Hurt So Good
What I like about Chris Steeler is the way he takes the pain. I like other things about him too--his height (6'2"), his arrogance, his bad-boy tattoos, and the way he's fit without being ripped (more on this later). His face is practically a written invitation for knuckles. In high school this guy I knew told me I had the kind of face that people just inexplicably want to punch. I took that as a compliment--as, indeed, given the weird context of the moment, I believe it was meant to be--and I pass it on to Steeler. These recently published shots (by Paparazzo) show Steeler in a June 19th evil-vs-evil tag match--with his Dream Team partner "Juicy" Justin Corino versus the sick and nasty Crazy Chainsaw Bastard and Josef Von Schmidt. Predictably the match ended in double disqualifications. I imagine that the NWA on Fire crowd had a hard time of it that night, having to choose between the psycho sadists and the garden-variety assholes to cheer for. In the middle picture you see how well Steeler sells the hurt. The obsessively groomed Fu Manchu beard is a nice touch when you really want people to want to bust you up. Those thick lips and dark, dare-you eyes make my fists itch just to look at them.
If you were wondering what I meant by the "fit without being ripped" remark, that's what this paragraph is about. First off, let me say that I like beefcake. I like men with big muscles. I have had three or four of them in the sack in my lifetime--one was very memorable. In wrestling, they are great at posing, though not so hot at actually wrestling, which makes them ideal for the WWE. It's not just that their muscleboundness inhibits speed and agility; in real mat wrestling there is less of them to pinch, and in catch wrestling there's less vulnerable flesh to stick the pain to. Let's face it: the Pillsbury Doughboy knows how to take a punch (and come back giggling), while the Jolly Green Giant just stands there with his frigging hands on his hips. I'll take John Morrison for a magic-hands photo shoot, and Chris Steeler in the squared circle. Obviously, I am out of step with the majority here. BG East need not turn to me for advice on what wrestlers to hire. Some of you have told me over and over that I miss the whole point of a good muscle jobber squash. Earlier this month I looked at Pro Wrestling Illustrated's list of the 500 top pro wrestlers, and I am ashamed to admit that I did not recognize the names of over half of them--perhaps only a dozen have been mentioned in this blog (though, happily, I have interviewed two of them here in 2010, #200 and #319). I am, admittedly, out of step and out of the loop. Belligerently proud of it, too.
Don't forget that I did say "fit." I don't mean to suggest that I am mainly interested in watching dumpy, out-of-shape guys wrestle--though if they've got the heart for it, you can sell me a ticket to that match too. (I will enjoy a good fevered fight between any two reasonably ruthless dudes--fat, muscular, skinny, tall, short, guys with MS, whatever.) I am talking about what I consider an ideal physique for ring wrestling. A pro wrestler needs strong arms, shoulders, and back, and thighs he can crush cantaloupes between. He needs a firm round belly, one that juts a bit out there over the waistband of his tights, daring somebody to take a poke at it. It's possible that in his street clothes Chris Steeler would not elicit a second glance from me (I suspect differently, but it is possible), but geared up and shiny with sweat he is irresistibly somebody I would tap.