Rock Hard Wrestling is not just redeeming itself from its early reputation as all glossy production value with no balls (unfair, but not altogether unfounded), but more impressively, to judge by the initial DVD release of Catalog 13, also entering its golden age of pretty-boy riot and carnage. For those of you who habitually download your wrestling kink, this may be old news, but for me, still clinging to twentieth-century technology and digital disks, Josh Steel versus Jason Kane and Jake Jenkins versus Austin Cooper come as something of a revelation.
This point in history has been coming for a while now. Respected for its sharp videography and flawless eye for young male pulchritude from its beginnings three years ago, Rock Hard has been steadily raising the bar in its fight scenarios, attitude, and wrestling moves as well, thanks to talents like Jake, Austin, and Eli Black, all of whom Rock Hard introduced to the underground wrestling industry within the past couple of years. Its current release marks a new high for the Florida-based company, with all four wrestlers hitting the zeniths of their respective careers so far.
Rock Hard must have decided that Josh Steel had not suffered enough in his first two matches (against Ethan Andrews and Brodie Fisher--two close to flawless bouts, by the way). Jason Kane, dubbed the "Teen Sensation," believes he's the right man to beat up the tan, longhaired, long-waisted, and impossibly sexy motocross cyclist. Jason's bigger and a bit nastier than Josh and takes an early lead, insulting Josh's mama and promising that, after he's finished with him, Josh is going to look like he's married to OJ. The family insults rile Josh up, and we get a fight here that irresistibly pulls us in.
Although Josh sometimes bungles the timing of his segues, he is very fine in every other respect. He suffers beautifully and relishes dishing up the hurt on Jason every opportunity he gets. I like the way he puckers his lips and bites his lower lip when wringing moans out of his opponent. By the middle of Round 2 he has raised a silvery sweat while trouncing Jason in an exciting turnaround. Jason has more experience, but Josh has loads of fighting heart. When Jason threatens to shave off Josh's hair (which, by the way, swooshes dramatically with every move), I'm wishing that this were a hair match for real.
Jake Jenkins and Austin Cooper are old pros by now. The former RHW tag partners have faced each other elsewhere on the mat, but this main event marks their first ring match against each other. Jake has plenty of resentment, no doubt, after Austin unceremoniously dumped him in favor of brand new teen hunk Brodie Fisher. Furthermore, Coop's feeling pretty cocky about his big, hard biceps, and the match begins with the two getting belly down on the mat for some arm wrestling. Jake's speed and savvy are initially no match for Austin's brawn in a contest based entirely on arm strength, and frustrated he flies into Coop with a right-handed slug to the mouth. Then Jenk backs the big lug into the corner for a stompdown and throws him to the center of the mat for a one-legged crab hold. Jake proves himself a master of submission holds, making all kinds of curlicue shapes out of Austin's arms, legs, and torso. But soon enough Austin makes him pay with a volley of rocket-powered punches and kicks.
Round 1 ends with Jake on top. After clawing Austin's pecs and abs without mercy, he submits him in a backbreaker choke and then flips him facedown on the mat so he can strike a few poses, standing on the man's back. He initiates Round 2 with another cheap shot, convinced that surprise is his best weapon against Austin, who appears to be getting bigger and brawnier by the minute. But the round turns quickly into an even give and take, peaking with a riveting and totally convincing figure-four leg lock that makes Jenk look like he wishes he had never got up that morning, much less got into the ring against Coop. (Note: Nobody but nobody sells pain better than Jake!)
All this sets up a decisive third round that I think would be difficult for either of these wrestlers to top anytime in the near future. To say these men have never wrestled as well or as vigorously as they do here is to say something indeed, since I haven't seen either of them fail to make my jaw drop in any previous match.
Both these fights go for the full three rounds. They show us the Rock Hard that was always meant to be. Now the music and the cool camerawork have the grit and mayhem that make for truly great wrestling drama. Now we're getting the total package, and Rock Hard has earned its place as an indispensable part of a kinkster's canon of great wrestling and hot entertainment. And this disk will be remembered as one of the classics!