Arn Anderson made his grand return to the national pro wrestling stage at All Elite Wrestling's All Out pay-per-view event at the end of August. The reaction inside the Sears Center was deafening when Anderson walked down the ramp during the Cody vs. Shawn Spears match. Anderson went into the ring and delivered his patented spinebuster to send fans into a frenzy.
"I couldn't have imagined getting the pop I got on that night," Anderson, who will be at Starrcast IV this weekend in a series of appearances, told Sporting News. "The fact that the newer fans know who I am means I left a lasting impression on their fathers, their mothers, and their grandparents when they were watching me on television or at the arena."
Before his AEW appearance, Anderson had been with the WWE as a producer from 2001 until he got released from the company in back February. While Anderson didn't elaborate on what led to his departure, he felt like he was in a time warp.
"I spent the last 18 years in the proverbial bubble," Anderson said. "I missed a lot of time with my kids and events with my family. But now after 37 years of constantly being on the road, I can finally take a deep breath."
Life on the road is taxing for people involved in the professional wrestling business. Like the 61-year Anderson (real name Martin Lunde) explained, you miss a lot of things that ordinary people couldn't imagine missing. For Anderson, it was even the small things one does on a daily or weekly basis that are always taken for granted that he finds gratifying to do.
"Imagine waking up in the morning and going outside to take out your dog, take them for a walk and not have to then immediatly check your phone," Anderson explained. "It feels great to do that or go to the grocery store and just look around and watch people push the shopping cart around. After having to travel for 37 years, it's nice to be human again."
The natural assumption when Anderson showed up to All Out was that he would be joining the upstart company. Even though he did commentary in his hometown of Charlotte for next week's AEW Dark, Anderson has no plans to ingrain himself and be part of the "Wednesday Night Wars" between AEW and WWE.
"When I wake up on a Monday morning, it's nice knowing for the next 10-12 days that I don't have to do much of anything if I don't want to," Anderson excitedly said. "I'm not looking for anything to do as I'm thoroughly enjoying what I am doing at this stage of my life."
During some weekends, Anderson travels to Comic Cons and various conventions. What amazes the man known as "Double A" is the number of young people who approach him during these gatherings.
"I always get the fathers and the younger grandpas coming up to me and telling me how much they loved me even though I was a bad guy for most of my run," Anderson said. "But the most gratifying thing to me is when I have the young guys who cheer for John Cena come up to me and tell me how cool I am. And that's because of what their male influences are telling them about me, watching the WWE Network and YouTube.
"I didn't get to do this stuff because I was wrestling and working behind the scenes for 37 years," he continued. "It means a lot to me that after all these years, I get to meet the people who watched and bought a ticket to see me perform."
When not making appearances and hanging out with his wife, Anderson has his own podcast, titled, "ARN", with podcast extraordinare, Conrad Thompson. The podcast (comes out every Monday) debuted at the end of the September and entails Anderson's stellar career in the business. Doing something of this nature isn't what Anderson envisioned, but Thompson made it an easy sell for "Double A."
"The podcast is so much fun for me to do," Anderson said. "Technology wise, I'm still behind but Conrad has been great in helping me out that way. If I get stuck on something from the past then Conrad always has my back. I couldn't have asked for a better thing to do to stay connnected with the fans."