Monday, August 31, 2009

Lucky Dog (21)

“This is going to hurt.”

Geoff carefully—with scrupulous attention to symmetry—folded his shirt and set it on the stuffed chair facing the bed, out of the way. He flexed his arms and then stretched them high over his head, as if limbering up for a swim meet.

“You can blame your friend Shellen for this. He did this to you. Now you’re bleeding. He should have agreed to settle this just between us two, but he dragged you into it. Sorry.”

The kid writhed. His eyes panicked. Geoff’s pointy black cowboy boots were right against his nose. Geoff pressed the tip of one boot right to the boy’s prominent adam’s apple. He pressed down on it gently.

“I don’t blame you. You’re just a kid. None of this involves you. You let yourself be misled, though. But Shellen should have known better than to pull you in to our business. This is no place for you to be at this point in your life.”

He reared back and kicked the kid in the ribs. He did this three times. Then he straddled the kid’s hip and, grabbing him by the still moist hair, slammed the side of his head against the floor till he was unconscious. And the kid would stay unconscious for a long time.

Geoff looked down at his chest. Clean as a whistle. He didn’t know what he expected. More blood. More of a struggle. But he had taken the kid out cleanly. Just some blood around the boy’s mouth. Now the skin on the kid’s ribs was darkening; later the marks would be yellow-green with slashes of dark blue, but not a mark on Geoff. Relieved, he unfolded the sweatshirt and slipped it back on. “No muss, no fuss,” he murmured to himself.

He walked into the living room and yanked the telephone cord out of the wall. Then he smashed the base of the phone under his heel.

In the kitchen refrigerator he found beer—not his brand, but he was thirsty. He pulled the tab off a can and gulped it down standing there. It was Friday, and Shellen could be back in as little as six or seven hours. He stretched out on the sofa and watched a movie on TV, something where savages coated a white man’s body with honey and left him for the ants to eat alive. He had heard about this movie but never seen it.

At the end, he turned the sound down and strolled back to the kitchen. He grabbed another can of Busch and let himself out on the back patio. He stretched himself, fully dressed on an aluminum and plastic recliner. The sun bore down on his face. In minutes he was asleep.

(To be continued)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Adams v King

Wes Adams versus Jonathan King, PowerSlam Productions, Heidelberg, Mississippi, 16 March 2009

Good match, especially considering the sparse audience of (it looks like) about 20. King has a quasi-Von Erich allure, and Adams is a fine comical heel. PowerSlam is a brand new fed based in Mississippi, and if this clip is any indication, it shows real promise. And the videography is excellent, especially considering the lighting conditions and the use of a single camera.

Lucky Dog (20)

The kid sauntered carefree out of the bathroom, buck naked, except for a white towel over his head, as he vigorously dried his hair. He didn’t know what hit him. Couldn’t have. Geoff reached round from behind and poked the pressure points on his neck with his thumbs, and the kid went out like a switch had been flipped.

He laid the body flat on the rug at the foot of the bed. He placed the arms flat to the sides. He pushed the heels together. The kid looked Spanish, he thought. He knew about the kid, but he didn’t know anything about the kid. For Geoff, the kid was a part of the plan, nothing more. The boy’s body moved easily in his muscular arms. He had to act fast.

The eyelids fluttered. The kid had long tan legs, thick calves, shapely thighs pumped up like inner tubes, with light gray veins running up his inner thighs, barely visible about two inches above the knees, then disappearing altogether close to the crotch. The boy’s dick was half hard. His chest and stomach rose and fell as he breathed. His nipples were a pretty color, Geoff thought, sort of a grayish purple—there was perhaps a real word for that shade.

Geoff retrieved the long nylon cord from beside the bathroom door. He rolled the kid over on his stomach. He wrapped the cord around the kid’s neck, and then he wrapped the shoulders twice, once running the cord outside the arms, once running it between the arms and the ribs. He ran the cord up to the cord holding the neck and looped it through. He ran the cord back down and wrapped it three times round the kid’s hands, binding them securely. He raised the boy’s feet, tied the cord round the ankles, and made a taut line from the feet back to the part of the cord cinching his shoulders.

The kid was blinking—eyes struggling to land on something definite—as Geoff rolled him onto his side, rolled up a white tube sock, and stuffed it in the boy’s mouth.

The kid writhed. The cord held. The sock muffled his scream. The face contorted and broke an immediate sweat. The veins of his neck protruded. The veins of his chest. His abdominal muscles tightened. His elegant cock stiffened to wood. The clamor of mental terror burst upon the physical body.

Geoff knelt beside the boy, pressing his right knee against his left pectoral. He opened and clenched his right fist eleven times. He cocked his fist up close to his ribcage. Then he fired it like a piston to the boy’s mouth. The lower lip bloodied. Drops fell to the brown braided rug at the foot of the bed. Only one punch, just to feel the impact of the boy’s full lips against his knuckles.

The boy watched, terrified, as Geoff stood, backed away, and slowly drew his white sweatshirt up and over his shoulders. Geoff ran his fingers over his chest and firm, convex belly. “This is a bad thing I am doing,” he said.

(To be continued)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lucky Dog (19)

For a week he waited for a sign from Shellen. He arranged to go to the shop five or six times a day on this or that pretext. Each time Shellen managed to slip out the back just as Geoff appeared. To pursue him further would have raised the other mechanics’ suspicion. When Shellen was forced to be in his presence, he avoided eye contact. At home, no phone calls, no notes posted on windows, no drunken late-night appearances on Geoff’s front porch.

What most upset Geoff was the calm that Shellen affected at Redwood Auto Mart. No agitation, no nervousness at all, even as he managed to dodge Geoff. Not only did his evasions seem effortless, even with the strategic element of surprise, Shellen carried himself as a man for whom Geoff’s mere existence was debatable.

All that would change.

Geoff picked up the phone and dialed. “Margaret, sweetheart, this is Geoff Harvey. I’m not coming in today … strain of flu or something. … No, not that. … Sure. … I hope I’ll be back on Monday. … Thank you. … No, nothing. Probably all I need is rest. … Right you are, as always. … Tell Mr. Dale I’ll try to call him over the weekend. … Thank you, honey. … Goodbye.”

Fifteen minutes later he was hunched in the driver’s seat of the company Camaro he sometimes took home with him, about half a block from the address in Shellen’s file. Parked behind a muddy Gremlin, he could see the bungalow Shellen lived in and the rat-colored VW van he drove everywhere. He tapped his fingertips on the steering wheel. His armpits were slippery and cold.

He didn’t have to wait long before Shellen emerged in tight T-shirt and jeans and headed for the van. Even at a distance, even without an audience that he could know of, Shellen’s stride was muscular and assured. Shoulders square, head up, athletic body adroitly pivoting up and into the van.

The van started and disappeared down the street.

Geoff leaned forward and rested his forehead on top of the steering wheel. He felt butterflies inside. Still, his blood churned excitedly with a sense of momentousness and climax. What he was about to do was irreversible.

He turned to the passenger seat. “This is it, Hubert. Moment of truth. If you don’t see me signal five minutes after I go in, come inside to back me up.”

The smooth-skinned boy in skimpy baby-blue trunks said nothing, a look of placid self-confidence on his face.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two-Minute Squash

Flash beats up on Dan Kennedy.

This is probably worth seeing in its entirety if for no other reason than that Flash, my favorite NRW brawler, is in it, with a tough new haircut and some fresh muscle packed on.

It does raise the question, though, that, if it's going to be so slow-moving, couldn't the fight at least be more real?

Frankly, anything with 6'2" Flash doing some damage (however balletic) in tight black speedos is going to earn my full attention. And teenage boy-next-door Kennedy in tight blues is frosting on the beefcake.

But just imagine (and I'm about to, trust me) how much more wonderful this match would be if Flash and DK decided to duke it out for real (or even half-real) and either one of them actually worked up a sweat!

So, um, excuse me while I put my thinkin cap on ...

(See more vids like this at wrestleclone on YouTube.)

