I love Rock Hard. It draws its share of carpers, I guess, but it's one of only a few wrestling promotions I consistently follow. It's worth dropping my money on, whenever I get some extra money to drop. I've got eclectic tastes--selective, but not as predictable as some of you might assume. Hell, it's hard for even me to predict what will turn my knob from one day to the next. I'm not religious about any of it, really, simply waiting for the next thrill, from whatever brings it.
With enough payback, I can put up with a few things that might ordinarily put me off, say, for instance, matches so tightly edited it's sometimes hard to get my bearings, spatially, or, say, music that sounds like the soundtrack of every History Channel documentary on ancient secrets of the coming apocalypse. I can live with this. The payback for me at Rock Hard is wrestlers like Zack Novak, Tyler Reeves, and Travis Storm. And I think we all owe RHW, too, for launching the underground wrestling careers of Eli Black, Austin Cooper, and Jake Jenkins.
So I spent part of my recent (all too paltry) 2011 tax return on stuff I like, including this recent Rock Hard disk, pitting dirty blond Travis Storm against skinhead Czech Tyler Reeves, followed by hot roughneck Trent Novak against Cliff Johnson, a youngster who impresses me more each time I see him. Both matches are sweaty grunt cantatas, for which RHW is a pretty reliable source. The first match features Reeves dragging Storm around the ring by his pretty haircut. I like Storm's beach boy looks, and he suffers nicely under Reeves' strong arm. For me Reeves' chesty Eastern European accent is the deal-clincher--along with his perfect buzzcut and his smooth torso's propensity to perspire almost on command. In the next bout, Novak is solid as usual. He's built solid, and his tack is reliably strong and unshakable. He shares heel and babyface qualities, and that's a combination that usually works for me. Here, he keeps Johnson moving and hurting, from ropes to mat to turnbuckle. Nice.
Perhaps lovers of storylines might not find Rock Hard's matches all that alluring. The guys don't set up each match with a lot of shit talk--and it's never really spelled out whom we should like and whom we should hate. Me, I'm a bit tone-deaf on narrative. It's a struggle for me to tell a story, or even recite a joke without mangling it. I'm not a regaler, needless to say. I like style, and my gift is for analysis and putting two and two together ... and embellishment. I'm good at pinpointing a colorful detail, sometimes.
So Rock Hard's lack of emphasis on character definition or running scenarios is actually a bit of a plus for me. I'll read Homer if I want a story. When I watch wrestling, I want skin grinding on skin and involuntary animal moans. These matches give me these qualities, along with the thunder of boots on a limber ring floor. The drama, for me, is 100% in the aggressive competition--and the joy of one man gradually taking control of another. I don't really need good guys and bad guys. I need good bad guys, and this Rock Hard provides.