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paul sosnowski

[1989-01-23-WWF-MSG, NY] The Rockers vs Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

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The Rockers vs The Brainbusters - 1/89 MSG

This match is all about the Busters putting over the Rockers as the hot, new WWF tag team. Double A slaps Michaels and Michaels returns the favor showing he wont back down. Another fun spot is Tully tries to tag out while in a wristlock by having Arn tag his foot, but ref wont allow it. The babyface shine throughout is a really great combination of the Rockers' high octane offense and the BrainBusters' stooging. In an excellent sequence, both the Busters put top wristlocks on Marty, Marty skins the cat; dropkicks the both of them; slams Arn and gives Tully a double superkick. The Rockers are rolling. Tully, sensing things are getting out of hand, feigns extending an olive branch only to kick Marty. Jannetty gets an atomic drop onto Tully, but when Shawn enters the match in the confusion he misses a dropkick, but Shawn is able to get a hurricanrana on Arn and a double dropkick re-establish the Rockers on top. Shawn gives chase to Tully and Arn is lying in wait and Shawn eats a clothesline. I really like how it took a couple moves for the Brainbusters to earn their heat segment. Shawn Michaels did not just succumb at the first sign of trouble. He registered the pain and lost a step, but it was AA's clothesline on the outside that did him in. 

The Busters double team and choke Michaels, but they are not zeroing in one body part. Shawn's punches look so much better here than in the 00s. The Busters really did a great job during their heat segment, but I thought Michaels' selling was next level and really the hook & draw of this match. Tully/Shawn do to the bridge into backslide sequence that I have always liked. Shawn must have been over the moon working with Tully and especially doing that sequence. Shawn does the leap for the tag, but Tully catches him and gives him a reverse atomic drop. AA follows up with a spinebuster for 2. AA does his knucklelock sequence and Shawn gets his knees up. They both tag out. Tully is hilarious begging off for Marty. The Rockers get the rocket launcher, but Arn saves. As Marty goes to suplex Tully, Arn grabs Marty leg out from under him and holds down his tassel as Tully gets the pin. That would also be the finish for Rude/ Warrior Wrestlemania V match. I thought this was an excellent, action-packed Southern tag match that would have not looked out of place in Crockett at all. ****1/4

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Hot start to the match with The Rockers completely overwhelming The Brain Busters, to the point of them having to bail out of the ring and reg-group. Now that’s how to start a match as well as showcase your hot new (ish) tag team. One thing I’m a sucker for is an extending spot where the face is working over the heel in a hold rather than the other way around. It’s so much fun seeing the heel, being Tully in this case, try and squirm their way out through any method. Especially ones who are as hated as Tully. There is some really great tag sequences in the match too. They are able to blend the systematic approach that The Brain Busters have with the quickness and chemistry of The Rockers. The Brain Busters do a superb job of  bumping around and selling all over the place, being incapable of having any sustained offence on The Rockers until they resort to cheating. Once The Brain Busters do gain control, they cut off the ring and work over Michaels really well. They use the ropes to their advantage really well too. Michaels gets the crowd on his side but he does fail to totally grab me in the way that he should. Not quite as sympathetic as 18/03/89 match is between the two teams. The hot tag is awesome though - Jannetty’s bread and butter. The finish was good in theory and makes sense but the way it’s done doesn’t come across well. Great match though. ****1/4

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Starts off with Anderson at his best, going from stooge to prick in a split second. Shine’s focused on Tully’s arm. Loved the amazing spot we’re Shawn saves Janetty from a double suplex by bridging and helping him avoid his fall. This is all about The Rockers dynamic style until Arn cuts off Michaels with a surprise (ilegal) clothesline on the outside. The Busters cut the ring in half in a very fun, methodic, no-nonsense way, showcasing their strength as a team with quick tags and sneaky cheating. Great hot tag tease when Michaels tries to jump over Blanchard. Anderson hits his beautiful spine buster for 2. Michaels finally makes the hot tag when Anderson tries to bride from a test of strength but Michaels gets his knees up. Marty with the hot tag until he goes for a suplex near the ropes on Tully and Anderson swipes the leg and holds on to tassle from the outside for the assisted 3 count. Throughly enjoyable, low-end great match. ****

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