Lucky Dog (18)

Geoff imagined that Hubert was the name of the young wrestler in the magazine. He closed his eyes to test how well he remembered the boy’s face and long smooth torso.

Once the details were fixed in his mind, like a photograph acquiring definition in a chemical tray, Geoff opened his eyes and looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. His chest and stomach were brawny, but squat. Over his left nipple, the smirking puppy tattoo he had copied from a matchbook cover. Lucky Dog. A slack, unremarkable navel. Still, not a bad example of white American manhood. Six feet tall.

He tossed the magazine on a stack of like periodicals in the corner of the workout room. He lay down on his back on the bench, dumbbells extended on either side of him. With each repetition, he imagined Hubert standing over him counting. He imagined the boy’s eyes were stern and disapproving.

As Geoff’s shoulders started to ache and tremble, the Belgian boy grew impatient. He bent over Geoff’s body and punched his tense stomach. His knuckles sank in the elongated flesh. Each groaning ascent of the weights coupled with a blow to Geoff’s belly button. Geoff felt his penis stiffen. Then he clenched his eyes shut, erasing the image of the boy.

He dropped the weights. By now Bud Shellen would have found and read the note he had slipped through the vent on his locker. The challenge had been delivered. The ball was in Shellen’s court for now.

Though Geoff doubted his chances of success in another brawl with Shellen, he ached for the fight to come. Shellen’s lithe, strong body frightened and amazed him—this guy was a pederast! It was not that Geoff had scruples about sex—it was a subject that interested him less than it did other men. Live and let live. But Shellen’s actions—as he imagined them now—appalled him., for no other reason, he thought, than that they outrage nature.

In his mind the pain of a fight would not hurt, the blood would not come from inside, from veins, but appear externally, applied like makeup, and the moments when the two bodies would scuff each other would play in slow motion, the collision of muscle on muscle and bone on bone would play out like a ballet.

Geoff crossed his arms on his chest like a dead man. He lifted himself up to shrink and toughen his stomach muscles. He did this forty times. When he finished, his body was pink, covered with a glaze of perspiration. He lay still and looked up at the ceiling. His breathing was steady, and his inhalations were deep.

He and Shellen would meet. He was certain of it. In the end the spirited mechanic would have no choice but to fight him.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lucky Dog (17)

On the way home, Geoff picked up some protein shake mix at a small drugstore about a mile from his house. He thumbed through some wrestling and muscle fitness magazines and picked out three he liked well enough. His face burned as he handed the magazines to the balding young man at the counter. The covers featured glistening male bodies in bright skintight briefs.

Geoff coughed in his fist: “I’ve been doing some research for a project, and I was wondering if you could tell me how many of these sorts of magazines you sell in a week.”

The man looked up and blinked. “Muscle magazines? Wrestling? I couldn’t say exactly. I don’t really know.”

“Estimate. Very few? Few? Um, medium amounts? A good many? Very many?”

The man slipped the magazines along with the shake mix into a tan paper bag without even looking at their covers.

“We sell a good many of the wrestling magazines. The bodybuilder ones, too.”

Geoff made as if he were jotting down notes on some scratch paper out of his pocket.

“And who buys them? In your experience. Would you say they are young? Old? Middle-aged? Male? Female? Black? Caucasian?”

“I don’t know, sir. It’s not the kind of thing I usually pay attention to. My guess is that most of our customers are like you.”

Geoff pocketed his change and walked, shoulders hunched, out the door.

At home he opened one of the magazines to its center. There was a black-and-white photograph of a boy, probably 18 or 19, in wrestling trunks hanging low on his hips.

The boy’s body looked like Michelangelo’s David, but with a square Dutch-boy-like haircut. Light, shiny hair. Mocking eyes. High cheekbones and an angular jaw. Thin dangerous-looking lips. Shiny, pale skin. Slender waist.

Wrapped around his broad shoulders was a spotted boa constrictor, his pet—so stated a caption—named Hubert. The article said the boy was Belgian. He was developing a new wrestling hold that he had named le Constricteur.

He was up and coming in Europe, the caption said.

(To be continued)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lucky Dog (16)

Geoff Harvey scribbled a note on a sheet torn from Margaret’s steno pad in the front office.

Must see you. We have matters to discuss and settle. I begin to think you are the cowardly PUNK I once thought you were. You avoid me because you are SCARED. Now I am ashamed that I LET you whip me. Your attack on me was SNEAKY and WOMANISH. I would not even say that I really lost. Not really. Between the two of us, you KNOW you got it just as bad. Or worse. You can no longer keep your STINK hidden in the dark. I know things you do not think I know. If you cannot bring yourself to deal with me LIKE A MAN, you force me to take other measures. If you do not respond to this letter, then you are GUTLESS. You have been WARNED!!!!! H.

Margaret brushed by him on her way back from the little girls’ room. She gave Harvey a squinty eye with an eyebrow raised over the purple rims of her glasses.

“Mr. Harvey, were you going through the personnel files just then? You know you don’t have access to those files.”

“No. I just needed to borrow some paper, Margaret.” Harvey hatched an incandescent smile. All brilliant teeth, and precisely calibrated bonhomie. “I didn’t touch the files, sweetheart.”

Harvey knew some women nowadays did not like to be called “sweetheart” or “honey,” but Margaret was not one of them. He knew Margaret was a regular gal from the old school. Margaret was no-nonsense.

She lightened up. “Why is it that people always say Let me ‘borrow’ some paper, Let me borrow an aspirin, Let me borrow a tissue? When you borrow something, you’re supposed to return it when you’re finished with it. I will never see that piece of paper again and you know it.”

Harvey’s face flushed red. He hoped she wouldn’t notice.

“Nobody speaks properly anymore. I read that. What you ought to say is May I please have some of that paper please.”

Harvey laughed: “I never thought of that, Margaret. You got an excellent ear for words. As always, you are 100%.”

He backed out the door. He was halfway to the shop when a thought stopped him in his tracks. He looked both ways and pushed the paper up against a wall to add a postscript: PS—Do not make me come AFTER you.

(To be continued)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lucky Dog (15)

That night they did little more than wrestle in bed, over the covers and the sheets. It was “plausibly deniable” sex, as it happens among the devout or the insincere, between bible-camp counselors or frat boys too drunk to remember anything the next morning, so they claim. The time wasn’t squandered, though. For Bud and Matt both, who were neither devout nor insincere, fucking, unequivocal fucking, had never been as sweet as this.

Over dinner—bologna sandwiches with mustard and corn chips and beer—Matt stared at Bud’s face with tears brimming in his eyes. Tears that made him look less melancholy than ardent. Bud could feel those eyes against the back of his skull, down the hollow of his spine, and in his weightless feet.

After dreamily sipping straight scotch and listening to music, they both pretended to be too sleepy to keep their eyes open a minute longer, and ambled off to bed. Matt took a quick shower first. He came out smelling of Lifebuoy, his hair dripping drops on his shoulders, a white towel cinched loose on his hip. He bumped the edge of the bed with his knees, and when Bud looked up from his car magazine, he struck a double-bicep pose, just as he had when they first wrestled.

Bud grabbed his leg, and the towel flopped. Matt toppled over and pushed Bud’s shoulders to the mattress. Bud made a semblance of resisting. Matt straddled his chest, and with his feet and toes he scooted Bud’s boxers to his ankles. Bud kicked the boxers all the way off to the floor, and Matt plunged back forward, his hard cock thwacking Bud’s veiny erection on the way down. His hands fastened on Bud’s sturdy biceps, then slid to his wrists.

Chin to chin, chest to chest, belly to belly, and hip to hip, the two strove—Bud tried to raise his arms off the bed, and Matt pushed to keep them down. The agitation from this test of strength made their bodies churn and waver. Bud escaped Matt’s grasp, locked up his arm, and forced Matt to his side on the covers.

They lay there side by side, legs interspersed, the knobs poking each other. Bud flexed his body, making his cock tap the side of Matt’s, all the while still working Matt’s captured arm. The tapping intensified till Bud was thrusting his tool at Matt’s nuts, and Matt was deflecting the jabs defensively with his less agile cock. Matt caressed Bud’s taut neck muscle with his fingers. His heart ached with wanting.

