Why wouldn't Mogly take a punch at Vinny, the new big man on campus at Thunder's Arena? See, you would probably think I'd be wondering why he would, right? At first, I thought that, too. Vinny is twice his size, and while Mogly is a fit, young guy who could take most guys you and I would be likely to meet, this new guy Vinny is built like an F-15. There's like a 99.9% chance that, in an actual fight, Vinny would make a smoothie out of Mogly and half a frozen banana. Yet here Mogly is accusing Vinny of stealing his laptop and then going ahead and taking a swing at the guy (and, I remind you, Vinny is a huge heap of guy ... that laptop had better be made of platinum, Mo). But, no, I'm saying, "Why wouldn't he?" Just look at Vinny. He is magnificent--no other word will do. As long as my insurance was paid up to date, even I would take a swing at him. The guy just looks like he'd be fun to punch. The thrill might not last long, but, hell, it'd be worth the pain.

The first we see of Vinny is him lying by the Arena pool, looking like he's the first man of the techno-apocalypse's master race, created out of bricks, scrap iron, and Bengal tiger DNA. I'd say that Thunder's has gotten very good at introducing its new talent. Vinny's introduction is in two parts, like the bible and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. First, there's Mat Rats 37, in which he pulverizes cocky jungle-boy Mogly back to the subatomic particles he was made of (call that a spoiler, if you dare), and then there's Mat Rats 38, in which he tangles with Dominic, Thunder's resident immovable object. Neat as you please we get the two sides of Vinny: pulverizer and careless Buick driver.

I know I'm not the only guy whose breath was taken away at first sight of Vinny. But can he wrestle? Sure! But let me put it this way: watching these two matches I realized that 90% of wrestling at Thunder's Arena and a good 85% of it everywhere else is muscle worship. The Arena scientists have figured out a way to make curling a bicep into a martial art. I'm buying it. I speak as a wrestling fetishist and ex-dorm-room roughhouser, not as a member of USA Wrestling. But I realize now that every sweaty struggle I ever found myself in or fantasized about was basically me worshipping the bodies of the hottest guys I knew (or could imagine), worshipping with every sense at my disposal: sight, sound, smell, taste, and especially touch. All I ever wanted was to sink myself into the solid flesh of a real man's man. I wanted to know what my knuckles would feel like colliding with hard muscle. I wanted to feel his weight on me and him to feel mine on him. Cerebral and idealistic as I am for most of the day, wrestling provides me a chance to escape to The Wonderful World of Physicality. And like most of the wrestlers I admire, from skinny alley punk to primordial Titan, Vinny corners the market on physicality.

These two matches are pure Thunder's Arena in fine form. The storylines are specious as narrative: You stole my laptop and then You dinged my car at the gym. But they are the setups for two big guys slamming into each other, rolling around, grunting and groaning and grimacing, cursing, choking, twisting, hollering, and, yeah, popping a few double bicep poses. What's not to love? And Dominic, of course, definitely knows what he's doing as a wrestler, and as spectacular as Vinny's squash job on Mogly is (spoiler? sue me), it's the "too good" muscle god's run-in with Dominic that's his acid test. One is just as enjoyable as the other. Both are worth seeing. Both will have you mentally making lists of who you'd love to see go up against Vinny in the future--and by now you know I love the phrase "go up against."

Thanks to Mr Mike at Thunder's Arena for the downloads I took these screen caps from.


  1. Vinny took my breath away, too. From the minute I saw your first pic on this blog, I had to go check him out. He fits perfectly with TA, which I agree is almost entirely about the bodies of the guys. In fact, 90% might be too low.

    However, I don't really agree with your 85% everywhere else being muscle worship. I think there is ton of "wrestling first" products out there where the bodies are on display, but not a part of the story. Of course every guy is hot. As a fan, you might watch for muscle worship, but I don't think that's the product being sold, unlike TA, where it is explicitly part of the "action".

    I don't know if that makes sense, but I think there's a huge difference between what TA sells and what, for example, BGE or RHW or UCW sell.

    SPOILER: I'm not what the deal with the end of this match was supposed to be, but it was pretty stupid and anti-climactic. This is where TA usually falls down, but as you say, their product is 90% muscle worship, not wrestling.

    1. I am sympathetic to your point, Alex. And when I say 85% "body worship," I mean broadly to include the idea of physicality, expressed later in the post. And like you I see significant material differences in the ways physicality is expressed at Thunder's and at BGEAST, UCW, Ring of Honor, Beyond Wrestling, WWE, etc., but I bundle them together as "body worship," perhaps an unjustifiable generalization of what worship literally involves as a specific sex practice.


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