Monday, July 13, 2009

Masked Mayhem 5 (DVD Review)

A mask in wrestling or in any fetish play has several levels of significance.

First, there’s mystery—a mask hides the wearer’s facial expressions as well as his identity. In wrestling scenarios, your opponent’s inscrutability gives him an advantage since understanding is denied to you on several levels, not least of all your ability to assess how much you’re wearing the guy down, if at all.

Then, there’s the aesthetics of a mask. A mask can be intrinsically beautiful—ornate or simple, representational (as in, say, a tiger mask) or abstract. But mostly the beauty of a mask in wrestling and other sex fetishes is that, with no face on view, all attention is drawn to the body—as an object of beauty … or as a machine—a piston, a cannonball, or a robot. In either case, the wearer is objectified. He is a weapon—one that arouses desire, or one that arouses dread.

Last, a wrestling mask provides a goal to the match apart from pinning your opponent or making him submit to you. The mask is something you can snatch. Unmasking your opponent humiliates and punishes him. In some fantasy scenarios, revealing his identity not only robs him of his anonymity but also opens him up to the judgment of the crowd—if he’s recognizable, he can now be taunted by name and, since the loss of a mask often goes along with the loss of the match, his disgrace is now public and irrefutable.

BG East’s latest in the Masked Mayhem series has two matches. In the first, we have young, muscular Kid Karisma fighting Red Baron. Red Baron is older, dressed in a red singlet and a red mask. Karisma wears glittering gold briefs and an aqua and gold mask, with tassels, looking like puroresu-gone-to-Mardi-Gras—it actually looks pretty hot, mainly because Karisma has a hot body.

With masks on, the emphasis is on the grace of body movement. Karisma is agile, quick, and energetic. In contrast, Red is stiff, ponderous, and inexorable, while Karisma darts around like a dancer, a bit, or just a hyperactive show-off-y punk. The contrast in styles works well in this match—solid experience pitted against youthful vitality. Clearly, size and experience give Red the upper hand, and he stays on top of Karisma for the duration.

When Red’s finally beat Karisma down pretty good, a new player enters, Cage Thunder, like Karisma in briefs and mask (a deeper, more mature blue) but like Red Baron he’s a side of beef, maybe ten or so years older than the kid. So, as Kid Karisma drags himself off the mats, Red and Thunder go at each other just like Mattel’s Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots—seriously—it’s pretty cool. The battle between these two faceless equals is as hot as the tortured prettiness of Karisma was earlier.

Karisma revives and throws in some gut punching, while Thunder holds Red down. Once Red is out, though, Thunder turns his aggression against the young stud, who backs away before he figures what-the-fuck and charges in with both fists. This too is a pretty cool moment in the match. I don’t want to give any more away. I will add that there’s a ritualistically satisfying unmasking at the end.

Next, we have a match between youthful Paladin, all in yellow (a sleek AstroBoy-inspired mask and square-cut briefs that highlight his tool), and “Silver” Joe Robbins, in perhaps the worst getup on the disc. Robbins is the only one with a “real” name—with “Silver” tacked on to the front because he wears silver tights. He strides in wearing just an eye mask and a cape that looks like it was made from Judy Jetson’s shower curtain. Fortunately, though in violation of every point of masked combat, he doffs the cape and mask before the fight even begins.

If there’s a reason 80% of BG East’s customers are going to want (need) to see Masked Mayhem 5, it’s Paladin. Dude has a body of an Arcadian shepherd boy—his slim waist suggests he’s 19, tops—and his skin is as clear and white as crème fraiche. Soon as the camera first settled on his lithe, undulating body, I was ready to lap me up some of that tummy of his. And while older, Robbins too has a fine physique—less lithe than Paladin's, more typical gym-toned BB.

Unfortunately, the beauty of the second match is mainly confined to the contestants’ material pulchritude—with too little drama and too few credible wrestling holds to build much excitement—of either the sexual or the suspenseful variety. Robbins focuses almost entirely on getting Paladin’s mask—and there’s just not enough there for a good fight. Besides, Paladin’s unmasking occurs just 13 minutes into the bout, and then Robbins spends the rest of the match bizarrely trying to get the mask back on him, even though the kid’s good looking in a tough sort of way (somewhere between Kellan Lutz and this hot student I had in a class a couple years ago—I know, I know, not descriptive enough to tell you much about him, but, trust me, my crotch felt a nice zing when Robbins stripped the nylon off that rugged kisser—yours will, too, I bet).

To be honest, this is the first masked match I remember seeing from BG East, and I didn’t know what to expect. The first match had the story, as I said, and the second match had the scenery—but eye candy without convincing competition goes only so far, although, let me tell you, I can think of worse ways to spend an hour than in watching Paladin’s entirely too perfect body twist, flex, throb, quiver, and break a sweat.

Still, in my opinion, enthusiasm and skill in combat trump beauty and muscle in wrestling. Yeah, I like a fetching face and body as much as the next guy, but what makes wrestling a fetish is that it's the action of bodies and violent drama that arouse, not (or not primarily) the typical traits of sexual attraction and physical beauty: Two old-school lugs like Dory Funk and Bob Orton facing off can have three times the erotic buzz of two physically perfect male models merely flexing and posing in front of a mirror.

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