Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Creative Differences

Yesterday I attempted to clarify why I think wrestling--college-style, pro-style, underground, et cetera--is fundamentally erotic, not only in the sense that the doing of it and the watching of it have the capacity to make me (and other men and women) horny, but also in the sense that it is a potentially creative and life-affirming act. It's a topic that interests me on both a personal and intellectual level. It's central to this blog, in fact.

Wrestling (like sex) is a way of engaging with "the other"--with other people and with life and the reality of the body's limits. Like sex, too, it involves risk, particularly the risk that our bodies might betray or fail us. It brings the "self" (ego) up against the "other," the "different," and the "disorderly" in ways that challenge our drive towards cocoon-like comfort, control, ignorance, sameness, isolation, and the accumulation of lifeless commodities--how the human mind typically conceives of death and the grave, the ideal escape from disturbance and worries (Freud's so-called "death drive," as opposed to the "life instincts" of eros, the instincts that draw us into life and its messiness, contradictions, and challenges). Let me illustrate the point with an example taken from BG East's most recent catalog.

In the wonderful and highly recommended Austin Cooper: Wrestler Spotlight (Catalog 91), Austin Cooper, riding high on his whirlwind successes at BGE and Rock Hard Wrestling over the past year, faces three distinctly different competitors: Jonny Firestorm (force of nature and destroyer of pretty babyfaces), Kid Karisma (rock-star personality and ego-maniac), and Lucky Loko (wild man and risk-taker). I see Loko as the strongest and most relevant contrast to Cooper, whose clean-cut handsomeness reminds me of the typical student government president, lacrosse stud, and men's fitness model.

Physically, Lucky is not the typical drawing card to market underground wrestling, whereas Austin appears to have been invented expressly to grace the covers of catalogs and sell product. The charms of Lucky Loko, which are considerable, become more apparent when you see him in action. This is his second appearance at BGE, his first being a highly charged match against Dev Michaels (also, like Cooper, Loko's physical opposite) in Catch-Weight 4. Lucky's body is athletic, without looking carefully trained or "built" for any particular sport. He's considerably lighter and a bit shorter than Austin. With tattoos of masked luchadors and angels of death on his shoulder and arm, Loko looks like a thrash-metal drummer, social misfit, and every middle-class parent's nightmare. 

Personally I am drawn to both types: straight-arrow Cooper and scruffy Loko. I find both of them sexy, charming, and entertaining. In these respects I see the two of them as evenly matched. They are both aggressive and skilled. As much as I enjoy watching twins wrestle each other, I find the idea of a clash of pointed opposites even more exciting. Loko is Cooper's antithesis, and bringing them together in the ring was a stroke of inspiration--like synthesizing hillbilly twang and Memphis blues to create rock-and-roll in the early fifties. Kudos to BGE's booker on this one.

What makes the combination of these two work so well is their "creative differences," the euphemism usually given to explain the failure of Hollywood business partnerships, but the thing that breathes life into wrestling (and, I would add, sex). These differences heat up the dramatic conflict. In fact, they breathe drama into the bout, making exposition superfluous and sparing us the long (often tedious) customary harangues at the microphone before the ringside bell sounds. Just looking at these two guys, their physiques, their postures, the ways they move, and I just know that, if they are any good as athletes and performers, a boner-inducing clash is inevitable.

Cooper and Loko are more than just good, though. Together they bring out the unexpected and exciting in each other. Loko is a terrific salesman of Cooper's moves, and Cooper's cool self-assurance enhances the effect of Loko's chaotic energy. That both of them seem to understand the moves and dynamics of ring wrestling not only saves the match from being a big, unbalanced mess but also elevates it to art or something very nearly like art because it mirrors and, in its own way, affirms life in all its incongruous unpredictability and wonder.

1 comment:

  1. Checking out comments. I tried to make one on another post, twice. It didn't register at all.



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