Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bone to Pick










Looking over the five underground wrestling producers most frequently cited in these pages, one might detect strengths representative of (though not unique to) each company's "house style." For instance, BG East typically provides a superior sense of dramatic structure, narrative coherence, and emotional intensity, thanks largely to its wrestlers' proficiency in selling each other's moves and its emphasis on instruction and well-rehearsed pro-wrestling holds. Thunder's Arena too exhibits a variety of wrestling holds, with a focus on collegiate-style mat wrestling and improvisation. Arguably, though, the Arena has chiefly stood out for its emphasis on beefcake: body mass, definition, proportion, iron-man symmetry, and overall jock attitude. In stark contrast, UCW's wrestlers are hungry-looking working-class kids, with an unfailing penchant for gut punching, a repertoire later broadened to include ball grabbing and, most recently, strangling--a Darwinian approach to kink that perhaps suits the hard economy of the times. Can-Am, with a history as distinguished as BG East's, has more vigorously explored other fetishes associated with wrestling kink (latex, stripping, scenes, bondage) and variations such as oil wrestling. Rock Hard, the youngest of the five, is known for its bright, sharp cinematography and, even more, the beauty of its A+F-worthy competitors.

We have Rock Hard, of course, to thank for introducing to underground wrestling three of the most talked-about new finds of the last year: Austin Cooper, Jake Jenkins, and Eli Black. As we look back, pre-Austin-Jake-Eli, Cody Nelson and Tyler Reeves are two other men on the roster that deserve recognition, not only for their stunning good looks but also for their intensity and aggressiveness in the ring. In their debut match together, dating back to the company's second catalog, we get a clear early sense of the company's strengths as all-American Cody squares off against Czech-born Tyler. The two young men are nearly identically matched, equal in weight, within an inch of each other in height, hot-tempered and aggressive competitors.

The match starts off heated. Tyler demands Cody's attention and the two immediately tangle, throwing wild and resonant punches--skip the introductions, skip the pose off, skip the collar and elbow. All we need to know about these guys is that they both wear black trunks and call each other "bitch." Reeves takes an early lead, slipping behind Nelson for a rear-naked choke ... within the first 30 seconds!  I like the way Tyler tightens his lips into a taut frown, clearly in "savage" mode, dead serious about busting Cody up. Nelson returns in kind, breathing through his teeth as he tackles Reeves, smashing him face down while locking him in a full nelson, which promptly turns into a camel clutch.

The action is fast, another trait of Rock Hard. Personally I prefer longer clenches, even though I do recognize the necessity of waiting a couple of rounds for them. But the men sell the agony well, with a photo-shoot model's efficiency, and, especially in Round 1, where we expect the highest energy, they quickly thrust free of the most daunting holds and retaliate. All the better to demonstrate their near parity as antagonists. Soon enough we see that the American's compact sturdiness is an advantage. His solid muscle gradually whittles down Tyler's pluck and vivacity, but the Czech is not easily disposed of. Naturally, I am solidly behind any fight in which one man says to the other, "Want some of this? Get some!" The taunt might be said to characterize this match from beginning to end.

Happily, for me, well before the end of the first round we see the first shimmer of sweat between the men's pecs. And by the start of the third round, Nelson and Reeves shine like a couple of Lladro figurines. The final showdown is as wet and brutal as I could hope for. The action is pretty one-sided for the longest time, but an Irish-whip to the corner and some serious boot stomping bring the match to a brusque, violent, and incontestable finish. This is probably the match that first sold me on Rock Hard, and watching it again just now reaffirms my admiration for RHW, Nelson, and the laconic viciousness of Reeves.

1 comment:

  1. Eli" primus, shutdown black" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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