Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brand X

Wrestlers go by different names at different promotions.  We all know that.  But the power of a good name is that it shapes the wrestler himself.  Speaking of literature, the novelist William Gass said, "A character, first of all, is the noise of his name."  Would Lestat by any other name have as sharp a fang?  How much is Katherine Mansfield's protagonist Miss Brill shaped by her name's resonances of "brittle" and "shrill," not to mention the implied loneliness of the honorific "Miss"?  In wrestling, how inspired and inspiring are names like "Gorgeous George," "Jimmy Superfly Snooka," "Cactus Jack," "Rick Rude," and "Nick Teeth"?  Would Terry Bollea have ever amounted to anything in wrestling without the name "Hulk Hogan"?

Caleb Brand is BG East's name for a Canadian wrestler who goes by different names elsewhere.  "Caleb Brand," though, is, in my professional opinion--as a college English instructor my tastes in names should count for something--the best of these names--and the character of Caleb Brand, deadpan, sardonic, and sadistic, is the best  role this wrestler has ever played.  Quite apart from the pious biblical origins of the name "Caleb," the name reverberates with hints of "callous," "capable," and "calefy" (which means to "heat up").  "Brand," of course, suggests all three senses of "branding"--to stigmatize, to burn one's mark into the flesh of an animal (or a man),  and to trademark--each connoting a certain degree of verbal, physical, and commercial aggression.  You have to have an ear for the poetry of words to devise a good ring name.

Caleb Brand the wrestler is a fierce competitor, who toys with his opponents the way the most vicious predators play with their food before ultimately gulping them down.  So far he has appeared in six BGE videos, of which I proudly own four.  He is perhaps the most economical heel I have ever watched--able to break a man in half without breaking much of a sweat.  He's not the best looking or most cut guy in wrestling--though I would argue that he wears blue square-cut trunks better than he (or anybody) has a right to--still, he exudes sexiness.  His magnetism springs from his air of self-confidence and his ability to ridicule his adversary with soft-spoken arrogance and to tear him a new asshole with two or three carefully chosen thrusts.  He is cunning, malevolent, and cruelly slow in taking an opponent apart, targeting first the man's means of escape and then moving on to the more fiendish and crippling holds.  The man is a suave brute--how else to say it?  And the most disturbing yet mesmerizing aspect of his wrestling style is his poker-faced and truly sick sense of humor.


  1. Thank you for the pointer to Caleb Brand. After having read this description of his wrestling style, I am very keen to take a look for myself. The promise of slow cruelty and use of fiendish and crippling holds has sold him to me!

  2. Ian: I especially like his match with Velvet Revolver, but probably any of them can do the trick. I'd be interesting in hearing your impression of the guy.

  3. hands off him boys... lol.. he's mine... lol.. we shared a mirror in a mens wc..lol comptroller



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