Jesuses I Would Like to Wrestle
The one spiritual tenet artists and filmmakers appear to agree on is that Jesus of Nazareth was a stud muffin. Some portray him as a wispy emo type, others as a beaming Texas quarterback, others as a reggae wild man, but nobody depicts Jesus as a (historically more probable) 5'3", 140-pound Galilean with an incomplete set of teeth. Growing up a fundamentalist bible believer, I got to see plenty of pictures of Jesus in our illustrated family bible, Sunday school literature, and flannelgraph cutouts. And while it was always the skinhead Samson's body that stirred my pre-pubescent juices, it was Jesus's face I wanted to see on a boyfriend. Even now he or rather the dreamily romantic depictions of him are a fundamental imprint upon "my type." Nearly every boyfriend I've had or trick I've laid has looked like he was on callbacks for The Greatest Story Ever Told.
For reasons that will be obvious to regular readers of this blog, I prefer the modern sporty version of Jesus to the gaunt Gothic scarecrow of medieval ecclesiastical art. The all-important question is whether he wrestled. I figure that, laboring as a carpenter, he would have had a strong back, thick forearms, and dense. hairy thighs--a pretty good contender on the mats or in the ring. I figure him for a bit of a rowdy roughneck, too, especially because he tossed the moneychangers out of the temple. And of course he could definitely suffer--oh my, how he could suffer!
So here, in the spirit of the season, is my list of virtual messiahs I most would like to square off against in the squared circle. Whether by cross press or crucifix, the finish will be a surefire wrestlerection.
"Speedo Jesus," as personified by Thom Hoffman in the 1983 Dutch film The 4th Man, was the first movie Jesus that sped me home to jerk off as soon as the closing credits rolled. This was the year after I outed myself to my parents and non-gay friends (as well as no longer identifying myself as a bible believer). He and this particular shot are the main reasons the film has remained in my personal video collection, first on VHS, then on DVD, and, God willing, one day soon on Blu Ray.
The most Jesus-y of all the classic Ring of Honor stars, Tyler Black, like Kevin Von Erich, suffered agonizingly for 90 percent of his matches, only to rise triumphantly and miraculously at the end. But unlike Von Erich, Tyler had the beard and bronze complexion to make the suffering redeemer archetype really work. Had he stayed true to type, today he would be the perfect opponent for the increasingly satanic Tommaso Ciampa.
Paul Hipp played Jesus in Harvey Keitel's vision--or hallucination--in 1992's Bad Lieutenant. His appearance is blink-or-you'll-miss-it short. Fortunately for me, however, at the time I saw this movie I had a boyfriend with a beard and the eyes of an Irish saint, who also liked to wrestle. The film was Abel Ferrara's heavy-handed take on the struggle of Good and Evil in modern New York City, involving a drug-addled cop on the hunt for a nun's rapist.
The epitome of the babyface (or, to use the British expression, blue-eye) Jesus was Jeffrey Hunter, 6' or 6'1"(depending on the source), 180#, in 1961's Hollywood epic King of Kings. I preferred him smooth-shaven or at most scruffy as John Wayne's "nephew" in The Searchers, but among the Hollywood Jesuses up to and including Jim Caviezel, the former captain of the Whitefish Bay High School football team was the most strapping.
Although I'm not as wildly a fan of Christian Bale as some of my gay and bi brothers, I have followed and greatly enjoyed his work over the years. This shot from a 1999 TV movie I never saw, never even knew existed, called Mary, Mother of Jesus, could easily pass for a photo in Wrestling Arsenal's always much appreciated "Suffering Sunday" series.
I'm pretty certain both the photographer and Tim Tebow knew just what they were implying with this pose. Pro football's most exhibitionist Christian not only exemplifies the all-eyes-on-me sanctimony of modern American evangelicalism but looks like he'd be terrific in a lucha-libre-style showdown against the devil in a steel cage. I'd pay to watch it, so long as I could mute the parts where he talks about his ideas on God, virginity, and marriage.