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[1986-02-15-NWA-World Championship Wrestling] Arn Anderson vs Sam Houston

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Is it time we start a dialogue on Sam Houston? He'd been pushed as Dusty and Magnum's protege for about half a year by this point, they clearly had plans for him as he'd recently won the Mid-Atlantic title on TV...and then about a year later he was up in the WWF. And apparently he spent four years there but I would not have guessed that. He sort of faded into obscurity, basically. Which may have been a crying shame because he was starting to put it together nicely, really coming along as a fiery underdog babyface, and by golly he looked like the bee's knees here. Did somebody miss the boat big time on Sam Houston? This started out with Arn fully on his own bullshit, first mowing Houston down with a big shoulder tackle - which Houston awesomely flip bumped off of - then opening the ropes for him in case our young cowboy wanted to cut bait before being humiliated. Arn is obviously all googly-eyed when Houston cartwheels out the way of a punch and connects with his own, and I love how Houston held the ropes open in case Arn decided HE wanted to cut bait. The angle late in '85 where the Andersons and Tully break Houston's arm is tremendous, so I loved Arn taking control by just smashing the wrist off one of the turnbuckles (bonus points for some booking continuity and all that). Arn's arm work was obviously good stuff, but I was super impressed by how Houston made it compelling on his end. It was some really good babyface work, how vocal he was in selling the pain, how he'd keep trying to fight out of holds or create openings, how he was never content to just take a beating and only show some fire when it was his turn for a hope spot. He'd even sell the arm after or during moves where the arm itself wasn't actually the focus, like when he ducked low for a backdrop and Arn elbowed him in the neck. He went over selling the blow first, but then he'd quickly clutch the bad arm and draw it in close to his body. His missed crossbody bump at the end was fucking wild too. This was Dustin Rhodes before Dustin even laced up a boot and possibly even more reckless. I thought this was a legitimately great 10 minute studio bout. Who's doing the deep dive on Sam Houston?

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I won’t be doing the deep dive on Sam Houston BUT BOY OH BOY was Sam Houston good in this match! Check this one out!

NWA TV Champion Arn Anderson vs Sam Houston - NWA WCW 2/15/86

This one came out of left field! Sam Houston is usually the low midcarder of the Crockett that people will throw out there. He kinda looks like Barry Windham and Shawn Michaels had a kid. Like BW, he needed to grow into his long, gangly frame. I loved his fire here. Arn was a cocky heel champion putting Houston on his ass twice in short order and looked like he was going to cruise to a victory but Houston has other plans. He fired up and forced Arn to powder. I love how verbal Houston was. Hollering for Arn to get back in and face him. Great tight headlock by Houston. Loved Arn headbutt to abdomen on the criss cross. Arn SLAMS the injured wrist on the top turnbuckle and Houston screams in agony as Tony explains the story of the Anderson’s breaking this a couple months ago. Houston’s verbal selling is so good. Arn tortures the arm in true Anderson fashion. Houston fires up. I LOVED the second Monkey Flip charge ended up with him eating a reverse Atomic Drop! I thought that was the finish. Awesome spot. Houston keeps fighting and then Arn evades as Houston takes the Bret bump into the ropes really fucking hard. I gasped when it happened. Looked gnarly and that’s the finish! Killer TV Title match! ***3/4

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