Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gentlemen's Contest

Arguably the classic era of British pro wrestling extends to the present day, though the relatively rule-free American style has largely eclipsed it (for us Americans anyway).  By North American (and here I include Mexican) and Asian standards, British rules wrestling is a quiet, plodding, unassuming event, a considerably more corporeal game than chess, but no less cerebral, even academic.  The rules seem strange to us, summarized on Wikipedia as a formula of "five minute rounds (three minutes for title matches), two public warnings for rule breaking before a disqualification, 'knockouts' (countouts) and disqualifications counting as automatic two falls in best of three falls matches (which were predominant), and no follow-up moves allowed on a grounded opponent."  God damn it to hell, is this rasslin or Mah Jong?

Eye-gouging, hair-pulling, and kicking were not just illegal tactics, but ones that instantly identified the active party as a heel of the lowest order, eliciting hisses and boos from the crowd.  By contrast, in the new school wrestling of 2010, these now "morally ambiguous" tactics elicit cheers, provided the guy on the receiving end is detestably cowardly, effeminate, Muslim, or ugly.  I'm on record as liking some hair-pulling now and then.  But I've grown to like the more civil style of wrestling, too, certainly over the archly melodramatic and high-flying spectacles that giant arena wrestling has become in the USA and, now, Europe (and here I include the United Kingdom).  It contains its own drama, the three falls roughly corresponding to a three-act play, and while there's hardly any microphone-thumping outbursts, there is plenty of grunting and groaning, which I prefer.  And I hardly need to add that I like long strenuous holds over the rope jumping and staple-gunning of contemporary wrestling shows.

In its favor, the golden age of British wrestling featured wrestlers who actually knew how to wrestle, the aforementioned exhausting struggle of muscle on (sweaty, hairy) muscle, and fetching cornermen to ogle during the breaks between rounds.  The breaks in the match actually give the audience time to feast its eyes on the physiques of the contestants and to savor their exhaustion and frustration, something non-stop, "extreme" wrestling deliberately denies us, even though the physiques are usually more noteworthy now--a prohibition based on, as I have suggested elsewhere, fear of the feminizing implications of the male-male gaze, if not outright homophobia.

In this six-round match from 1976, posting courtesy of tellumyort on YouTube, we see a veteran champ built like a tractor, in the person of Mike Marino, 5'11", 209#, up against tall, strapping newcomer Lee Bronson, 6'2", 213#.  Both men wrestle scientifically and assertively, but remain gentlemen throughout:  they congratulate each other when bested by an effective hold, and in the end the loser is first to applaud the winner's triumph.  How is this sexy?  Well, for one thing, this approach emphasizes the comradely nature of old-fashioned sportsmanship.  Two buddies amiably, even affectionately grappling has always been a huge turn-on for me, both in the doing and the watching of, so a purely scientific match between two mutually respectful opponents is just the same thing in a larger, more public venue.  Plus there is the well established appeal of the "straight edge," the manly, earnest innocence of fair play, clean living, and a square fight.  Then, too, there's the long, strenuous, grunting holds--did I mention them already?  And, yes, those two adorable cornermen too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Justin Bieber of British Pro Wrestling



A couple more dreamy shots of babyface Owen Phoenix.  I imagine a new fed is about to launch--Wunderkind All-Twink Wrestling Association (WAWA).  Seriously, I would love to watch this lad up against another wrestler his age, size, and physique--I'm getting all dewy just thinking about it.

1000


By my best calculation this is my 1,000th post.  Google Analytics is no help on this matter, giving me contradictory counts from day to day.  It would be nice if I could play this benchmark up a bit, by perhaps posting a thousand pictures of naked wrestlers or awarding a cash prize of $1000US to the thousandth visitor to comment on this thousandth post, but I would have had to prepare for months for the former and, as for the latter, I can't remember the last time I held $1000 in cold cash in my hands.  What we have here is no big-ticket, top-shelf venture, just a humble, piss-ant blog, so I have no gifts to bring for this mathematically monumental post ... just me and my kinks ... pa rum pum pum pum.