Their stiff cocks curved up and inward towards their bellies, like a couple of rhino horns. They bumped against each other in playful combat. Bud slipped his knee up higher between Matt’s heavy thighs. He pushed himself up on the kid’s vigorous body. His dick plied over the point where the base of Matt’s rod joined his scrotum. Bud’s wide freckled shoulders shivered as the first opalescent bead formed on the tip of his nerveless glans.

(To be continued)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lucky Dog (14)

When Bud got home, the lawn looked different somehow. Then he caught a whiff of freshly cut grass and heard the mower roaring in the backyard. Bud went through the bungalow, pulling the tabs off a couple of cold beers on his way. The back kitchen door was open, and Matt, shirtless in low-hanging gray shorts and work boots, was out back, mowing around the scuppernong trellis.

His shoulders looked red-brown, but not burnt. In fact, his whole body shone like new copper. His stomach was tight—two curved, undulating cylinders that met below the pinpoint of his navel, under which his iliac furrow echoed those lines down to the shorts’ loose elastic band. Despite a bandanna round his forehead, sweat dripped from his nose to his lower lip and from his chin to his belly.

Bud caught his attention by waving the beers over his head and shouting over the snarls of the motor. Matt shut the mower off, removed the bandanna, and used it to sponge the sweat off his skin. He held the cold beer to his neck for a second before taking his first swallow. Bud noticed the size of his adam’s apple.

“I was antsy this afternoon. Needed to work up a sweat.”

“You stole my keys.”

“I didn’t think you’d mind. Besides, I saw you see me.”

“Don’t you have friends your own age to hang out with? A girlfriend?”

“You’re not that much older than me. Six years?”

“I’m thirty.”

“Okay, nine years, big deal.”

Bud noticed he ducked the question of a girlfriend. He sat on the edge of the patio, and Matt plopped down beside him.

Bud inhaled Matt’s nutty musk. He felt the heat radiating off the kid’s arms and back. He dared to look over at Matt’s face in profile, the boy’s eyes turned downward, yet probably sensing that he was being watched up close.

Matt turned to look at Bud straight on. Bud started to avert his eyes, but decided to be bold instead. Matt smiled.

“I got nothing to do. I could stay over.”

(To be continued)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lucky Dog (13)

“Look, Shellen, I want to make amends. My treat.”

Already Bud regretted agreeing to meet Harvey for breakfast at Denny’s.

All visible signs of their altercation had disappeared from Harvey’s face, and Bud couldn’t imagine why he wasn’t right now reaching over the table to bust up that face again. But he kept his cool, though blinking his eyes a bit too often, grinding his molars, and keeping his hands clenched together on the table till the waitress showed.

“Coffee, black,” Bud said tersely.

“Have something.” Harvey cajoled. “I’m having the ham-and-cheese omelet. With hash browns and toast.”

The waitress scribbled a number down on her pad and circled it.

“Coffee,” Bud repeated.

“Look,” Harvey continued once the waitress was gone. “I don’t blame you for being pissed at me. Not one bit. I deserved everything you dished up for me. I had it coming. And, man, did you do a number on my nose and ribs! Bam, bam, bam. Hell, I’ve never been so fucked up.”

Bud looked Harvey in the eye. The guy looked almost excited.

“I don’t know what it is with me. I got ‘control issues’ is what I guess they’re called. You did exactly what you should have done. I’ve had a good ass-kicking coming for years now. Probably what I’ve needed all my life. A good bruising now and then.”

Bud turned his head to avoid eye contact. Harvey was nuts.

“I was bowled over when somebody told me you’re queer.” Harvey whispered the last word. “You don’t look the type. You look like a regular tough guy. And I mean that as a compliment. Tough as nails. Yes, sir. Ask me—I should know, huh? Funny thing. As a kid I used to hang round the school bullies. I admired them. I looked up to them. Weird, huh? I guess some part of me wanted them to kick me in the nuts sometime.”

About the time Harvey’s food arrived, Bud got up, dropped a dollar bill on the table, and started to leave. He looked back at Harvey. “Here’s how I see it, Harvey. What’s done is done. We’re okay now. Okay?”

To judge by the look on his face, Harvey was not okay.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stoney Hooker

Hooker versus HVW (High Velocity Wrestling) Southeastern Champion Adam Jaxon (Photos by Blake Arledge)

South Carolina independent wrestler Stoney Hooker, 20, 5'7", "sex on a stick" ...

Lucky Dog (12)

The orange light of the answering machine was flashing. Bud ignored it to rescue dinner in the kitchen. Both steaks were overcooked, but you don’t start a wrestling match in the middle of a cookout if your real goal is a properly done T-bone.

Unselfconsciously Matt stripped himself bare before coming back into the house. He left the soggy shorts on the patio tiles. He walked around the kitchen table picking bits of dead leaves and grass off his skin. His cock was full and firm, but drooping now—chummily slapping his thighs.

Bud only rinsed himself off in the shower. He hoped the cold water would tamp down his raging hard-on. It mostly worked. As he slipped into clean shorts and an old work shirt with holes in it, he heard music and talking in the living room. Matt, naked and spread-eagle on the couch, sitting on top of some old magazines, was watching a rerun of Kung Fu. Bud tossed him a towel and pointed to the bathroom. While Matt showered, Bud hung a T-shirt and some jeans in the kitchen, on a hanger off the knob holding the keys to the back door and tool shed.

It had gotten dark outside.

He put the meat into a hot iron skillet to warm up. It hissed as it touched the black metal. He put the corn in a pot of boiling water with a tablespoon of sugar. While dinner warmed, he put forks and knives and napkins out. He scraped the burnt crust off the steaks and poured on some Wesson, hoping the oil would tenderize the meat.

Matt reentered the kitchen with a white towel over his head. Still buck naked. Bud pointed to the clean dry clothes next to the back door. Matt slipped the shirt on first, finished combing his hair, then tugged on the tight jeans.

For dinner, Bud poured the beer into tea glasses. When he set the plate of meat and corn in front of Matt, he said, “Heinz 57 can save anything.” For salad, he cut two wedges of iceberg lettuce, which he topped with two boiled eggs and Kraft’s French Dressing. The meat was tough, but still it was fun to watch Matt spear a chunk with his fork and then tear at it with his teeth like a starved dog, grease and sauce dripping down his chin.

They talked a little. Not much. Matt mentioned a girl, Deniece, he had known since high school, but Bud didn’t get the impression they were involved anymore. Briefly they debated the best brands of beer. Matt described the Kung Fu show he had been watching.

When it was time for Matt to go, Bud found the good-bye awkward. He put Matt’s wet things in a grocery bag and threw in a couple of cans of beer for the drive home. Before Matt left, Bud noticed that he lifted a key off the knob in the kitchen and slipped it into his pocket.

(To be continued)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Chippen Devil

One of the great gay(-ish) gimmicks of wrestling history—the WXW’s “Chippen Devil” (even the moniker is a groaner) strips down to a g-string before delivering his finishing move. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s all the more remarkable because “CD” is a face, not a heel, and the crowd (men and women alike) seem to dig it.

Versus Manslaughter—accompanied by the weirdly compelling “Jimmy the Geek”

Lucky Dog (11)

The summer shower pelted Bud’s back. Water was falling in sheets. Bud heard the hibachi hiss and pop as the rain snuffed the coals and doused his and Matt’s T-bones. Nothing to do about it. Nothing at all.

“Wanna break?” Matt’s voice broke in the static of the sudden torrent.

“Uh-uh,” said Bud, as best he good with his head buttoned between the kid’s arm and ribcage. “Got a feeling that wrestling in the rain is going to be a hell of a lot more fun than trying to save dinner.” Bud was shouting this over the din.

Matt laughed, but their moment together didn’t stop him from giving Bud’s head a quick squeeze and a twist. He stood up, drawing Bud up with him. He pulled him away from the patio, towards the center of the lawn. Then he bent down and whipped Bud over his hip. Bud and he together went SPLAT on the loose mud.

