Saturday, February 16, 2013

No Fear!

A while back, Kid Leopard, founder and boss of BG East, told me that he was going on another of his many trips to the UK, to survey British wrestling talent and, I guess, to satisfy his chronic anglophilia. I asked him to bring me Mike Martin as a souvenir. He did not. But he did pass along the information that Mike was a reader of Ringside at Skull Island and offered me the wrestler's email address, suggesting that Mike might agree to an interview. I jumped at the chance and wrote to Mike immediately. 

Mike's matches against wrestlers like Marcelo and Ringkid at Bulldog Wrestling UK and Ty Garrison and Kid Karisma at BG East are personal favorites. For me, Mike, 5'7", 150#, epitomizes the quiet, no-nonsense, technically adept aggressor I admire in wrestling, much like Randy Page, Jimmy Royce, and Bass Wallace before him. He doesn't have an identifiable gimmick. He is neither babyface nor heel, not entirely, but rather some kind of synthesis of the two. He brings tenacity, strategy, and rigor to every one of his fights. And unlike most wrestlers--even those who wrestle specifically for gay and bi fans in the so-called underground promotions--he's direct and explicit about the homoeroticism of fighting. He's a guy who would rather fight you than fuck you--and you can be assured that his fight is worth double most people's fucking. His focused and sensuous style of combat seems perfectly in sync with my own interests as a gay wrestling fan and fantasist. We spread the interview over two weeks or so. Mike was courteous, open, disarmingly modest, and as charming as anybody can be at an ocean's distance. 

Joe: Let's start with the usual preliminaries. Tell me a little bit about your training and background in wrestling.

Mike: I have had no formal wrestling training. Unlike the US, it is not a sport taught at school in the UK, so everything I have learned is from watching others, and I have watched a lot of wrestling matches--from World of Sport British pro as a child to early WWF and WWE, BG from the beginning, and the other underground sites.

Joe: How did your involvement with BG East begin?

Mike: I was first approached by [Kid Leopard] at BG, who messaged me a few times through a wrestling personal site. Being a big Kid Leopard fan, I was at first too nervous to respond, and it took a while before I eventually plucked up the courage and agreed to a match ... but once I did I was hooked!

Joe: I would have guessed you had at least some training in wrestling. You know plenty of moves. But I guess a guy can learn a lot just by watching wrestling. What do you see as your particular strength as a wrestler?

Mike: No fear!

Joe: Your matches are among the most erotic I have seen, yet they are also highly competitive. Not just a lot of rubbing against each other and soft moaning, but real intensity and the will to dominate. Watching them, I see a clear connection between foreplay and jockeying for position. Is that how you see them?

Mike: There is definitely a connection between sex and aggression. For me, wrestling is definitely a fetish. I have a clear idea of the type of match I like, the wrestlers I prefer to watch and to fight with, and I think I emulate that "style" of wrestling that so appeals to me. For me, it is ALL about attitude. That is what makes a wrestler sexy, a match erotic. There does not have to be any sex for a match to be intensely erotic. Of course, each match is different. Each wrestler has a different style. The chemistry varies. I may be more aggressive with one wrestler, more sensual with another.

Joe: You ever deliberately throw a fight because you want your opponent to own your ass?

Mike: I never enter a match thinking it will end sexually, so no ... but I must admit I may have occasionally given less than my best to allow an opponent to more easily apply a hold, if I am in the mood! A grinding headlock or a tight headscissors can be a painful experience, sure, but it's a pleasurable pain ... and the view ain't bad either!

Joe: [Laughs.] I hear you. But what exactly triggers the erotic aspect of wrestling? For you, personally, I mean. Is it gear, holds, trash talk ...?

Mike: Gear, for sure. Trunks and boots do it for me. I'm not a comfortable trash talker, but those that do can be very sexy, so long as they don't overdo it.

Joe: Yeah, it's a fine line, isn't it? If you're not going to say something that gets me hard, it's better just to keep the yap shut and stick to fighting. Too much talk can kill the intensity.

Mike: As I said before, attitude is the most important thing. There aren't that many wrestlers who get it right, but when they do, I know it, and it really rocks my boat! A great physique may be great to look at, but unless they have the right attitude to go with it, then it doesn't always work for me.

Joe: Even an admittedly perfect gym-toned physique doesn't turn me on unless it looks like it's battle-ready. It has to be a wrestler's body first and foremost.

Mike: Naturally, holds matter, too--a well applied headscissor, a headlock ... a Boston crab ... body punching ... stomps .... I could go on and on. It can get a bit dull if no holds get applied. There's no finer view than a fit body stretched out and suffering at the hands of a sadistic heel.

Joe: You're mainly a mat wrestler. Do you have any interest in pursuing other kinds of matches? In the ring? In the steel cage? In the oil pit?

Mike: I guess my style of wrestling is more suited to mat wrestling. Ring wrestling has not presented itself to me, but never say never.

Joe: Does the aggressive aspect of a fight ever tip over to flared tempers? Have you ever got to a point where you really wanted to hurt or humiliate an adversary?

Mike: No, never. I think it's very important that no one gets seriously hurt. I do prefer a rough match, though, and I get frustrated at some wrestlers who do not let go and dish out a bit of real punishment. A real submission: that's what it's all about, right?

Joe: Yeah.

Mike: We can all take a few knocks, suffer a few bruises, submit for real, humiliate an opponent, be humiliated. We will recover from it. For me, that is what makes a match sexy. So long as there are no broken bones. Make 'em submit twice, I say, then crank it on again!

Joe: So what's working at BG East like, behind the scenes, so to speak?

Mike: The guys are really welcoming. They treat you well, and they know their stuff. It can be a long process, and there can be a lot of waiting around for your match, but you get to see a lot of hot wrestling, and I have met some really cool guys.

