Saturday, November 30, 2013

Backyard Wildlife

Jake Jenkins saw what a licking new boy Kip Sorell took in BG East's Fantasymen 35 and couldn't wait to get in some sweet licks too. Kip is the company's babyface du jour--as fine a specimen of youthful pulchritude as we've seen anywhere in a couple of years. Hot rookies are anything but a protected species at the BGE compound, where they are fair game for any wrestler with two or more years' experience, so dewy-eyed, curly-haired lads like Kip often find themselves cornered in hallways or, I imagine, ambushed in the weight room. In Backyard Brawls 8, Jenks has dibs on the new meat, and Kip looks anything but intimidated by 2012's Top Babyface, a title Kip has probably set his sights on for this year. 

Closely matched in size and temperament, the opponents differ mostly in experience. Typically, Jake keeps a wary eye on whoever steps onto a mat against him, mentally calculating odds and looking for weak spots to target. He's one of the most scientific wrestlers on the BGE roster, cool and calculating, unhampered by conscience, unhesitant to hurt a body (with little to no provocation). He looks at Kip with more warmth than he has shown previous competition, but it's warmth without respect for the kid as an opponent. Kip stumbles early on in the match, and Jake pounces. Jake has fun taunting the guy as he stretches and twists Kip's near-ideal physique. The cockier Jake gets, though, the more Kip bristles, anxious to prove he's more than a whipping boy.

The outdoor setting does surprisingly little to make the contest seem primal or savage. The compound's neatly mowed and landscaped backyard is no jungle, obviously. The Backyard Brawls series puts me more in mind of pampered rich kids tangling behind the tony clubhouse their grandfathers built back in the Nixon era. It's a scenario that tickles my fancy, especially watching a couple of clean-cut toughs like Jake and Kip going at it.

Mitch Colby versus Reese Wells has more the tone of father-son roughhouse. Mitch is bigger, stronger, and wilier than Reese, who (standing up against Mitch) looks shockingly twelve. But nobody seems to have told Reese that he is seriously outclassed here; he gains a quick advantage over Mitch, stripping the man of his workout shorts and strangling him with them. But, let's face it, Mitch can break Reese in two like a twig. What looks like a rousing start for Reese is more probably Mitch giving him enough rope to hang himself.

Reese seems peculiarly intent on punching the big guy's chest and midsection. At first, Mitch mocks him, asking whether he can put more power into his jabs. Indeed, it looks like the blows bounce off Mitch without effect, but perhaps there's a strategy here, accounting for what at first looks like a strong showing for Reese. The operative words are "looks" and "at first." Mitch proceeds from just looking like he could break Reese like a twig to actually breaking him like a twig, in a one-sided fight he characterizes, believably, as a "light workout." And when he repays the kid's persistent gut punches, Reese folds in two, gasping for air and turning a little paler in the process.

The stark and dramatic inequality of the two wrestlers limits my interest in this match, while I expect other viewers will relish its classic big-versus-little setup. Reese's match against Billy Lodi (in Sunshine Shooters 6) seems more sporting to me. As for Mitch, I'm happier seeing him having to break an honest sweat against Brook Stetson, Jace Bradley, or Skotch English--or perhaps someday, if it's not too much to hope for, Brad Rochelle.

The still shots at The stoked my interest in the third match of BB8. Damien Rush versus Jake Lowe is not a pairing I would have thought of on my own, but as soon as I saw the two names together, it made sense to me. On the one side, Damien is a handsome brute who prefers destroying his competition to merely defeating him. On the other, previous matches have demonstrated that Jake's sweet and gentle demeanor belies killer instincts right below the surface. He's got the chops to give as good as he takes from this bully, and Jake may be just the wrestler to put this arrogant and sadistic stud down.

Damien approaches the house, drying himself after a swim, looking pretty damn sinister even before he puts on his dark shades. Unimpressed, Jake squirts him with the hose and doesn't back down an inch when Damien pushes his hairy chest up against him. The fight is on: Damien brusquely shoves Jake and throws him down, no mat, just the green grass beneath them. Damien's superior muscle takes charge, with Rush informing Jake (and us) that it is "not just for show," but our dauntless hero gets behind him and binds him tight in a full nelson. Damien's eyes bulge and redden as he struggles to break free, and after much effort he succeeds. The level of fight in Jake surprises Damien, but Jake never looks anything less than fully confident that he can beat this preening macho stud.

