Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chain Chain Chain










I typically don't like chain matches. And I'm not sure what I think about the rules of this particular contest (winner is the guy who tags all four corners of the ring). But I do like blond-on-blond wrestling, especially if we're talking long hair. I like Jeff Jarrett here in 1989 at his blondest and prettiest. (It's a WCCW match against Buddy Roberts, thanks to the inexhaustible Ray D.) Especially I like Jeff's tights, which look like he melted a dozen red Wham-O superballs all over his butt and legs. Tights can be very sexy. Sure, they hide the legs, but they rub against the legs too, and they stretch and cling. (Face it. Robin Hood, Hamlet, Superman, and Rudolf Nureyev were on to something.) And I got a chuckle out of the silly twist at the end of the match.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Juvey Confidential

Thanks to Sean Connery in Thunderball and Robert Conrad on The Wild Wild West, men in their thirties have been my ideal since I was thirteen. One of my great disappointments when I reached my thirties was that most of the other thirty-somethings were chasing after twenty-somethings. Now that I've reached the age of senior discounts and compliments qualified with the phrase "for your age," I still typically like men in their prime, ages 30 to 40 best.

That's not to say that I'm immune to the attractions of younger men, but as a teacher of 18-20-year-olds for thirty years now, I have seen a lot of dewy youths up close--and more often than not (yes, there are exceptions, quite a few) I'm charmed until they open their mouths and say something jejune and immature, killing the effect. For the most part, my interests in that area remain "teacherly" and chaste. I'm interested in their minds, not their faces and bodies. The usual exceptions are men in the military ... and guys who look like juvenile delinquents from the '50s.

On the whole, I prefer punks to twinks. That attraction goes even further back than my interest in thirty-somethings. In kindergarten I saw a busload of kids disembark and use our school's playground while we tykes were supposed to be napping. The woman in charge told me to get back to my pallet and stop staring at the boys and girls in the playground. She told me that they were "bad" children who had to attend school separate from us well-behaved children. To this day I don't know what she meant by that. All I can say was at that instant the boys on the monkey bars suddenly turned mysterious and desirable in my eyes. From that moment on, I wanted a big brother who was a juvenile delinquent.

I was a weird kid who grew up to be a weird adult, fascinated by Hollywood villains and wrestling heels. The usual clean-cut and boyish twinks of underground wrestling usually interest me less than rough trade like Doug Brandon, Marky Mark Oxner, Jonah Richards, Josh Steel, and, most recently, Marco at Thunders Arena. These young men with their knowing wiseguy smirks and louche attitudes enchant me, and I love watching them wrestle.

In 2004 the Athletic Model Guild released a compilation of old, silent 8mm retro-smut called The Wild Ones! recently rereleased as Hoodlums, Sailors & Other Bad Boys (minus "Delicate Convict"). Twenty short narrative films and posing sessions with hoodlums and other troublemakers wrestling, shadowboxing, and striking poses with small firearms, chains, motorcycles, cigarette machines, urinals, and shivs. The story films have titles like "Strip Poker," "Cellmates," "Delicate Convict" (with the mischievously angelic Jim Paris as the new juvey who turns out to be not as delicate as he looks), "Street Fight," and "Boys in Prison." 

"Sailor and the B-Girl" is, for me, the most memorable of the group. I saw it first in the late '80s or early '90s and never forgot it, which is unusual because it deals with transvestism, a subject of minimal interest to me. The fascination is, in part, the fact that it's shot on location at the Satellite and the Explorer, actual L.A. bars, giving the film a stronger than usual sense of time and place and realistically seedy atmosphere. When the sailor discovers that the B-girl is a he-girl, a rip-and-strip fight breaks out. It's one of the best and longest fights AMG ever staged, and the B-girl is surprisingly tough ... and hot.  Halfway through the brawl, the two stop and have a refreshing brew, then resume tearing into each other. In the end, stripped to their undies, the victor carries the loser out of the bar, presumably to someplace private.

The significant 20th-century artists influenced by the AMG style and Physique Pictorial, photographer Bob Mizer's magazine, are many. Here are some of them: Kenneth Anger, Francis Bacon, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, David Hockney, Mike Kelley, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jack Pierson, Herb Ritts, Andy Warhol, John Waters, and Bruce Weber.

