Arn Anderson has been out of the ring actively for over two decades, with the exception of a couple of brief matches.
Anderson's last match as an active wrestler was January of 1997, and he'd retire later that year. However, for one week in May of 2000, Anderson technically returned to the ring as a part of a feud with David Flair. The "in ring" time of the matches were less than four minutes combined, but Anderson clarified to Fightful that he was never cleared to do anything physical after his neck injury.
"It’s funny," Arn stated. "When you’re in corporate, whether it be a company or a conversation or whatever the deal may be, certainly there have been questions even since I left WCW and came to WWE. “You think you can work?” You think you can have a few matches?” And those questions were coming from some pretty high places. The reality is the stuff with David Flair, and anything that I did post-surgery was done without me being cleared. I tried to get cleared to do some stuff towards the very end of WCW and I actually left television one day. They had something they wanted me to do, flew back to Charlotte, my doctor / surgeon actually took the time to examine me, looked at me and said, “Arn, you don’t understand. I will never, ever clear you to wrestle. So we can end this conversation.”"
Arn Anderson remembers when he was told he'd never wrestle again, but says that didn't necessarily keep WWE from asking him if he'd be open to wrestling. Arn was, but the company wasn't keen on the outlook of him not being cleared.
"So I jumped back on a plane, the same day now, and flew back to where television was. I wanna say it was Rockford, Illinois, which is not an easy place to fly in and out of. I had to drive back and forth to Chicago, I think, to even get back there for television. And that put the kibosh on ever, with WCW, ever doing anything legally. Let me just put it to you, I guess it would fall under legally. The stuff I did with David Flair, anything you saw me do physically after that, I was not cleared. And everyone knew I wasn’t cleared. So when we get to WWF, at the time, which is now WWE obviously. There were a couple conversations and it was just brought up, “I am not cleared. I would be happy to do whatever you would like, but I’m not cleared.” And of course, they weren’t going to take on that responsibility," said Anderson.
Even though he couldn't wrestle a match, we have seen Anderson toss out a signature spinebuster or two....or three. Arn said that it's a lot easier to make that kind of thing happen outside the auspices of a heavily scrutinized and magnified setting like WWE.
"Over the years it would come up, “Hey, we’d like you to do this. Can you do this?” Well sure, I can do it—I thought I could—but I’m not cleared. When you’re in that corporate setting and companies like that, it’s not like going at an independent show in which they would say “Hey, man, I’d love to have you this spinebuster, what do you think?” Depending on the talent, depending on the circumstances, all those variables, that might have happened over the last 18 years. But being working for those guys, they weren’t going to take on that responsibility and you can’t blame them," Anderson clarified.
Now, Arn gets to share his stories weekly for the first time outside those auspices. Besides a brief period almost 20 years ago, Anderson has been under contract since the 1980s and unable to dish all of the details that he does on his new podcast. He's new to the podcast game, but not to the storytelling game.
"Well, for yourself and everybody else that’s out there: Hey guys, I’m feeling my way through this podcast and I want to do a good job for you. I want to answer any questions that you have. Nothing is off limits. Almost, I guess, nothing. So if you got any suggestions for me, hey, get ‘em out there for me. Get on social media and let us know what we can do to make that product better for you. ‘Cause I’ve had some very respectful and very encouraging comments from people that I’m seeing. They’re enjoying it so far. So, let’s keep it up," said Anderson.
You can see our full interview with Arn Anderson above, and you can catch him at Starrcast IV in Baltimore. Every week, he appears on The Arn Show, telling stories of his career, alongside Conrad Thompson. You can check that out at this link.