Saturday, August 4, 2012

What a Man's Gotta Do

It didn't take long for these two guys to sniff each other out.

Since arriving at UCW-Wrestling, Twisted Torment has been seeking skulls to crack. He is pretty clear about his mission: take on all comers, make them submit or knock them out, leave them permanently damaged. So far he's beat up other newcomers, Joey Cantrell and Aron (twice). To unconsciousness. He wants fans, but he isn't wrestling to make new friends. He likes hurting people. He wants the championship belt (currently the property of Corporal Punishment, physically the biggest man at UCW). His strategy for winning fans is to appropriate the fans of the fighters he demolishes. He's not new to wrestling. He grew up with the sport, having been conceived at a wrestling event and very nearly being born at another. The guys at UCW should probably watch their backs. This guy is capable of anything, with no moral compass to stop him from out-and-out assault and battery.

Axel, UCW's first champion, has wrestled everybody on the roster, more than once in some cases. He is a self-proclaimed bully-basher. He likes chasing down the cowards and cheats and kicking their butts. He likes giving the sadists a taste of their own medicine. He's about as opposite to Twisted Torment as a man can be. Axel sees it as his life mission to put guys like Torment in their place. He wants to clear the lowlifes and hooligans out of UCW. And he's not averse to using bully tactics to get the job done. Sometimes it looks like Axel might be so drawn to the dark side of underground wrestling that he could, at any moment, cross over to it. To be sure, his beatdowns of bullies are not free of a certain, shall we say, sadistic element of their own.

A face-off between Axel and Twisted Torment was inevitable. This is it: release #212. Thirty-seven minutes of ball-bashing, ab-pounding, adam's apple-crunching mayhem. "I know this is extreme wrestling," Axel tells his opponent at the beginning, "but, dude, seriously, tone it down." It's a friendly warning. But Torment doesn't take "friendly" warnings seriously, and the thought of toning down something that's extreme makes absolutely no sense to him. If anything, Twisted Torment is at UCW to take the company and its wrestlers beyond the edge. To the abyss. He looks at Axel and sees a public-school crossing guard who needs his nuts twisted in a bow, just for a reality check. Nice guys need their noses shoved into the world's shitpile. "It seems like I'm gonna have to put another little poster boy out on the mat," he muses, in a resigned and business-like tone, but with a hint of eagerness. He's ready to light into Axel even before the opening bell sounds.

Torment takes an early lead with an armbar, to which he adds a couple of hard, wrenching jerks to traumatize the tendons further. Axel flips over in an attempt to free himself, but he's no sooner on his feet than Torment slams him back to the mat. Torment pushes him to a corner and pummels his taut abs till they blush pink. Axel reverses, slapping the bad boy into the wall and cracking the dude's ribs with his knuckles. With a certain barely disguised relish, he slams the twisted one to the mat and squeezes the man's head between his thighs. For all his good intentions and sense of justice, Axel is made of the same dark matter as his foes. The difference between Axel and Twisted Torment is that Axel vents his wrath on those who push the sport's inherent violence too far, Torment, on those who don't, in his opinion, push it far enough.

It's an even match between two equals that can go either way. Just the way I like it. Similar in physique and training, but worlds apart in attitude and sense of right and wrong. In a video interview, released in conjunction with this video's release, Axel says, "For as much as I hate bullies, I like to consider the guys here my friends ... to a certain extent." Still, he admits to carrying a bo staff with him to all his matches, just in case it's needed, although, as he also states, he's "not a big proponent of using weapons." Torment, on the other hand, is a "big proponent" of causing pain, the more twisted, the better ... and by any means available. If he catches a whiff of wimp in the air, his muscles tense as his body automatically goes into attack mode. He has no friends or allies. There are only creeping insects he hasn't yet had the opportunity to squash.

Without giving it all away, I will reveal that the outcome of this match hinges on a turn of events in the final minute that's entirely out of left field. Well, "entirely" is too strong of word, as it's definitely been set up in these wrestlers' previous bouts. The match has a satisfying resolution--a humiliating submission ... and a loser left face down on the mat, sore all over, and, if he can ever recover from this brutal beating, almost certain to want a followup match to settle the score. I'd call this a great match in the classic UCW tradition--slim, well-trained guys freakishly drawn to pain and high-risk situations. Axel and Twisted Torment are two of the most complicated and perplexing wrestlers on the roster, and seeing them poised against each other has got to be one of faithful UCW fans' dreams come true.

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