Cop Brad Allen subdues hood Rick Spencer in "The Booking of a Hood" (1963)

Dale Hall and Eddie Stevens as "Cellmates" (1961)

The cellmates play rough

"Sailor and the B-Girl" (1965)

Real-life brothers (and real-life bad boys) Rick Spencer (Sailor) and Joe Spencer (B-Girl)

B-Girl on top, as the two grapple on an unpadded hardwood floor

Joe on top

Rick choking Joe

The thief (Angel Lopez) gets away with it ... and takes off with the biker's leather jacket too in "Motorcycle Thief" (1958), where De Sica's neorealism meets AMG beefcake

Jim Paris in "Delicate Convict" (released in 1964, years after production)

Paris dominates fellow convicts

Paris later continued his career in physique photography as the photographer
Bob Saputo garrotes George Savage in "Street Fight" (The imagery resembles Bruce Weber's work for the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs)

Doug Scott looking for a fight in "42nd Street Hood" (1962)

Doug forces cop Rick Spencer to strip at gunpoint

A stickup?

Bill Simons as "The Convict" (1961)

Bill Simons ... wow! Very Herb Ritts.

John Davidson shadowboxes in a posing strap (1965)--a Marine, he reportedly died in service shortly after this shoot, at age 20

Avery Heath in a Hockneyesque shot in 1973.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

All Good Fun







Bruce Ballard rubs his superior Rock Hard Wrestling experience in Blake Keller's face, naming the basic parts of the wrestling ring--ropes, turnbuckles, mat--as if the new hire had never seen a ring, much less wrestled in one. Six-foot-two Blake listens good-naturedly and then shoots back with cracks like "Don't get short with me"--like five-eleven is short?

Bruce is on the cusp of cute and gorgeous, with a wide aw-shucks grin straight from Mayberry and a rock-hard physique from Mount Olympus. Blake is strapping, fit, and ready to rumble. He lacks Bruce's finesse, but he makes up for it with the raw, no-nonsense force of somebody who gives poundings that still smart a month later.

The match is right out of the official RHW recipe book: collar-and-elbow lockup leading to boot-stomping, then one or two suplexes followed with your choice of elbow drop or kneeing, then (in any order) a medley of bearhug, chinlock, back and torso stretch, and not strictly legal use of the ring ropes. Reverse and repeat. Sprinkle liberally with extra boot-stomping and ab-punching to taste, turn up the heat and simmer till skin is flushed and shiny.

It's not so much the recipe, though, as the freshness of the ingredients. Where does Rock Hard find these big boys? Is there a brochure? In five years RHW has introduced and polished the talents of some of the brightest stars of underground wrestling. In addition to being one fine specimen of fleshliciousness, Bruce Ballard knows how to command attention, my attention, with a combination of arrogant swagger and contempt for his opponent's pain, topped with a dollop of good, clean fun.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Adrenaline Rush










The Movimus rematch between Mikey Hanlon and Damien Rush is 20 minutes of grueling, sopping wet struggle leading to a submission at its midpoint. The remainder of the match decides whether the wrestlers deadlock or ultimately prove which of them is the better man. 

Mikey and Damien first squared off in November, leaving unfinished business that the rematch proposes to finish. There's plenty of trash talk to get things started, but the glib one-ups diminish as the two realize what obstacles they're up against. 

Mikey gives up about thirty pounds to Damien. Like all Movimus matches, this one is openweight with no referee or points system in place, and Mikey has fought big guys before and won on sheer tenacity and knowhow. But mass and weight make a difference in wrestling, and he's two or three weight classes below Damien by submission wrestling standards.

Damien's body mass is mostly an advantage, but it has its downside too. One, he is taller than his opponent with a higher center of gravity, thus, unfortunately, less stability. Damien spends a lot of time hunkering down, which, given his height, limits speed and pliancy. He lurches a bit too, but a big guy can lurch in a way as to turn his weight and bulk into a bludgeon.

