Can-Am excelled in beefy bully-next-door types who, in the early days anyway, sold the pain, agony, and drama of a match (not to mention the eroticism) as well as or better than the regular pro wrestlers I could see on TV. Most of my picks here are from the "old" days of the 1990s, and I expect to receive some ribbing not only for my dusty choices but also for my penchant for the pretties, though, in my defense, I do tend to favor the pretties who can also fight.
As you know, making a list like this is, almost by definition, a trivial pursuit, but I have tried to take the task as seriously as I can. The list I make today, however, is probably not the same list I would make a month from now ... or even later this evening ... so I may return to this project from time to time in the years ahead.
In the meantime, you guys can lash out at me all you want. I'm big and I can take it ... and, as some of you know, I like it. Cross me, though, boys, and I'm coming after you, fists flying.
Brad Michaels, 6'1", 192#, is on top for one reason only: the High Stakes Wrestling matches, one of which (Number 3) is my all-time favorite wrestling erotica and the first video that was sufficient to make me cum without additional flights of fantasy of my own (which I don't at all mind having, but it is nice from time to time if the porn can take a, um, larger hand in the process).
Roman Stone (aka, at first, Jamie Cutler), 6'1", 196#, is another easy choice and another Can-Am fighter who didn't do that many videos: how many, three or four? Like his cousin, Paul Perris (see below), Stone was from Poland and seemed to fetishize high-kicking Jean-Claude Van Damme the way I fetishized them. Stone was jaw-droppingly gorgeous meat, plain and simple. If he was somewhat slow and clumsy in the ring or the oil pit, the opportunity to savor those pecs and thigh muscles at leisure was always appreciated in my house.
Jimmy Dean, 5'10", 155#, is the choice of not just me but thousands of Can-Am fans. If the rules of list making restricted me to only fighters who were lasting fixtures on the roster, obviously Dean would shoot to first place. And speaking of shooting, I still remember the charge I felt in one match just hearing sadistic Dean call his overly perky opponent in, saying, "Payback time." Now, regrettably, I can't remember in which match he made that cliche as memorable and immortal as "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" and "I AM big; it's the pictures that got small!" because I'd really like to hear him say it again.
Doug Brandon, 5'11", 200#, is, like Dean above him, a sadist, but he could be a fun masochist too, when the time came for the tables to turn. I preferred him younger and with hair and less pointy eyebrows, back when his pervy love-hate for pain was subtler and still capable of catching me off guard.
Paul Perris, 5'10", 175#, has had a long career with Can-Am. He was gorgeous, muscular, and very European, as suggested by his misleadingly accurate ring name. He was extraordinarily hot, and he preferred aggressive war games that let him display his speed, agility, and martial-arts training, though sometimes (rarely) at the risk of shortening those long, hard, hot, sweaty clinches that I love. He usually found rather implausible opportunities for full leg splits, a trick he overplayed, I think, but one that was worth seeing at least once.
Was I alone in loving Cliff Conlin? At 6'2", 196#, he was beefy, without being ripped. He had all-American bland good looks, and he seemed like the perfect "hero" type, a bit simple and naive, in appearance, but virtuous and an efficient beater-upper of bullies. His build, hard muscle swathed in three-quarter of an inch of baby fat, seemed perfect for wrassling, which, according to my theory, requires not only hardness but fleshiness as well. I also liked the dark triangle of hair on his chest. He would have been a great neighbor to have, dropping by on Saturday mornings to grapple on mattresses in the garage, trying again and again to wriggle out of my headscissors.
Dillon Reed, 5'11, 165#, was Jimmy Dean's best opponent, especially in oil wrestling. He was all-business in the ring, too, preferring to trade slugs rather than talk shit. He had basically one expression, but it worked amazingly well in conveying a variety of attitudes: grim determination, disapproval, distrust, anger, confidence, concentration, aloofness.
I have a feeling I'm going to be all alone on this one. Wyld Child, 6'0", 170#, didn't fight in a lot of matches, and he was frankly more an exotic dancer than a skilled wrestler. But his oil-wrestling match with trash-talking John St James (who deserves an honorable mention here, not only for this match, but for a ring fight against Jimmy Dean, for which he should have won a Grammy for vocalizing agony) is a classic, an underlit classic unfortunately, but still a classic. The cheesy moniker was great in that it suggested Oscar Wilde, the Troggs, Axl Rose, and, especially, Tarzan. Tarzan as conceived by Veronica Lake's hairdresser. How many times did my fantasies tweak that match by dressing Wyld Child in a skimpy lion-hide loincloth!
Chris Divito, 5'9", 186#, looked a lot like a professional wrestler I might see on TV, to be specific, Bret "Hitman" Hart. Like Hart, he acted a bit like an assassin, at least the movies' romanticized picture of assassins: lone, cool, opportunistic, proud.
Troy Lucas, 5'8", 165#, was one of the finest wrestlers at Can-Am. His smooth Latin machismo, shredded torso, and hairy forearms were plusses, but it was his ability to handle an opponent in the ring or on the mat that most impressed me. What he lacked, however, was style. He exuded no personality whatever on camera. So Lucas gets the highest marks for athleticism, but no marks for showmanship. He never really sold any of his moves. Unlike all the other guys on this list, he was ineffective in conveying even a modicum of rage or sadism or heroism, and when another fighter did manage to dominate him, he did little to convey the suffering, humiliation, and panic needed for pathos. Still he looked magnificent, and he definitely did know how to wrestle, and that really counts for something.