Mikey Vee versus Mike Columbo, in BG East's Fantasymen 15, is a classic of gay underground wrestling for several reasons, most of them having to do with Mikey Vee. I love Mike Columbo, too, and in many ways it is Columbo who provided the more lasting model of the type of wrestlers we now see in the genre, ruggedly handsome, beefy, rather bland in affect, several inches shy of the American male average in height. And it is Columbo who commands most of this match. Columbo looks just like the stars of sword-and-sandal movies I loved as a kid in the early 1960s. He might not have been tall enough to cast as Hercules or Samson, but he would have definitely shone brightly among the extras at the Aventine palaestra. Columbo is a real draw when I'm thinking about which BGE disks I would like in my permanent collection.
Vee is in another class, however. Vee is taller, 5'10", yet, like Mike, hard and curvy in all the right places. In his youth, he wore his dark hair rather long, at a perfect length for yanking, though I don't recall many of his opponents taking advantage of this feature. I've written about Mikey before, but briefly and not as often as he probably deserves. Two reasons for this neglect are that his career at BG East was over, or mostly over, when I started this blog, and that, as tastes go, he was a late addition to my fantasy parthenon of wrestling gods. In his heyday, even 5'10" struck me as "short." *
So let me take a few minutes to freely associate about this wrestler, and in particular this battle with Columbo. The name "Mikey Vee" is itself a classic among ring names. The last name sounds like a letter, so it's a bit like Sheila E or Malcolm X, and the first name is a diminutive of Michael, a name I've always thought rather butch. The y-ending, though, makes me think of a kid (I was called "Joey" as a boy, and my blood relatives still refer to me as "Joey" as I approach old age); in particular "Mikey" suggests a rather likable roughneck of a kid. If you add on the fact that Vee has a face that makes it easy to imagine what he looked like as a kid, you can see that the overall effect would naturally be of a rambunctious and playfully cruel kid with the shoulders and arms of an Apollo. These are attractive qualities in a heel, I think.
It's unfair of me to refer to Mike Columbo as "bland" (as I did above), but compared to the wrestlers whose personalities (in addition to their physiques and wrestling abilities) attract me, like Vee, Big Sexy, Eli Black, and so on, he was rather deadpan. That Mikey was tall (or rather of an average height) and still had a vivid personality was a pleasant surprise--since colorful personalities are rarer among the tall, I find, than among the short. ** Mikey had a big, brash ego, and a high comfort level with his body. It was fun to watch him bully smaller, weaker wrestlers, and get bullied by the bigger guys--or smaller guys, like Columbo, too strong and too proud to take his shit.
I wouldn't call this match my very favorite match, but it is typical of my favorites--that is the justified turning of tables on a blowhard with a mean streak.
Once he pulls off his walking shirts, Columbo wears a multicolored G-string and black boots for the duration of the match. He does the obligatory muscle poses before the mirror. I don't need these, but they don't bother me unless they stretch out for seeming-forever. Vee enters the ring brandishing a newspaper, confidently predicting that Columbo's name will be in its obituary the next day. While Mike is completing his stretching exercises, Mikey attacks him, clearly establishing him as the bad guy, if we didn't already know, despite his red, white, and blue flag-themed thong. Once Columbo gets to his feet, he pretty magnificently slams Vee to the mat, several times (for emphasis), and then gets down on the mat with him to administer a series of up-close bodyscissors, nelson, and clutches. Mikey grunts, gasps, and moans effectively, by which I mean his vocal chords sound like they're located roughly under his ballsack. However, once Mikey can move the action back to a standing position, he's able to use the advantages of height to lift Columbo up into a torture rack and win Round 1 by submission.
Vee does a lot of talking during the break between rounds. As you may know, I'm not a fan of excessive talking at the beginnings or endings of matches, but what you may not know is that I rather like some shit talk to fill the intermissions that a three-round match provides. A bad guy thus can talk himself into a lot of trouble once the bell sounds. Mikey approaches Mike in a gesture suggesting a test of arm strength, but really it's only a ploy to get in close to Mike and punch him in the gut. Already motivated to smash Vee for his smart mouth, the underhandedness of his tactics only raises Columbo's resolve to crush the man, which, after the action moves down to the mat again, he literally does by clasping Vee in a python-like combination of bearhug and bodyscissors. "You're all washed up," Columbo predicts in his low, quiet voice as he walks, chest out, around Mikey's prone body. Vee manages to croak out the word, "Lucky."
Round 3 starts with, surprisingly, Columbo attacking Vee from behind, while the latter is still trying to get the air back into his recently crushed lungs. This is no doubt just what Mikey deserves, so somewhat satisfying as tit-for-tat justice, but it also demonstrates that neither of these guys is going to insist on a review of the pro-wrestling rulebook. That Columbo is self-effacing and soft-talking gives us no reason to assume that he can't be a heel. In fact, after a long, physical bit of mat grappling, Columbo is able to knock Vee clean the fuck out with a sensuously applied rear naked choke. A real sight to see. When he slowly regains consciousness, though, Vee, true to form, imagines that Columbo has fled the ring and that he is "the last man standing." A good heel's ego is never dimmed by a humiliating defeat. He continues to believe that he is "better than the best" (to quote ROH's Mike Bennett, another "Mike" who's also a great heel).
* Let me explain this statement, briefly. Until the late 1990s, height was a pervasive factor in my type. I don't know why. It was a prejudice, definitely, but one that was less about disliking short guys than about idolizing tall guys. It made no sense because the height of actors in videos is totally irrelevant to how one can imagine them in erotic fantasies. Or so I have subsequently learned. Also, I have learned to accept that often, as Swift notes in Gulliver's Travels, smaller people are physically more beautiful than big people. In my young days, I dated guys who were six feet tall or taller. There were exceptions, but very few. I had close friends who were shorter, but almost never lovers. It was an imprint on my sexual desires that took me decades to shake. In the 1970s I ran into the man who had been the focus of my masturbatory fantasies in the late 1960s: Robert Conrad, the often shirtless star of the TV series The Wild Wild West. I didn't expect to meet him, and the meeting, in a hotel restaurant on Miami Beach, was quite sudden. To my everlasting embarrassment the first words that popped out of my mouth were "You're short!" Rather than punching me in the face (which I had heard he had a propensity for doing), he chuckled and said, "Yeah, I guess I am." The man was 5'8". I like to think that that miserable misstep was the beginning of my reformation, of my eventually including men of different statures among my fuck-buddies and in my fantasy life.
** Another observation made centuries earlier by Swift in Gulliver's Travels.