Both guys started giggling. Their feet slipped and slid on the grass. Bud tried to scramble up, but Matt leaned in with all his weight to force him back to the ground. They rolled together—the warm rain coming down so hard they couldn’t see even two feet away.

Bud let his hands glide over Matt’s slick, smooth ribs, then strum cross his abs. Matt’s skin shimmered in the rain. Matt’s heart pounded over Bud. The vibrations shook the very center of him.

Matt tried to snag Bud’s leg, but the mud made it easy to slip free. Bud pushed against Matt’s chest, but his hands found no traction. A flash of lightning, and then a peal of thunder that shook right through the two of them.

No question, Bud felt Matt had a boner, almost as firm and conspicuous as his own. Not unusual, though, for guys to have erections while wrestling, even guys who like girls. Bud knew for sure what his chubby meant. He didn’t know what to make of Matt’s.

Clamping on to Matt’s back thigh muscle, Bud threw the kid on his back and rolled over him. Matt blinked and sputtered into the falling raindrops. Forearm wedged under Matt’s hamstrings, Bud hoisted his leg, while cradling his head and shoulders up by the neck. He clamped his fingers together over Matt’s chest, drawing Matt’s chin and knee together for an unequivocal pin.

Matt minded losing, but he tried to be cool about it. He cursed the rain and laughed it off. The storm was almost over. Regular rain now, gradually diminishing. Bud was rock hard. He tried to hide it by staying bent over when he got back on his feet. Matt got up on his haunches and looked Bud up and down. He saw. He smirked and shook his head in comic disbelief.

(To be continued)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lucky Dog (10)

The two fit, well-matched wrestlers locked arms on the grass. Forehead to forehead, the older one rested his right wrist on the younger’s bicep and gripped the back of his neck with his left hand, and the younger one, in more or less mirror reverse, extended his arm further, past his opponent’s bicep to rest the back of his hand against Bud’s left pectoral.

Bud kept his eyes on Matt’s feet, while Matt craned his neck to look into Bud’s eyes. They pushed and pulled, butting heads and kicking at each other’s ankles with their bare feet.

Bud thrust forward to get a firmer grip on Matt’s head, wedged between his bicep and ribcage. A downward twist brought Matt to his knees, while Bud kept one knee up off the ground, his hairy leg at a right angle.

Matt twisted and jerked to extricate himself from Bud’s headlock. Reaching up with his arms, he pulled at Bud’s face and neck. Bud bore down and rolled the two of them on their backs. Then he broke the hold and straddled Matt’s firm, furrowed stomach. He held the kid’s elbows to the grass and looked into his eyes, unable to wipe the grin off his face.

The kid wiped the randy grin off for him. His hard calves caught Bud along the jaw line and forced the back of his head to the ground. Suddenly Bud found his neck and left shoulder clenched in Matt’s right arm. The view from that angle was Matt’s sand- and grass-speckled tummy and contorted navel, as they rose and fell to Matt’s concentrated breathing.

“Gotcha,” the kid grunted triumphantly.

“Not yet you don’t, asshole,” Bud growled.

He grabbed at Matt’s legs with his free right arm, but they eluded him. Matt worked himself up to his knees and tightened his hold on Bud. The kid’s muscles contracted hard as lead—the pain was punishing. Bud reached up and braced his right hand to Matt’s chin. In turn, Matt added more crush to the knot. Bud’s head couldn’t be more secure than if it were double-bolted to Matt’s ribcage. Desperate, Bud grabbed a fistful of Matt’s dark hair and tugged. Matt cursed and cranked at Bud’s head and shoulder like they were a hand pump.

“Shit!” The hurt shot down Bud’s ribs and spine like an ax.

Then nature interfered. A few cool spots of rain were followed by a downpour, and in seconds their skin and shorts were drenched, and their knees and feet slimy with loose grass and muddy blotches.

(To be continued)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lucky Dog (9)

“What’s your weight now?”


“I asked you how much you weigh. You said you wrestled 184 when you were at Tech, but where are you at now?”

Bud was distracted, irritated, and coming off a hard week at work. He and Matt were grilling steaks and corn on the cob in the back yard. The sun was low, and the bugs were out—not so bad, though, after two weeks with no rain. The two of them sat on folding chairs, in shorts and flip-flops and open shirts, hidden from neighbors by a high fence and some scuppernong vines.

“Something wrong?”

“Naw. It’s nothing. Stress at work. Um, last time I weighed, I’m 185. I don’t gain weight.”

“Yeah. I would have guessed that.”

At the shop, after weeks of successfully dodging Geoff Harvey, nutcase extraordinaire and amateur rapist, Bud had found an envelope propped next to his lunchbox. He opened it and found a short typed note inside:

Shellen. I deserved every lick you gave me. Maybe even worse. I was way out of line, I admit it. I do not ask for your forgiveness, but we should talk some time. I want to pay for what I did to you, not that I could ever hope to make up for everything, but I feel terrible. Let us, you and me, hash this out somehow. It is going to be unbearable for us otherwise. H.

“You know, Bud. A good tussle is a good stress-reliever. How about it?”

Bud laughed. This kid was terrific. Bud leaped to his feet, whipped off his shirt, and struck a double-bicep pose. “Mess with these, kid, and you’ll know you’ve been messed with.”

Matt smirked, got up, and kicked the folding chair flat. He pulled his shirt off and quarter turned, fists at his ribs, pectorals flexed, stomach sucked in to the spine. Impressive. The kid was stunning.

“You might be too tired to handle me, old man. Look at this. I will pulverize your ass and put you the fuck out of commission.”

(To be continued)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lucky Dog (8)

On the breezeway next to the gymnasium, Bud crushed his last cigarette into the sidewalk. He had told Matt he’d buy him a beer after the meet, so he waited even though he wasn’t interested in the other matches. For seven agonizing minutes, a green-toothed, pimple-faced Nazi from Bergin College had whupped Matt’s ass before finally pinning him to the mat. The guy looked like he weighed 200, minimum—Bud wasn’t buying he was 184.

Over in the parking lot, three college students drank beers and pestered some girl who looked like she enjoyed being pestered.

“Ready, Bud.” Matt tried to sound upbeat, though clearly he was bummed out, sporting a black eye, some swelling—roughed up, he looked sexier than he had at Dilly’s.

Bud wanted to say “good match” or something, and even though he thought Matt had wrestled well, though outmaneuvered and overpowered, he didn’t want to sound phony or backhanded. So he said nothing at all.

Matt asked whether they could just pick up some beers somewhere, instead of going to Dilly’s or anywhere they might be seen. Bud said all right. They could stop by the 7-11 and then go to his place.

As Bud pulled his van past the four students in the college parking lot, he spotted a jade-green Camaro with a Redwood Auto Mart plate. Somebody was inside smoking a cigarette—Bud could see the orange glow of the lit end against the black silhouette of the man’s head and shoulders.

At home, Bud pulled the tabs off two Busch beers and handed one to Matt. Bud turned on the TV for background noise—Good Times. They didn’t talk much about the match, though Bud shared his reservations about the true weight of Matt’s opponent.

Matt looked Hispanic, probably Cuban. He spread himself out comfortably on the sofa next to Bud. Team T-shirt, dark green gym shorts, sneakers without socks. Strong arms, smooth, veiny forearms, big hands, with a gold class ring and a red stone. Sinewy calves and firm, well-defined thighs. Bud wanted to touch that muscle, but restrained himself.

After a couple hours of chatting the chit, tossing back beers, and crushing the cans in one hand for effect, Matt asked to be taken home. Bud grabbed the keys to the van, and then Matt stopped him in the door.

“Look, Bud, practice doesn’t start for two months. I know you haven’t wrestled in a few years, but it’d be fun if you and me wrestled sometime, not at the gym or anything, but, like, here, maybe. Just horsing around, but working out, too. I’d like that, anyway.”

