Monday, November 12, 2012


Why do I like the wrestling I like? Hell if I know. You might as well ask me why I like steak. I just do is all. How can I say I like UCW-Wrestling, while at the same time claiming to like BG East, Thunder's Arena, and Rock Hard? Frankly, I don't sense an inconsistency in my wrestling tastes. They're all mine. I like all these promotions in general, plus some more, just as I've got a taste for cheeseburgers and miso soup and risotto--not all at once, mind you, but pretty much equally, and there are days when I have a hankering for one and not the others.

From time to time I write reviews of wrestling videos. It's something I enjoy doing. Am I a connoisseur of wrestling? am I qualified to dictate what's "in" and what's "out"? am I a trendsetter? No, most definitely not. I write about what fascinates me about the matches. It's personal, though I try to consider my audience, too, realizing that one man's meat is another man's poison, but, when all is said and done, each piece I post is about me, or some part of me. That's why I don't write bad reviews--nothing truly bad, anyway--because what doesn't work for me in wrestling does not interest me, not as much as what does work.

I realize most gay fans like squash jobs and boys with six-packs, and I don't. Not like they do, anyway, though I find things I like about them, too, sometimes. More people like WWE than the stuff I like. I don't think I am right and they are wrong, but then I don't think I'm wrong either. I don't wrestle anymore, sad to say, but again and again I have found that what I like in a wrestling match is something that revives a sense memory of the days when I did wrestle. My pals and I had no squash matches: I sometimes won, they sometimes won (they more often, if I'm going to be honest, but I put up a good fight back then, even when I lost, so it was always a nailbiter to the end). Some of my pals had what used to be called "washboard abs," but what appealed to me more were their shoulders, backs, chests, and thighs. And their faces: I have always been a sucker for a handsome face. And nothing they and I did ever came close to what I see on WWE--so maybe that's the main reason I've usually turned a jaundiced eye towards McMahon Incorporated.

UCW's latest outdoorsy release [#236] brings back memories for me. It features three of my favorite UCW wrestlers: Axel, Joey Cantrell, and Aron. They pile on each other the way my friends and I used to pile on each other. The point was never winning or losing for us, just to keep the roughhouse going, constant, hot, and sweaty, till we exhausted ourselves and collapsed in a heap. None of my friends and me were slender like these three guys, not past fifteen. At six feet even, I was the next shortest among us. Most of my pals played football and outweighed me by ten or more pounds. But like these guys, we kept it going--two guys grappling till a third could not constrain himself and hopped into the fray or till one of the guys was mostly licked or starting to get dizzy and had to pull away to shake the cobwebs out of his head. I was the non-varsity guy, a bit of an egghead even back then, so my friends, the real athletes, were somewhat in awe of the fact that I got into wrestling them and gave them more of a workout than they had reason to expect of me.

In the video we at first see Axel, Joey, and Aron climbing on the old-fashioned jungle gym set at an undisclosed playground, showing off their strength and dexterity, trying to impress each other, possibly hoping to get something going with one of the other two. Aron wagers twenty dollars that he can out-wrestle Axel ... and Joey. He gets immediate takers. All three throw down the cash for a winner-takes-all contest. The rules (set by Axel, naturally) are two men at a time, with the third sitting it out, but he can tag in at any time he likes: a three-way dance in the grass. The rest of the 29-minute vid goes pretty much the way you expect it to go, pretty much the way the still shots above show it. There's not a whole lot of drama here. The guys posture and talk some shit, the way guys will do, but no grudges, no interfering managers, no ropes to fly into, through, or over. The fighting is natural and real. They squirm and tie themselves up in knots as the sun lowers and their shadows grow long against the jagged blades of grass. It looks like fun. It makes me wish I weren't so close to sixty--next year, guys, so save your well-wishing till then. Still, it makes me glad that I had the fun I had when I was young enough, strong enough, and reckless enough to have it. No regrets here. Carpe diem, bros.

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