Monday, July 2, 2012


Rock Hard Wrestling's catalog description gives a more than adequate description of what happens in this match: teen fitness model Jason Kane rips Eli Black's speed rope out of his hands, claiming that the ring belongs to him. Violence ensues: This much we would know from just two words, "Eli Black." And if they weren't enough, there's the whole business of somebody trying to push volatile Eli around. Eli may not own a wrestling ring anywhere, but he regularly occupies three of the busiest underground fight spaces in the country. Jason looks all dewy fresh and pretty right now, but, brother, pissing off Eli is no way to stay that way.

Jason's taller and heavier than Eli, but he by no means has the man's wrestling chops, not yet, anyway. And, as a dear wrestling pal in the '80s used to tell me, you can always see who has "killer" in his eyes and who does not. Eli has it. Jason does not. (For the record, if he should ever chance to read this blog, my pal had it, too.) In a flash Eli bounces dapper Jason off the ring ropes and drops him to the mat, where he can straddle the guy's waist and lay waste to this bronzered chump with a half-dozen heart punches. "Who do you think you are?" the outraged model moans. It's a question the pretty boy ought to have answered for himself before picking this fight, because Eli thinks he's the best, and he'll leave some welts and bruises all over the man who tries to argue that he's anything less.

Eli flips Jason over on his belly like a half-done burger and lands some punishing kidney punches. Eli has never lacked confidence in himself, but as he zeroes his wrath in on Jason, he's positively godlike ... and we're talking about a real son-of-a-bitch type of god, not the sweetness-and-light variety you find in hymnals. Eli stands and gives Jason's ribs three stiff kicks while the man tries to pull himself up by the ropes. "C'mon, Hercules, get up!" he taunts.

The RHW catalog description suggests that Eli has a boner for hurting somebody right now because of recent defeats at the hands of Jake Jenkins and Austin Cooper. It's as good an explanation as any I can think of, but I've got to say that, having watched every available Eli Black match, this guy always has a boner for hurting somebody. It's in his blood. He'll fight anybody, even with the odds stacked against him, and he may not always win, but I've never seen an opponent of his walk away unscathed.

Still, Eli has had to job many times for other wrestlers, so it's nice to see him so much in control of this fight. Poor Jason, though. Eli knows what he's doing, and Jason doesn't know what hit him till it's too late. But big respect to Jason too. He takes his licks like a trooper. And when he gets his turn to dominate (a reminder that what we're watching is wrestling theater, where turns of fortune, however unlikely sometimes, are mandatory), he makes a convincing show of delivering payback. I suspect Jason and Eli agreed in advance to keep the action as stiff as possible and to spare each other nothing for the sake of realism. Kudos too to Rock Hard Wrestling for producing its toughest fight to date. We get a lot more here than fitness models bouncing off the ropes and turning somersaults on top of each other. Yeah, I know Eli's pulling his punches, but you can't tell that by watching him or Jason, who sells every move like DeNiro. It's real enough to do the trick for me. Those pink welts are hard to kayfabe. Best yet, the fight has a rock-solid finish, deeply satisfying as entertainment and as kinky-erotic as fuck. 

What we have is a near perfect synthesis of convincing visceral aggro and sharp cinematography (employing multiple cameras), crisp editing, crystal clear sound (every grunt and every groan), and a throbbing musical score that never overwhelms the action or lessens its rawness. Here we get the fullest realization yet of what Rock Hard was always meant to provide: technical excellence fueled with tons of heart.

(A sidenote: The DVD of this match also contains an awesome match featuring Ethan Andrews against a tan, good-looking newcomer, and I hope to find some time later in the month to write about it as well.)

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