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[1990-12-29-NWA-World Championship Wrestling] Arn Anderson vs Tom Zenk

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I really dig this match, but a good part of it is nostalgia as I rememeber watching that match on TV during the 1990 year in review after Arn's LONG title reign which saw him have quite a few good to great defenses on TV.

 

These guys work really well together in this match, as well as the couple they had earlier that summer, which were much shorter..

 

What angers me about this match is the fact that instead of pushing Zenk as a true challenger that takes the best the champions got and finally beats him for the title, and comes out looking great, they spend a ton of time talking about Arn's many injuries from his wars with Doom that fall / winter (ribs and hand / wrist). It looked like Zenk was lucky to get Arn at a down point and only won because of that. Take his quick loss back to Arn on TV a few weeks later in a quick match, and Zenk was cooked as a single's wrestler with any hopes of being a threat in the fans eyes...

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I like Flair's match with Zenk earlier in the year better, but this is a good one. This one is carried by Arn, so I guess that's a sign that Zenk was carryable when working with a top opponent. I love leg injury fakeout, as Arn stretches it out past the point of most spots like that, and it's almost believable until he swerves him that he's really hurt. Arn works over Zenk's back like clockwork. The story here is that Arn is trying to keep a really slow pace to work the clock, and Zenk is having to stay on offense and work a faster pace in the hopes of getting a win within the 20-minute time limit. He pins Arn after a missile dropkick. Arn did a great job of making him look good.

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This was Arn carrying Zenk to make the match. When Ross talks about Arn's injuries from the Streetfight they are totally believable. I mean you see blood on his hand. The tape above the eye. He really looks the mess.

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Well, it's hard to imagine any Arn title reign meeting a more ignoble end than this...right?

 

Arn gets all the readymade excuses possible, looking like a complete mess as a result of the street fight at Starrcade. He does a LONG fakeout on a leg injury that has me fooled--I was even thinking ahead to WrestleWar and how Arn was knocked out of WarGames and thinking this was where that happened. Nope--he suckers Zenk in with it and that's where this match picks up. Good build to the finish with Zenk just beating the clock even with Arn trying to milk it. That said I have no idea what the point of this title change was, unless this was an Ole thing that was quickly undone when he lost the book.

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Twenty minute time limit. That’s more reasonable. Zenk has a 45 match winning streak going. Arn looks to have a serious leg injury but he’s faking it to his advantage! Surprising result with Arn losing to Zenk cleanly after the dropkick. I feel like Pillman would have been more deserving of winning the title but I guess he didn't have a 45 match streak to warrant the belt.

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Good solid match to end the wrestling for the year. Anderson was really tenacious working over the back and I always enjoy a good leg injury fake out. Zenk for his part was not terrible in this and certainly could be carried to good performances.

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For a while I thought this was going to make a run at the Flair match for the best Zenk singles match I have seen. I thought the beginning was better executed than the Flair match, but this had the advantage of AA firmly in the heel position. I liked Zenk going after Arn's left hand for a bit. The knee fake-out was really milked and I think that is how it should be done. The Irish Whip into the guardrail made me wish that they would bring back the old steel guardrails. Through the back work, I was thinking that AA exceeded Flair, but then he decided to sit in the chinlock. Logical and entertaining are not mutually inclusive for me. Zenk's karate kick sucked, but hey his missile dropkick looked fine. I would have had to watch the buildup, but this seems kinda out of nowhere. Very good TV match, but the Flair match is still better.

 

What was the point of the short Zenk TV Title reign? Booking committee shake-up, Ole out the door and Dusty coming in?

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Answering Sleaze (and myself from earlier), Ole was already out as booker by this point and Jim Ross and a few others were keeping the seat warm for Dusty. Ross booked this switch to give the TV Title a shake-up. Once Rhodes was in, the belt went right back to one of Dusty's boys.

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Answering Sleaze (and myself from earlier), Ole was already out as booker by this point and Jim Ross and a few others were keeping the seat warm for Dusty. Ross booked this switch to give the TV Title a shake-up. Once Rhodes was in, the belt went right back to one of Dusty's boys.

I heard this as Ross was in, booked Zenk to title, then was out. Ole was back in and put the belt back on older guys, AA.

 

 

Also, if (kayfabe wise) Arn was soo hurt from Starrcade that he lost his title here and then couldnt do War Games...why does he get the belt back in a farily quick match in between the two events? Made Zenk look like shit as a threat after that.

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I'd never seen a man almost literally wrestle himself until now. Arn works 90% of this match on offense, even when he's milking the clock at the end. The only clean move Zenk hits is the finishing dropkick. Okay, I'm exaggerating slightly, but you get my point; he sure didn't look much like a man who could be a champion. Usually, the challenger in this kind of bout, especially when he's working with a hurt champion like Arn was supposed to be, spends most of the match on offense taking It to said champion. Here, it was Arn who wrestled like that, spending most of the match destroying Zenk's back.

 

What made it worse was the "winning streak" they'd built up for Zenk before the match. If the man's supposed to have won forty-five matches in a row and is facing a champion who's been beaten half to death by Doom, there's really no reason for him to be cautious, even if he's wrestling Arn Anderson. As several others have said before me, this title change felt like a total fluke, like something JR knew would be reversed as soon as Dusty got there and that he did just because he could (which turned out to be exactly the case, apparently)

 

The knee injury fakeout might be the most realistic I've ever seen, and shows why Arn's the master worker he is. It was so good that JR felt compelled to call back to it when Zenk briefly worked on Arn's leg toward the end of the bout. Why more guys didn't sell injuries like this on occasion I don't know, because it's as effective as any spot there is.

 

From the Let's Copy Vince.........Or Not Department: JR exclusively refers to Arn's opponent by the nickname "Z-Man", much like the WWF does with all of its gimmick names by now. However, Bob Caudle goes back and forth between "Z-Man" and Zenk's real name. It's strange that Bob would do that with the acting booker (at least for this match) sitting right next to him. I wonder how JR felt about that, since they were clearly trying to push the man as "Z-Man", not Tom Zenk.

 

As a one-man show, this may be the best of the year. As a competitive bout, it ranks fairly low. You get the feeling from the start that Arn's having an off day, and that he'll be able to beat Zenk rather handily once he's physically right, which kind of makes the whole thing pointless. They did everything here but give two-thirds of the TV belt to Simmons and Reed.

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Haha YES. I love this match and yeah Arn carried my precious Z Man here, but I thought Zenk showed some good aggression working on Arn's arm on the ground. But he's totally overshadowed by Arn, classic leg injury fake out, ruthless offense, the whole deal. Love Zenk's perpetuat 1000 yard stare.

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Seems like this is the kind of deal a TV champ would have had to know how to do. Drag a young (hopefully promising with some prospects for the future) guy to a far better match than said young guy was capable of. Probably one of the reasons Arn was one of the better TV champs WCW ever had.

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