Joe: What's the most difficult part of wrestling on camera?

Mike: To be honest, once I start wrestling, I am in the zone, and I do not think about the camera.

Joe: What, if anything, does the camera add to the experience of wrestling?

Mike: Perhaps the voyeuristic element adds an extra kick?

Joe: Do you watch your own matches much?

Mike: I have done, yes. Usually just the once.

Joe: How do your private, not-for-video matches differ from the work we've seen on BG East?

Mike: They really don't differ much at all.

Joe:  What do you want to know about a wrestler before you set foot on a mat with him?

Mike: I would probably ask what kind of wrestling he is into, so I can adapt if necessary, and I generally prefer to wrestle guys around my size.

Joe: Do you get sexy or weird fan mail?

Mike: I have had some fan mail. One guy likened watching one of my matches to a "religious experience." Is that weird?

Joe: Not at all. In fact, it sounds like something I might say.

Mike: I think maybe he was explaining the intensity he felt, which I have certainly experienced when watching some matches.

Joe: Me, too. And I don't think spiritual comparisons are inappropriate in describing the impact wrestling has on me--on top of its erotic aspects. It's an ordeal, testing what a man's made of ... against another man. Who's the toughest wrestler you ever competed against?

Mike: I cannot remember his name, to be honest. It was a match for Bulldog Wrestling in the UK, and it was a submission match, which was filmed, but my opponent would not allow it to be released. He was pretty well trained, and he got a lot of submissions out of me, but I fought hard and got a couple of my own.

Joe: Who's the sexiest wrestler you ever competed against?

Mike: They are all sexy in their own way.

Joe: Good response. Noncommittal. [Laughs.] At the risk of generalizing, how do you think British wrestlers differ from American?

Mike: That's difficult to say. I think Americans can perhaps be more theatrical. When they trash talk, it comes easy to them and sounds right, whereas us Brits are somewhat more reserved and can be a little more self-conscious!

Joe: What comes to mind when you hear the names of some of your past adversaries? Rob Chandler, for instance.

Mike: I should have put the boot in some more. That lad can TAKE it.

Joe: Ty Garrison?

Mike: Sexy stud.

Joe: Kid Karisma?

Mike: Great arse. He has so much energy, too.

Joe: Christian Taylor?

Mike: Hard to resist beating up such a handsome jobber.

Joe: Is there one match of yours you would recommend to us fans more than the rest?

Mike: That's a hard one. I find it difficult to judge my own matches. U.K. Three-Way was fun. I enjoyed it, and I think we all had a pretty good chemistry together. The match against Joshua Goodman worked because he stepped up the aggression to match mine, which I think made for a great match. I certainly came away battered from that one! I enjoyed fighting Ty Garrison. And I heard the Kid Karisma match was well received, but I have yet to see it. Things got pretty heated with Ethan Pryor ....

Joe: So apart from your own, what's your favorite match?

Mike: That's a long list. I am not so familiar with the new roster of BG wrestlers. I need to get better acquainted. I'd like to see more of Austin Cooper and Jake Jenkins.

Joe: Yeah, I can't get enough either.

Mike: A few older matches spring to mind ... Dick the Prick versus Bud Orton [Matmen 14] ... 

Joe: Dick the Prick was huge! Haven't seen that match, though.

Mike: Scott Williams versus Brad Rochelle [Ultra Fight 2]--seriously sexy ... Chip Slater versus Justin Fiori [Matmen 2]--nasty!

Joe: Old favorites. Classics. I hadn't thought of it before, but you kind of remind me of Chip. Scott Williams should have fought more matches on video.

Mike: Excellent pro style matches on BG from a while back ... Steve Grafonis versus Dante Rosetti [Fantasymen 8]... Ron D versus Billy Wilcox [Pros in Private 2]. One of the first intense matches I really appreciated was a very early Kid Leopard match, versus a guy in red trunks whose name I do not know, who suffers sublimely while the Kid dishes out the punishment, but he also manages to squeeze a great headscissor submission out of Leopard. It can be found on the Scissors 1 compilation from BG, if I remember correctly. I have worn that one out! I also enjoy Arena pro-style matches from BG Enterprise ... Cliff Conlin versus anyone. Buddy Justice versus Buck Gibson is a classic.

Joe: Damn. You need to come to North Carolina. We'll throw an all-night marathon video party.

Mike: I guess I enjoy heels--from the old school--Kid Leopard, Kid Vicious, Bass Wallace, Chip Slater. Jonny Firestorm is a great heel, too.

Joe: No shit.

Mike: Nick Archer, Brad Rochelle, Justin Pierce, Cameron Matthews, Alexi Adamov--all beautiful men and wrestlers with attitude. Scott Williams also has "it." I enjoy watching ROH. Roderick Strong, Kyle O'Reilly. I found an excellent pro match recently between John Walters and Tommasso Ciampa on YouTube, and I have seen some great matches on Beyond Wrestling. It's always exciting to discover great new wrestlers.

Joe: So looking back on all you've done so far in wrestling, do you have any regrets?

Mike: Yeah. Meeting a guy for a date once, before I had made any wrestling videos, and it did not go that well. Some time later, I discovered he had made a couple of wrestling videos himself! If only I had suggested a match, things may have gone differently!


  1. Excellent interview! Thanks for posting it ...

  2. I watched a couple Mike Martin matches earlier today. Christian Taylor and Kid Karisma to be exact. I love his intensity. It's very sexy. He has a nice tendency for hard body punches too which i love. great interview.

  3. Mike is a tough and sexy wrestler on the mats and a great guy off of them. He also has the distinction of wrestling on the BG mats in London, Pembroke and Lauderdale!




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