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Arn Anderson

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If you're going to pick at Arn as a candidate for the very top ranks, one point would be that he really didn't have a long career. We tend to think of Windham, for example, as having faded out quickly. But Barry was actually around longer and arguably a top worker for just as long or longer.

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If you're going to pick at Arn as a candidate for the very top ranks, one point would be that he really didn't have a long career. We tend to think of Windham, for example, as having faded out quickly. But Barry was actually around longer and arguably a top worker for just as long or longer.

Is late 1983-January 1997 really all that short of a career? In September 1983 he was done with TV jobber duty and was part of Ron Fuller's Stud Stable as Super Olympia feuding with Mr. Olympia (Jerry Stubbs) in a feud that was probably the #2 feud in the company after the Armstrongs/Midnight Express feud.

 

He worked all of 1984 in Southeastern and got a pretty good push throughout and then showed up in JCP in early 1985 and pretty quickly established himself as an important player there.

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For me, the most important part of longlevity is that it provides a lot of different situational data points in figuring out just how great the wrestler was. I think we have a hell of a lot of those with Arn, more than enough to understand him as a wrestler from many different angles. I know longlevity matters more for other people for different reasons.

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It's not a drastically short career, no, but it's short compared to most of the guys who are getting buzz as top 20-30 picks. I just threw it out there as something to think about.

 

How good was he in Southeastern? I've really never seen any of that.

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Southeastern wasn't a big TV match territory until it became Continental and there's really no arena footage of the area so it's hard to tell. Plus I haven't seen a whole lot of that time period because I'm still in 1981 in my watching and a lot of that 1984 period has huge gaps anyway.

 

Mostly just seen some youtube stuff and as a promo he was already really good or at least became really good over time because by the time he's lost the Super Olympia mask and is Arn Anderson, he's able to stand there with Ron Fuller & Jimmy Golden and not seem out of place cutting promos with them.

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On my current WIP list, which admittedly is pretty rough, I've got Arn just in my top 25, and Tully just in my top 40. I see Arn as more consistent over a longer period of time, which goes in his favour.

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I am interested:

 

I will very likely have Arn a good bit above Tully on my list.

 

Will you?

 

Yep, I have Arn No. 37 and Tully No. 92 on my working list.

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Off the top of my head Arn may place highest on my list of those without a run of singles MOTYCs.

 

I said this last month, and have since watched a little Horsemen-era stuff and a lot of Brain Busters. I don't know that I'd call a single Busters match great, but I absolutely love Arn in every one of them. He is always interesting and solid at worst. Still haven't thought about a list past the top 10 but hard to see how he's not in the top 25-30. Can only really justify placing him below those who have a metric ton of classics.

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Haven't seen in it forever so can't comment, but outside of the 2 Wargames, I'm not sure how many matches Arn's been in that people would rate as all-timers. When people talk about their top 10 candidates, be it a Flair, Misawa, Fujinami, Liger, Bockwinkel, Casas, whomever the case may be, they can point to some (or many) matches that are legit classics. I'm not sure Arn has a list of those. That's just fine. Not everyone needs to be Michael Jordan.

 

Whether its working squashes, picking apart or feeding a hot babyface, secondary title matches or brawls, he generally made the most of any situation and never really overstayed his welcome. How often during an Arn Anderson match do you find yourself checking the time? Maybe akin to a James Worthy or Klay Thompson depending on when you were a basketball fan? Maybe never wins a ring on his own, but he damn sure helped aces get over the hump.

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Id definitely say Arn always put forth the effort and excelled at nearly every facet of being a professional wrestler. He could be a man of many hats whether it be the upstart protege of the Anderson family with Ole to the elder statesman that was respected towards the end. Ruthless aggressive heel that was laser focused in the ring that could also stooge and show ass better than nearly anyone. A guy you could "set your watch by" in the ring that was going to give you something entertaining whether its a minute and a half squash match to the way he mastered the TV Title match that stretched to the limit.

 

One of, if not the greatest tag wrestlers of all time with multiple partners. I am sentinmental and definitely wear rose colored glasses when it comes to Arn as he has been my favorite wrestler for 27-28 years. He helped lay the groundwork to me as a fan and even years later I will watch stuff ive seen a dozen times and enjoy it all over again. Hes like my pro wrestling favorite blanket.

