So I am not surprised that this new list is different from the similar one I composed in 2009. I'm more surprised by the similarities, quite frankly. It contains new faces and old faces, a reasonable indicator of the length of time I have been a BG East fan. A name's disappearance from the list should not be taken to mean too much. I readily admit I'm fickle, the result of looking for my sense of self more in the moment than in my commitments and obligations. Each new choice we make trims down the next day's options anyway. The open doors are countless in youth, but by middle age we're left with only a few--and, on a somber note, in the end there's only one threshold left to cross, about which we have no choice. But I think (personal life philosophy) as long as we do have options of any number, we owe it to ourselves at least to consider them, rather than cuff ourselves to habit and the feelings and ties we used to have, which may or may not correspond to our present condition.
Okay, then. That was a wee bit heavier than I intended it to be. Heavy while maintaining my characteristic superficiality. Personal tastes are personal--does that even need to be said? So it goes without saying that I won't mind if your tastes differ from mine (just don't knock mine--they are what they are, not what they're supposed to be).
Guess what? Bass Wallace led my list in 2009, as well. And there I went to the trouble to tell you how fickle I am! I take his reappearance here as a sign of the resilience of early imprints--he was one of the first wrestlers to excite my interest in BG East, back in his heyday in the very early 1990s--and of the constancy of my attraction to quietly sadistic types--the kind that are seldom heels (not flashy enough), the kind that often end the careers of flashy heels.
Cliff Conlin was not on the 2009 list because I never thought of him as a typical BGE product. But he did fight for BG East in the old days, at a time when he was in peak condition too. This photo captures everything that I physically like about him--boy-next-door face, broad shoulders, hair on the chest and thighs (and in the armpits), and thick firm thighs. The clincher this time was that he passes what I call the "brother test." He looks like the kind of guy I wish I'd had as a brother to roughhouse with in my youth.
Jonny Firestorm is the second name to reappear from the 2009 list. If I had the means, Firestorm is the guy I'd hire to teach me to wrestle pro-style. Whether he's conscious of it or not, the way he breathes during a fight is wildly erotic. Has anybody else noticed it? I love the way his diaphragm heaves in and out steadily when he snatches hold of an opponent and somewhat unsteadily when he himself is caught in a hold. He's got the moves that delight me, and he sells them very well--as he does the other guy's holds too.
Austin Cooper wasn't around for the 2009 list. Had he been, he would have made it. Two things I like best about Cooper, which tastes may or may not be unique to me, are his receding hairline (manly, very manly--in beautiful contrast to his ideally boyish face--the same reason I like the actor Ryan Reynolds more the older he gets) and (not evident in this photo) the expression of disgust that contorts his face when he sizes up his opponents. He can be a good guy or a heel, but it's his ability to combine the two as one that charges me up most--and it's an ability that seems characteristic of most of the men on this list.
Mike Martin is the man who stirred my interest in BG East's annual UK forays. Like Wallace, Martin epitomizes the silent type--whose stealth and cold cruelty ensnare, control, and command his opponents' bodies, and, also like Wallace, he can turn an athletic advantage into sexual mastery. Unlike Wallace, however, Martin treats his prey with what looks like genuine affection, smothering the lucky guy with steamy kisses and sweaty, heaving embraces. Until Martin, I never realized how passionately romantic wrestling was--I mean, right up there with Valentine's Day, scented candles, Avon Books, and flowers.
Even before his TV appearances got everybody talking about him in 2011, I liked Donnie Drake. His metamorphosis at BG East is one of the most splendid I've seen--from beaming rube to spawn of Lucifer (a twelve-step program for the 21st century!)--and propelling that metamorphosis is Drake's energy, heart, and ring savvy. And of all the names he fights under, "Donnie Drake" is the most inspired--the diminutive first name that suggests the playground bully and a last name that's easily twisted to "dark" and "rake" and, with some straining, to "draconian"--a word that means severe, harsh, and cruel punishment.
I feel certain I've said this before--and if I haven't, here goes--but Alexi Adamov looks like a cum explosion about to happen. I have to say he was a disappointment at the start of his BGE career. I enthusiastically snatched up his early videos based on seizure-inducing still shots of his physique only to be let down by how easily the other wrestlers pushed him around--and, worse, how his facial expression rarely changed no matter how painful the punishment was supposed to be. As it turns out, though, Adamov's imperturbable mien is perfect for a heel--and in time his wrestling skills developed and his willingness to act recklessly increased, and consequently he is absolutely mesmerizing to watch now. If lacking the flamboyance of Drake, say, Adamov more than compensates with intensity--and, as noted, volatile sexiness.
In his time at BG East, Patrick Donovan has played a number of strongly contrasting roles--good guy and heel, pro-style ring wrestler and Olympic freestyle wrestler, vain and modest, jobber and mainstay. For me he meshes the violence of fighting, homoeroticism, and technical wrestling as sport as well as I've seen any man do it--whether he's taking a licking or breaking his opponent down to size. Offhand, I can't remember a single one of his matches that did not make me want to jump in and wrestle the guy--again either to kick the shit out of him or let him kick the shit out of me. The Irish can lay down a bruise with the best of them, and they can hop right back on their feet after taking a sledgehammer to the teeth. My hat's off to them for that--and if the stereotype is inappropriate for the Irish as a whole, it fits Donovan to a T.
I can't say whether Daz is on this list because or in spite of the fact that he's made only one appearance at BG East or, for all I know, anywhere. All I know is I like his bad-kid-on-the-block look, just Greek god enough to be beautiful and just white trash enough to be exciting. (You have to understand that I grew up in trailer parks and military bases. I know my element.) His one appearance--for me, unforgettable--in Tag Team Torture 6 can stand alone--and, sad to say, it undoubtedly will. His partner Big John Anderson (another knockout) and he, in leather and steel studs, put Kieran Dunne and Joshua Goodman through the grinder without once letting the cool smirks slip from their lips. Where I come from, that's classy.
Trent Blayze has got a scowl that goes for miles. It's quite possibly the best scowl since Butch, the quintessential pug-nosed school bully in the Our Gang films, put his on cinderblocks back in 1940. Then there are the round, truculent belly and the tribal tattoo like a cluster of thorns on his triceps. Toss in pink trunks that just dare somebody to make a remark, and you've pretty much got my idea of a young tough who needs to be taught a lesson.
I would add some honorable mentions, and I could easily stretch the list to 20 or 30 names--BG East has a roster that is that good--but I won't. Apart from this list, frequent readers pretty well know who I like anyway.