The Paradise oil wrestling series is an anomaly among BG East's other products. Whereas Can-Am and BG Enterprise ran entire series on baby oil wrestling, for some reason it has not featured prominently at BG East. The Paradise series is also distinguished by the presence of a live audience, assembled at a men's night club in the Greater Boston area. Location shooting hinders camera movement and prevents retakes, so the videography is not up to the company's usual high standards--and the lighting is often inadequate (though I have to confess it casts a moody and scurvy tone over the fights, an effect I really like, rather like the grainy nightlife scenes in Cruising and Looking for Mr Goodbar). The presence of a live audience also contributes a certain giddiness to the proceedings. Even the wrestlers, more composed and businesslike in their studio matches, act ditzy and volatile here. I like that. The debauched party atmosphere is totally totally to my taste.
Paradise 4 also includes another much-loved match, featuring two of my favorite wrestlers: Wade Cutler and Steve Sherman. Wade, 5'6", 165#, was once a fixture at BGE, with over a dozen matches to his credit, which I would guess, based on the feedback I get from wrestling fans from time to time, must still sell like hotcakes. Steve, 5'11", 176#, features in only three matches, startlingly few given the man's sex appeal (a meatier Guy Pearce, from certain angles), cocky attitude, and wrestling ability. The two men fought in the ring in Hard Pros 3. Here they are poised against each other in the oil pit as military rivals, Marine (Cutler) versus Army (Sherman).
Lucky bar patrons are drafted to serve as the wrestlers' "managers" ... and lubricators. Frankly, it would be terrific if other series featured cornermen, coaches and assistants who fuss over the wrestlers before and after rounds and, if necessary, throw in the towel for their man at the end. Not everyone can wrestle, and I'm quite certain that men of a certain age (such as I) could be wangled into mopping the sweat off a fighter's shoulders and manually gauging the air pressure in the pecs and abs from time to time, perhaps even interfering on behalf of a particularly fetching muscle heel, under the right circumstances and for the chance to grope a particularly fetching babyface.
Steve is the cockier of the two, practically licking his chops to get his hands on the oily Marine. In a thong for this match, he possesses butt cheeks that one might more descriptively call hams, haunches, or rumps. The man's ass triggers my impulse to bite is all I'm saying. Thick thighs and broad shoulders complete the impression of robust manliness. I can't recall another wrestler on the roster who so perfectly fulfills my pictorial "type" in this respect: beautiful, strong, fearless, smug, massive, dark, sly, spirited, pugnacious, and sadistic.
More compact and more chiseled in physique, Wade is more reserved too, which is not to suggest that he has no fight. He always strikes me as the it's-just-a-job sort of wrestler. For the right money he'll kick anybody's ass. He doesn't seem to throw his heart into it the way Steve does. His is the clean, efficient kill instinct of a United States Marine. When Steve rushes to plop him down on the slick tarp, Wade rolls him over in half a second. The two men flip and thrust aggressively. "They don't like each other," the emcee (Cruze) gushes, early on, egging them on. What's even better, for me, is that fine line that makes wrestling truly exciting ... they like not liking each other ... a lot! The smiles frozen on their faces attest to it, expressing delight and baring teeth in a single gesture.
The noisier patrons root for the good guy, the Marine, Wade. That's fine with Steve. He doesn't need the crowd's support. The strain of glistening muscle on muscle seems to meet all his needs, though after Cruze suggests that the "winner gets to fuck the loser," his eyes noticeably brighten and he pushes a little harder to win. This sort of thing famously plays against expectations, but everything about Steve suggests he's a top ... and a fervently aggressive one. My money's on him.
Oil makes muscle look spectacular and adds a swimming sort of fluency to grappling that closely approximates my fantasy of underwater wrestling, where the human need for air does not interfere with sustained slithery frottage and seeming weightlessness. The downside of oil is that it prevents the kind of detailed brutalization that I also like in wrestling. Finger bending, chin clutching, hair yanking, and nipple twisting are difficult if not impossible to maintain without friction. Real life physics always work against the fabrications of unbounded fantasy. But the images provided by this match, combined with an impure and fertile imagination, feed my fantasy of perpetual roughhouse between ideally beautiful and indefatigable opponents. My idea of Paradise, indeed.