The Third Man
BG East's just-released Wrestler Spotlight: Eli Black is the third and last, against newcomer Lorenzo Lowe. I prefer matches between two evenly matched wrestlers. Just my thing I guess. In the DVD's previous matches, Eli's challengers tower over him and outweigh him by at least a quarter his bodyweight. Eli and Lorenzo are the same weight and within an inch of each other in height, with Eli the taller. Eli makes a point of their differences in physique, which are noticeable, but ultimately negligible. It's hard to match Eli in an abs contest. Anyone? Still, it's not true that Lorenzo has "no muscles," as Eli contends. And given an opener where Eli literally shoves Lorenzo to the mat, you can be forgiven for thinking that Eli will dominate the less chiseled rookie uninterruptedly from beginning to end.
And for the first five minutes of the bout, it sure looks like that's what's going to happen. Eli lights into the rookie and bends and twists him like a pipe-cleaner. Then there's an exciting turn of events. Lorenzo catches the rising BGE star in a figure-four choke and then rolls to a seated position, smashing Eli's nose flat against the mat. Then he paralyzes Eli in a humiliating 22-second pin--I clocked it--and even then he's not finished with the man. Too bad for Lorenzo it's a submission match, because pins don't count. The effect of this sudden upset is to rile Eli up, and he strikes back with a vengeance. But for the rest of the match, Lorenzo holds his own against the star, even though Eli is the stronger and more experienced wrestler. This happens quite naturally--not a lot of choreography in evidence, not a lot of posing either, mostly it's solid mat grappling, which requires a lot of training but little directing.
I suspect that Eli could sell a match against a coat rack if he had to. And he would shine. What's terrific about Black-v-Lowe, though, is that he's matched against a guy who, though lacking Eli's lip and eight-faceted abs, has good instincts about wrestling and enough moves to keep the battle interesting. Both previous matches end with a loser knocked out cold on the mat, so it would be reasonable to expect that something like this might happen again here. Given his MMA training, Eli could easily choke out Lorenzo under the right circumstances. And Lorenzo, though smaller than the previous competitors, is the only one of the lot I might think capable of--realistically, if not really--choking out Eli.
Eli Black is front and center in all three matches. Obviously. It's his Wrestler Spotlight. Spotlighted wrestlers do not, however, always win every match. But winning or losing, Eli has always been hard to ignore. (This holds equally true of his matches at Rock Hard Wrestling and UCW-Wrestling.) He dominates even when he's being dominated. He's one of those people whose auras or whatever draw the eye. He's also a terrific wrestler, as evident in all three of these matches--and, as I already noted, he can sell even the lamest hold an ill-trained opponent might apply. He's one of the fastest witted fighters I've seen, too, able to crack wise and bust nuts in one continuous flow. Singlehandedly he carries the narrative thread in a good three quarters of the fights I've seen him in. He's good, better than just good ... though when he's dealing with respected bloggers, three times his age, sometimes the punk really needs to watch his mouth--all I'm saying.
But when Eli fights somebody who knows mat grappling and feels something for the drama of male-on-male domination, he is great. And there's nobody greater than he, perhaps two or three equals, but none better. When Lorenzo asks Eli if he really thinks he can stretch him out, as Eli just threatened, Eli fires back, "I'm pretty sure that will probably be the easiest thing I've ever done in my life." It's a terrific line, twisting and turning in on itself like a verbal spinning toehold, all the better for being (or at least sounding) unrehearsed. The art of wrestling entertainment is to say and do stuff that sounds and looks real and moves the story along. It's always best when the wrestler can pull from a storehouse of holds, strategies, and provocations, and not rely too much on a script and not just flail about either. In my opinion, a match becomes great when you have two wrestlers who can do that.