The third match provides the prolonged give-and-take I missed in the first two matches. Either man could win this one, as becomes clear the longer the fight goes on. Damien performs, as expected, with relentless ferocity and an undisguised nasty streak; Jake responds with a disconcertingly mixed message, both ardently worshipping the bigger man's physique (as commanded) and unsparingly seeking to dismantle it. In this respect, Jake reminds me of Bass Wallace, a BGE star of years ago, a mat wrestler of remarkable skill who, with a sort of slack offhandedness, would both admire and punish his opponents' bodies.

The heat between these two contenders forces them indoors and away from prying eyes (except ours, of course). Inside, the two strip to cocks, balls, and assholes in the mat room. Damien commands Jake to massage his body with oil till it sparkles, but again Jake can't stop at fondling the hairy muscle; he must torment it too. This is sexy stuff, and both wrestlers play the delicate balance of aggression and lust to perfection. What looked at first like a clear designation of top and bottom roles becomes, in the mat room, a strenuous struggle between two alpha males intent on total athletic and sexual dominance. Joe likes this. The story goes beyond the expected, gradually revealing how malleable male sexuality is and challenging our expectations about the rules of erotic roleplay. It's the match I knew Jake and Damien had in them, only better than I could have imagined!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Without prologue Thunder's Arena's new star Lupe makes his debut holding TAK up against the wall in a two-handed choke, screaming repeatedly, "Where is it?" The "it" in question has no antecedent or reference point, but we read Lupe's rage all right: irrational, volatile, sadistic, virile. The unconventional opening of Battlespace 64 is right on the money, as I see it, and it's a perfect entrance for former pro wrestler Lupe, opting for a comeback via the Arena mats. He charges the air at Thunder's garage matroom with a new, lively energy, and if he pushes the company a little closer to the kind of raw heat of pro-style ring matches, that's not a bad thing.

This is a significant game change for Thunder's Arena, for a while associated solely with jokey frat-house hijinks (with quite a few noteworthy exceptions, which I've reviewed elsewhere on this blog). This match is testosterone-fueled, with the added kicker of a deliberately unspecified grudge. TAK looks like this is exactly the kind of match he's been waiting for, and he's up for it 100 percent. Lupe yanks him to one side by an ear and then body-slams his ass to the mat. Having taken on bigger challenges than this, TAK slugs Lupe's chest, winding him, thus gaining his release, and swings around behind the new guy for a full nelson. "First of all," he shoots back, snarling, "I didn't take it! Second of all, even if I did take it, I wouldn't tell you where it was ... get me?!?"

Lupe's captivity is short-lived. Powering out of TAK's nelson, Lupe proceeds to paralyze the blond in a chickenwing-chinlock combination. It's clear by now that the Arena has decided not to go the usual route, that is, not initiate the new hire with a one-sided and humiliating beatdown. Though TAK is hardly his equal physically, Lupe has to fight  every second for his dominant position here, but dominant he definitely is for the better part of this 23-minute battle. His catch-style wrestling body, 6'4", 220#, is in sharp contrast to TAK's  toned gymnast's build, 5'10", 156#, but it's definitely Lupe who's got the edge in power and pugnacity. It's not just hype when the Arena dubs this "one of the best big vs little beat downs this year." It's hard for me to keep up with Thunder's constant output, so I can't speak with any degree of authority, but I'd say this is THE hottest beatdown I've seen in a long while, and if the Arena has produced any that's close to this one in 2013, I'd be damn happy to put it on my wish list.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last Man Standing

BG East leads the pack in making plausible ring wrestlers out of go-go boys, porn stars, fitness models, submission wrestlers, massage therapists, and guys just walking in off the street. But something special happens when the company opens its door to guys who draw regular paychecks delivering elbow drops and moonsaults for the ticket-buying public. These guys know how to make the crowd love 'em and hate 'em, U-turning fans' emotions and allegiances every three minutes. Their moves make the whole ring roar, and you better believe they spend more time closing than posing. Unlike the cute twinks and gym rats we kinksters usually thrive on, these men are dangerous--and that, my friends, is a thing all to itself.