As usual at Movimus, camerawork and video quality are strong points, the 4K resolution deepening color and making skin tones almost palpable. Not so much the audio, which leaves most of the repartee muffled.  Not the biggest fan of smack-talk, I didn't feel the loss as strongly as some wrestling fans might. Even so, there's not much point in mouthing off if no one can understand it. Short of miking the guys or overdubbing, neither of which seems practical to me, I can't see a solution to the problem. Real wrestling, which Movimus and the guys deliver, is not conducive to aural clarity. Choreographed fights are, but Movimus specializes in (to cite its home page) "absolutely no-holds-barred submission wrestling." You want repartee, go see a Noel Coward play.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vinny










In a recent brief Facebook exchange with my friend Joseph, I realized I had NOT ONCE blogged on one of our mutual favorite BG East stars of "old" (2001-2003) Vinny Trevino, 5'9", 210#. Imagine my palm slapping my forehead. The company released seven videos featuring Vinny in varying situations (boxing, mat wrestling, singles, tag team), in all of which Vinny, the paradigm of Italo-American hotness, is pitted against somebody whose wrestling I have, at one time or another, beat off to.

Brian Baker and Troy Baker versus Vinny Trevino and Joshua Goodman, Tag Team Torture 3

Vinny "debuted" as Joshua Goodman's partner against the company's golden boys of the era, brothers Brian and Troy Baker. Vinny astounds in equal parts because of his physique and his acrobatic prowess as a high-flyer, a lucha-libre style coming into vogue among USA wrestlers at the time. Though I believe high-flying went too far, upstaging and eventually erasing the earlier catch-as-catch-can style of UK and US pro wrestling, it is fun to watch, and Vinny displays a level of fluid agility unusual for bodybuilders.

West Coast aloha shirts (the Bakers) take on East Coast baggy shorts (Vinny and Joshua). The opening lockup with Brian shows off Vinny's daunting spread of back muscles, twitching like the haunch of a racehorse (and speaking of "haunch," check out the Italian's butt). By himself Trevino takes the wind out of the surfer boys' sails. Then Goodman jumps in for some good old-fashioned double-teaming. Their momentum lost, the brothers reveal a rift in their partnership, neither wanting to one-on-one with "bulldog" Vinny or Joshua--a foreshadowing of bad things to come for the Baker boys.

Patrick Donovan versus Vinny Trevino, Gut Bash 2

Because I'm not usually a fan of tactic-specific matches, Vinny's midsection-versus-midsection battle against Patrick Donovan was the last of Vinny's videos I saw. The chance to see Italian versus Irish, two cultures noted for their pugnacity, especially two personal favorites, should have been enough for me. I don't know what I was thinking.  Gut Bash 2 might be Vinny's shining achievement. (It is Joseph's favorite.) It's certainly the match that establishes his star quality. Predictably this is a one-sided bash, the lithe, boyish Patrick getting the worst of it.

To sweeten the pot, Patrick had already established his character as a my-shit-don't-stink babyface. From the start, leather-jacketed Vinny looks eager to kick some of it out of Patrick and find out, and he wastes no time in going about it. The specificity of the title aside, this fight is a well-rounded bash with Trevino zeroing in on the sweet midsection, at one point slipping on some boxing gloves to further tenderize it, but not forgetting to traumatize the limbs and spinal column too. In the end Vinny draws a mustache on Patrick's face with a black marker, in hopes of making his half-conscious opponent look more like a man.

Brandon Aldrich versus Vinny Trevino, Clobber the Jobber 1

Then-newcomer Brandon Alrich probably should never have said to Vinny, "I'm going to fuck you up." Just my opinion. For starters, the opening test of strength does not (surprise, surprise) go his way. Seconds later, he lies flat on his back, looking at the ceiling with Vinny resting his torso across his chest. Vinny could call it a day now but seems determined to "make it interesting" for himself and the fans. Forcibly pulling Brandon's shoulders up from the pinning position, he proceeds to make Aldrich taste all 28 flavors of pain. 

In this match Vinny furthers his reputation as a master heel (drawing comparisons in the catalog description to the Brooklyn Bodywrecker). Brandon is a cocky boy-next-door type whose eyes are obviously bigger than his stomach when he decides to chomp down on Vinny, who is just too much steak for the boy. In an effort to see whether Brandon can do anything, having evidently failed at wrestling by mid-match, Vinny forces the jobber to don some boxing gloves--with exactly the results predicted in the title.

