Billed as "the most anticipated fight of the year," Krush's run-in with Kentucky grappler Jeff Gordoom lives up to the hype. It started in the spring, with Jeff's sexy-drunk video challenge, detailing what he was going to do to Krush if he ever got his hands on him and accusing Krush of shrinking from his challenge. It culminated when Gordoom, 6'1", 180#, rode his motorcycle the 500+ miles to Washington DC to ambush the studly Krush, 5'10", 190#. Krush previewed the soon-to-be-released match for me yesterday. "It's the most creative I've been with any of my videos to date," he told me, referring to the reality-TV-style format--e.g., bleeps for the f-bomb and a black-and-white cinema-verite confrontation between the two in the streets of DC. The strong storyline and fresh presentation are "drastically different," Krush told me, "than anything I've done up until now."
The fight is almost everything I hoped it would be, photographed with crystal clarity with a handheld camera that captures every grunt, thrust, and twist of one of Krushco's most exciting fights in years. I wondered whether Gordoom, an unknown factor, would be as big a jobber as I expected him to be, convinced that he was destined to be crushed like crackers in about six seconds. Jeff clearly enjoys the tussle, and he's a tough and able competitor. But Match 1 gets stopped early after Jeff "slammed the hell" out of his bum knee. We get the two fighters' reactions to the interruption in back-to-back video confessionals. Already Gordoom appears to be making excuses for what's almost certain to be a crushing defeat.
Then it's back to the fight we go, for Match 2. Krush varnishes the mat with Jeff's yellow singlet. Then Jeff spins him over and straddles the big guy's midsection, only a temporary upset, certainly. When Krush flattens the mouthy stud's spine back to the mat, we get a clear shot of the bulge underlining Gordoom's gear, solid evidence that the Kentuckian is enjoying the roughhouse. Krush's powerful arms smash the guy's nose and beard against his broad hairy chest. Jeff kicks and thrashes frantically, like a snared fox. It's a wonder that he's still able to breathe. As expected, Krush wins the first submission. In the follow-up confessional, Jeff admits that "this Krush gentleman is quite a bit more an accomplished wrestler than I had previously anticipated." But he boasts of his staying power ("I can go all night") and ability to hold his own against Krush's might and technique. Then he states, somewhat amazingly, that he'd rather be wrestling Krush than having a night out on the town with one of the Kardashian sisters. (Well, duh.)
Jeff's logorrhea brings out something in Krush we have seen too little of till now. The man can banter when pressed to. Match 3 starts with Krush wondering aloud exactly where on the mat Jeff will scream out his next submission. Gordoom's certain doom he and we blithely accept as a given. Only Gordoom seems to be oblivious. The only question now is when and where. As promised, though, Jeff keeps Krush's hands full ... for an impressive six matches. He's got as much fight in him as swagger, but (let's get real) he's hardly got the wrestling chops to beat Krush in a fair contest.
What Gordoom does bring to the mat, though, is the kind of showy charisma Krush's previous challengers have either not had or modestly kept hidden under wraps. This is the kind of vitality and color that can raise Krushco to the next level. It's sexy and fun. Even if it's a foregone conclusion that Krush is going to demolish almost all his opponents, isn't it a hoot to have at least one of them acting like the kind of bigmouth know-it-all we all want to see get smacked down? And isn't it great to get a taste of Krush's droll sense of humor and larger-than-life ego? It's a pro-wrestling-style gimmick, to be sure, but personality and character development do nothing to hurt Krush's integrity as a legit grappler. Entertainment and charisma have intertwined with American sport since the 1960s and Muhammad Ali (whose ostentatious schtick he credited to pro-wrestling's Gorgeous George, by the way), Howard Cosell, and "Broadway" Joe Namath. Krushco's latest match proves that a little hype stokes not only anticipation for but also our appreciation of a good fight. And if there's no hype, what else is there for the match to live up to?
Photos courtesy of Krushco