Last Man Standing features two matches that would be surefire showstoppers in any regional wrestling show in the country. Add to that BGE's tight camerawork, lovingly detailing every flinch and shudder, and you've got yourself something you can't find on YouTube. I know (and probably you do, too) Guido Genatto  and Flash LaCash by other names for their amazing work in pro rings in New England. These guys take on big names like Goldust and Tommaso Ciampa. Seeing them together in the BGE ring, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. The idea of the match is that the only way to win is a 10-count knockout or incapacitation--pins and submissions don't count. These guys enter the ring with smoke curling from their ears, ready to inflict some uber-violence on each other. It doesn't take long for the nostril-stretching and tendon-snapping to begin--and in minutes these two are sweating like whores at an Alabama prayer meeting.

This is rough stuff. The second match is not quite as brutal as the first, in my opinion, but intense and fast-paced all the same. The two wrestlers are more familiar to BGE fans: Donnie Drake and Lon Dumont. Drake's got size, muscle, and experience over Dumont, but little Lon is a crafty weasel--and sadistic too. This is not the first time their paths have crossed, having fought on opposite sides in BGE's Tag Team Torture 12 a while back. Apparently the animosity engendered in that match (where they singled each other out for especially stiff treatment) is still fresh in both wrestlers' memories. This time they're in the ring alone, and there's no way out but over the other guy's limp body. Neither guy knows when to call it quits. Neither wants to stop clubbing the other guy--and of course no matter how many times you scream "I quit!" you're still fucked because this is "last man standing," sucker! And even after the clear winner exits the ring, leaving his opponent a sweat-drenched heap of flesh and bone under the unforgiving glare of the lights and camera, he can't resist going back to see if somehow the guy can be damaged more than he already is!

Whether this is a one-shot deal or the beginning of a new series, Last Man Standing is stick-to-your-ribs entertainment, all the more satisfying if you like watching big brutes slug it out, bite, claw, slam, and stomp. Now this is what I call a holiday special!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Art of Wrestling

Watching Davey Richards and Prince Devitt go at each other in this 2012 match in Nagoya, Japan, makes me wonder why we can't see wrestling this deliriously exciting in the USA. I suspect that we can, if we're just in the right place at the right time, but something about Japanese fans and promotions brings up the best in American and European wrestlers.

Richards and Devitt have faced off dozens of times since 2007, in Japan and elsewhere, but never as brilliantly as in this 15-minute title match from New Japan Pro Wrestling's 40th Anniversary Tour on March 10th of 2012. You can watch it here and here. The fighters start off with freestyle takedowns and mat grappling, establishing their creds as "real" wrestlers (something I wish more US promotions insisted on). From there we move to some Irish whip grandstanding that stokes the fans' enthusiasm and gets the boys sweating. The give-and-take action in and out of the ring escalates to near-frenzy levels in a high-flying, stiff-chopping, and dizzyingly paced third act. That plot structure seems just about perfect to me: first, honest mat grappling; second, crowd-pleasing stiff chops; and third, clutch-your-heart acrobatics leading to a neat finish.

I'm a huge fan of both these guys, but in the final analysis I'm a Davey Man. I've seen him in two live shows in the past year and a half, and my heart has snagged in my ribcage both times. Richards is a hard worker and a performer, not in a gimmicky way: he saves all his flash for the action, and the action speaks for itself. Look how both wrestlers perfectly sell the moves illustrated in the gifs below. These exchanges are balletic in their grace, yet crisp and snappy as iceberg lettuce. Devitt's head-wobble after Richards' kick is inspired. The next three moves are brisk and flawless. And look how Richards sells Devitt's forearm chop in the last--head snaps back, body caroming to the next turnbuckle. These guys know what they're doing, and technical skill, showmanship, and physical training don't often come together in pro wrestling this beautifully.

Gifs from Beautiful Stalker 

Monday, November 25, 2013


Billy Gunn's bigger than the typical UCW wrestler. He looks a lot bigger than the new guy, Hiro--a name, interestingly, that means "big" or "abundant" in Japanese. My initial take on Gunn (fairly new to the company, too) was that he's a "loudmouthed drawling bully," a characterization that's more evident now that he's in charge of hazing the new hires. 

