Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Battle of Troy








Troy Baker, 5'10", 168#, and Ricky Martinez, 5'9", 167#, don't have a lot to say to each other in the third and final match of BG East'Wrestler Spotlight: Troy Baker, and that's just fine with me. Grunting, groaning, slapping of skin on skin, though, are always music to my ears. Both men are at their peaks in this contest, rolling with muscle, slick with sweat, having shed the boy-band downiness of their earliest BGE appearances to look ripe and manly for this battle. 

The match is immediately preceded by another fine fight, subjecting Troy to the sado-erotic attentions of Jarrett Cole, a man I've always enjoyed watching in action, mostly for his ferocity and unabashed sexualization of combat. I have no idea in what order the matches were actually shot, but their ordering here suggests that Jarrett's rough and sensuous handling of Troy in middle match triggers the tan blond's taste for aggression, just in time for this bout with Ricky.

Troy and Ricky appear to be caught in an undertow of escalating brutishness as the guys grapple intently at first and then move on to a raw slugfest, in which the body blows are not pulled and not playful. It seems less like a grudge match, though, than a testing of physical and emotional limits for both men. Each is ready to cross some lines and see just what he is capable of doing ... and taking. Both enter the claustrophobic toolshed at the BG compound ready to reinvent themselves--and this is one of those competitions in which the loser is left staggering, clutching for support just to stand, and even the victor limps away with a few scrapes on his gym-toned body.

Chikara Grand









Ten days ago, at Chikara's tenth anniversary weekend, Jigsaw unsuccessfully challenged Eddie Kingston for the Grand Championship. Kingston had picked up the spanking new title by defeating Jigsaw's trainer and mentor Mike Quackenbush back in November; this was Eddie's fourth successful title defense. I have not yet seen the match in motion, so right now I'm totally dependent on Scott Finkelstein's fine still photos (above). What I like about it is that it's rough and tumble--at one point tumbling out of the ring and turning into a barroom brawl for real--and yet it ends with both men, movingly, behaving in a sportsmanlike fashion. As some of you know, I officially became a Jigsaw fan after his show (with Evolve) in Charlotte earlier this month--his niceness at the merch table, his acrobatics in the ring, and his broadness in the shoulders all contributed equally to my conversion.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Noisemaker






In Vancouver this past weekend, ECCW celebrated its 16th year in the ring with a Sweets 16 wrestling party that lasted two nights, with cupcakes and noisemakers and wrestling! The second night was more eventful than the first, with J-Sin Sullivan hurling an opponent off the balcony and then attacking Mary Diaz, co-owner and matriarch of the promotion, an attack which led to Sullivan's immediate firing. Fortunately, Mary recovered to the extent that she could post these great pictures of Jordie Taylor, who I think is hot in a roughneck heel sort of way (and I wonder whether I can even imagine another way of somebody's being "hot"). Jordie won his match on Friday against Ray Brooks, but I hear the fans were screaming for Ray.

Michelangelo's David in the 21st Century

WTFCW?








I try not to say unkind things on this blog about wrestlers and wrestling. Okay, I take potshots at WWE now and then, but what wrestling fan does not? And I haven't said the worst that can be said (and is said, often) about WWE. And, yes, my love for wrestling is never unconditional. Still, my usual approach is to wax enthusiastic about what I love or find intriguing in wrestling and ignore whatever doesn't move me. I realize that not everybody likes what I like, and often I don't like what everybody else likes. So why be mean? After all, this is all supposed to be fun, right? And none of it seems to have any cosmological or epistemological importance. It isn't even what puts beans and beer on the table at my house.

That said, I dipped back into Florida Championship Wrestling recently. I don't have cable or a satellite dish, so these days I depend on the Internet and DVDs for my pro-wrestling kicks. Championship Wrestling from Florida was my first love in TV wrestling, back when I was a born-again Christian teenager in Miami. It was, for years, the one vent I allowed to my repressed homosexuality. The purple-prose commentary of Gordon Solie always carried (I felt) an undercurrent of eroticism, and it inspires much of what I write in this blog. 

