Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Rankings, 2011

Ninety-eight countries claim the remaining 11% of pageviews in August.

Casanova


Bryan Casey ... er, Bryan Casanova, and Andrew Pendleton III, billed together as For the Love of Money, beat Youth Gone Wild (Anthony Henry and Dustin Knight) to become the new NWA Anarchy Tag Team Champions Saturday.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zack-ly







I am not surprised--nor should you be--that my favorite parts of July 28th's battle (here and here) of KENTA, 5'8", 180#, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, 5'8", 187#, against Zack Sabre Jr., 5'10", 180#, and Taishi Takizawa, 6'3", 216#, are when KENTA and Zack face off. KENTA's adrenaline-spiking slaps provide a nice counterpoint to Sabre's side swoop kicks to the calves. The bad guys double-team, pull hair, and, in short, do almost everything right.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but Zack's look has changed over the last year. Maybe it's just the haircut (somewhat de-emo'd, less pouty, but still cute as a manga kangaroo), but it appears that the handsome Brit has lost ten pounds or else worked some loose baby fat into hard muscle. His face looks gaunt, less boyish--and he's adopting a cockier attitude--works for me, all of it. 

What has most sustained my interest in the 24-year-old wrestler, though, is his mind. No, really, I mean that. Any pro wrestler who tweets stuff like "Japan is essentially like living in the future, except that there's a worrying amount of Mizuno sportswear being fashioned by the folks here" and "David Lynch releasing a solo record is really bloody good news" possesses just enough wit, refined taste, and imaginative curiosity as to preclude his ever getting a WWE contract.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shock







"The Last Hero" Shock, 6'1", 209#, wrestles for Italian Championship Wrestling. These shots are by David Bellini. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Old School









"Old School" Oliver John, 39, 6'0", 236#, is what a pro wrestler should look like. Burly, hard, with thighs of steel and a jaw that looks like it could crack lug nuts. There are too many shots of him with a microphone for my tastes, but he wears his tights well, so there's something to look at, at least. He wrestles on the West Coast, where, along with Derek Sanders and Zach Reeb, he performs an anti-immigrant heel gimmick in lucha-libre shows. Seventies wrestler Paul DeMarco trained him in the old-school ways back in the late eighties, when he was a teenager.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bryan x 5




Bryan Casey is somebody to watch. I am watching, anyway. (Photos: Bobby Forrest, David Ruiz)



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fuck Wrestle Shoot

Billy and Chuck (WWE) 
The Heart Throbs (EWA, OVW, TNA, WWE) 
Lenny and Lodi (WCW)
So this must be the inevitable gay gimmick duo edition. Then one assumes all six would be up for fucking and wrestling. Arguably they all need shooting for perpetuating shallow and pansified stereotypes of gay men--and doing it with so little insight. My picks: Fuck Billy and Chuck, wrestle Lenny and Lodi, and shoot the Heart Throbs. Can anybody tell me whether Ring of Honor ever had a gay gimmick, single or duo?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some Quick Notes on Puroresu







