Trent Novak, 6'0", 175#, talks too much. He's new. He's hot. He thinks he's got Rock Hard Wrestling by the small hairs even before he's fought his first match. Austin Cooper, 5'9", 165#, thinks the newcomer talks too much too. Cooper's my man. Trent beats Austin in an arm-wrestling contest, and the victory goes to his head. He doesn't think he's got a thing to learn from Cooper. He thinks RHW ought to just hand him a belt with a big shiny medallion on the front of it, just because he's so fucking hot. Did I already say he's hot? Yeah. And he talks too much. If Cooper can't shut this kid up, let me get my hands on him. Novak jabbering nonstop, bouncing on his toes, almost dancing--like he's Mufuckinghammad Ali or something--Cooper has to do something about that. Somebody's got to cut Trent Novak down to size.
Where do these guys come from? Several years ago I thought the gay wrestling thing was petering out. I thought we had run out of pretty youth and out of tough guys who could wrestle. Now, all of a sudden, we've got all these new names to learn, beautiful butch young men with physiques that flash like switchblades--and they know how to fight, whether winning or losing, they can sell it. We're in a new era, I think, of gay wrestling, with a new generation of talent--colorful performers, men who look like they stepped out of 2xist billboards, many of them with real wrestling knowhow. On top of everything else they have going for them, they know what they're doing.
Right now most of the guys wrestling for the top promotions in the relatively narrow kink market are every bit as good as 70% of the pro wrestlers on cable TV back in the early '80s. I mean that. I'm not saying they're as good as Kevin or Randy or Rick or any of the saints in the highest 10%--not yet, anyway--but the rank-and-file worker in gay wrestling today is at least as good as the rank-and-file performer in 1981--and he's three times better than the street kid wrestling in his threadbare skivvies at Old Reliable (though, I have to admit, I love and miss those skinny parolees kicking each other's ass for dope and whiskey money).
Wherever they come from, they wind up at Rock Hard Wrestling ... and two or three other places, but Rock Hard, once on the periphery of my awareness, is elbowing its way to the center of the spotlight. There's only so much room in the light. Yet somehow, somehow, the gay wrestling industry keeps chugging along--and not only that but getting better too. RHW is probably in the top three companies catering to my lusts and fantasies today, certainly in the top five. I'm impressed with the polish of its product. The high-definition camerawork, the substantial set, the subtle use of music to underscore the action and emotion. And whereas once I criticized the skill and conviction of its wrestlers, I now do so less and less. (That word--"conviction"--is really at the heart of it, I think. Looks and moves are not enough. You can't just trot through your paces anymore--though some still do. You've got to immerse yourself in the drama, the character, the struggle, the physicality of wrestling.)
Austin Cooper and Trent Novak have a little heel in them--they have anger issues, they are well-rounded characters, believable as real, and they are blessedly evenly matched. Novak's ego pretty well steadies the scales against Cooper's savvy. By my standards, you can't beat that kind of balance. I'm in heaven watching these two gods rip into each other. Obviously it's fake as Christmas--but Cooper and Novak believe it, at least for the 22 minutes they're in the thick of it, and they sweat conviction. Moving from hold to hold is always dicey, but they do okay with even challenging transitions--and they make you feel each armbar, each backbreaker, each camel clutch. The "theater" is not as sharp and compelling as the very best of the older promotions, but it's getting there. Fast. And you may have seen as good but you've never seen better bodies in conflict. These two look like they were carved out of a giant slab of awesome. Rock Hard is on a rock-steady climb to excellence, and this match is a significant step up in that progress.