Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes v Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko


Recommended Posts

Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes v Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko - 11/17/91 (WCW)


The setup to this match was pretty cool, actually. Dustin Rhodes and tag team partner Barry Windham were arriving to Halloween Havoc just three weeks before this event when the Enforcers would attack Windham, and break his hand by smashing a car door on it. The problem was that Windham and Rhodes were picking up a lot of momentum as a tag team and were scheduled to challenge Anderson and Zbyszko for the tag titles at this event, Clash XVII. It was unknown all the way up until match time if Barry would be able to compete or not. He comes out in street clothes along with Dustin Rhodes, who is in wrestling gear, and explains that he had to have reconstructive surgery on his hand, but that Dustin and him didn't come alone. He wants to introduce his partner, who then comes out wearing a huge dragon costume, as Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone speculate that their partner will be a Japanese wrestler. Immediately, the heels start berating the announcers, who are at ringside, and get in a shouting match with them about how they were scheduled to face Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes in this match. Windham and Dustin help the mystery partner out of his costume and it's Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, which gets an enormous ovation from the starved-for-wrestling Southern crowd. The look of shock on Arn's face is priceless.


Steamboat is in first for his team and fights out of the corner. Arn and Larry try to double team him, but he fights them off, and Dustin eventually joins him and they together clear the ring. Arn is doing everything he can to calm himself and his partner down, saying to Zbyszko, "He's just a man." Awesome! They return to the ring and Dustin is in this time, and he immediately goes to Zbyszko's arm, and the faces tag in and out quickly, showing a lot of good teamwork considering that they are teaming for the first time. Zbyszko isn't having luck, and his arm and shoulder are getting destroyed, so he tags out to Anderson, which gives Dustin a chance to strut his stuff. After looking strong against Arn for a few minutes, he tags in Steamboat, and we get one of the best staples of the Southern tag -- the blind tag. Arn gets one just before being sunset flipped, and Larry is able to catch an unsuspecting Steamboat from behind. They immediately start cheating, much to the chagrin of the crowd, as Zbyszko applies an abdominal stretch while Arn assists behind the ref's back for additional leverage. They take turns punishing Steamboat, and Steamboat gives his first tease of a comeback by dropping Arn face first to the mat. Arn has the wherewithal, however, to do a drop toehold to keep him from getting the tag, and brings in his partner. They work a bearhug and get some really good nearfalls off of it, believe it or not, and Steamboat tries to counter out of that with a bodyscissors, but Anderson reverses that into a Boston crab. There are two cool things about that spot. The first is seeing Zbyszko push on Arn's head to give him additional leverage yet again. The second is that Zbyszko actually walks him as close to his corner as he can while keeping him in the hold.


Steamboat comes back, and tries for the hot tag yet aain, but Arn distracts the ref, so he misses it. Steamboat is still getting a second wind, though, as he atomic drops Arn into the corner, leading to Arn falling back and their heads cracking. Arn is the first to come to his feet, but he misses a move off the top rope, which keeps them fairly even. Arn actually saying to his partner, "We should both stop him" while he's struggling to make the tag is nice, because Larry comes in the ring, but it's too little too late, as Dustin has already made the tag and is fully rested and energetic. They build nicely to the finish from there, with yet another blind tag spelling the end of the match. The finish can only be classified as an upset because of the makeshit nature of the babyface team, as Steamboat pins an unsuspecting Larry with a flying bodypress.


This is a great match, but I still had a few problems with it. Earlier in the match, before Zbyszko tags out to Anderson, he cheapshots Dustin on the apron, and Dustin comes in to distract the ref, but the heels don't take advantage of the opening, as Arn is working the bearhug cleanly. That appeared to be a small miscue, with the faces and heels on a different page. The second problem I had with the match was Arn Anderson going for whatever he's going for off the top rope. The way they're positioned, it looks like it's a double axehandle to his feet, which makes no sense. That was always the one move Arn did that annoyed me the most, and he did it in almost every match. There's also one thing that's a common problem in many Southern tags, and that's the babyface coming back just seconds after struggling to make that hot tag, when logically, they shouldn't be able to do that after taking such a beating, considering the hard time Steamboat was having getting to his corner just moments before. That said, the great work does overcome the flaws, and the end result is still a great match, even if it's not quite a benchmark of what could be accomplished in this era, with these workers or with the tag team formula.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...