Watch what I'm talking about here and here. This is a fine championship match from Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan, early 2009, pitting KENTA, 5'9", 179#, in brown and yellow, against Katsuhiko Nakajima, 5'10", 209#, in white and gold. I wonder if some of you readers can suggest some possible explanations why I love Japanese wrestling, because in many ways it differs dramatically from the grunt-and-grimace old-school American wrestling I love, while still retaining a lot of its original spirit, I feel. I lived in Japan as a kid, so nostalgia for my time there may play a small part in my affections, but I'm not inclined to think it plays any substantive part. I am not especially attracted to Asian men, in general, i.e. I am not a "rice queen," but in action in the wrestling ring they somehow gain sex appeal 100-fold--whereas non-Asians also gain sex appeal while wrestling, but, let's say, a mere 80-fold. Here are my thoughts at present--
  • I like it because it manages to be over-the-top hyper-dramatic without the self-parody and clowning of WWE. The guys seem to mean business. Japanese wrestling has elements of comedy, to be sure, some of it too bizarre for words, but that comedy is segregated from the main matches, whereas  in WWE nearly every televised fight is a cartoon, only shorter, wedged between moronic and blustery microphone speeches. (On this point, American indy/regional wrestling is also far superior to WWE.)
  • On a related note, I like the Japanese concept of masculinity. Maybe it's eight-tenths "short man syndrome." I don't know. I like samurai movies, the samurai code, the steely professionalism of the Asian warrior.
  • I like that there's cheering for both competitors in most cases. The fans do not appear to be corralled into one camp or another. ROH is a bit like that, where, for instance, as many fans booed Tyler Black back when he was champ as cheered for him. Japanese fans like whom they like, sure, but there's something more, too: greater respect for the spectacle of wrestling than for the personalities of the individual wrestlers--two competitors like KENTA and Nakajima can face off and receive respectful applause for a well-turned move or hold, regardless of which one does the trick. (Some of my feeling here might be nostalgia for the old kinescopes of 1950s American wrestling, with men in the audience in coats and ties and ladies in gloves and pillbox hats, as if attending a church service.)
  • I like the way Japanese wrestlers pull off high-flying acrobatics and yet manage still to make it look convincingly like combat. It seems to me that American and British wrestlers pulling the same schtick usually make the derring-do an end in itself, seldom convincing me that the move, however impressive, is instrumental to a strategy for defeating the other man.
  • Admittedly I may like Japanese wrestling because I see and understand so little of it that I miss that it's just as big a mess as WWE. That's a real possibility--but at present there's just no way of putting that hypothesis to the test.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fire Fighter


Krushco is still your goto place for big burly lugs savagely grappling for dominance on a mat. It's not about narrative or muscle or yucks or montage or youth or world titles or even winning and losing. It's about sweat, slaps, bite marks, boners, pain, respect, spandex, and fighting and panting to the point of exhaustion, to the point that the two of you are semiconscious heaps gliding across each other's body like ice floe. This is no frills wrestling. It's basic and it's primal. It's not about prettyboys, and it's not "entertainment." This is ritual in the raw. A Krushco match is hypnotizing, ecstatic, and brutal. It's one of those things you get or you don't get. I like to think of its master, Krush, as the Iron John of queer wrestling.

Krush goes up against Johnny O in Underground Wrestling 71, the company's latest release for download. As Krush at one point suggests, Johnny O may not have realized what he was stepping into, but he gets it without anybody having to explain it and throws himself 100% into the fray. This match is a lot like your first brush with wrestling--whatever the exact circumstances of it were, and assuming you've ever wrestled outside of gym class--where you learned that two men's bodies in struggle have their own rhythm--and it's a rhythm that seems to open up some kind of quasi-spiritual space (though still steeped in the world of flesh, sex, and physics) like the dizzying dance of Dervishes--or the pounding beat of house music at three in the morning. Or so I think. Krush eggs the guy on, pushing him to his limits, taunting him, wearing him down to a frazzle, so that Johnny O looks like he can no longer tell up from down. And how else to describe his face at that moment but as "enraptured"?






Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bryan Casey


You know me, always an eye out for a handsome young evildoer. Bryan Casey is a wrestler in Nashville who purports to hail from Miami. That's about all I know about him--that, and that he's a sniveling coward ever ready to take a cheap shot to win a match, heedless of the pain and suffering he causes others. Oh my, what a dreamboat!



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beat the Summer Heat


Kenny Omega, after a string of astounding triumphs in Japan, returned to Winnipeg and Premier Championship Wrestling Thursday to reteam with Chris Stevens and defend their new tag-team championship belts against Chad Tatum and Mike Angel. Omega, at a career high, looks fantastic. Emotions (and phallic symbolism) ran rampant. And predictably there was a run-in with former teammate Australian Scott Justice, foreshadowing, I hope, a heated feud.

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