(To be continued)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lucky Dog (7)

Bud lit a cigarette and leaned against his dull gray van. Not five minutes passed, until the kid, Matt, came running out of Dilly’s Roadhouse.

“Hey, mister. Hey, ‘Bud.’ You left something in the booth.”

The kid ran up to him, breathless, more from nerves than the run.

“I was afraid I’d miss you.”

“Thanks, man. My uncle gave me this lighter. Not worth a lot, but the sentiment, I guess. Gave it to me before leaving for Nam.”

The kid shrugged and looked down at the lighter in his hand, taking it in, though there were no special markings or engravings on it.


“What’s that?”

“Do you wrestle? That shirt.”

“Oh, yes, sir. I mean, Yes, Bud? … I’m on the team at Tech.”

“That’s my old team.”

“Yeah? You wrestled at Tech?”

“Years ago.”

“You look fit, still. You don’t look old.”

“Thank you. Maybe I better check the schedule next year and see you fight sometime. Any good?”

“I handle myself.”

“Yeah, that’s good. But the trick is handling the other guy, right?”

“You judge for yourself. Come Tuesday. We got an off-season exhibition with Bergin. I wrestle at 184 pounds. 26 wins, 6 losses, last year.”

“Not bad, Matt. I wrestled 184 too. Guess that means I better be there Tuesday.”

(To be continued)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lucky Dog (6)

Harvey hadn’t shown his face at Redwood Auto Mart and Service Shop for over a week. The first couple of days, his absence was a complete mystery among the other salesmen. Then, word came down from the boss that Mr. Harvey had injured himself in a “skiing accident” and wouldn’t be back until the following Wednesday.

Even after Harvey returned, bandages x-ing the bridge of his nose, deep red splits on his lips, new dentures, and two very serious black eyes, Bud kept his head down. When Harvey absolutely had to come into the shop on business, Bud ducked out the back for a cig. Occasionally Bud sensed Harvey’s eyes on him even at a distance from the car lot.

About a week after Harvey’s return, Bud found a message on his new machine at home—more articulate than the last—Harvey’s voice saying simply, “Hey, man, I’m sorry.” Bud tried to forget all about it and move on. It was over as far as he was concerned. Only problem was he had to work with the guy—and unless Harvey quit and moved on, which Bud wished the hell he would—he would occasionally have to interact with him.

Nights, Bud spent at Dilly’s Roadhouse. Alone in a padded booth. Eating his one meal of the day—a reuben and a dill pickle, with triple shots of scotch. He usually nursed his third drink till midnight, going through a pack of Winstons.

Then one night a kid came up to the table, ketchup stains on his T, and said, “Look, mister, we’re kinda crowded tonight. If all you wanna do is smoke and drink, would you mind moving to the bar? We’d appreciate it, sir.”

First time Bud heard himself called “sir.” He looked up at the boy. A timid waitress had sent him over—usually he worked behind the bar in the kitchen. The white, stained shirt was threadbare; Bud could make out the outline of the kid’s nipples underneath. The lettering cross the chest read, “Wrestling.”

He looked about 21 or 22, college age. He had big eyes and big biceps. Pouty lips and thick eyebrows—and a slender waist Bud hadn’t seen on himself in ten years. He looked about Bud’s height, too, 5’10”

“No problem. I was just leaving. What’s your name kid?”

“Matthew Vela. Matt, sir.”

“Glad to meet you, Matt. My name is Bud Shellen. Don’t call me ‘sir.’ Makes me feel like I’m in the army.”

Matt laughed shyly. Bud left a two-dollar tip on the table and walked out to his van, and waited.

(To be continued)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lucky Dog (5)

Bud needed a drink. It had been an hour since he left Dilly’s Roadhouse. Beating up Harvey had left him dry.

He staggered over to Harvey’s bar and pinched a bottle of Glenlivet and poured a couple thumbs’ worth in a heavy glass. He drank it straight and fast. Booze kept Bud in numbed comfort most evenings—and in a zen-like tranquility at work on most days.

No A/C in the house—just ceiling fans and small, sputtering oscillators. His shirt clung to his skin like plastic wrap. He peeled it off over his head and dropped it at his feet.

Bud’s build was slim but tightly athletic. His chest hair started at the hollow at the base of his throat and spread downwards to touch each cordovan nipple. His pale belly was smooth and flat, with a small vertical navel, over which the growth of dark hair resumed and under which it trailed down to his crotch. His canvas jeans rode low on his hips.

Green and blue bruises spotted his torso, front and back. Unlike Harvey, he couldn’t remember getting any one of them.

He stood there at the bar, just breathing, breathing, concentrating on his breathing like a yogi. His stomach muscles knotted with each breath.

Then he turned back to see the red action painting he had just made of Harvey’s face. Both eyes were beginning to swell, and Harvey couldn’t even make himself sit up.

“Call you a doctor?” Bud gently prodded Harvey’s bare leg with the tip of his sneaker. “Or any particular filling station you want me to drop you off at?”

The joke wasn’t funny, and he didn’t laugh. Harvey certainly didn’t either.

Bud crouched over Harvey’s head, grabbed him by an ear, and lifted him. “Look, you fuckin closet case. I don’t care if you know I’m gay. Get it? But I’m not interested in you. You disgust me. You had no right to mess with me like you did. And now I hope you know I ain’t somebody whose cage you wanna rattle. Ever. You hear?”

Harvey tried to say something, but his teeth were broken, his face was swollen stiff, and at some point he must have bitten his tongue.

Bud left, slamming the door behind him.

At home, the message machine was blinking. Bud pressed play. A garbled, slurred voice was repeating something. At first Bud couldn’t make it out. Then he thought he could. “Rematch,” the voice repeated.

(To be continued)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

UCW Brings You Ten Times the Fight: Exclusive Interview

A couple of months ago, Michael Tovar (aka BodySlam) launched Underground Championship Wrestling (UCW), a pay-per-view pro wrestling site, operating out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I picked up on the site through some videos Tovar posted on YouTube and quickly became a huge, slavering fan. Already I have posted enthusiastic responses to this exciting new federation here and here.

Last night I interviewed Tovar, along with UCW’s top attraction and newly anointed UCW Champion, Axel. Tovar brings years of experience in pro wrestling to the new enterprise, and Axel, new to pro wrestling but already attracting fans through UCW, brings his boy-next-door good looks, agility, and incredible stamina to every fight.

At 6’0”, 145#, the brown-haired, brown-eyed Axel is definitely somebody to watch out for! Basically a good guy, but, fuck, the dude can give as good as he takes!

Joe: You guys at UCW went online back in June, I think it was, and you were an immediate success, and then the site was “under construction” again for a few days? What happened?

Michael: We started up by accident. The web guy and I were trying to figure out a way people could buy our videos and I could send them out where I would, with very limited computer skills, be able to send out the video-download links. I was on the phone saying, “I don’t understand. I can’t see what you’re looking at. That part of the website isn’t up yet.” He says, “Here, let me put it on there for you to see, and he did, and while I was talking to him the e-mails for video orders started pouring in. The rest is history; we stayed on the phone for hours figuring out how to make it work. Next thing you know the site was crashing from being overwhelmed with so much traffic. But that is fixed now.

Joe: What’s been the best part of UCW’s success for you personally?

Michael: Making new friends. I get off on the wrestling, I really do, but I never thought I would be making so many new friends. Like Axel, I find him online and we start talking; he comes to town, taking a chance that I’m not just some Internet prowler or pervert looking to score on some young dumb kid. We meet, and he stays over at my house, and right away we have this connection and become best friends. I am becoming friends with most of the guys.

Axel: The best part for me personally is the money. As selfish as that may sound, it is the truth. I am a college student, and I also have a part-time job, so the extra money helps pay the bills.

Joe: I think UCW seriously rocks. Where did you get the idea?

Michael: I have been a promoter in the pro wrestling industry for some time now, and when I would watch my wrestlers in the past feds doing their wrestling, I felt something was missing. Then I figured it out: what it was lacking was the brutality; it was just not there. I wanted something between MMA and regular wrestling. UCW gives me all of that. I am our demographic. I like watching hot-looking, young, well-built guys wrestling and fighting it out for dominance and control over each other. But they have to do the holds right, and it has to hurt, really hurt.