FCW became a developmental tool of WWE about four years ago and gained a shiny, loud, and garish new presence on cable TV. It has all the charm of an artificial Christmas tree bought ready-decorated on QVC.  It's not my taste, but it is a taste I can appreciate, as "camp." FCW acquired some of my favorite wrestlers from other promotions and began to transform them into WWE characters. Tyler Black, whom I adored well before he was a champion on Ring of Honor, became Seth Rollins. In February, Seth became the FCW heavyweight champion. I'm happy for him, but lately he strikes me as about three-quarters the wrestler he was two years ago. (The Cruella Deville hair does not help.) What FCW and WWE have done to Black (and Black allowed done to himself) is hard to forgive, but I do. I understand "business," even though FCW and WWE appear to have little understanding of what makes ring wrestling a ritualized form of popular "art." Vince McMahon set out to make pro wrestling for people who hate pro wrestling, and he succeeded. Gradually, it is becoming pro wrestling only for people who hate pro wrestling. (There. That was a potshot.)

To give it its due, FCW has introduced me to some fine wrestlers, notably Tyler Reks (unknown to me before FCW) and Corey Graves (Sterling James Keenan at 1 Pro Wrestling in the UK). And FCW has done a fine job in transforming Brett "Beef" Wellington at Ohio Valley Wrestling into Brad Maddox, 5'11", 204#. Wellington was in better physical shape at OVW (in its years in between being a developmental tool for WWE and one for TNA Wrestling), but his squeaky clean character was bland and not very interesting, albeit pretty to look at. Maddox is a better developed and more exciting character, narcissistic and erratic, a classic bully. When I first heard that Wellington was turning heel, I frankly held no hope for the transformation, but FCW and Maddox succeeded where my imagination had failed. 

In the screen captures above, we see him in the final minute of a match against Richie Steamboat, 6'1", 215#, broadcast earlier this month. At the end of a timed 15-minute bout, Maddox, frustrated by the fact that he has done everything but pin Steamboat, resorts to hair-pulling and "foreign objects" (one of Solie's trademark catchphrases, by the way), but, in the end, by an out-of-nowhere yet totally expected surge of moxie, Steamboat gains the final pin. (You can watch the full 51-minute show, including Rollins and Graves in other matches, here on YouTube.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Dream Card: BG East (Night Two)


The fantasy continues ... I split the card in two because Blogger wouldn't let me label twenty names. Besides, I don't think most shows have as many as ten matches in them, unless the bouts are very short, and I would like Black versus Loko, for instance, to fill up forty minutes, at least. That fight is one of eight here (and in last night's posting) that give me a stiffy just imagining the combatants together in the same ring (or the same gazebo--or, for that matter, the same elevator). The other two are hot, too, just not quite as perfect in my opinion; they require me to picture actual body contact before the wood starts to form. I had other dreams too, but decided to make the hard choices needed to restrict the number to ten. I found that a few of my fantasies had already become reality, such are my blind spots, so I pencilled in some quick additions to my BGE wish list. I invite you to recommend other match-ups. (Photos: BG East)


ELI BLACK vs LUCKY LOKO



KID KARISMA vs MORGAN CRUISE



JONNY FIRESTORM vs JAYDEN MAYNE





JONAH RICHARDS vs SKRAPPER




MIKE MARTIN vs DYLON ROBERTS

"Success Consists of Going from Failure to Failure Without Loss of Enthusiasm"






The inspirational quote is Winston Churchill's. The inspirational thighs belong to rookie-in-training Daniel Pruce. At Wednesday's OVW TV taping, Daniel lost a dark match to big Vic the Bruiser, making it 0-8 for the handsome Austrian, who had a run-in with Josette Bynum, too, who took the opportunity to fire Pruce from OVW. Photographer Charles Parrish provides the hard evidence. All the best to Pruce, wherever he lands next.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Dream Card: BG East (Night One)

Okay, nobody has to like this card but me. Still, it was fun to make believe. (See Night Two tomorrow.) (Photos: BG East)


AUSTIN COOPER vs GIL BARRIOS



JAKE JENKINS vs ATTILA DYNASTY



PATRICK DONOVAN vs TJ TANNER



KID VICIOUS vs GREG GARRETT



ALEXI ADAMOV vs TRENT BLAYZE

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