Solving an Equation for an Unknown

To prove that his championship win last month was no fluke, Hector Canales accepted an impromptu challenge from Ricky Mandel this past Saturday and beat his former partner once again.  So there.  

Mandel is one of those wrestlers still floating in my peripheral vision.  Every time I see a photograph of him, one that captures his beautiful body from the right angle, I think, "What a stud!"  Yet four or five days later, I can't even picture what he looks like.  And he's not somebody who springs to mind when I run through the rosary of wrestlers I need to see more of.

This is a situation that can change, of course--all it takes is the right photograph or the right match, and a wrestler can shoot up into my pantheon of fightsport gods.  It happened for Jason Hades with a match against his former pal Jayson Quick, now wrestling under his birth name, Carter Gray.  (Gray, like Mandel, is still in my peripheral vision.)  Roderick Strong was in the shadows until he spit in Davey Richards' face during a match.  It wasn't the saliva as much as it was the moment that did the trick for me--and the bad-ass expression on Strong's face ... utter contempt for his opponent and a reckless willingness to burn all bridges in every direction, alienating fans, fellow wrestlers, whatever it might take to get ahead.  (No, I'm not big on Ayn Rand, though, yes, I do understand the allure, I think.)

I like everything Ricky Mandel does--his arrogance, his foolishness, his narcissism--all great traits in a heel.  But for some reason--through no fault of his--I haven't been caught up in him or in the image he projects.  I suspect I might cross that line someday--yet for the life of me I can't predict what it would be that could cinch the deal for me.  It's hard to pin down what suddenly, unpredictably clicks ... that tipping point of attraction and infatuation.  It's something different for everyone I've ever been drawn to--in real life and in fantasies--and, to my recollection, it has never been the same thing twice--though wrestling counts as a broad category that typically factors into the equation.

For me, anyway, no one thing consistently produces the desired effect.  Something different every time it happens. Just an unreproducible moment--amazing, perplexing, and elusive.


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