Double Meat Topping

Thunder's Arena has played on Dominic's name before, most notably in the way, in his early appearances, his red-and-blue trunks parodied Domino's Pizza's colors and design. In No Holds Barred 17, Dominic, 5'9", 180#, in solid red here, tangles with genial Batar, 5'8", 185#, over a burnt pizza. Batar innocently makes a mess of the last frozen pizza in the fridge, blackening it to charcoal from top to bottom, but then he expects Dominic to eat it anyway. The angle is pretty standard fare for the Arena, as the guys typically take their minor spats to the wrestling mat, but Dominic's buoyant personality, along with the constant "meatballs" and "special sauce" puns, keeps everything light and goofily charming. Neither wrestler has the acetylene wit of, say, Big Sexy or Cage, so the dialogue is limited to four or five cheesy lines, repeated ad infinitum, stretched out ... stop me! ... like mozzarella.

(I recommend playing a drinking game with this video: a bottle of Corona every time you hear "Are you ... are you going to be my servant?" Fans of beefcake should appreciate the way Dominic and Batar periodically break up the bout for no other reason than to pose for the camera--a good excuse to shoot a Jagermeister, right there.)

Lately, the Arena has been stretching out, exploring new venues--moving matches away from the mat room and into the swimming pool and the bedroom. The holiday special editions, now in their sixth year, are like nothing you'll find on any other site--genuinely festive, surprisingly, and often sexy too, though the company typically aims for fun and games, not so much hot and steamy. Still, sometimes, deliberately or not, it manages to be both fun and hot. (I'm thinking about Sirus dunking Cameron's head into the apple barrel again, aren't I?)

NHB17 is mainly just fun. Dominic and Batar alike radiate boyish bravura, like nothing so much as a couple of young jocks cutting loose after watching WrestleMania twice in a row. The sex talk is mostly sophomoric teasing. But there's plenty here to break out in a sweat for, as well--tit twisting and ball grabbing, and a strong dose of testosteronic* urge to dominate, yet another way Dominic's versatile name comes into play.

Dominic's energy is what carries this match for me. The guy has what I guess is still called boy-next-door looks, amplified by rock-hard muscle and a Marine buzz cut. The mischievous glint in his eyes defines Thunder's Arena for me as much as Big Sexy's self-parodying savoir faire. The guy enjoys trouble--uninhibitedly kicking it up and taking his licks as they come. Against him, Batar is an ideal foil--moon-faced, drily humorous, and built like gladiator.

I don't think this is the best match that Dominic and Batar have in them--or the best Thunder's Arena has produced--but it is a solid B--a very solid B--robust, reliable, fast, ... and hand-stretched, with a subtle yet distinctive "red pepper kick."

* testosteronic: useful adjective; just discovered it.


  1. For that mozzarella joke, Joe, you are sentenced to two extra columns hard labor this week.


  2. Thunder's most interesting thing at the moment is the response to their prior release, Coupe vs. Dallas. Where some matches don't generate any customer comments at all, three or so is the norm and five is exceptional, that match has gotten 10 comments, all raves making particular note about how thrilled those customers are that Coupe's back. In fact. the most surprising thing isn't the response, it's how completely off-guard it seemed to catch whoever is running that company. I think it boils down to this: the squash job era, specifically squashes featuring exceptionally good looking guys, is dead as a legitimate theme in gay wrestling.

    Descriptions would begin "Brad Rochelle/Beau Hopkins/Troy Baker/Wade Cutler/Jimmy Royce has never looked better, but he has no idea what he's in for as...." The match itself would then start with that guy entering the ring, stretching and jogging, perhaps shedding his jacket or stripping out of his clothes down to his gear or even pumping up before action. In would walk the name heel of the day, from Kid Leopard to Psycho Capone to Vic Silver, who had dozens of matches to his credit doing exactly what was about to unfold, and mayhem would ensue, usually with that heel doing something actually heelish--attacking the other guy from behind or grabbing his balls to disrupt the other guy's offense and gleefully dishing out multiple pins and submissions after that hapless hunk is disarmed and defenseless.

    Today, match descriptions begin "Yeah, so-and-so looks good, but can he wrestle?" They flex and pose instead of warming up, usually in positions that have nothing to do with wrestling. A moment later, a heel enters, who is often heel solely by description, not by their own history. That guy flexes and preens, usually in even more revealing gear than the so-called eye candy. And the action invariably revolves around the so-called face running things at first, only to get "arrogant" and flex some more, who is then reversed and virtually crippled by the heel, often with the same moves the face just used. That heel then flexes far more than the guy who's marketed as eye candy. And then that hapless face's future matches are all presented as revolving around a "need" to "prove" he can wrestle or, as Thunder's promoted for the Coupe/Dallas match, at least he isn't "the biggest loser" on the roster.

    For a long time, a face could be portrayed as talented, capable, athletic, even when being squashed in a completely one-sided match, with the twist being that the heel is just that dirty, that dastardly, that willing to break all the rules just to beat up a guy who maybe has a better body. Today faces are portrayed as simply bad wrestlers, especially compared to heels (who are often far smaller, older or even less experienced), and are further marketed as vain, arrogant, unprofessional or just plain old out of place and stupid. Ironically, because matches are always portrayed as "fair," with neither guy cheating or at least cheating equally, with a lot of back and forth, until the "better man" emerges to his deserving triumph, the result is the guy who is portrayed as being of questionable talent, is proven to be wholly untalented. Which is itself astounding particularly because those guys were obviously exceptionally athletic to begin with.

    It's the most radical development I've seen in gay wrestling history.


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