I realize that the heart and soul of pro catch-as-catch-can wrestling are in the Midwest, clustered around Chicago and then spreading upwards cross the border to Canada, or maybe I've got the directions reversed, and then of course the really big shows are up in the Northeast--Stamford, Connecticut, and, for kinksters like me, Pembroke, Massachusetts.  But for me, given my personal history of rowdy roughhouse, wrestling will forever have a Southern accent.

My feelings about the South are ambivalent--my mother was from Alabama, my father was from Wisconsin, and as a military family we lived in Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Japan, before my father retired and we settled in South Florida.  As an adult, I've lived in Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina, as well as various parts of Florida.  The South has its Gothic charms and its tragic hubris, in equal shares--that is, whatever bits of "Southernness" remain in the midst of strip malls, Costco, and Starbuck's--and it has its fair share of handsome meaty boys who like to rassle, God bless em.

I don't follow this Tennessee promotion (Elite Wrestling Entertainment) closely, so I am not sure about the back story to this match, but I like the basic setup.  Tormented young hothead J.R. Manson, half Jud Fry, half you-know-who, prone to tantrums when the crowd is against him, gets into the ring with clean-cut body beautiful Ty Hamilton, an upbeat out-of-towner, to whom of course the crowd takes an immediate liking--I mean, who wouldn't?  The basic cruelty and beauty of the South are all here--the annoyance with people who "don't fit," or "don't belong," especially when they feel sorry for themselves the way Manson does, and instantaneous, uncritical love for the well-scrubbed good ole boy, all the more so because he's a strapping young stud and--or so would go the immediate assumption in these parts--God fearing, to boot.

Hamilton ultimately wipes up the mat with the pouty malcontent, proving that a little sunshine in the soul and meat on the arms are all you need to get through the hard times.  Hamilton, though!  He's a dish.  The kind of chicken-and-cornbread-fed good looks that makes me go a little lightheaded at least five times a week.  What a body the kid has, too!


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