Joe: What tips do you give your fighters for hurting each other without inflicting serious, lasting damage?

Michael: It’s kinda up to the people in the match. How hard you can hit somebody is up to the guys themselves. I tell my fighters to practice hitting a wall. However hard they can hit a wall is how hard they can hit each other. I tell them anything goes. They need to do what they can to make the other guy say ouch. The ouch needs to be real. Earlier this evening I made Axel say ouch a few times …

Axel: Yep. He did.

Joe: I’ve been hearing some enthusiastic responses to you guys.

Axel: The biggest responses that I have read is how realistic our matches look and the amount of punishment we take in a match. Plus the comments on how good I look is a perk, too. (Laughs.)

Michael: And I quote: “Great ab shots!” “Love the focus on the ab workovers!” “Nice, real pro gear!” “Good punches!” “Better than the fake stuff on ______!” “Axel is the bomb!” “Tell Kid to let his body hair grow back.” “You guys rock!” “Better than anything else out there!” “I love Axel’s trunks!” “That Axel is something else, bullies beware.” “Do live shows!” “I want Axel to beat up my boyfriend!” It seems like a lot of fans like what we are doing and want to see more.

Joe: Has any of the fan mail been crazy or sick? Crazier or sicker than even mine? (Laughs.)

Axel: Nothing more than what you would expect. I’m always getting compliments on my looks and my … um … “package.” (Laughs.) There was one guy, not sure if we can call him a fan, who complained about the lack of blood in our matches. To that I say, “Search elsewhere.” We can’t please everyone I guess.

Joe: Axel, you recently beat up Raptor for the UCW title. You totally owned him—and the match is a classic in my opinion. Any thoughts on that fight?

Axel: I’ve known Raptor for a while, so for me it was just another match, with some very important bling as the prize. He’s a tough guy, but he’s gonna have to pull out some new moves and not just his usual ball grabs if he ever wants to touch this belt. If Raptor can’t do that, he should just hop in a DeLorean and travel back to the Stone Age. Come to think of it, cavemen could show him a thing or two … if they don’t serve him as the main course first.

Joe: Axel, how would you describe your ideal opponent?

Axel: The guy that thinks he is top shit with his popped collar, over-tanned, over-worked muscles … and over-hyped. The type of fake that treats others who are smaller or less “good looking” like garbage. I’ll always love a good, even fight with guys my size, for example, Klown [another UCW talent that Axel recently fought], but it is the douche-bags and the bullies I want to fight.

Joe: In your opinion, what makes UCW different from other sites, like NHB-Battle or BG East?

Axel: Each has their own style. NHB-Battle is good, old-fashioned submission wrestling. BG East has a variety of wrestling styles, but to me it is more focused on the erotic aspect of wrestling. The UCW, in my opinion, is more realistic. We train for our matches, so we know how to put on a good show. This is not to say that the other guys don’t train or put on a good show, but when was the last time you saw anyone on NRW (No Rules Wrestling) take a real gut shot?

Michael: I need to see real wrestling and real hits, and that’s what we have.

Joe: The matches are definitely erotic for me and, I imagine, other viewers. But what role, if any, does eroticism play in the actual experience of the fight?

Axel: It doesn’t. Not for me. Looking at the videos afterwards, I can see where other people see them as erotic, but they don’t register as erotic with me. Not during the match. Not even, really, when I’m looking at the videos later. I get that they are erotic, though, to some viewers. When I look at the videos, I’m looking for what I could be doing better. My attitude towards my matches is more like a critique, I guess.

Joe: I find that, for me personally, a real fight, a real submission wrestling match, is ten times as erotic as two cute models striking fake, wrestler-like poses. It’s actually the authenticity of the fight that makes it so hot. If you try too hard to make it look hot, it just looks cringingly awful. That’s my opinion, anyway. Do you have any favorite holds or moves?

Michael: Well, the body slam, which is where I get my nickname. Master of headlocks, power slams, gut wrench suplex and the power bomb … these are my best moves. But I also love getting away with closed-fist punching, pulling tights and hair, and choke holds. Seeing just how much I can get away with before the ref catches me.

Joe: So choking and hair-pulling? Does that mean you have a little bit of heel in you?

Michael: I guess it does. As an older guy, the eroticism is an important part of wrestling for me. Being a heel lets you totally dominate the other guy, holding back nothing. I look at Axel as a kind of younger version of me. When I was young, I wanted to beat up the bullies, be the hero and all that. Now I kinda want to be the bully. It’s more fun. But at my age, wrestling is very erotic. I get off on dominating young punks now.

Joe: Axel? Any favorite moves?

Axel: The scoop slam is just an awesome feeling—to pick any guy up and throw him to the ground. The triangle choke is a tough move to apply in any form of wrestling, but once you get it locked in you are almost guaranteed a win. The choke is a blood choke, so it’s almost painless, and the guy is out before he knows what is going on. Finally the grapevine is one of those dominant fuck-you moves in wrestling. One of the best ways to achieve a pin. So much of wrestling is how you use your legs—arguably one of the strongest aspects of the human body. To take away the use of a wrestler’s legs is like taking away a knight’s sword—they can’t really fight much without it.

Joe: Michael, any chance that you’ll be hitting the mat in upcoming matches?

Michael: That is funny. I have been asked by a few of the guys to get back in, and I have been working out and training Axel and Kid. I have been getting back into shape, but at 6’, 240 pounds, and flabby, I am not what anyone is looking for on the UCW website. One thing I hate about the pro wrestling business is one has to know when it is time to hang up the tights. With bad knees, elbows, and shoulders, one has to know it is time to pass on the knowledge and skill to someone younger. Now if someone out there wants a fun horseplay match, I’ll dance with you. And I won’t rule it out as a one-time deal, maybe team up with Axel or Kid to put Raptor and his kind in their place.

Joe: Well, what about the veterans, like yourself? Any place for fit, energetic older guys at UCW?

Michael: Well, I’ll tell you. That’s a possibility. I wouldn’t have a problem with older, well-kept wrestlers on the roster. Their experience could be useful … And there’s an audience for those guys too.

Joe: Sure, the old guys make great heels, don’t they?

Michael: Yeah, there’s that.

Joe: Axel, who (if anyone) would you like to team up with as tag-team partners?

Axel: Right now, looking at the guys on the roster, and the guys who I have fought against, I would have to say Klown. Yeah, I did beat him in a recent match, but the guy’s got some skill that I could learn from. Plus, I’ll admit we are damn good looking. Our looks mixed with our skills, we could be an unstoppable tag-team force. However, Klown in recovering from a foot injury, so I hope that when the time comes, he will consider a partnership.

Joe: I just got to watch that bout with Klown the other day. So far, it’s my favorite one. Ultra-hot, great action, … and you’re right—you are both great looking in tights! (Laughs.) I hope Klown recovers soon. He’s definitely an asset to the UCW roster. What’s your training and background in wrestling?

Axel: Believe it or not, not a lot. I used to wrestle around with my younger brother when we were kids … to help him practice for tournaments. I used to hate wrestling and sports in general until college. Then I decided to start trying new things. I took on the whole “discover yourself” attitude that college places on you. Unfortunately, my college only has a wrestling team and no club or class, so I had to teach myself moves by watching videos, going to our team’s matches, and reading books. During this time I also got into other combat sports like boxing, MMA, and a variety of other martial arts. My friends in college are the ones who really pushed me to learn to fight and stand up for myself.

Joe: Any particular recommendations? Books or videos on wrestling?

Axel: No, nothing in particular. There are a lot of good tutorial—how-to—clips on YouTube. Also, you can find some good books on Amazon, and some of the Amazon reviewers are actual professional wrestlers, so you can let their comments guide you to the best sources available out there.

