The Golden Age
Gentlemen, we are in the golden age of homoerotic wrestling.
Look back ten years, twenty years, thirty, and you will find nowhere near the number of businesses devoted to our particular kinks (gut-punching, frot, skin, m4m domination, etc.) or underground and gay-interest wrestling sites on the Internet as there are today. Just look at the social networking sites devoted just to us: WrestleMen, Globalfight, Luchamos, and others.
Look also at the pro wrestling world--even the patent shit on television--how many wrestlers from the '90s or '80s measure up in sheer studliness to Tyler Black, Jason Hades, Roderick Strong, John Morrison, Stoney Hooker, Ashton Vuitton, Justin Gabriel, Chris Steeler, Carter Gray, Beef Wellington, Chris Dickinson, TJ Perkins, Terry Frazier, Kota Ibushi, Adam Cole, Brad Flash, Matt Boyce, Edge, John Cena, Randy Orton, and I could go on and on, and you know it.
Before 2000? Sure there are some: Kevin Von Erich, Alex Wright, Rick Rude, Tony Atlas, Steve Grey, Billy Kidman, for starters. But they are few and far between.
What caused the upsurge? A number of factors served as midwives to this renaissance: gay liberation, metrosexuality, Fight Club, backyard wrestling, DVDs, YouTube, Spike TV, bears, MTV's Wrestling Society X--in short, a lot of things have come together to make this moment happen. Even the WWE has played a part, though, I would argue, more as an incitement than as a model.
The bad news is this isn't going to last forever. One day your collection of Paul Perris and Cole Cassidy DVDs is going to be worth a mint on eBay and Craig's List--or whatever comes along in the future to replace them. Hopefully, though, the end is not near.
Now some of you may be asking, "Joe, so what?" Good question and succinctly put. So here's my point: We need to make hay while the sun is shining. Now is not the time for bullheaded consumer loyalty--there are lots of good sources of eroto-wrestling product out there, and we need to support them, within our means, to ensure that they stay viable. Sure, between Can-Am and BG East, we have our preferences, but let's do what we can to keep both of them going strong. Every now and then we need to drop some $s on Naked Kombat, PWP, Krushco, NHB-Battle, UCW-Wrestling, NRW, Bulldog Wrestling UK, and the like. They're all different and all the better for it. Go on and favor your favorites, but check out the competition too. Let these guys know what it is you like.
Write fan letters to your favorite wrestler--gay, straight, or unknown. Let him know where you're coming from--if you're gay, go ahead and say so--or at least tell the guy you're a guy too and you like the way he wears his spandex. Don't stalk him, for fuck's sake, but let him know you're here. Let him know he has a fan base that appreciates the erotic implications of his art. Trust me, the young guys, most of them who are not cretins (yeah, there are still some of those) are not going to be shocked--amused, perhaps, but not shocked. Most of the new breed in wrestling strike me as fairly cool.
Support new and promising ventures like EVOLVE, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Beyond Wrestling--especially the ones in your vicinity--be vocal about your preferences and interests. Do what you can to diminish the homophobia that has traditionally dominated professional wrestling. Don't cringe at the swishy heel--sure, the stereotype stinks and is as old as Cheney, but stand up and cheer, and hope he nails that fair-haired empty-eyed hunk to the mat. Heels have become faces on nothing more than the pop they inspire in the fans.
And if you're lucky enough to live close to live ventures like Pride Pro Wrestling, Mike's Fight Show, and Grapple101, show up at their events, even if it's just bartender jello wrestling night, scream your lungs out, or strip down and hop into the ring and rassle. Be first in line to buy tickets to see movies like 300, Never Back Down, and Fighting--even if they are 99% schlock, and they are, there's sure to be that 1% that stiffens your willy--and that's got to be at least as worthy of the $9.50 admission as some computer-generated spaceship blowing up--and it's one more vote for Hollywood to grease up Taylor Kitsch and Kellan Lutz and throw them in a steel cage to fight to the death.
"Nothing gold can stay," wrote Robert Frost. We're lucky, given our tastes and interests, to be alive at this moment. Take advantage of it.