Tuesday, 23 March 2010

DOUBLE A OF THE DAY #5

Arn Anderson v Shane Douglas (NWA World Championship Wrestling, 2/17/90)

Totally awesome Double A performance here, from bumping, stooging and shtick-ing on defence to working a body part like a FIEND on offence. Douglas is a perfectly good fired up babyface to start before selling his ass off once Anderson takes control, but this is all about Arn working a perfect example of a sub-ten minute 'seasoned heel v house o' fire babyface' match.

Match is unfortunately JIP, but I can't imagine us missing much, anyway. The early going is all about Douglas having an answer for every attempt Arn makes at scoring an advantage while controlling him with some standard babyface control holds -- armbars and a headlock, mostly. Arn's so good at making "confusion" spots look legit. The way he'll whip Douglas into the corner only to have Douglas leapfrog over him, run to the other corner, fake the crossbody and then actually hit the move is a simple enough sequence that we've all seen a million times, but Arn plays it out as a heel better than pretty much everybody. He's sprinting after this kid one second because he wants to hurt him before hitting the deck the next because he wants to avoid him, and by the time he's back to his feet he doesn't know what the fuck is going on. Then he turns around and bam... Douglas almost caught him. Couple other really neat moments, like when Arn tries to break free from an armbar by tugging Douglas to the mat with the hair, only for Douglas, who's flat on his back, to hang on and yank an unsuspecting Arn down with him to regain control, which is a spot I don't recall seeing before (or at least being done as well), as well as Arn's awesome bump off Douglas' flying forearm.

Arn finally gains control by tossing Douglas to the floor and distracting the referee long enough for Ole to throw him shoulder first into the ring post. From there, Arn is just relentless. I love dudes that throw great punches in wrestling; like Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, Dick Murdoch, etc, but guys that throw great STOMPS... I don't think there's anybody that's better at convincingly stomping the shit out of you than Arn. He's not theatrical about it in the slightest, doesn't stamp his other foot on the mat to make it sound louder, doesn't do anything at all fancy -- he just sees his opponent's face or fingers or knee as a bullseye and he's gonna stamp on it like it's a discarded cigarette. Arn using one foot to hold a guy's hand in place while he uses his other foot to hammer away at the outstretched arm is probably my favourite stomp variation in wrestling. I could probably write a term-paper on everything Arn does for the six minutes he's in control here. I really can't stress how great he is at trying to mutilate Douglas. To his credit, Douglas chipping in with hope spots by throwing punches with the opposite arm and furiously kicking at Arn is really good stuff.

Finish sees Anderson all over Douglas in the corner, wrapping his arm up over the rope and continually trying to remove it from his body. Cornette on commentary calls him a pitbull and it's hard to disagree. Eventually Pewee Anderson decides he's seen enough and, despite Douglas' pleas to let it continue, calls the match before Douglas is permanently injured. Of course, Arn doesn't give a shit and goes right back to some DIY amputation before the Steiners hit the scene and the Andersons bail.

This isn't the best Arn Anderson match - it's not close, either - but it's as good an example of why the guy rules SO hard as just about any I can think of. Like I said, Douglas is good in his role here, but Arn's your daddy and don't you forget it.

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