Gotta love the wrestler names at Thunder's Arena: Big Sexy, Z-Man, BamBam, Jack McHawk, and on and on. Like drag names and Southern barbecue, pro wrestling monikers are a folklore unto themselves. Mr Mike once told me that every name at the Arena tells a tale, and they become more erudite with each new wave of talent. Take Cratos, pictured at top, one of the newest crop of faces at the Arena. He's named for the winged spirit of strength who, along with his siblings Bia (force), Nike (victory), and Zelos (rivalry), served in the Greek god Zeus' elite commando squad, performing important duties of divine justice, such as binding the titan Prometheus to a rock after he stole fire from heaven. In Rough and Ready 28, Cratos keeps arrogant Lance Romance (the name I would have claimed for my own had it not been already taken) tightly bound for stepping on him (literally stepping on him) while Cratos was doing pushups.

Cratos is more than the name, of course. He's a ruggedly handsome, 5'9", 200# side of beef who has adapted the noisy nose-breathing of bodybuilding competition to the task of underscoring the strain of submission wrestling while tying Romance into knots. I've written before on the effect of the aural components of wrestling on me. The forced and forceful breathing of men struggling against each other in hand-to-hand combat delivers tons of erotic clout. Add to that Cratos' tendency to hiss his trash talk through his gritted teeth, and you have captured my full attention. His physique would be only half as hypnotizing with the sound muted.

Both Cratos and Lance are still a little wooden in their movements between wrestling spots, but I chalk that up to inexperience in being in front of the camera in skintight shiny trunks barely larger than some bandaids. The fight is hugely entertaining, though, carried largely on Cratos' broad and rippling shoulders. Romance's cavalier contempt for the hotheaded (and hot-bodied) Cratos triggers the battle, which pauses about the halfway point to allow Cratos to pose, glistening like a mirror, before dishing up more righteous anger on Lance, who (thankfully) is a slow learner in the manners and gym etiquette department. But rest assured that in the end Cratos teaches him a timely lesson in respect.


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