Autobiographical Notes on a Main Event

"Gentleman" Chris Adams and "High Flyin'" Kevin Von Erich versus "The Handsome Half-Breed" Gino Hernandez and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, World Class Championship Wrestling.

No doubt, my interest in this historic match is mainly Kevin Von Erich's torso and legs. Not "Gentleman" Chris Adams's nefarious heel turn. Most definitely not the competition among valets and managers, Dallas-slash-Dynasty drama that junks up over a third of the video. I suspect that large numbers of the attending fans, male and female--and those who watched on their TVs at home, as I did--might have claimed the same point of interest, but I would have been willing to say so at the time.

The match interests me most when Kevin is in the ring against handsome Gino Hernandez, especially those few seconds when Kev backs Gino into the corner to give him a good pounding. For me the whole show was (and mostly still is) Kevin's pecs, thighs, and erector spinae (before Brad Pitt focused our collective attention on six-packs in Thelma and Louise, Von Erich had them ... on his back!) Later in the bout, Von Erich takes a pounding too--and the camera gets to dwell on his hurt and recumbent figure. Almost thirty years ago, I would have freely admitted this interest because, after a latency stage too long by a decade, I had just the year before come entirely out of the closet--to family, at work, for the world.

It was at this point, the early autumn of 1984--or thereabouts--that my interest in televised wrestling began to diminish--and the slump lasted for five years. With hindsight I could claim that this decline in interest corresponds with changes in the nature of pro wrestling--bloody live shows and short TV matches that were more promo and histrionics than rassling. The slump was not a total blackout. I still tuned in to wrestling from time to time, but almost invariably found it disappointing.

But mostly the slump was due to my coming fully out of the closet, because, at the time, after years of feeling guilty about my love of wrestling because it seemed too gay, for me as a newly out gay man in his early 30s, it suddenly seemed not gay enough--my fight fetish struck me then as a throwback to my (usually) repressed sexuality in my teens and twenties. So instead I pursued man-on-man sex straight up--unsafely at that, at probably the worst time in human history to be doing so, yet luckily I survived without infection--few of my friends were lucky as I. 

Happily, five years later I found a boyfriend who agreed to wrestle as foreplay, whose interest in BG East, Can-Am, and Old Reliable tapes approached my own. And while the boyfriend did not last, the revived and newly transformed interest in wrestling has endured to the present day. 

Shortly before I started Ringside at Skull Island, I came out of a second closet. I confessed my love of wrestling, of its intricate intertwining with my sexuality, to my gay, bi, and straight friends, to my office-mate at work, and, through the blog, to the public or whatever slice of the public might be interested. This had been a part of me I had shared only with a boyfriend and a few one-night tricks through the 1990s.

My early wrestling heroes--Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Rick Martel, Kevin Von Erich, and Steve Simpson--still figure heavily in my stockpile of eroto-wrestling iconography. Though they themselves now seldom appear in my sexual fantasies, their attitudes, gear, moves, and holds--along with free-floating elements from their old wrestling gimmicks and angles--sometimes inhabit other bodies in my masturbatory reveries. 

I started this blog to explore (for myself, mostly, and only secondarily to share with readers) my fascination with wrestling, certain wrestlers, and the rarely analyzed and seldom even mentioned interface between fighting and fucking. I'm convinced that no serious and thoughtful discussion of the current prevalence of bullying should ignore this interface (though it is being ignored). And I would not want to slip into hasty generalizations here, but I suspect that it is an important key to understanding male sexuality in general (hetero- no less than homo-), Western (at least) rituals of masculinity, and male friendship, too.


  1. Interesting history of your personal evolution, Joe. I, too, thought my wrestling fetish was a product of my repressed sexuality, a denial of physical contact with men manifest in its most extreme and brutal form, but later I realized that sex through wrestling was an end in itself, such that I no longer perceive sex and wrestling as separate from each other.


  2. I went through many similar emotions as you did, Joe and it is great to be able to read your personal thoughts. Your writing is excellent and I am happy that I discovered your blog. Keep on postin'...!


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