Twenty-Two by Arledge
I hear you, George Bailey, it is a wonderful life. Last night my best buds spoiled me for Christmas by taking me out for hanger steak and the best guacamole around (at Dos Perros, here in Durham) and then John Waters live in concert at the Carolina Theatre. Waters riffed hilariously on Christmas trees, Justin Bieber, Jeff Stryker, Santa Claus, abortion movies, living creches, and Cookie Mueller's parents. All the while my buds and I plied ourselves with margaritas, beer, and, then, in a bold, unwise, but fuck-it-all move, my favorite cocktail, the Sazerac, at Whiskey on Main Street, the same bar and the same drink that put me in a near coma last year.
Meanwhile, in the wee hours of this snowy (now icy rain) morning, Blake Arledge, one of the top five wrestling photographers in the world, sent me the link to some of his best work yet, shot at a Southern Championship Wrestling show in Laurens, South Carolina, last Friday. He does this for me because he knows I'm a hardcore Stoney Hooker fan--so how's that for friendship? Blake, I love you, man.
The shots confirm what I often suspect: even admitting I have a bias, pro wrestling in the South offers more meat, grunts, and sweat than you are likely to find anywhere else. You will want to check out the motherload of wrestling images here at Arledge's site, but here I have selected some of the very best of the best, which I determine through an arduous scientific process, i.e. what gives me a boner. Even by those hard criteria, I wound up with nearly forty photos. I aimed to whittle that number down to just eight to twelve, but twenty-two was the best I could manage:
Alex Avgerinos and Brian Thrill versus James Anthony and Shane O'Grady
"Loaded Gunz" Ken Magnum versus Jamie Lee
Sinister Amp versus "Sweet" Steven Stiffler
"Raging Bull" Manny Fernandez and Derek Free versus Black Angel and Deon Johnson
Main Event: SCW Champion Stoney Hooker versus Kirby Mack