Contract 10 marks the long awaited return of Brad Rochelle, "BG East's biggest star," in three matches, climaxing with a toe-to-toe showdown with The Boss himself, Kid Leopard. It opens with Jonny Firestorm (in full toady mode) cuffing the returning veteran to the ring ropes, gagged with a dark pillowcase over his head like an Abu Ghraib detainee. Ungagged, Brad pleads with Jonny to release him. Jonny seems sympathetic to the man's predicament, but apparently helpless. The Boss interrupts them to present the story's lengthy exposition, with all the effete affectations of the lord of a Hong Kong triad in a martial arts movie--how I long to be one of these guys, so overdressed, so patiently and hammily sinister, so doomed to destruction at the hands of the bound and shirtless hero now in their thrall! The exposition includes flashbacks that allow the Boss to chew up scenery while an abject and overpowered Brad grovels, nearly naked at the Boss's meticulously shined boots. To sum it up, Brad is given the chance to nullify his binding contract with the Boss by surviving a series of ordeals.
The first ordeal is a two-on-one contest in the ring, not my favorite genre, but I like the "two" here: Attila Dynasty and Chace LaChance. I dream of having a couple of sadistic little henchmen like these, eager to fulfill my every nefarious wish. Here they symbolize buoyant and energetic youth ganging up on the battle-weary veteran and reluctant combatant. I want to lick them all over. The drama hinges on whether two hungry but inexperienced rookies can overtake an older, bigger, and highly experienced professional. I think we all know how this usually turns out. Rochelle wears white silky trunks as skimpy as anything he ever wore back in his heyday, the whiteness symbolizing his goodness, of course, the bulging crotch symbolizing his goods, which are pretty much on the line. Jonny's at ringside videotaping the proceedings for the Boss's private delectation--or perhaps some untoward ends? My lips are sealed.
Brad's second ordeal is to face BG East's new muscle god, curly-haired Jeremy Tyler, in the mat room. Jeremy's a perfect match for Rochelle in height, weight, and build, plus he has an iliac furrow second only to Chace LaChance's. Jeremy starts in on Brad by squeezing him dry in a grueling bodyscissors hold, forcing an almost immediate tapout. Unsatisfied, Jeremy binds the returning star in a full nelson, apparently only for the pleasure of racking Brad's singleted body with pain. Pushed too far, however, and Rochelle strikes back. But has his long absence from BGE diminished his capacity to take on Jeremy's iron muscle? Jeremy fulfills my ideal of a wrestler who acts rather than talks, steelily grinding down his opponent, less a human contestant than a relentless force of nature, his stony impassivity only occasionally relaxed, as when, choking Brad to near-unconsciousness, he drily asks, "Feels good?" The guy has a contemptuous sneer that can cut glass, too.
Of course, the clincher is Brad's climactic face-off against Kid Leopard himself, whose return to the BGE ring is at least as momentous as Brad's. The Leopard starts off by clutching Brad's throat and balls at the same time, while urging the cuffed hottie to "calm down." It's a brilliant bit of insanity and malice that highlights Brad's helplessness and Leopard's villainy. KL proceeds to verbally and physically abuse his captive and choke him out with his Italian silk necktie. Then he relocates Brad to the ring post where he embarks upon the mother of all corner beatdowns. Pure pitiless punishment. By the time Brad is finally uncuffed, he is a quivering shell of the man he once was, permitting the Boss to further subject him to every form of bodily insult he can imagine (and, trust me, Kid Leopard's imagination is limitless in this respect--you would think there would be limits, but there are no limits). Then ... but wait, no, you need to experience the rest for yourself ... but let me just say it involves a plunger ... and a final shot of a romantic beach getaway.
Contract 10 often downplays homoeroticism in favor of campy comedy and eulogizing trips down memory lane (we get not one but two montages of Brad's history at BG East). But still there's plenty of fine muscle on display here, along with occasional scrotum exposure, one of the perks of loosely elasticized tights. Anything with Dynasty and LaChance together in the ring will stir my lustful imagination, and Brad bends them into appetizing meat pretzels, especially in a false finish in which Brad submits them both simultaneously. The match with Jeremy features some odd edits and dissolves that hinder the sense of continuous action, while taking nothing away from the pleasure of watching Jeremy silently and dispassionately dismantle Rochelle. Naturally, it's Rochelle-vs-Leopard we'll all be talking about years from now, a match so ecstatically malevolent it makes me proud to be a sadist. Too much story for my tastes in wrestling, but I admire Contract 10's ambitiousness and sterling sense of moment. Rub your eyes in disbelief if you must, but for most of this epic you won't be able to tear them away from the screen.