“He was just a no-good bastard,” said Dutch Mantell of Ole Anderson in October 2023.
“He judged everybody, talked to everybody like they were a piece of crap, even the announcers,” said Mantell. “And he was a good talker. I mean, if Ole Anderson came in your room right now and started talking to you, and didn’t it doesn’t matter whether you know who he is or not, but he would piss you off right away because he talked to you, like, hell he owns you.”
A year earlier, fellow former wrestler and booker Kevin Sullivan echoed a similar statement, calling Anderson a cranky bastard. Anderson’s disposition behind the scenes as a wrestler and boss often left many of his peers having bad feelings toward him. Yet, that same attitude translated to television screens, making Anderson one of the most hated men in wrestling history.
In the June 1983 issue of Wrestling’s Main Event magazine in June 1983, Anderson was quoted as saying, “I have never felt it was necessary to make the fans like me and to be a so-called ‘nice guy.’”
Years earlier, Anderson appeared to have changed his ways when he became a babyface in 1979. But it was all a ruse to trap his longtime enemy, Dusty Rhodes, in a cage with other heels, which ended in a riot, according to Dutch Mantell.
“While I didn’t see any of it, I heard about it. They (Anderson and the other heels) couldn’t leave the Omni for about an hour and a half after the match,” said Mantell.
While it may have taken Anderson and crew some time to leave the arena, often, fans didn’t wait around outside of an arena to enact justice on the bad guys. Instead, they sought immediate vengeance, which is what happened to Anderson in May 1976.
Along with his kayfabe brother Gene, the duo known as The Minnesota Wrecking Crew was returning to the dressing room following a loss to Dino Bravo and Tim Woods in Greenville, SC. Unsatisfied with their defeat, fans at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium gave the villainous brother team hell as they exited the ring.
From what Ole told The Charlotte Observer, he was holding his arm following the match, which fans mistook for weakness.
“That must have made some of them think they could take a shot at me,” said Ole. “Some (fan) down there punched me. As I directed my attention toward him, another guy started to pick up a chair. I told him if he picked up the chair, I’d shove it up his...”
As Anderson turned from the man with the chair, Ole said he felt a knife go into his chest, though he didn’t see who stabbed him. The alleged assailant was an 81-year-old man, Henry Oscar Ramsey, according to police, though in other forums, Ramsey’s age was listed as 79.
According to what his family told the newspaper, Ramsey was an innocent bystander who had been attending the wrestling matches for 15 years. They said Ole hit him with a chair and stomped on him.
However, police quoted witnesses as saying that Anderson kicked Ramsey and knocked him to the ground after being stabbed. Both men were treated for injuries at a hospital, and Ramsey was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill Ole.
What happened in the ensuing months is a bit sketchy.
According to Mantell, Ole received 70 stitches as a result of the attack. As for Ramsey, Mantell said the fan was barred from returning to the building, saying he died months later. Mantell figures the heartbreak of being unable to go to the matches is what led to the feisty senior’s demise.
But according to The Greenville News, Ramsey died at the age of 81 in November 1978. He was listed as a member of member of West Gantt Baptist Church and men’s bible class. The paper, however, failed to mention Ramsey’s alleged attempt at introducing Ole to Jesus Christ directly.
As for Anderson, he was back in the ring just a few days later, totally no-selling the incident.
“Worse things have happened to me,” said Ole.