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Great description, Eegah. I like to consider what my (and other people's) artistic comfort food is a lot, and yeah, Arn is up there. He and Bobby Eaton, and any kind of evergreen-ish syndicated WCW. The thing with Arn is yeah, he doesn't have a lot of Wrestlemania Moment kind of matches, or singles matches that are widely regarded as obvious five-stars or the like. What he does have is a remarkably consistent career, amazing ability to adapt but still feel true to his character, and he's both an easy Top 5 tag worker, and easy (to me) Top 5-10 promo. I don't think I'm submitting a ballot, but he's an easy Top 10 pick for me.

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I ranked Arn 43rd in 2016 and I feel great about that but I feel like there's little chance he makes my top 50 against. I love Arn. He's one of my favorite wrestlers from one of my favorite eras for wrestling. But I look at some of the names I've ranked behind him and some of the people I didn't rank last time and the names ahead of him...and well Arns not going to struggle to make my top 100, but I think he's going to be more in the 70-85 range than in the top 50.

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I've seen almost all of his career outside of Southeastern/Continental and I have never seen Arn not put on a 5 star performance in whatever his role was against any opponent, no matter how good or bad. Literally any role you could possibly need in a wrestling match and Arn would nail it. There may not be a better mid card guy in all of American wrestler history. Not to mention top tier promo skills on top of that, frequently better than Ric's promos in Horsemen segments.

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Yeah, Arn is someone who I know I'll have fun whenever I watch a match of his, regardless of who it's against. One of the wrestlers I first loved when I was first hooked on WCW in the early to mid 90s. 

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Something that I recall when watching the old 4 Horsement megaset was that Arn's early Horsemen singles matches in 1985 were on the bland & disappointing side. You'd see "Arn Anderson vs Wahoo McDaniel" and think "Well that can't miss" and then its lays flatter than you'd expect. Not to be all MOVEZ, but I remember distinctly that the quality of Arn's singles matches jumped up a notch when he added his killer DDT and spinebuster. It gave him some big time tools he could and did use in a variety of different ways almost immediately. He could use them as killer spots when he was in control, or use them as desperation transitions going from defense to offense. Or he could start a match out by planting someone with a DDT and work a match from there. Anyway Arns the man. 

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I agree with this. I think Arn took a big step up between 1985 and 1986. He grew into his role as Ole understudy and starts excelling in singles matches. That being said gives Arn a pretty tidy career of 10 years in the good to great range. He will certainly rank for me but I do feel like Arn gets a pass on certain things and I am interested to dissect a comparison of Arns 86-96 to Tully’s 80-89. 

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Totally agree about Arn's 10 year stretch. I don't even hold a few disappointing singles matches from a short stretch against him because he was having good performances in the team with Ole at the same time. I was mostly curious if anyone else had that same reaction when going through the footage. It was notable because it was so surprising to actually see an Arn match where it didn't land for me. I think the spinebuster & ddt combo went a long way to solving that and set the table for a decade of consistently delivering in a TV match setting. 

As far as Arn vs Tully, I'd go with Tully. I know Arn has the consistency and ability to play a variety of roles, but Tully had a similar ability to work everywhere on the card in a variety of matches, but we also have some examples of Tully pushing himself to a greater level than Arn ever got. If we could point to something close to the level of Tully vs Magnum or Tully vs Garvin it would help close the gap, but I just don't think Arn quite hit that level. I haven't looked at their tag work closely enough to figure out who I think was the better performer within the team. I always sort of viewed it as a wash, but I wonder if upon a closer look there's a clear standout between the two? 

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I've gone through just about all of the Crockett from the beginning of 1985 through to the Crockett Cup '86 over the last two years, and I agree with the point about Arn not really being a standout in singles matches in '85. By 1986 he'd pretty much put it together, though, yeah. 

The Tully comp is always going to be drawn and I'd always have leaned Arn in the past, but I think with all the Houston footage of him and Gino, along with the weekly Crockett stuff...man, Tully was fucking awesome. I'll talk about a bit more about this at some point, but right now I can see Arn dropping a bit on my list while Tully will absolutely shoot up (from, like, 75 or something last time).

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