Michael: I think it’s very important to find a mentor. Somebody you can work with face to face. It’s really easy to get hurt. And everybody could use a little training just to keep safe. As a kid I would do a lot of wrestling with family and the neighborhood kids. Then one day Omondo Rodriguez bought the house next door, and the whole world of pro wrestling was opened up to me. He was a pro wrestler who we had been watching on the old wrestling show All Star Wrestling. I loved that show growing up, even named Axel’s championship belt after that show. He saw us wrestling in the back yard and took us kids under his wing, taught us everything about wrestling, and when he was on the road wrestling, I would practice and wrestle with his two sons. They were two years younger than me, but, man, could they wrestle! That was my training, that and years of doing it and doing a few shows at the community center for Omondo.

Axel: My first real fight was in middle school. I was still going through my emo, goth, I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-anything phase. Gym class I wouldn’t normally care about, except for this one day we were playing dodge ball. One of my classmates, a total piece of trailer-trash redneck, was bringing the whole team down, completely full of himself. I got in his face about pulling his head out of his ass and participating. Later, in the locker room, he came up behind me and shoved me into the lockers. I immediately fought back; we wrestled around, trying to get each other to give before I finally threw a punch that rocked him pretty good. My fellow classmates were stunned how this quiet emo kid—me—could stand up and fight this bigger redneck dude—the guy was about 20 pounds heavier and a few inches taller. The fight ended when my classmates got behind me and forced the other guy out of the locker room. My classmates started giving me new respect from that day on.

Michael: I was a chubby, but very cute kid, but my seventh-grade gym teacher hated me. Now I have two older brothers and a cousin and some friends my age, and we were all into wrestling. My older brothers taught me to fight and how to win in a wrestling match. This gym teacher was set on humiliating me any chance he could. So one week he is doing wrestling for class, and I missed the first four days. I was sick, so I show up the last day, and he has paired everyone up to do simple one-minute matches. He decides to put me up against this very tall muscular Greek kid. He has his shirt off, looks like he was on steroids since birth. So the teacher told me to take the down spot of a referee position, and I’m thinking I need to make a good showing. I start racing in my thoughts: What would my brothers and Omondo do? The big Greek jock guy takes his spot, the whistle goes off, and I shoot forward and spin. He didn’t have his hands locked on anything. Now I’m facing him; too easy I thought. Now he comes at me, so I move in and I do an inside trip on him, and we go down. I knocked the wind right out of him. I spin on him and do an inside cradle; next, I roll him, and, boom, the teacher calls it and I won! The teacher now smiles at me and pats me on the back. Best day of my life! From that day on, wrestling is all I could think about!

Joe: What do you enjoy the most about wrestling?

Michael: It’s the guys. Sorry, but guys in little outfits hitting each other … pain is cool. Also the challenge of coming out on top over another guy who is trying to beat you, not just out-powering but out-thinking, like chess, trying to stay one move ahead, that is really cool. But also the little tights. (Laughs.)

Joe: I’m with you on all those points. I’ve often thought that wrestling is a lot like a more physical form of chess—with all the intellectual challenges of strategy and mindfucking your opponent still intact.

Axel: I like the sheer physics of it all. The oldest form of battle between two men in its truest form. Wrestling, unlike other sports, requires you to use your body, not something … like a ball … to win against your opponent. One of the reasons I hated sports growing up was that I sucked at basketball and football, because half my energy was focused on passing or dribbling. Wrestling we get to see who is the strongest, most skilled, and most mentally capable of two men, not a team or who can shoot the most hoops.

Joe: Agreed. Wrestling—any fight without external weapons—is the primal sport—also (for me) the primal form of man-to-man intimacy. The boxer Roy Jones Jr., who (believe it or not) was, as a freshman, a student of mine back in the late 1980s in Florida—and, as far as I know, no proponent of male-male intimacy—said last year, "The one beautiful thing is you never know a person until you do battle with them, you share something special with them." I think that sums it up.

Axel: Any type of wrestling is satisfying to me. When you train or even fight for fun, you learn to apply moves in different ways that you never thought of before. You also are able to take different principles from other sports and apply them to different scenarios in wrestling. Bottom line—if it has the word “wrestling” in it, I’m game. (Laughs.)

Michael: I prefer friendly roughhouse over anything else. Get on the floor with someone, try to out-think and out-do, toss in some jokes and cop a feel, then have a drink after and talk about the match.

Joe: Ever fight to settle a grudge?

Michael: No, never, talk problems out. Your fist can never make you right or win an argument … just makes you look stupid. Never needed to fight and never will.

Axel: Fighting isn’t my first choice, but the last. Combat sports are a way to learn how to fight, but they also give you a lesson in discipline. Bullies always want to settle things with a fight because it’s the only thing they know how to do—and I am no bully.

Joe: How about trash talk while wrestling?

Axel: I’ll be the first to admit I am not the best when it comes to trash talking. My best moments usually come when I am not trying. However, when an opponent starts flapping that mouth … oh, man … certain words are like fuel on my fire, and when that happens, he best be at a good distance from me.

Joe: What words, for instance?

Axel: Anybody making fun of me or of the championship belt is gonna do it. But a lot of it depends on what mood I’m in. Depending on my mood, different things are gonna trip my trigger—and I’ll just rip into the guy.

Joe: What gets you pumped up for a fight?

Axel: Music. I am a fan of rock music, the only thing I can listen to when I work out. It helps me get in the zone and focused on the opponent. I like to give a theme song to the fight … or to my opponent. Usually the opponent’s theme song—in my head—is something along the lines of Britney Spears.

Joe: If you could pick an entrance theme song for yourself, what would it be?

Axel: “Open Your Eyes,” by the Guano Apes. I interpret the song as someone showing the other guys how false and delusional they are. In a way that is me: showing the bullies of the world how full of themselves they really are.

Joe: Who do you admire?

Axel: As cheesy as it may sound, the wrestler I admire most is my younger brother. He was injured late in his high-school career and lost the use of his legs for a while and wasn’t even sure if he would wrestle again. But he came back with only two months left in the season and made it to state. Sadly, he lost in the championship round and ended up with second place. It was a bittersweet ending, but it goes to show you what the human body and spirit can do with sheer determination.

Joe: I don’t think that’s cheesy at all. Kinda sweet, actually. Anyone else? Who would you like to meet … or even fight?

Axel: Urijah Faber is the man I would love to meet. “Fight”? … hmmm, I’m pretty sure he’d kick my ass in five seconds flat, but, hey, it would be a fun learning experience. I love his fighting style and charisma. I was absolutely shocked when he lost the WEC Lightweight title to Mike Brown, and even more bummed when he lost to him again by decision the second time around. Faber brought status and a whole lot of attention to lightweight fighters like myself. Just the power and devastation a small guy like him can put to an opponent is downright awesome.

Joe: Any non-fighting celebrities you’d like to see in a face-off?

Axel: I would love to see Bill O’Reilly and Michael Moore go at it because I hate them both. Both of these men anger me to no end in their egotistical quest to fulfill their political agendas and, just overall, because they create more frustration and chaos than needed.

Joe: For us guys who like private wrestling at home—in basements, spare rooms, or back yards—any advice?

Michael: Know who it is you’re going to be wrestling, make sure you both agree to the rules and respect each other’s limits. Keep it fun.

Axel: Always always always discuss what the match rules are with your opponent or partner BEFOREHAND! It is always good to communicate what the likes and dislikes are so that you can come up with a match that will be fun and challenging for the both of you.

Michael: Have something soft to wrestle on … or a tarp will work well.

Axel: Rug burns suck. If you are going to do any kind of hitting—that is, body shots—I would suggest using grappling MMA gloves and/or hand wraps. I always tape my hands, wrists, feet, and ankles to avoid injury. Mouth guards are a good idea too if you have a serious fear of ruining your teeth, but they aren’t really needed in wrestling.

Joe: Yeah, I’ve got a chipped incisor from way back in my twenties. I ought to get it fixed, I guess, but it’s become kind of a weird point of pride for me now. A trophy from my fighting days.

Axel: Better to be safe than sorry. It’s a good idea to have a med kit on hand too.