Case in point. Hiro, a nice looking manga fanboy from Miyazaki, Japan. He's slender but well built, especially in the thighs (nice ass, too). In an interview with Axel that's currently on view at the UCW site, Hiro says that what drew him to the company was its "family" feeling, referring to the fact that every UCW wrestler gets a crack at every other wrestler on the smallish roster. It's hard to tell whether, before squaring off against Billy, Hiro understood that this particular "family" never tires of smashing each other's balls.

Gunn starts off by promising to "hog tie" the guy, mentioning in passing that "yellow" men are rare in his part of the South--as is, apparently, cultural sensitivity. And manners. He slaps the rookie in the face and flashes his toothy good-ole-boy smile as Hiro recoils. "You like that, don't ya?" he crows as Hiro charges in, just as Billy had meant him to all along. Since Hiro comes to UCW with virtually no wrestling experience, Gunn has free rein for the first half of this 33-minute match and subjects the recruit to every humiliation he can think of.

But Hiro turns the tables on the big-boned bully at the halfway point, demonstrating an unexpected aptitude for UCW-style mayhem. As Billy begins to feel Hiro's wrath, the stereotypical cracker pleads for mercy, suggesting that the two of them might even become "friends." Quite an offer, but then he makes an unsporting grab for the kid's hair. Hiro tightens a full nelson hold on the brute and tells him, "No use. You're in my clutches." A quick learner in the art of talking sass, the soft-spoken newby calls Gunn a "dumpster baby," to which an offended Gunn objects, having been conceived properly, he says, "in the back of a Greyhound bus."

It's a good fight. I like Hiro, and Gunn is a hoot. The battle hits all the usual points we expect of a UCW match. No surprises, given the setup, but no major missteps either. With some training Hiro could be a big star in his own right. The raw potential is there, and the good looks too. As for Billy Gunn, I'd like to see Quinn Harper or Eli Black come back to town and go all savage up and down his ass and knock this overbearing bully down a peg.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eight Actors Who Should Wrestle ... Seriously

Hollywood has a lot of beautiful, muscly male stars who look good with their shirts off, but for only a few do I imagine a ring bell going ding every time I see them in a movie or on TV. For me it's not just a question of good looks, but also an attitude and the way they hold their bodies that make me imagine these gentlemen leaving the silver screen for the squared circle. There are many others whom I can picture on the mat, usually by mentally replacing their brains with those of Rick Rude, Jack Brisco, or Steve Austin. But these actors have the kinds of bodies I associate with wrestling, and already some of them have interest and experience in a variety of combat arts, so it takes less effort to picture them in spandex and under the hot lights.

This photo of Scott Caan inspired this post. As a kid, I had wrestling fantasies about his father after seeing Lady in a Cage and El Dorado, but Scott's got the better build along with that come-and-get-it look on his face. Damn!

Channing Tatum's weight "problems" worry some of his gay fans, but not me. I see an inch or two of pudge brimming over the waistband, and I'm thinking it's time for somebody to get body-slammed.

Admittedly, Jason Statham's physique reads a bit more as "boxer" or "mma" than "wrestler," a little too stiff and compact, but I'd pay good money to see him in a grudge match against Daniel Craig. 

Jeremy Jackson, the child star who annoyingly stole screen time from David Chokachi and Billy Warlock on Baywatch, looks, at 33,  ready for an elbow-drop to the chest.
I saw Ryan Phillippe's appeal in I Know What You Did Last Summer and 54, but after seeing him bare-assed in the last season of Damages, I started measuring him for baby-blue trunks and matching boots.

Stephen Amell's workout and torture scenes in Arrow are about the only reasons I watch the series on Amazon Prime, but happily the show has him working out and getting bound and gagged a lot!

Having already caught my attention in RocknRolla, Tom Hardy went heavyweight for  Bronson, Warrior, and The Dark Knight Rises, steaming my glasses a bit more with each new badass role.

Loved him as a Calvin Klein model but missed seeing him in the unpopular Tarzan TV series, in Vikings Travis Fimmel makes me yearn for some Norsemen grappling, mostly against Clive Standen, who plays his brother. (In this scene, Fimmel's character is inviting a captured Christian monk to join him and his wife in some lovemaking. Idiot monk declines.)


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