Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Biff Busick, 24, 6'0", 220#, bills himself as the "Manliest Man," and he's here to take on men who wear pink and lady wrestlers and gym bunnies who look like Tarzan and walk like Jane. I'm not sure how I feel about the gimmick. I'm not offended. That much I'm sure of. Busick has something--a physique, a self-mocking sense of humor, a handsome jutting jaw. I don't sense homophobia in his schtick any more than I sense misogyny. It's ironic, and it's all meant as fun. He's like the love child of Rick Rude and Sgt Slaughter.
What I don't particularly like about Busick is that, so far, his gimmick feels like an empty shell, with no psychological or (dare I say it with a straight face?) philosophical complexity. I could be seriously misreading the man--basing these comments, as I am, on first impressions. Even embracing the fakery of it all, I like at least some weight and substance in my pro wrestling. Even some dignity. The Busick character lacks dignity, it seems to me. He is a Halloween mask. His gimmick ignores--or mutes--the sex and violence of pro wrestling. To me, he represents the cleaned-up and responsibly neutered image of pro wrestling ... for the kids, for the whole family, Saturday morning cartoon style. It has no hard edge, which was the soul of classic pro wrestling before all us marks wised up some 30 years ago.
Busick's gimmick draws upon the mask-wearing and breezily acrobatic traditions of puroresu and lucha libre and vaudevlle--entertaining, sure, very amusing, but what first drew me to pro wrestling is the drama, bordering on ritual, of heroism and cowardice, of isolation and loyalty, of arrogance and the power of the will, the haunted soul of American masculinity. I hate sounding so critical and negative, and I can see that I sound pompous, but I am most of all searching my own soul in these pages, trying to understand what there is in wrestling that resonates in me and strikes me as important and true. It's not that I'm trying so much to be deep as to fully see and grasp the surfaces. Sure, I'm full of shit sometimes. Yeah, I know I contradict myself ... a lot. And, yeah, sure, I dig the dude's hairy pecs, too.