In UCW's just-released second outdoor video , Axel offers to train new kid Michael Hannigan to make sure that the ass-kicking Twisted Torment gave Mike at the beginning of the month is a one time thing. After working out in the open air, Axel shows the recruit the classic pro and submission moves: Boston crab, figure-four leglock, Irish whip, suplex, and camel clutch.
Mike pulls his shirt off, feeling a little antsy over every reminder of his humiliating beatdown at the state park. He insists on Axel's taking his shirt off too. You get the sense he's angling for something a little rougher than the slow-motion 1-2-3's of the standard wrestling maneuvers. The similarities between Mike's and Axel's bodies are striking, too. I'm kinda hoping they'll fight.
Along with the classic moves, Axel introduces some of the tactics that belong to the UCW house style, particularly the low blows that dominate nearly every match. "It's not UCW till you get your balls grabbed," Axel explains, before demonstrating the reverse atomic drop. The knee to the groin stuns Mike, but Axel promises that, after a few matches in the garage studio, wrestlers' nuts stop even registering the pain. Still, after Mike's turn at racking Axel's nuts, the best Axel can do is croak out "Good, good" between his clenched teeth.
Now, juices in full roll, Mike's feeling even more aggressive and ready for a match. He reminds Axel that he wasn't, after all, totally helpless against Twisted Torment, that he did break out a few effective moves against the short-tempered punk. "I'm not gonna hold back," Axel warns him. "I don't want you to," Mike replies.
The final 19 minutes of this video is the boys' bout in the grass. Axel, with the experience and a more sinewy build, takes an early lead, taking Michael down to the ground in a side headlock. But as he promised, Mike is not a total novice at schoolyard brawling. He pinches Axel's shaggy haircut tight between his thighs until Axel thrusts free and comes back at him, driving his foot high up on the inside of Mike's thigh. The horseplay escalates to a slugfest. While holding fast to his promise not to hold back, Axel continues to compliment Mike when the new guy comes back at him with a particularly effective counter. He even apologizes while slugging Mike back down to the ground. (Swell guy, that Axel.)
Mike keeps wanting to play rougher and rougher, as much from a need to redeem himself with fans after his shocking initiation at Twisted's hands as from a naturally high level of testosterone and competitiveness. He proves adept at all the moves Axel demonstrated, but just as he starts to feel good and cocky about his progress, Axel decides to show him a few tricks he did not teach him before.
If this second outdoor match lacks the drama and intensity of the first, part of the explanation lies with the fact that there's no real heel in this contest--and the wrestlers, though playing rough, are still clearly playing. The stakes aren't high between these two ... not yet, anyway. Also, the wide open field on which the contest takes place does not offer the obstacles the fighters played off in the park--trees, shrubs, utility sheds, picnic tables. Mike can hurl Axel into a chain-link fence, and vice versa, but that's about it. The fight lacks the speed and vehemence of the earlier one, no doubt because, fisticuffs or no, it remains essentially a training session, but, I should add, a training session that ends with a knock-yer-lights-out finisher.
Being a huge fan of friendly roughhouse, I don't mind the overall easygoingness of this contest. And the roughhouse is indeed rough, even though there's no bad blood between Axel and Michael (... not yet, anyway). Temperamentally they're both fairly even-tempered young men. I like seeing Mike itching to fight--fight Axel, fight anybody. The kid's got a little killer inside him that's scratching to come out. At the side of a big brother figure like Axel, it would be fun to watch Mike poised against a teaming of, say, Aron and maybe Joey Cantrell. And after seeing his natural ability and quick study of standard wrestling holds, I wouldn't be too quick to put money on Twisted Torment if he and Mike ever cross treelined paths again.