Thursday, July 29, 2010

We Did It for the Hits (Review)

Okay, just a few things to get out of the way before I get started here.  If your primary interest in wrestling is skimpy tight-fitting gear, twinks with $100 haircuts, pumped-up muscle studs with tans from a can, and/or 40x50-foot hi-def wall monitors that also shoot fireworks, you will probably not enjoy this video.  I'm not criticizing you or your tastes.  I like these things, too, but if I have summed up your entire interest in wrestling entertainment, I am here to tell you that you will find none of that at Beyond Wrestling ... not yet, at any rate.

Here, in my opinion, is what Beyond Wrestling does have to offer.  It's a DIY venue for wrestlers you have never heard of, showing off what they can do in the ring--and you will be amazed.  We're talking Chinese-acrobat amazing.  There's a kind of slacker mentality at work here, too.  Jaded yet supportive, earnest yet mocking, cocky and modest at the same time.   This is where fight club and community theater meet.  BW has the brutal fight intensity of MMA and the anarchic spirit of backyard/basement wrestling.  Yet there's a strong feeling of camaraderie here, as well.

Here the energy, heart, jaw-dropping daredevilry, enthusiasm, sweat, wit, aggression, competitiveness, unruliness, and playfulness that some of us love about catch wrestling is roughly TWICE what you'll find elsewhere.


The match pitting Zane Silver against Johnny Mangue is awesome by any standards.  This is the fight to watch if you want your dick to grow long.  These guys show no fear.  Their bodies slam the goddamned concrete floor and they get right back up, dust themselves off, and start punching each other ... in the teeth.  These are two young and aggressive wrestlers ... no, wait, scratch "aggressive," let's go with "hostile."  Mangue is a juggernaut.  He's been dubbed the "Smooth Savage" in Midwest wrestling.  His assault is relentless and vicious, yet he stays cool and impassive through it all.  Mangue also fights Pitboss in an earlier match.

If one match exacts a certain feeling of dread, it is the battle between Davey Vega, an unpopular sadist who, by reputation, has no regard for either the safety of his opponents or the esteem of his fellow wrestlers, and Zack Novack, a lighter wrestler who brings to the ring a knowledge of Brazilian streetfighting.  Vega makes a conciliatory gesture at the start of the match, telling Novack that he wants to keep this fight on the up and up.  For his part, Novack can handle himself if the aggro gets too real, and it's a good thing too.  Vega works every part of Novack, not limiting himself to a particular strategic limb.  In minutes it's evident that Vega is as bad as his reputation.  He wants to mangle Novack, and Novack is fighting to stay in one piece.  Still, the smaller wrestler is no stooge, and he pushes back, blow for blow, so that the fight gets even nastier.


The DVD contains two mixed-gender matches, both of them featuring Hailey Hatred.  Hatred is as tough and relentless as her name suggests.  The first match is with Johnny Cockstrong (the last name is just the beginning, guys--this dude uses his dong as a sledgehammer).  At first Cockstrong treats the bout as a joke.  But Hatred teaches him a thing or two about respect, before, in the end, Cockstrung stuffs her head down the front of his tights (I kid you not) and brains her with a piledriver off the middle rope.

Her fight with Chase Burnett is full of blows, slaps, and kicks that connect and connect hard.  Initially, Burnett tells Hatred he is not the type of guy that fueled the man-rage that brought her to mixed wrestling in the first place.  Maybe, but the crowd (all fellow wrestlers) shout out that he is exactly that type of guy.  Almost immediately the match turns into a brutal and nonstop fight, in which Burnett tries, as one color commentator puts it, "to kick her face in."  The action is shockingly aggressive, and in the end Hatred pulls up the will and rage to pop Burnett like a zit.


The three tag matches on this disk are a bit more chaotic than I like, but then I have some kind of attention disorder in wrestling that throws me off in almost any tag match or battle royal:  sometimes I just can't see the trees for the forest.  The VanCougars offer something for the plush fetishists, as their gear consists of cutoff felt and plastic tiger costumes.  I have to admit the tiger tail works for me.  I'd wear it in a match, sure.  The VCs wrestle twice, once against Silver and Burnett (Team Beyond) and once against the Garden State Gods (Corvis Fear and Myke Quest).  Both matches are fun and full of energy.


By far, the most impressive tag match sets the Garden State Gods against crowd favorites Team Beyond in the climactic last event on the disk.  The Gods strut out ready to give the lighter team a quick spanking.  Their attitude exhibits a marked disrespect for the venue and their adversaries.  But the two teams are surprisingly well matched.  This is probably one of the best tag matches I have seen in a year or more ... anywhere.  Silver and Burnett are fast and tight.  Their agility and mastery of martial arts are great equalizers against the Gods.  Fear and Quest, on the other hand, know how to hurt guys, and though big, they are not clunky--their acrobatic skills measure up to TB's in a complicated, fierce (yet often graceful) four-way dance of arm drags, roundhouse punches, dropkicks, bulldogs, rope chokes, headscissors, and TKOs.  And as the fight heats up, we get double-teaming in deluxe mode.


Oh, by the way, four months ago I announced that this DVD was going to be called Gay Wrestling--We Did It for the Hits.  Well, that didn't happen--there was major promoter backlash against the title,  to the disappointment of Beyond Wrestling founder Drew Cordeiro, an open-minded straight guy and friend to this blog, who seemed genuinely bummed to have to tell me he had to strike the "gay" reference, due to the pressure, not from the wrestlers, but from those who make the bookings and serve as the middle men in pro wrestling contracting.  However, the rainbow colors still adorn the disk's artwork, and, more subversively, anarchist pop-dance band Chumbawamba's "Outsider" plays under the disk's menu screens:  "I'm not alone, you're not alone / ... / You see me, you hear me, / There are millions think just like me ..."

WDIftH is a step above even Beyond Wrestling's first DVD release, Of Bosses and Busters.  Here is fine-tuned yet rough-around-the-edges brute force I plan to come back to again and again.  Now I'm all stoked for Wrestletopia and "Pop" Culture, too, due out in the coming months.

You can buy BW's We Did It for the Hits at Smart Mark Video.

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