Looking backward with an eye towards analysis is one thing, but looking backward to mine cheap sentiment is nostalgia. I hate nostalgia, the Merchant-Ivory longing, the neverending big game of the eternal high-school quarterback, the hollow familiarity of golden oldies, but I find myself becoming involuntarily more nostalgic the older I get. It comes with the territory, I guess: It being wistful attachment to one's past, the territory being the awareness that now there's more past than future.
I am reaching the end of a decade. Four more months and I am a round number again. I'm old enough to be looking back on my life with a mixture of awe and dismay. It's been a terrific life, riotously happy at times, and it's not over yet. Lately I have been prone to thumb through old photo albums. It amazes me how hot I looked at age thirty. If I could hop into a time machine, I'd wrestle my old self to the ground and rape me. (What jury could convict me?) But now my life is settling down to a well-measured contentment. There are worse things, much worse. My only real regret is that I am currently wasting too much time thinking about the old days. Still, I am pleased I have so much to look back on with delight.
In most ways, fifty-nine has been a banner year for me so far, only two-thirds through. Wrestling-wise, I have ventured out, sometimes solo, sometimes with an accommodating friend, to see some pro wrestling shows, something I had never done before last December. I have enjoyed blogging about my tastes in wrestling, the pleasure dulled only by the awareness that the days when I could instigate an impromptu wrestling match, live, sweaty, and interactive, are long gone. Now I watch videos and YouTube ... sigh ... but don't think for a second that I do not appreciate the profusion and variety of underground wrestling available in the 21st century. I am not so nostalgic as to think that everything old is better than anything new. Far from it. We are now in a veritable golden age (even as I approach my golden years).
Lately, though, I have been thinking about the twentieth-century matches that both reflected and shaped my wrestling tastes. One of my favorite matches of the 1990s is BG Enterprise's High Stakes Wrestling 3, produced in 1996, with Brad Michaels tearing the clothes off former Mr Universe contestant Brandon Reevet. I just noticed yesterday that I have mentioned this match before on this blog--counting it as one of my all-time favorites, identifying it as perhaps the first erotic wrestling video that measures up to my erotic fantasies of wrestling--but I haven't posted many pictures of it or properly reviewed it.
There are several great things about this video, some of which have not often been matched in the subsequent decades. Brad is all hairy aggression, determined to submit and then fuck the living daylights out of smooth, chiseled Brandon. It's a vigorous and authentic display of animal audacity and lust. Beautiful and elegant as he is--and strong, too--Brandon is doomed, doomed like the sleek and graceful gazelle getting clutched and mauled by a faster, hungrier predator on Animal Planet. As with all prey, in time the hope dies in Brandon's eyes and he succumbs, seemingly willingly, to Brad's superior prowess.
The action has nothing stagey or prearranged about it. It's a battle. From the get-go it looks destined to be Brad's to win. If somebody arranged for it to turn out one way or another in advance, it certainly does not show in the fight. Brad simply has what my old friend Dutch used to call the "killer" in his eyes. Brandon doesn't have it. He's got muscle and agility, but in the end appetite and nerve overcome Bowflex and protein powder. It's a splendid contest, 43 minutes' worth: the spandex gets peeled off, the guys get sweaty and hard, the victor takes his prize.
It's obvious that these two are attracted to each other, but it's that complicated attraction I have written about before. To judge by appearances, Brad and Brandon don't want to cuddle, eat cheesecake, and watch Beaches on VHS. They want to struggle. They want the pop and smack of muscle thrusting against muscle. They want to work up a sweat together. They want their hearts to pound and roar before climactically sinking themselves into each other. These guys aren't just joking around, and they're not just wrestling for a paycheck. They bring passion to the fight.
My favorite moment--the one I most vividly remember--is when Brandon is on his back with Brad on top of him. His legs are spread, bracketing Brad's thighs, and he clutches Brad's head under his left arm. The two men huff and puff, buck naked, as Brad struggles to get loose. With his free hand, Brandon reaches down to spank Brad's flexing ass, but Brad thrusts his forearm up to Brandon's chin, forcing back his head. The thrust causes Brandon to arch his body up to Brad's, and Brad's head pops free. Brandon tries to scissor his opponent's waist, but now Brad has the leverage to push himself up on him, chest to chest, belly to belly, cock to cock, with Brandon's palms and ankles clamped to Brad's butt as Brad squeezes and pushes and moans. My words don't do it justice, but let me tell you, it steams my glasses every time.
I don't know what became of Reevet. I'm happy to see that Michaels is still going strong, wrestling under various names at BG East and elsewhere. The man should be an underground folk hero on the basis of this one match. It's one of those rare perfect objects, where every element comes together. There's probably nothing on this video that you can't see in other videos, but nowhere do the pieces fit in place as they do here, and nowhere do you see such brazen lust, groaning strength, and pluck in wrestling.
I would like to see this passion and ability equaled in a 21st-century bout. There's some good stuff out there now, some of it gritty, raw, and primal. For the most part--and forgive me for sounding like an old coot here--a great deal of the wrestling today is played too safe, under too many constraints, with too little heart and vitality, and perhaps too much smirking irony, too. But I must remind myself that what makes High Stakes Wrestling 3 unique was unique even back in the 1990s, when it was produced. I should be happy--and I am--that it exists at all, rather than complain about its rarity.
In America we celebrate something called Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of every November. As best as I can explain it, on this day we are collectively thanking our god for giving the European colonists the wiles and gunpowder to steal the land from people who treated the land with a great deal more respect. The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the natives' generosity in sharing their winter provisions with starving white men. I don't need to go into what happened next. On a personal level, I am thankful for having had a good life--and when it hasn't been good, it has at least been interesting. And I am thankful for small things which, upon reconsideration in retrospect, are actually quite amazing. There are plenty of these things, I am happy to report, and Brad's taking Brandon down is just one of them.