Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It is my policy to acquiesce to requests by subjects of my posts (performers, promoters, photographers) to remove content relating to them. I have no desire to use this blog to hurt anyone's career prospects or private lives through unwanted association with the blog or me.

I apologize for any inconvenience this causes visitors to the blog.

Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Winner Is ...

I just finished an online fantasy fight, an Oscar after-party scenario, pitting fighter against fighter in an empty Beverly Hills swimming pool (my buddy's idea), featuring (this was my idea) BG East wrestler Tyrell Tomsen in a coat of metallic gold paint, the life-sized personification of the iconic bald statuette. I won't go into details over our klieg-lighted spectacle, with miles and miles of decadence, but my casting of Tomsen was inspired by his recent double-header, Wrestle Revenge, in which he first Pearl-Harbors pretty Z-Man in the john and thus incurs the wrath of the mighty and short-fused Dev Michaels, seeking revenge. 

The BGE matches touch on a number of hot points for me. As fight themes go, vengeance and justice have a powerful hold on my libido. Comeuppance is cumuppance in my fantasies, which, arguably, is perhaps the only place one can ever find true justice. Both matches work independently of each other, little gems complete in themselves. Tomsen versus Z-Man nicely exhibits both men's bodies, with Tomsen easily dominating the smooth, unblemished Z-Man. When Michaels shows up, he looms over Tomsen by almost exactly the same degree as Tomsen over Z-Man. Michaels is one of those huge, billowing strong men whose sweaty hairy chests and bellies fill me with lust and dread. Revenge is sweet, but not nearly as easy for Dev as you might guess, since Tomsen knows his way around a grunt-'n'-groan slamfest. It's a magnificent pair of fights that balance each other cleverly. I was lucky enough to preview the fights a month or so ago and help write their descriptions for BGE's latest catalog. Tomsen has impressed me in his earlier matches, but these two trump the rest.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meet Joey

Minimalist, daring, raunchy, and rude, UCW-Wrestling is all these things. If going slightly beyond the pale is your thing, if you have a moderately high threshold for ick, if you like feeling a little bit dirty, UCW is the joint for you. It's not porn, but it has porn's preoccupation with detail. There's no nudity: at its most explicit, a glimpse of crack now and then ... no blood, no overt eroticism ... an episode of Glee has three times the sexual innuendo. (But then how often do you get to see Kurt Hummel's balls in a vise?) You won't find dimple-chinned physique models here, with parlor tans and gym pecs, no polished production values either. There's no mistaking you're on tricky ground here.

All the men are presumably of legal age, but half of them are slim, rather haggard-looking working-class youth, pale, not so much heroin chic as asthma-ward chic. You won't see wholesome frolic in the bright golden sunlight at UCW. Things start out innocently enough, I suppose, but soon enough you detect an air of menace. It's dark. Dark-ish. Not quite David Hurles and Old Reliable dark. Let's just say it may not be what you want on your screen when Mom or your supervisor come knocking on your door. There is a certain ... unmistakable ... fas-ci-na-tion.  Its thrills are right on the fringe.

Joey Cantrell (in blue) is the new meat, so new UCW's website has not yet (as of this writing) posted his stats or a picture on its roster page. So far he's had run-ins with Aron (in yellow), another rookie, and, more recently, Axel (in silver), ex-champ, in numbers 181 and 183, respectively. He gets the usual brutal welcome, but he looks like he will probably fit in. All I've seen so far are the promos (from which I've taken these electrifying caps), and while, in his recent debut and its followup, young Joey trends more towards the tail end of these matches' give-and-take, he shows a real talent for giving. Badass tattoos and a hungry look suggest our new friend is not afraid to play rough. And I'd say he's come to the right playground.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It is my policy to acquiesce to requests by subjects of my posts (performers, promoters, photographers) to remove content relating to them. I have no desire to use this blog to hurt anyone's career prospects or private lives through unwanted association with the blog or me.

