Between a Rock and a Rock Hard Place

Off the top of my head I can think of twelve current wrestlers who only have to stand still in a pair of tight trunks to give me wood. Of these twelve, six wrestle at Rock Hard Wrestling, whose roster holds a unique place for pro wrestling lusciousness. Of these six, two, Cody Nelson and Tyler Reeves, are front and center in Muscle Mayhem, RHW's most recent DVD release. (It's on the same disk as Zack Johnathan vs Ethan Andrews, another gem, already reviewed here.)  It's not just the prettiness of these guys. I do appreciate pretty boys, de-fin-ite-ly, but they don't always excite me even before they start wrestling, dancing, fucking, or whatever else it is they do for my money. For the twelve guys I'm thinking about, it's their beauty combined with their obvious potential for mayhem that rounds them up to the topmost tier.

In Muscle Mayhem, the four men in the ring (Cody and Travis Storm versus Tyler and Max Powers) can be counted on for at least two boners each, so here, with all four together, we're looking at anywhere from twelve to sixteen boners in just the match's first five minutes. (That's a rough estimate. I don't actually count boners during the porning-up process. My pitiful math skills nudge zero as the blood flows away from the brain.) Everyone here has faced everybody else here in the ring in singles competition at RHW, including his current tag partner. This makes for a sweet dynamic because everybody knows each other inside and out, and, with that kind of history, everybody has reasons for wanting to turn each other inside out.

Cody comes out punching on Max till he's got Powers facedown on the mat and then in a single-leg crab hold. Max tags in Tyler, who gets a full dose of hurt at Cody's hands. Having beaten down both men from the other side, Cody tags in blond dreamboy Travis, who gives Tyler a good going over, too, until Tyler rouses and turns the tables on him. While Cody shouts encouragement to his man from the corner, Tyler and Max double-team Travis in the far corner.

I have always liked Cody, since I first saw him, either here at Rock Hard or at Thunder's Arena (I forget which). I prefer him in dominant mode, but he does not look bad at all while taking a beating from Max in the last half of Round 1. To me, Cody looks like Zack Johnathan's earthier, grittier brother. He's got the Z-Man's irresistibly soulful eyes, but the rawboned cheeks and jaw of a boxer. Whereas Zack is manga-cute perfection, Cody's got a heavier brow and just the right shade of psycho emptiness in his eyes. He looks like the transition point between cover-boy Zack and maniac wild man Eli Black. For me he most closely resembles not his brother Troy, but Jake Jenkins, another of my top favorites.

Typically Rock Hard does not deliver the cleanly choreographed matches I'm used to elsewhere. Not that the matches here are confused, but they seem unrehearsed (not always a bad thing), so there's a kind of robust energy that comes of the men's spontaneity.  We get plenty of young-man energy and rowdy improvisation, much like a dorm-room or barracks ruckus. Happily, everything's fast and noisy enough to cover the rough spots, loose segues, and botches, and the body blows land with satisfyingly succulent smacks.

At the end of Round 1, Tyler gets the fall on Travis. Round 2 starts off with these two again, with Tyler still giving the blond boy a beating. Exhausted, Travis tags in Cody, who's by now licking his chops at the prospect of getting his knuckles all over the Czech skinhead. (I have written elsewhere, on several occasions, of my love of sweaty Eastern European men.) When Tyler tags his partner Max in, Cody snaps Max into a side-headlock and walks him to his corner so that Travis can land a punch or two, as well. But then Max turns on Cody, and by now the action is so sweaty I'm tasting salt in my mouth.

Travis jumps back in, and Max immediately trades off with Tyler. Tyler has his way with the hapless white-clad blond, who's quickly reduced to dishrag pliability. But then, amazingly, the dishrag resuscitates, and we get one of those sweaty, gasping-for-air slugouts that give me wood, even when the combatants are not A+F perfection, as these four guys are.

For all his heart and effort, Travis can't get Tyler to submit, though by now the man's eyes are starting to cloud over. Cody tags in for Travis, but Cody doesn't want Tyler and calls in the refreshed Max Powers for a further beating. But at this point in the match Max has become seriously interested in not being under the rump of Cody or Travis, so the fight takes yet another turn.

This is great (and need I add "sexy"?) entertainment. There's no pretense that any of this is serious. The guys break character and smile from time to time, but I don't mind. I am less struck with the drama (of which there is little) than with the wrestlers' youthful energy. With the loss of Maurice Sendak yesterday, at age 83, I'm moved to use the word "rumpus." The pleasure in this match is watching beautiful young men being as bold and full of themselves as they want to be, showing off, working off some steam, and perhaps making some money off coots like me who want to remember when our muscles were firmer and we too had plenty of friends for whom the spirit of play and reckless abandon was still alive.


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