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[1985-12-28-NWA-World Championship Wrestling] Magnum T.A. vs Ole Anderson


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This isn't the best Ole Anderson match, but it may be the definitive one. If it isn't, it certainly displays all of his strengths as a singles worker.

 

While the match doesn't have much of the classic Anderson "pick a limb and ruin it" strategy, it has Ole's selling, his mean-ass heel tactics, and simple, punishing offense. He brings Magnum down to Mother Earth with a hair pull to win a top wristlock, he's got a sick knee lift to a kneeling TA, eye rakes, slaps, body slams, and some basic armwork. All of it looks good and looks like it hurts.

 

I really dig the atmosphere of the match. Ole and Magnum are within punching and kicking distance the whole time, and coupled with the confines of the Techwood studio, this match really has the feel of a close-quarters slugfest. Ole even busts out a couple corner bear hugs, which damn near gives it an MMA cage clinch feel, 15 years ahead of time.

 

While this isn't a carry job, Ole makes this match. He's not out there throwing bombs or doing a bunch of stuff to fill time, but he's got a lot more variety to his offense than Magnum does. He completely established the structure of the match. His selling is off the charts, too. One particular instance that illustrates the difference in work between he and Magnum is after Magnum does some arm work, Ole shakes it off and holds his arm a little when he transitions to offense. It's nothing huge, just a little touch that Magnum missed after Ole's armwork.

 

Ole also sells the exhaustion and punishment of the match incredibly, too. It's subtle, but take a look at his face any time he's on the receiving end of Magnum's flurries of punches. He's not wincing or hamming it up like Arn would. Rather, it's a look of "I'm a tough motherfucker, but this SUCKS and it hurts and he's wearing me out."

 

To Magnum's credit, he also sells the exhaustion of the match really well. Where he falters is that 80% of his offense is punching. He punches for face shine, he punches to transition, and then he keeps on punching. He doesn't bust out a drop kick or a slam until well after the first commercial break. A little more variety here would have been nice, especially in the transition department. Were it not for Ole, this match would not have been anywhere near as entertaining. He punches his ass off, too, but he carries the action with his offense.

 

I don't want to spoil how it ends for those who haven't seen it, but I thought it was a good way to tie in the burgeoning Four Horsemen versus, well, damn near everyone feud. It was also a good way to keep them both looking strong in a champion vs champion match where one guy definitely ain't losing.

 

This is a really, really good TV match, and a fine example of what Ole is capable of. I'm gonna have to go back through the 4 Horsemen set just to find more Ole singles matches.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1985-12-28-NWA-World Championship Wrestling] Magnum T.A. vs Ole Anderson
  • 4 months later...

NWA US Champion Magnum TA vs Ole Anderson - World Championship Wrestling 12/28/85

Very much in the vein of a Greg Valentine vs Ronnie Garvin slugfest. I love how unclassical this match is. There's no shine or heat segment. It is just a barroom brawl. I think Magnum's first wrestling move of the match is a dropkick 15 minutes in. He spent the first 15 minutes just punching. His right is sweet. I have seen this match and others of his before, but I never really thought of him as an all-time great puncher, but I would have loved to have seen him in Mempho because he was that good. His selling of exhaustion is also really damn good, but to me Ole Anderson is the star of this match. Ole was hitting all the right notes in this match. In a straight stand up slugfest he got overwhelmed every single time. He was great at choosing between staying up, taking a knee or taking a bump. When he did take a bump did that crowd go crazy. Ole's only respite was to got to the eyes. Every time, it looked like Magnum was going to run away with the match he would go for the eyes. Sometimes he would really claw at those eyes to stop Magnum from knocking his jaw off. Ole on top was a mean sumbitch. He was using the ropes and crossfaces to brutalize Magnum. He threw his own mean punch. I was surprised all over again that Ole never really went after the arm. This was a stand up slugfest through and through. The barroom brawl fight was more and more apparent as the match progressed because how desperate men got. Ole was yanking the trunks to send Magnum crashing to the floor or how he would clinch him to avoid any more punches. Magnum would just throw punches with reckless abandon. I loved them trading blows from their knees late into the match. Another favorite spot was Magnum was driving the shoulder into Ole's stomach and on the third one Ole just pulled up his knee sending Magnum down to the canvas. That was this match. It was gritty war of attrition. There was nothing pretty about it and you could probably count the number of wrestling moves on one hand, but it was very gripping and compelling. The twenty minute time limit expires as Magnum pins Ole, but Jim Crockett comes out to say there must be a winner. Arn trips Mags so Dusty drops Arn. Ole gets distracted and Magnum pins him. I think the Belly to Belly would have been far more satisfying and there was no reason to protect Ole the singles wrestler, but whatever still a fine finish. What an episode of TV because the Flair vs Garvin barnburner is also on this show. It is amazing that this not even the best match on this show. Magnum & Ole put on a great organic barroom bar that felt like a real war of attrition by the way they sold it. ****

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