I apologize for any inconvenience this causes visitors to the blog.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Super Cooper (Exclusive Interview with Rock Hard's Austin Cooper)

After interviewing Eli Black last month, I asked Rock Hard Wrestling if they might set me up with another wrestler on their roster. They asked me what I thought of dashing golden boy Austin Cooper.  They had to ask? For almost a year, I have devoured everything I could get my hands on featuring Coop wrestling anybody. The man is a god, and, lest we dismiss him as just another pretty face, in each successive bout he demonstrates previously undreamed-of prowess and moves, pushing the envelope of fans' concept of him as an underground wrestling superstar, inviting new challenges, revealing new facets of his athleticism and allure ... and his brutality too. I've already posted--twice, as I recall--on the particular star power of Cooper when teamed up with his old pal Jake Jenkins. Jenkins and Coop epitomize heel glamor, vicious brutalizers of men and trash talkers par excellence. Before this interview, I didn't know what to expect of the man behind the outsize persona, but one of the bosses at RHW assured me that he is "very grounded, and a solid kid." Coop is a charmer, all right, and a talent who'll do whatever it takes to give fans their money's worth ... and more. To interview the guy on my blog is a real privilege, one I want to thank him and Rock Hard for.

Joe: Let's start at the beginning. How did you get involved in wrestling?

Austin: In high school I wrestled from sophomore to senior year. I was a horrible wrestler my first year and ... being such a competitive person ... runs in the family ... I was determined to come back and make a name for myself, and I feel as if I can say I successfully did that by the time of my senior year by being the captain of the team and earning the MVP award.

Joe: Any other training? Mixed martial arts, maybe?

Austin: I haven't actually trained in an MMA facility, but I have friends who have, and I have trained with them as well as trained to online videos. I hope to eventually get in the octagon for a few fights, but it's not something I would care to make a career out of. I enjoy my pretty boy face. [Laughs.]

Joe: Me, too. [Laughs.] In the last year, you have really blossomed as a pro-style wrestler, which I suppose is different from your amateur wrestling experience? Have you got a signature move?

Austin: "The Coop"! It is basically the spladle in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. Oh, and I hate it when people call it "amateur wrestling." It makes it sound like you're new at what you do, so I prefer the true name of the styles.

Joe: Yeah, I get you. What's so special for you about Rock Hard?

Austin: I really like how well organized the website is. Seeing how the website has a cover shot on the main page, I wanted to be on it. It's different because the first day of shooting we go over moves and how to take bumps to keep it as safe as possible. I'm all about getting some badass footage, but my safety comes first, so I like this about RHW.

Joe: But what's the draw for you personally?

Austin: The facilities, the interaction among wrestlers outside the ring, the management style of the bosses. We make it a fun experience. Everyone gets along great, and we all crack jokes on one another, but in a playful way. The management is great. They have a paper showing who will wrestle who and the order. I like that because then you can get creative and come up with combinations to "wow" the viewers.

Joe: How would you describe your ring character at RHW?

Austin: I think the best way to describe it is a pretty boy muscle man who takes pride in kicking ass and letting others know he wants to be the highlight of the ring. I believe in all of the matches I do. I think I flex in just about every match.

Joe: And if "Austin Cooper" had a theme song for his entrance, what might it be?

Austin: Kanye West. "All of the Lights." Pretty flashy song. I think that would go with my character well.

Joe: Any interest in taking on a manager ... or a valet to spritz the ring with expensive perfume as you approach?

Austin: I'm not really sure that I would pick someone to be a manager or valet. I think solo would be the way for my character.

Joe: What part of your body is rock-hardest?

Austin: I keep everything solid! Hitting me is like hitting a brick wall. [Laughs.]

Joe: Yeah, well, "brick" is certainly a word that comes to mind looking at your physique.

Austin: If I had to choose, I guess I would say my chest.

Joe: So how much time do you spend on those pecs?

Austin: On average about five to seven days a week, from one to two hours each time. I have just recently started giving myself one day cardio and one day of rest, since the body does need time to recover. The gym is addicting!

Joe: Is there anybody at Rock Hard you're itching to face in the ring ... or face again?

Austin: Lucas Payne!

Joe: Solid.

Austin: Because we had our muscle battle, and now I feel as if I'm much more muscular now than I was then, and he is as well, so it would be a good redemption match ... the two of us now, bigger and better.

Joe: And is there anybody Austin Cooper is hoping never to find staring him down from the opposite corner of the ring?

Austin: Nobody. Because Austin is not scared to get in a battle with anyone. Get your ass beat, and then come back bigger and better.

Joe: I hear unsubstantiated rumors that Rock Hard is looking to widen its range to include other styles of combat in the near future. I haven't heard any specifics, but my imagination is reeling. What might interest you? Boxing? Cage matches? Inter-gender wrestling? Rip'n'strip wrestling? Live audience shows? Or let's pull out the stops: Oil or mud wrestling? Rumbles? Full submission?

