Monday, 2 August 2010

DOUBLE A OF THE DAY #18

Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Ron Simmons (WCW Clash of the Champions XVIII, 1/21/92)

Your heel side here is pretty much your perfect stooging heel team, and for about 6 minutes at the start of this you get to watch them in all of their stooge glory.

The more of this stuff I watch the more I really love Zbyszko. I honestly can't think of a whole lot of guys I'd rather see getting punched around than Larry. The guy even "OOH"s when he hits the mat so Windham can jump over him. He and Barry have a sort of sub-story going on here in that it was Larry who started calling himself the Cruncher after he and Arn smashed Windham's hand in a car door, and Barry's been waiting for months to get a hold of him. There's a couple moments where Barry's got a chance to match up with him one on one and you can tell Zbyszko wants no part of it. He's also a guy that has a really awesome way of selling strikes that's difficult to articulate, but I can't imagine someone watching him eat Dustin's and Barry's punches and not get a big kick out of it.

Arn and Eaton are Arn and Eaton, so you know what to expect out of those two. Some great early stooge moments, like Simmons attempting a double clothesline and Arn ducking so it's only Eaton that gets caught, Arn cockily pointing to his head because he's smarter than that, turning around and getting flattened anyway. There's also another spot where all three Alliance members try to take out Simmons and every one of them wind up out on the floor having to regroup.

Dustin and Barry are the stars for their team here. Barry comes out full of piss and vinegar, and in some ways the central theme of this is Windham getting some retribution on the Dangerous Alliance. I mean, all three of them seem a little more aggressive than usual, but Barry is particularly steamed. He's been out for a few months with the injured hand, and now he's back looking for some asses to kick and names to take. He's obviously got the hand taped up - with black tape, no less - and Heyman and his boys are livid, "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING ON HIS HAND?!" Saying Barry Windham throws great punches is a pretty trite point to be making at this point, but holy fuck does Barry Windham throw great punches. And he saves his best for last.

Dustin is your face in peril for the evening, and if 'Barry Windham throws great punches' is a trite point to be making then 'Dustin Rhodes plays a Hell of a face in peril' is perhaps more so. I've said before that good transitions in wrestling are something I always look for, and man does this have a great transition into Dustin in peril. During the opening stretch they do a spot where the referee is distracted and Rhodes just decides to huck Eaton over the top rope to the ramp way, following it up by diving from the inside out onto the ramp himself with a flying lariat. It's a great spot. A little later Zbyszko's out on the ramp and Dustin decides he's gonna do it again, but this time Eaton, who knows first hand what's coming at this point, flies right into the picture and tackles Larry to the ground, and the result is Dustin lying poleaxed out on the ramp off the airball lariat. The timing is a little off and Zbyszko is already on his way down to duck it before Eaton gets there, but it's still an insanely cool spot regardless.

Not one of the stronger multi-man matches this feud produced in '92, but things were really starting to heat up here and it's a great taste of what was to come.

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