Bruised for Our Iniquities*

I like Joey Cantrell. The kid is street, but righteous. He'll grab your nuts and yank your hair, but only if you've got it coming to you. And not to get all metaphysical, but somehow and in some way we all have it coming to us. If you feel the need to have your clock cleaned, Joey is the man. He is what penance ought to be in the twenty-first century ... not some hail Marys, Lord's prayers, and self-flagellation in a dark closet. That's no fun. If confessors assigned ten, twenty, thirty minutes in a locked room alone with Joey Cantrell to expiate impure thoughts, I would seriously consider Catholicism. That way you've at least got a fighting chance. Then it would take some time for the bruises to fade and impure thoughts to return, which, if you're not too good with your fists, you might think twice about before having again. But prayers? Whatever. You're not even finished before you're touching yourself and thinking of Kellan Lutz.

At UCW Joey goes toe to toe with another favorite of mine: Joker. According to my favorite goto place for deliverance from demons, the joker in a deck of cards is the offspring of the "licentious jack and the queen, Mother of Harlots," a leering travesty of Jesus. Not only bad news, but blasphemous besides. Joker is a bad ass, but he's no Pazuzu. The guy's too funny. I think of the devil as strictly an upper management type, dark suit and impeccably coiffed black hair. The kind of guy who might think golf is a man's sport and a story about shutting down a factory is humor. But Joker? He's a nutcase who talks like the love child of Marvin the Martian and Dave Chapelle. He might be wrong in the head, but nowhere close to the prince of darkness.

Joey versus Joker is a great show. I'll say this much for UCW: at worst (at worst) I can guess the winner of a match one time out of three ... or four. It's not even clear that the guys know who's going to win until one of them finally throttles a submission out of his opponent or walks away leaving his foe cold, numb, and belly-up on the mat. Watching Joey it's easy to forget he's still a rookie. The kid's all gristle and fingernails. A tough customer, as is Joker, whose wiliness and meanness might give him the edge in this battle. But these two guys beat the crap out of each other for thirty-plus minutes, and it's anybody's guess who will win till the last nail's in the coffin ... or, in this case, the steel-toed boot hits the forehead.

* "It's from 'Passion of the Christ.' You never seen it? Dude, you gotta. It's amazing. It's, like, so inspiring. They throw everything at him. Whips, arrows, rocks ... just beat the living fuck out of Him for the whole two hours. And he just takes it." (Cassidy in The Wrestler, 2008)


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