Austin: I think trying all of these at least once would be an adrenaline rush. The only thing I would probably steer away from is the rumble. With multiple people in the ring, an accident is bound to happen.

Joe: By all means, let's protect that kisser of yours. Last month I asked Eli Black if he'd be interested in an RHW championship belt. You?

Austin: As long as I'm the only one holding it, hell, yeah!

Joe: Who at Rock Hard ... besides yourself, of course ... would you not be surprised to see in a few years in the "big show" at WWE or Impact Wrestling or Ring of Honor?

Austin: Jake Jenkins. 

Joe: Yeah.

Austin: He's a good buddy of mine and the guy constantly has ideas for matches and will suggest things to make them better. The best thing is he isn't afraid to take a hard bump.

Joe: Definitely. You too, Austin. You and Jake Jenkins are, without a doubt, my favorite heel tag team ... anywhere and ever. To what do you credit the chemistry between you two?

Austin: First off, let me start by saying thank you. Jake and I wrestled in high school together and have been good friends, so it just comes natural for us. In a match we tell each other what we want to see ... chant each other on. Typically a good slam gets our blood flowing.

Joe: Dream match: you and Jake versus who and who?

Austin: Jeff Hollister and Eli Black. Us versus two skinny guys, just asking for domination. We would destroy them and enjoy every bit of it. The fact that they are so small would allow us to toss them around and put them in every move we wish. 

Joe: Is it as much fun for you to work over an opponent  as it looks like it is to me?

Austin: I love being able to display my power and force, so, with that said, yes!

Joe: Where do you see yourself and Rock Hard Wrestling being in 2017?

Austin: That puts me at 27 years old. Hard to say if I'll be in the ring still. I am currently going to college and aiming to be a physical therapist by that time. Full time PT, part time RHW wrestler? You never know!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two Wrongs Make a Riot

You know about me and the bad boys. I love sass and trickery almost as much as I love strong backs and wrestling chops. 

I hate evil, truly I do. But wickedness is another thing entirely. Whereas evil is bland, conniving, sanctimonious, and fanatical, existing in the purview of serial killers, bureaucrats, and other tunnel-visioned ideologues, the wicked are glamorous, spontaneous, renegade, and witty. They can undoubtedly be a pain in the ass, but they make things interesting, I think. 

One of the great sins of Western literature has been to confuse evil and wickedness. For years Hollywood made me believe that evil was classy and charming (it's not--witness Rasputin, Pol Pot, and Maggie Gallagher); it's only the wicked who know how to put on a good show, even if they break your heart and tibia (and every rule in the book) in the process. 

For me, part of pro wrestling's allure has been the contest between opposite individual types, but I have come to appreciate effective partnerships too, so long as they are not the civil kind, or boring.

Beau Nasty, 5'11", 180#, and Shane Styles, 5'10", 185#, fought seven matches at BG East: three in singles competition against other men (Styles against Brendan Byers, and Nasty against Cameron Mathews and Muscle Mask), three matches side by side as tag partners, and once, in their debuts, against each other. They were lifelong best friends, according to the first catalog description of them, who, in a short underground wrestling career, forged an unholy and unforgettable alliance.

Some wrestlers are wonderful on their own, but even better when teamed with the right (or oh so wrong) cohort. Beau looked like a crooked lawyer's shady assistant. Styles looked like a minister's wayward and malcontent son, easily swayed to sinful deeds. Together they were Leopold and Loeb. As partners they exuded a sort of snaky charm  and polish they only partly achieved on their own. 

As opponents in Fantasymen 25, they excited each other's base instincts, brought out each other's gifts for sneakiness and nastiness, making for an impressive match, all the more so when you take into account that they were rookies. In the prematch workout for Tag Team Torture 5, they conspired to turn their opponents against each other. Then they went after Archer and Quinn with so much rowdy gusto that it was hard not to root for them. To top it off, after the match ended, they played principal roles in one of the most notorious betrayals in BGE history. Next, in Tag Team Torture 6, they set their sights on Tony Cosenti and Ricky Martinez, showing these squeaky clean good guys no respect and ultimately no mercy, in or out of the ring. In Tag Team Torture 9, released four years later, they're seen facing the golden team of Brad Rochelle and Justin Pierce. In a prematch workout that's the mirror image of TTT5, they worried about their opponents' much talked-about skills and size. Nasty berated Styles for having self-doubts, while chasing away his own with false bravado. Predictably, Rochelle and Pierce started off strong, deftly tagging in and out, working their studly technical magic, but once all four wrestlers were in the ring together, Nasty and Styles ground their opponents down to Alpo with a lawless blitzkrieg of bodyslams, hairpulling, cornerwork, and one humiliating beatdown after another, not even slowing down when the bell sounded to end the match. 

