call and was hired to be a color commentator along with Bischoff and Bobby Heenan on WCW’s new show Monday Nitro. Steve McMichael had great charisma and knew how to talk on the mic, which made him a perfect choice for this new role. Bischoff loved the chemistry all three had with one another during the early days of Nitro.

Despite his initial success as a color commentator, McMichael wanted more. He still wanted to get physical inside the ring. McMichael was still very much in his old NFL mode and missed the physicality he could dish out and take. Mongo talked to Bischoff about a move from commentator to wrestler. At the time, Bischoff was against it, feeling he was better suited for his gift of gab, but McMichael was persistent and convinced Bischoff to give him a try in the ring. Years later, Bischoff said he regretted making that decision, feeling that Mongo just wasn’t equipped to wrestle.

Mongo McMichael was trained by Terry Taylor for his wrestling debut. He was thrust into a high profile feud with ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair, who was flirting with Mongo’s wife Debra. It led to a tag team match between Mongo and fellow football player Kevin Greene against Flair and Arn Anderson. The culmination of that match, saw McMichael accept a briefcase full of money and turned heel on Kevin Greene and thus joining the Four Horsemen.

During the time, many fans expressed disgust over the decision to make Mongo a horsemen. While many thought Eric Bischoff was behind the idea, the truth is it was Arn Anderson’s idea. According to Arn, the Four Horsemen were looking to add a new member and the name Booker T was the most talked about. While Arn thought Booker T was an excellent worker and definitely Horsemen material, he rejected it because he felt that Booker T could and would become a big singles star on his own.

Arn felt that while Steve McMichael wasn’t up to par as a wrestler, he had the personality of a true Horsemen and would mesh better with the group. Ric Flair and Mongo became very good friends during their Horsemen run. Flair often said that Mongo could out party Flair himself, which was no easy task. So while some fans of the Four Horsemen were in an uproar over McMichael’s inclusion into such an elite faction….Arn Anderson was the ultimate decider on his membership. Ric Flair had his party buddy before and after shows.

Steve McMichael never became a great wrestler, although he did hold the United States title for a spell. What Mongo was to the Four Horsemen was a personality. A personality that could cut solid promos and also bring new eyes to the group during his year long tenure.

12 thoughts on “Bear With Me: Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael Becomes a Member of the Four Horsemen

  1. Mongo had personality and could talk but was shit in the ring. Him and Paul Roma are often considered the worst though I think The Man Who is Fond of Slapping Nutz trying to be a Horseman was much worse.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I forgot Mongo was in the WWF first. I thought he was a horrible announcer. But, as a wrestler he cut good promos. He looked the part as well. I don’t think he was as bad in the ring as most do. Not saying he was even average, just not one of the worst as most seem to think. I was surprised when he turned against Kevin Greene. But, it made sense after. Didn’t realize AA was the one who wanted him in. I did know Flair and he became close.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The bad thing about Roma was the timing. If you put Roma into the Horsemen after 1.5 years of his WCW run (early 1995, following world tag title reigns with Orndorff), it much more easily works. He was an excellent athlete and had charisma. The problem was he was still viewed as a WWF enhancement star in 1993.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Double A talked about this on his podcast. It either was an Ask Arn anything, or it may have been one of his first pods talking about the Horsemen in general. I’m completely paraphrasing here but basically what AA said, it was supposed to be Tully. The news of the failed test hit and they had to go with someone because it had been hyped up and Roma was in the locker room area but wasnt in a program at the time and the rest is history.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sadly Mongo is in the last stage of his life due to ALS. The pictures a few have posted with him on Social Media are beyond sad. We all die someday but damn, this is a hard way to go.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This may come as a surprise but I’m a bit of a 4 Horsemen fan.

    I’m not going to call Mongo a wrestling great but in terms of Horsemen on my list he’s above JJ, Sid and Roma. He brought something unique to the Horsemen. Just pure strength, a hoss. His promos weren’t the best, but weren’t cringy too much. And in this version of the Horsemen he was unique and different compared to the other 3. Arn could be the mouthpiece and just represented the Horsemen. He could wrestle, he could brawl and best of all he gave you a believeable performance. Flair was styling and profiling. Benoit was arial and a different mat wrestling move set and Mongo was just the muscle. And unintentionally or not, he was heel heat. Annoying with that damn briefcase and bears jacket. Double A also said he put the time in to learn and improve.

    Anyways, a memorable character and a tragedy with the ALS

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Never mind that shit,,, HERE COMES MONGO! Anyway, being on Botchamania Steve McMichael was a very member of the ’85-’86 Bears while in WCW I heard his talking skills is good while his moveset is lackluster even though he does the Tombstone piledriver and hopefully he doesn’t feel pain once the Man upstairs in the Sky can have him.


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