Vinny Trevino versus Dave Christian, Demolition 6

In the narrative arc of BGE's anachronistic ordering of video releases, Vinny's early match against Dave Christian in Demolition 6 gives the "Italo-stud" his first taste of real competition--a wrestler of equal physical development and ring experience, though one more prone to grappling than to launching aerial assaults. Christian, another wrestler with too brief a career at BGE, effectively grounds the high-flyer in the first half of a give-and-take battle between equals.

Towards the end of the match, a boner impresses the front of Vinny's white trunks as he squeezes Dave's head in a side headlock. This is my take-away message from Demolition 6. Dragging Christian down to the mat by his head, Trevino thoughtfully repositions himself to bring his boner back into camera view, staring us fans in the face, so to speak. There it is, with two balls tucked neatly underneath. But the blood rushing down from his brain puts the Italian in a vulnerable position. Christian scissors Vinny's head between his cable-knit thighs. Vinny thrusts and twists while the boner climbs towards his waistband like mercury in a thermometer. 

Vinny Trevino versus Mikey Vee, Jobberpaloozer 4

Reportedly Vinny's first BGE match (though the fifth to be released), Vinny is pegged the "jobber" to superstar Mikey Vee's toss-out-the-rulebook style of ring wrestling. Kid Vicious was the brains behind this pairing, so expect plenty of low blows, strangulation, and other forms of tasty homoerotic sadism. Vee is one of the all-time greats at BG East, and by this point in his career he had taken an interest in MMA and was looking like Tyler Durden's wet dream. 

The battle starts out as a boxing match, Mikey ostensibly agreeing to take on Vinny in Vinny's preferred sport. Vinny dominates until Mikey blindsides him and starts slamming glove, then bare fist to his exposed abs. The release of this match after the mid-point of Trevino's BGE career and his stated role in it as jobber suggest that said career was already on the down curve by this point. Narratively, it makes more sense as Vinny's first match--the wet-behind-the-ears jobber unaware of what he's stepping into. In the order of release, though, it is anticlimactic, though spectacular, and probably better viewed as Trevino's initiation to the company.

Vinny Trevino versus Lance Jeffers, Gazebo Grapplers 2

This is Vinny's one and only mat match, and true to form he takes on one of the best, Lance Jeffers. A war of words erupts into a war of punches, chokes, and body slams. The battle starts on the grass but inches its way towards the gazebo and onto the mats. Jeffers was and probably still is the king of brawling, with a winning roughneck style that only intensifies the longer the fight lasts. Vinny might have bit off more than he can chew in this one, which counts as one of his intensest encounters.

For good reason it's the main event of Gazebo Grapplers 2, and if I had to choose right at this moment, I'd call it my favorite Trevino match. Borrowing one of porn's most popular memes, Vinny shows up in a hard hat as (I think) an HVAC repairman. Lance chats him up, and they discover they're both ex-Marines. That bit of information piques Lance's interest, and he begins willfully to badger Vinny, hoping to stir up a fight. He gets one. It's jeans, sleeveless T's, and work boots at first (Why don't more matches start this way?) and then the two strip down to skivvies in the gazebo. Vinny is out of his element on the mat, but it's a stunning contest anyway, one of his least ironic and highest testosterone bouts at BGE.

Vinny Trevino versus Justin Pierce, Gloved Gladiators 2: Justin's Lesson

The last match released gives us Vinny pitted against arguably the most beautiful wrestler ever to appear at BG East, Justin Pierce. One of the most popular and prolific wrestlers for the company, Justin appears in over three times as many videos as Vinny, but the two start out here as equals. Gradually one proves his dominance over the other, climaxing as the victor hogties his conquest to the corner ropes.

For beauty versus beauty I can't think of any better contest than this one. Vinny's boxing gimmick was not a favorite of mine, but, as in many other areas of life, nice pecs, shoulders, arms, back, abs, and thighs supersede a lame gimmick. However, neither Vinny nor Justin was "just a pretty face." They came with loads of charisma, Justin's considerably quieter than Vinny's, each amply filling the screen, but together they were eye-candy overload. Not a complaint.

I'm not sure how Trevino got away from BGE without chalking up at least twice as many fights as he did. Among the forever lost chances are the teaming up of Trevino and Brooklyn Bodywrecker as partners against ... you name it. I think Trevino ought to have had a shot against Rochelle at some point. Angelo D'Amato, Nick Archer, Blaze, Mike Columbo, and Aryx Quinn? Yeah, them too.

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