Michael: Drink only a little water before and just a little afterwards.

Joe: How about gear? What do you like? Singlet? briefs? gi? jeans? jockstrap?

Michael: I love tight underwear … keeps everything in and tight, and it is sexy. But always dress the same, keep everything equal. I have full pro trunks I wear most of the time. When outside, jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Protect your body, you only get one. That also goes for elbow pads and knee pads, I have blown out my knees by not using pads. Please, everyone, use elbow and knee pads.

Axel: I prefer wrestling in anything tight like lycra and spandex; this would include singlets, Speedos, Under Armour, and trunks. That gear keeps the family jewels snug, shows off the body, and doesn’t allow for any clothes snagging, like you get wearing gis, shorts, and T-shirts. Jeans I don’t like much because they don’t breathe well and are hard to move in when you’ve been sweating and wrestling for an extended period of time. Jockstraps I am not a huge fan of either, because I can’t for the life of me find a pair that keep the “boys” in their place and offer good support. Underwear is OK, but it’s not my style.

Joe: What’s the best movie fight you’ve ever seen?

Axel: Hmmm, this is a tough one, but the most recent one I saw was Never Back Down. All the fights in the movie were well choreographed and realistic, mostly. It gave MMA the Hollywood treatment. I could have asked for a better script, but that is the critic in me talking. I’ve seen the special features with MMA legend Bas Rutten, and even he thought the fights were good. If you got Bas smiling at your choreographed fights, you know you are doing something right.

Joe: And what a charge it was to see Cam Gigandet get his ass handed to him at the end! What about the lamest fight scene?

Axel: The fight in Twilight. Yes, I saw the movie and lost a man card for it. Anyways, the fight was just like the movie—it was dull and over-hyped. These are fucking vampires that are fighting on a Hollywood budget … gimme something that lasts more than one minute.

Joe: And yet another loss for Cam Gigandet. Who would win in a pit fight? James Bond or Jason Bourne?

Michael: Jason … he just doesn’t care. Those people have nothing to lose, so they don’t hold back and fear nothing. I wouldn’t want to fight someone like that. James is too worried about bringing someone to justice.

Axel: This is a tough one. Jason Bourne would win. A few years ago I would have said Bourne hands down, but with Daniel Craig’s interpretation of Bond, I wouldn’t be too quick to bet the house on Bourne. The new Bond is definitely more of a brawler and a loose cannon compared to some of the earlier versions. Bourne, I think, has the edge because he’s got more instinct and much less to lose.

Joe: Right now, there seems to be a lot of interest in private or underground wrestling matches. Yahoo! has 57 “private wrestling” groups and over 19,000 wrestling-related groups. I’ve been turned on by wrestling since I was a kid, but why, in your opinion, is there apparently this surge in public interest?

Michael: MMA is bringing it all to light. TV wrestling got too soap-opera-like and too showy. MMA is real and fun to watch. In our homes we wouldn’t last long if we and our friends did MMA in the living room, so underground-type wrestling (real, but not too hard) is the way to go for most people.

Axel: So much of MMA has to do with wrestling. It accounts for about 70% of the fighting in a match. I recently read an article that pro wrestling scouts, who find much of their talent through college wrestling, are now losing these college wrestlers to MMA. With MMA becoming as popular as, if not more popular than, sports like football, baseball, and basketball, certain MMA fighters are becoming icons, looked up to by all ages, especially the younger crowd, who want to be just like them. That means more kids, teens, and young adults want to get their own start in wrestling, because that is what their idol did. We are now seeing more schools add wrestling to their sports programs, and more gyms and colleges adding classes and clubs. For a long time, too, I think wrestling was too commonly seen as a “gay” sport. Yes, I do believe there are many aspects of the game that could be interpreted by a person as gay. However, the surge in MMA’s popularity has, in a way, I believe, dispelled that notion.

Joe: Axel, why do you think slender guys like yourself are such ferocious fighters?—because it’s, um, like a known scientific fact that they are.

Axel: I think it comes down to physics and human anatomy. You don’t see many heavyweights throwing lightning-fast punches or doing aerobic moves 20 minutes into a match … it’s because they can’t. Slender guys are built more for endurance than strength like the big guys. What is the point of all that muscle if you can only use it for a few minutes before the fatigue sets in? All they can hope for is that they beat their guy in less than five minutes; otherwise they’re fucked. Plus it’s the mindset … we hate being looked down on as the weak fighters, so we prove the big guys wrong by bringing ten times the fight.

Joe: Besides UCW, what other wrestling sites and federations do you enjoy and follow?

Michael: Well, I own and operate New Stars of Wrestling here in Milwaukee. I am short a ring right now so we are on a break, but with the success of UCW I hope to change that. I like Mid America Wrestling. It’s an indy fed here in the South East Wisconsin area.

Axel: No Rules Wrestling, BG East, NHB-Battle, Fightplace, Wrestlers and Lutteurs. It’s always fun to see what the other guys are doing. Sometimes I get ideas for moves or strategies that I will use in a match.

Joe: What happens right before and after a typical UCW match?

Axel: Two hours before the match I’m listening to my iPod, getting in the zone. Stretching and doing some light warm-ups to get my body loose and limber. Looking at the notes on my opponent, memorizing his tells and weaknesses. I do a mock match in my head, going over my own moves and ways to counter my opponent’s. In short, trying not to psych myself out. To quote the Dune saga, “Fear is the mind killer. I will face my fear and let it pass through me.”

Joe: And after?

Axel: When it’s all over, it’s back to training and looking at the next opponent. Those bullies, they keep crawling out of the woodwork, so I gotta be ready for the next. Champions don’t take a break just because they got the belt; they learn how to push the boundaries and raise the bar. Essentially, I look at it as if I were going to fight my current self. If I wanna win, I gotta be better than what I already am.

Joe: How would you describe the ideal roster for UCW in, say, the year 2011? What kinds of new talent are you looking for?

Michael: I’m looking for guys with heart, miles and miles of heart with commitment! I am looking and will continue to look for good-looking college-age guys who take care of themselves, work out, and are good looking and not afraid to get in there and mix it up. Skills, moves and holds can be taught, but heart and commitment, that you need to bring with you. I would love to have 16 well-built, good-looking gods, I mean “guys,” within the next year. Simple as that.

Joe: What’s the best way for UCW hopefuls to reach you? I guess what I’m asking is what should be included on the typical résumé you get?

Michael: Twenty dollars. (Laughs.) I’m cheap.

Joe: What about wrestling experience?

Michael: I don’t care about experience. I can teach them how to wrestle. They need to send me a shirtless picture, just so I can see how fit they keep themselves. Mostly I’m looking for energy and commitment. The rest I can teach them.

Axel: We know we need new faces. There’s only so many times we can fight the same guys over and over.

Michael: Dependability’s important all round. Some of the wrestlers, like Axel here, travel a long distance for these matches, and when someone doesn’t show it lets everybody down.

Axel: It kinda stabs us all in the back.

Michael: We’ve got some newbies lined up right now, in fact.

Joe: When will we be seeing them?

Michael: Mid-September, probably. Depends on how quickly they pick up on things.

Joe: Are there any plans for UCW ever to move to a different type of venue—say, a pro ring or outdoors?

Michael: Yes, both. We will be going outside soon, and as soon as I am able to buy a ring, we will take all the action into the ring. I’m dying to show the guys how to do some rope work … teach Axel to fly off the ropes and take out a bully.

Joe: And I only wish I was young enough and wiry enough to be that bully. In my day, I coulda been a contender. (Laughs.) It was an honor and a real pleasure talking with you two. And if I can’t coax the two of you into coming down to Durham, North Carolina, for a weekend of friendly roughhouse, copped feels, and good stiff drinks, I hope you’ll drop in on me here at Ringside at Skull Island from time to time. I love what you’re doing, and I’m one of your biggest fans—if not THE biggest fan of all—you’re bound to have thousands more fans by this time next year, of that I am certain.

[Photos supplied by UCW and used with permission]


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