Notes on a Classic: Can-Am's Supermatch 16 & 17
The one match runs for 90 minutes, the typical length of a feature film. I thought I'd seen Paul Perris at his best already, but I guess not. In Can-Am's Supermatch 16 & 17, produced in 1999, we get Perris with his best hair, best weight, best shoulders, best back, best chest, best waist, and best thighs--the significance of which is epic once you stop to consider how unbelievably hot he looks in all his other fights. And I mean every one. If I detected a hint of Eastern European accent in his previous releases, he's full-on Ivan Drago in this one. If anything, his accent got thicker the longer he was in North America (if it has the effect on others that it has on me, the man never had to spend a lonely night in his life).
More importantly, Ken Daniels may be his best opponent--not the prettiest or sexiest, that would be Paul's cousin Roman Stone; not the wildest or meanest, that would be Doug Brandon; but the one who brought up the best fight in him, probably yes. Daniels is thickly and squarely built, with heavier muscle than any of Perris's opponents except Steve Sterling (another big contest I haven't seen yet). Daniels is beatable but virtually indestructible, so Perris is free to play as rough and carefree as he likes, holding nothing back.
Daniels also physically pushes Perris to do more. He pulls his hair. He verbally taunts him, questioning his toughness. Early on he doesn't release a full nelson when apparently it had been planned that Perris would dramatically power out of it. He holds it for about two more minutes. He gets Perris to growl "I'll killl you," which seems to be exactly the right level of ferocity Daniels was aiming for. The intensity of the next 80 minutes is beyond any level reached in the other bouts I've seen Perris fight.
It takes Perris and Daniels less than ten minutes to work up a fine sweaty sheen. Perris pounds Daniels into the mat. Perris uses Daniels for a punching bag in the ring corner. Perris beats Daniels in the ring, and then hauls him to the oil pit to tie him in bright, oleaginous knots and then stretch him out. The action is far from one-sided. There's a grand nobility to Perris's suffering. Not to have that would be a severe loss to the match's entertainment value. This supermatch gives us loads of it. Daniels slams Perris to the mat. He climbs on top of the man and tries to stay there for as long as possible. He makes nothing easy for the longhaired muscle god, and Daniels' persistent refusal to go easy brings up the best in Perris.
Perris-vs-Daniels is paired with another excellent match: Doug Brandon versus Jax. Brandon-vs-Jax goes to full nudity in the oil pit with a jerk-off finale. It lasts an hour, bringing the video as a whole up to two and a half hours. But after the strenuous, sweat-drenched hour and a half with Ken and Paul, the last event flies by. Maybe someday I'll have some notes on this other great supermatch too, but for now, I've spent all my energy-juice imagining, as vividly as I can, Perris's moist body heat as he and Daniels slug it out against the turnbuckle.