I miss these guys. They shone briefly yet brightly in the richly various world of underground wrestling, and, in my opinion, Nasty and Styles' three tag team matches are among the best of that world, thanks to their suave beauty, street-smart swagger, and underhanded maneuverings. They had chemistry. They were a smoothly oiled wrecking machine in three matches I have enjoyed over multiple entranced viewings.

What Rock Hard Type Are You?

Time to revisit one of my favorite pastimes: list making. I don't see any real value in the process, except for the soothing relaxation it offers (for me it beats Sudoku, but then I'm a tad arithmedyslexic). I'm surprised I haven't already made a list like this for the men at Rock Hard, but, as I recall, I was at my peak in listing "What Type Are You?" about the time Rock Hard was beginning, back in 2009, when practically everybody on Facebook was trying to figure out what True Blood character they were (I was "Pam"). If it all looks subjective, well, yeah, it is. That's the point. And it's not written in stone either. The first two guys take turns at first place, hitting the top spot about as often as I see one or the both of them in the ring. But it's fun for me. Like playing with collectors' edition trading cards, which, come to think of it, I wish Rock Hard and other promotions would market (another genius idea of mine that won't make anybody rich, yet would keep my wallet very slim).











Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cam and Lex

Basically I like two kinds of wrestlers. I like sadistic heels, preferably the strong and silent type, and I like happy-go-lucky babyfaces who play rough and sometimes lose their tempers. My ideal, though, is the man who takes on either role, as circumstances dictate.

Cameron Mathews and Lex fall into the latter category, primo babyfaces, though at times both will talk trash and play the badass, and not at all badly. I am a fan of both, Cameron for years now, and Lex, for only the last few months. In Battlespace 22, Thunder's Arena brings the two together, and the chemistry between them is explosive.

The match opens with some smart, even revelatory repartee. Cameron kids Lex about his shiny nipple ring. Lex replies, stating that he used to have a matching pair of rings, but then Cameron's mom ripped one of them off. Cameron shrugs and says matter-of-factly, "My mom's a whore." To which, Lex blinks, smirking: "Yeah? Well, she's good at it." Cameron comes back with a real eyebrow-raiser: "Runs in the family." And, with that, the two lock up, collar and elbow.

The mom gibes run through this video like references to rosy-fingered dawn in Homer. This kind of comic banter is the Arena's house style--its virtuoso is Big Sexy (who's set to wrestle a midget in his next outing--again the Arena pushes the envelope in underground wrestling entertainment, God love them), but Lex and Mathews take to it easily, with remarkably fine timing. Comedy, I have heard, is hard, and doubly hard, I would think, while performing a piledriver.

Mathews, 5'11", 189#, has never looked better than he does these days. He has packed on muscle over the last two years, and his face now has the chiseled obtuse angles of a 1920s Arrow collar man. Lex, 5'10", 170#, is still honing his friendly punk look, first seen in his December match against Z-Man. Here, a wildcat-print bikini, mohawk, tattoos, and toothy aw-shucks grin once again achieve the desired effect. 

Both men radiate confidence. They are athletic and game for roughhouse. We get fast-paced and evenly matched wrestling of escalating intensity, which in time gives way to sharp, hot-tempered kicks and punches. It's the type of oneupmanship and frolicking sadism that, I think, define American masculinity today. Typically, for the Arena, the talk is only suggestive, with sexuality well-marked as hetero and anything gay-ish gently and genially deflected. But the vigor of these men's competitiveness pass for sex in my book--a bit better than the average fuck, I'd say ... and, from what I hear, twice as good as fucking your mom.

Headlocks Etc.

Last Sunday Tyler Tirva pinned RJ City for Tri-City Wrestling. (The evening also saw Shawn Spears strip the championship from Anthony Dark. Watch the exciting climax of that bout here. A rematch is scheduled for next month.)


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