Sunday, November 23, 2014

Evolve 35


To capture a match this thoroughly, Scott Finkelstein's camera shutter must click a dozen times a second. Finkelstein's website contains virtual fotonovelas of every match the photographer has covered. I haven't space for all 1628 of his shots of September's Evolve 35 in Brooklyn, but I want to show the three matches I would have considered giving up a toe to see. They are the last three matches of the event. (You can get lost in his inexhaustible maze of wrestling photos here.)







Biff Busick submits Zack Sabre Jr. In one corner we have hairy, manly, brutish Biff Busick, American. In the other we have smooth, boyish, yet sophisticated Zack Sabre Jr., English.  Zack specializes in detailed assaults--stiff side kicks to an opponent's ankles, agonizing finger stretches, slow elbow digs--combining the prolonged precision of Chinese torture with the morbid curiosity and fascinated sadism of idle schoolboys. Biff's approach is blunt, coarse, and catastrophic like dynamite and obviously, in this case, effective in subduing the hipster Brit and making him squeal.









Anthony Nese / Caleb Konley ("The Premiere Brand Athletes") beat the Bravado Brothers (Lance and Harlem) and AR Fox / Rich Swann. I'm happy to see that the muscle jocks took this one away from the arrogant and expressive brothers from North Carolina and the "ampliflying" acrobats Fox and Swann. Except for Nese, I've seen all these wrestlers live and in person. All have impressed me. State pride accounts for only part of my fondness for the Bravados. They are also cartoonishly agile and limber competitors, though often unlucky in the squared circle. Fox and Swann are amazing ring performers, fast, strong, and keenly intelligent, on paper the most likely winners of this match. But I'm happy that the gym bunnies took the victory. They're sexy and buff and more than that, charismatic wrestlers.








Ricochet pins Uhaa Nation. Ricochet has the hardest, roundest butt in wrestling. That should be enough to explain my interest in him. The rest of his body is chiseled to perfection too, topped with a face that beams movie-star handsomeness. He's a high flyer, not conducive to my erotic expectations of pro wrestling, but his moves exhibit such grace, energy, and force that I can't take my eyes off him. Uhaa, of course, represents an obstacle of mountainous proportions, all the better for Ricochet to spin around at dizzying speed and ultimately flatten his front-fender shoulders to the canvas. The match ends with a sportsmanlike hug between the contestants, something that always warms my heart not so much for the sportsmanship or homoerotic suggestiveness, oddly enough, but for memories of community theater and the intense feelings of camaraderie that follow a well-received show.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prime Cut







Charlie Panther faces Jaxx O'Doul in the upcoming Ringwars 23. This week BG East made the match available as a VOD on The Arena @BGEAST. It's a cool contest between two of the company's stalwarts, close in height and weight (over 6', over 200#) and ready for pretty much anything.

Both men are beauteous beasts. They knuckle down for a serious fight, hardly speaking a word to each other. Although I appreciate clever trash talk, sometimes it's better to watch opponents silently and intently go after each other, letting their moves and holds do all the talking for them.

Initially Charlie is the more aggressive of the two, but Jaxx's mat skills are better, and he's incredibly resilient. Panther piles on the pain, but O'Doul keeps springing back, all pistons firing. We get loads of arm locks, which I count among my favorite holds. Scissors, too. Then hard closed-fist punches and chokes as things heat up, especially towards the end. 

The match has a false climax that leads to an even bigger and better climax. After taking two out of three falls, the victor swaggers from the ring, only to be called back by his whipped adversary, who talks him into going three out of five.

The addendum is my favorite part of this match. Not only does the established victor have that classic game-show moment of risking the whole pot for what's behind Door Number Three, but by this point both wrestlers have been through the ringer and are fighting on instincts alone. 

The classic drama of two wrestlers' battling fatigue but grimly determined to knock the other guy's lights out never fails to charge me up. For me it's kind of like a drunken brawl. For some reason, an altered state of consciousness in the midst of sweaty hand-to-hand combat is the prime cut of any good wrestling match.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Tied










Newcomer Flint submits Krush in less than four minutes in Round 1. That's unusual, but not a first. Krush's ass has been kicked before, though rarely. Flint suggests a rope match next. That is a first ... for Krush at least. Krush accepts the challenge, and the two cuff themselves to what I estimate is six feet of doubled-up cord. 

Krush tells me he "had a blast" shooting this video. The rope adds a new layer of kink to submission wrestling. The usual angle in pro wrestling is that a rope ensures that neither of the combatants can run away. There's no question of either Flint or Krush trying to escape. But the weaponized rope can be used to draw in, to bind, and to choke. That's where the fun comes in, with shades of erotic asphyxiation and B&D.

The rope adds speed and drama, too. Something about the rope encourages the wrestlers to trade more blows. This is a bit more of a fight than typical at Krushco, which, as rough and rowdy as its matches are, usually sticks to sporting competition. But here it's not hard to imagine Krush and Flint in an episode of Sons of Anarchy, rumbling to settle an old score. The slow sweaty squeeze of textbook submission grappling gets a jolt of adrenaline, a bit of jet fuel to spike the macho grunts and groans.

Good match for the full seventeen minutes--and a promise of a rematch!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm Markin' Out, Bro!















Okay, probably too late now, but ... one spoiler after another ...

The Zombie Princess will do anything to defeat Danny Duggan! Or so say the over-excited commentators during this long-awaited head-butting between two wrestlers who hate each other's guts, a grudge match which also is (deliciously) a championship challenge with Duggan's long-held belt on the line. The main event of WCWC's November 15th broadcast (starting at 42:48 on this YouTube video) is killer all right, thanks to over-the-top theatrics that begin with colorful, exotic, gender-bending "Zombie Princess" Jimmy Jacobs going toe to toe with tan, blond mega-hulk "Hotshot" Danny Duggan. Despite the hard-to-ignore discrepancy in the two wrestlers' sizes, the match stays tight and even for its full 14 minutes.

The suspense builds as the wrestlers fly out of the ring, with Jacobs at one point battering Duggan's head against a fan's chair. The two return to the ring just in time to avoid a count-out forfeiture. Meanwhile, five black-masked stalkers gather at ringside, stalking the champ (very Eyes Wide Shut). These mystery men reportedly tried to psych-out Duggan in a previous run-in between DD and JJ, leading the commentators to speculate that they may be the Zombie Princess's "minions" (despite Jacobs' denial of any connection to them). On several occasions we have a BOTH-MEN-ARE-DOWN crisis situation, always good for revving up the drama, too.

Duggan almost finishes the Princess with a spinning cradle DDT, while the masked stalkers glower at the champ from ringside. (Please note the "cute ref" peek I gratuitously included in the above screen shots: Jay Stone.) After flying off the corner ropes for a double-ax-handle to Jacobs' forehead, Duggan steps out of the ring to take out two of the mystery men, then shoulder butts Jacobs through the ropes. It's still touch and go, as each wrestler deftly rebounds from his opponent's would-be finishers. Then, one of the masked men enters the ring and attacks Duggan. The ref ends the match in a DQ, and the masked man reveals himself to be ... Matt Stryker! Jacobs is devastated, the title shot ripped right out of his hands! Cue a future showdown between an irate Princess and Stryker! As the kid with the handmade sign says, "I'm Markin' Out, Bro!"

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