Oh, and by the way, I am sure the two sailor models above are swell fellows and fun to be around, but I am totally unconvinced of their grit and aggression.

Bolo




Aaron Bolo, 24, 6'1", 225#, from Tacoma, Washington, started his pro wrestling career five years ago and can be seen on West Coast Wrestling Connection, ECCW, and, on occasion, WWE.  In the November 21st WC-WC match pictured above, Bolo battles Pretty Peter Avalon in a contest he ultimately lost.  Check out the thighs and the back--I know, I'm fixated.  (Photos by Peter Bellerby)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Defining Cameron Mathews


One of the awesome things to watch over the past two or three years has been the shaping up of Cameron Mathews, 5'11", 189#, who turns 25 in eleven days, having wrestled professionally since age 15.  We have seen the ubiquitous indy jobber at BG East, Cyberfights, NWA on Fire, Ring of Honor, and Thunder's Arena, and, beyond those five, Mathews has hit almost every small fed east of the Mississippi and north of the Everglades.  Through it all, he has stuck with the same ring name--a ballsy move for a pro wrestler working in both mainstream (straight-defined) and underground (gay-defined) venues.

In the last year he's redefined himself as a much more formidable opponent in the ring and drawn nearer to realizing his self-assigned nickname "Champ."  His arms, shoulders, chest, and thighs have achieved better definition, as well, as these photos confirm.  Still boyishly cute, Cameron now has a taut lean face, a harder glint in his eyes, the better to accentuate his high cheekbones and rugged jawline.  From certain angles, he now resembles the actor Ben Affleck (who's undergone a similar physical transformation--did anybody else see The Town?  Woof).  Like Affleck, Mathews has pushed his own career forward through stormy, ego-deflating waters.  From the beginning, he has taken the initiative and done what it takes to survive in a harsh and high-risk profession that saps the spirit out of many a man.  Tirelessly self-promoting, he maintains his own web site, signs autographs for the fans, and graciously responds to questions from pervy little blogs like this one.

(Top photo unattributed, but all the rest belong to Paparazzo)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Am Large



Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself, 
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
--Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Here's a match that exhibits my ability to live. like Whitman, in almost constant contradiction with myself, to go with my vacillations on matters like the gay gimmick and slim, pretty-boy wrestlers and submission versus pro-style matches.

I like the long wavy hair of Matt Taven, who fought through a battle royal to challenge the NWA on Fire champ, triumphing over the likes of Chris Steeler and Cameron Mathews to get here.  I love his slack, dusky corpulence, which speaks of the bon vivant's fondness for pasta, sweets, and the easy life, always at war with his workout regimen, almost as much as I love the stormtrooper severity of Bobby Robinson, with his hard physique and stern haircut.   I am happy that both, so different in style, are tough competitors in this fight, but, for all my fondness and respect for Taven, I root for Robinson to pound his ass.

18 June 2010, NWA on Fire, Mexico, Maine (Photos by Paparazzo)

Jay Spade and Joey O'Riley


Here's a link to an IWA Unlimited (Illinois) match from Wednesday, pitting Jay Spade against Joey O'Riley, two young wrestlers who, former tag partners, now apparently in perpetual motion as rivals, never disappoint in the ring.  (Photos above by Miranda King)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Golden


Some of my favorite pro wrestlers can be found on NWA on Fire: Matt Taven, Chris Steeler, and Cameron Mathews, to name just three.  These are big meaty men who sweat buckets, perspiration being one of NWA's claims to fame, apparently.  This man here with the haven't-we-met-somewhere-before face is "Golden Boy" Bobby Robinson, 6'1", 200#, current NWA on Fire champion, my favorite of the lot.  Arrogant, intense, built for fighting, with the gaze, nose, and jawline of a predator, Robinson is my goto guy for glower.  If he locks those blues on you, you might as well pin yourself to the mat.  (All photos: Paparazzo)

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