I know that Patrick Bentley has a taste for the "dark side"--Gothic melodrama, chthonic allusions to H.P. Lovecraft, and, at one time, a provocative gimmick that might best be described as "the Charles Atlas of zombies." But can that be the reason why so many photographs and videos of his matches look so sinisterly seedy?

I like the blurred slashes of light and the blacker blacks here. It's how wrestling photographs should look--I want every one to look like a George Bellows painting of a club fight in the early twentieth century--though admittedly, if that's all there was, I would pine for the bright, clinical clarity that lets me count every dimple and see every bead of sweat like a relief map of the Rockies.

Harold Jay Taylor took these raw and moody pictures for Rampage Pro Wrestling's third anniversary show in Georgia, two weeks ago today: Patrick Bentley versus Jimmy Rave. Bentley played the good guy in this match. Rave spit his chewing gum in his face when he offered to shake hands. So things got nasty for the next ten minutes--both men reportedly stunning the enthusiastic Warner Robins crowd with a well-executed touch-and-go story in a show that (and I quote Pro Wrestling Illustrated) "blends the old and the new in a way that is built for the long haul."


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