I love pro wrestling. I love the opulent manflesh on insouciant display. I love the naturalistic drama of male-on-male aggression. I love the wisecracks. I love the arrogance. I love the haughty when they are taken down. I love the righteous who, after many a hard ordeal, finally cut the haughty down to size. I love kayfabe. I love shoots. I love the scrub of skin on skin.
For about five minutes I listed "Pro Wrestling" as my "Religious Views" on Facebook last week, before deciding that, no, nothing less than stark "Atheist" will do to show the bible thumpers of America that my faithlessness is unabashed.
I love guys who wrestle. I love their attitudes, their sense of roughneck fun, their odd, earnest, even touching zeal for the sport. I love the smirking smarks, the blind-as-bats refs, and the sniveling valets. I love the street-smart pseudo-intellectuals who think Ayn Rand had all the answers and publish Shatner/Nimoy slash fiction online under their wives' names. I love guys who take their time to work an opponent over, who take a little pride, who make sure the hurt gets done just right.
I hate WWE. I'm sorry. It doesn't work, though they've had some real beauts on their roster over the years. Last night I could force myself to watch only ten minutes of WWE NXT, all for the sake of beautiful Justin Gabriel (the "rookie" with a mere 13 fucking years of pro-wrestling experience) before facing the reality--again, for the thousandth time--that WWE has refined television wrestling mainly by whittling down the wrestling part to almost zero.
I love the words "work over." I love "turnbuckle." I love "squared circle" and "beatdown" and "heel." I love "body slam" and "cheap heat" and "finisher" and "parts unknown" and " rasslin." I love and revere the memory of Gordon Solie (1929-2000), Florida's premier wrestling commentator, who could wax poetic over two sweaty oafs slugging it out, who gave us phrases like "foreign object" and "Pier 6 brawl," who gushed, on many occasions, "Now he wears the crimson mask of ignominy and abject defeat!" He was the man who sent me scurrying to the dictionary to look up "solar plexus." He was our Homer, before the tycoons turned the sport into a travesty.
I love the rhythm of a two-and-a-half count.
I love the splat of sweat on spandex. I love the double bicep pose. I love wrestlers, on the verge of being pinned, who manage just barely to stretch and rest their boot on the bottom rope. I love the heel who suckers the face into shaking hands before the match. I love the half-second it takes a handsome stud to peel off his jacket or shirt. I love the clang of the opening bell--as a teen it gave me instant wood (I even turned down the volume on my bedroom TV for fear that that sound would be enough by itself to betray my unnatural self-pleasuring crimes to the world). I love the arms raised in victory, the sore loser, the baldy claiming his hair was pulled, the stunned amazement on the manager's face when his own fighter accidentally slugs him in the jaw. I love the universally recognized hand signal for "That belt will soon be mine!"
I love the sleeper hold. I love the ritual of lifting the victim's arm and letting it fall limply to the mat. I love the way a victim's well-developed pecs droop languidly atop a slack stomach. I love the jobber who sells it by letting a silver thread of drool stretch off his lower lip.
I love the sissies. I love the jungle lads, skinheads, and Svengalis. I love the Indian braves, the midgets, the billionaires, and village idiots. I love the mysterious men in masks, the golden barefoot boys, the ex-GIs with short fuses. I love the rival brothers. I love the father-and-son tag teams. I love the seasoned veterans and cherub-faced rookies.
I love pro wrestling. If it was a woman, I'd marry it. If it was a man, I'd fuck it till it screamed bloody murder. And if heaven was a nine-zillion-year "I quit" match, no DQs, each contestant glistening with baby oil and sweat, I would run not walk up the aisle next Sunday morning and claim Jesus for my personal lord and savior all over.