wres-tle-to-pi-a (ras-uhl-toh-pee-uh)  n. 1.  often Wrestletopia  An ideally perfect setting for professional wrestling, especially in its aggressive, intense, and daredevil aspects.  2.  An impractical, idealistic, frankly harebrained, scheme for reform of the current modes of performing and perceiving professional wrestling [New Jack Latin Wrestletopia, imaginary island in Sir Thomas More's lost sequel to Utopia, which begins memorably, with the phrase Puga pyga plagatus pessime : Middle English wrestlen, from Old English wræstlian, frequentive of wræstan, to twist + Greek topos, place.]—wres'tleto'pian n.
I've given you the Beyond Wrestling formula before, but here it is again:  young, rather obscure, but hungry pro wrestlers compete not only against each other but for each other, to win not just a match but also the respect and applause (or catcalls) of their peers seated around the ring.

These guys come from all over--well, not from Japan, or Mexico, or the UK, no place like that, but from distances that almost definitely use up more than one tank of gas to get to Ohio--to compete in a venue closed to the public, for the sake of honing their craft and rallying each other on towards excellence ... or, on a bad day, multiple contusions.

A lot of the emphasis--and here I am speaking specifically of BW's latest DVD release Wrestletopia--is on the hard clenches and strenuous moves often celebrated in these pages--along with some sky-high kicking and mouthy opening monologues, not my things, really, but done well enough here.  And while there's nothing here that's overtly homoerotic, the testosterone and adrenaline levels are high enough to warrant the use of the word "sexy" both as an adjective and as an exclamation.

The action in these matches consists of four things that always work for me:
  1. slaps (everybody has a favorite finisher, but what beats a loud slap to the face--or chest, or back--for a starter?  A patent show of disrespect launches the best fights ever.  Then there's the pink hand print on pasty skin as evidence of the deed for the rest of the fight.)
  2. two counts (it's the cliche that never fails--for one and a half seconds this one guy has the other guy pinned to the mat, the taste of victory in his mouth and his opponent's heart pounding helplessly against his own, and then in a flash they're both right back where they were before and the night's outcome is still up in the air)
  3. the drive to hurt somebody (you won't find punches that connect more soundly or smackdowns that look and feel more crippling anywhere else--these guys are showmen showing off in front of their peers, so, more often than not, kayfabe or no, they cross some boundaries the big promotions would never let them cross)
  4. bad guys, especially cowardly big-mouthed bad guys who talk big to the camera but run away from a real fight--and most especially when there's a heel on heel match, which promoter Denver Colorado decrees on Night Two of Wrestletopia after Night One erupts in brutality in a climactic match pitting mouthy Chris Dickinson against good guy Zack Novack (... on Night Two Colorado forces Dickinson to fight his pal and corner-cutting henchman The Pitboss, or not fight at all)
My favorite three matches on Wrestletopia are J-Block vs Chase Burnett, Lamont Williams vs The Kombai Kid, and Matt Cross vs Corvis Fear, but ask me again and I may change my mind on this, given another minute to think about it.  In fact, at various points in its evolution, my "Top Three" list has included all but two of the 11 matches on this release--and I could possibly be talked into including one or both of those two on future versions of this list.

This set is a great followup to "Pop" Culture, which BW gave away for free on YouTube and Facebook, and shows that the tiny federation has genuinely utopian ideals--dedication to training, liberty to experiment, spontaneity of expression, respect for the carnival traditions of pro wrestling, and permission to go wild.


  1. chris dickinson is a most talented wrestler even if crazy, plus he has the biggest bulge in wrestling and gets a boner at some some stage in every match


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