So I totally ripped this idea off of Phil Schneider and TomK from DVDVR who went about a 'Dustin of the Day' and then a 'Fujiwara of the Day' project a long ways back, and since Arn Anderson's become one of my all-time favourites over the last year or so I figured I'd do something similar for ol' Double A.
Basic idea is that I'll watch and talk about an Arn Anderson match a day (although not every day; that requires a level of effort I'm incapable of putting in) until I've worked my way up to 'DOUBLE A OF THE DAY #40' or so. That's the goal, anyway. Whether I'll actually reach it... we shall see.
Also wanted to do this after my comment about Arn being better than Bret Hart started a shitstorm of hilarious proportions on a certain forum. Hopefully this inspires people to seek out some more Double A - particularly the people that flipped their shit in the first place - because dismissing the notion that Arn's better and instantly claiming anyone who believes that to be the case is "drunk" or "high" is retarded. Let's just ignore the fact I actually *was* drunk at the time :).
Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko v Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat (WCW Clash of the Champions 17, 11/19/91)
This is Steamboat's return match, subbing for the injured Barry Windham as Dustin's partner. They do the whole "mystery partner" deal and Steamboat comes out with this big dragon-like costume thing. Arn and Larry are perplexed initially, then the goofy costume comes off and the mystery partner's revealed as Ricky motherfuckin' Steamboat and Arn and Larry's perplexity morphs into shock, awe and fear.
Opening minutes are all about the faces, especially Steamboat, going to town on the heels and the heels trying - and failing - to do anything to combat it. They manage to get a few look-ins, but there's just nothing they can do to get anything worthwhile going at all. The Enforcers are forced to bail to the floor, and Arn gives a pep talk about how Steamboat's "just a man".
The transition into the face-in-peril section is pretty cool, with Larry playing Jerry to Steamboat's Tom after slapping him in the mush, which leads to him making the blind tag to Arn that in turn brings about a cheap shot and double team. Steamboat playing FIP is a nice little twist, because Dustin-in-peril is the kind of thing you'd expect 9 times out of 10 in a situation like this. Of course, Steamboat playing FIP is magic. I've always loved him as a seller, but I watched four or five matches from Goodhelmet's Steamboat comp last night and I think I'd call him my favourite seller ever now (probably strange, but the match that made me realise this was the Summerslam '91 six-man. Dude was fuckin' AWESOME in that). Some of his subtle touches really make you appreciate a great match even more.
And Anderson's just as great in his role. He really comes across as the boss here. I haven't seen a ton of Enforcers tags from before this, so I'm not sure if Larry always worked "secondary" to Arn, but this is all about Arn pulling the strings for his team. He's great at directing traffic, and you get to see it at the start with him calling a meeting with Larry, which I already mentioned. Then you see it as both he and Steamboat are doing the slow crawl to make the tag, as he realises Steamboat's gonna make the tag while he can't, so he shouts to Larry "Get him! There's no time!" Fuck the tag, they just wanna keep Steamboat down no matter what. Completely unrelated to the "Arn working as boss" point, there's a bunch of other stuff he does that rocks as well. He's right up there with Bill Dundee and Dick Murdoch in terms of my favourite 'guys with incredible shtick' wrestlers, and he gets to bust some of it out here. There's a spot early that I love where he goes up top only to be caught there by Dustin. What's awesome is that he works variations of shtick, so he could wind up crotched with a bug-eyed sell, could wind up being tossed off the top ala Flair, etc. This time, however, he totally 180s that and, instead of being tossed or crotched, he drills Dustin right in the eye with a nasty little jab before coming off the top and hitting a double axe. I could probably write an essay on Anderson's shtick every time out, it's that good.
Post-hot tag run to the finish is shorter than I had remembered, and it forces Steamboat to start up some offence sooner than I'd hope, but it's not really something I can complain too much about.
Great match, deeply "southern" in its approach. Not sure who I'd say the "star" is since Steamboat and Arn are both excellent, albeit entirely different, here... Arn's shtick or Steamboat's subtle selling? Arn dishing a beating or Steamboat taking one? Flip a coin or something. Definitely gonna search out some more Enforcers tags from their title run, though. They ruled as a couple badasses cutting the ring in half and beating on a motherfucker here. Probably seems like a silly thing to say given the fact Arn was paired up with Eaton in the Dangerous Alliance, which is a combo you can't go wrong with at all, but I would've liked to have seen some more of the Arn/Larry team during that period. Watched a shit load of Goodhelmet's Dangerous Alliance comp over the last year or so, though, so maybe there was a chunk of Arn/Larry tags and I'm just forgetting them. Either way, this was gooood.