Reportedly, he's been on hiatus, concentrating on his day job and letting his workout regimen slip in the process. The hard muscle is still there, especially at his broad shoulders and hard thighs, but as he reenters the ring, he looks more cushiony than he used to. I'm not complaining, not a bit. I'm a fan of wrestling doughboys, who typically pack three times the grunt and groan you get with gym bunnies fussing over their abs. The added pudge on Jake is more noticeable when he stands next to rookie Matt Engel, who has abs you could crack walnuts against.
Jake looks jaded and bored for the first half of this match. Somewhat impressed with Engel's stunning physique, Jenks is less than satisfied with the kid's ring prowess. "You don't take bumps very well," he mutters flatly at one point. And, of course, he's right. Engel also seems to have difficulty navigating between wrestling holds--or selling the idea that he's trying to fend off Jake's constant assaults. Jake complains that Matt isn't screaming enough when Jake's squeezing his joints at "80 percent," he says. What else can he do but amp up the pressure?
Even though Jake and Matt alike come from an MMA background, Jake looks far more at ease working in the ring. Matt's eye keeps drifting towards the camera, probably more concerned with his look than with his fight at those moments. Jake takes advantage of the new kid's vanity, wrenching his head back and forcing him to look into the video monitor. "See that?" he snarls towards the end of the first round. "This is you ... giving!"
Halfway through Round 2, though, Matt catches Jake's attention at last, especially when he holds Jenks captive in a punishing leg lock. Matt's legs are not just honey tan, but also built to inflict damage (check out those beautiful calves!), and they do. The misery in Jake's eyes looks anything but kayfabe, and most definitely not bored. Then Matt follows the leg torment with a choke hold, and you can practically feel Jake's terrified contortions through the video screen.
So, unexpectedly, this match goes to a full three rounds, with the returning hotshot more evenly matched against the bumbling pretty boy than Jake would probably care to admit. Whatever stiffness plagues the first round gets sweated away in the third. Matt resumes kicking Jake's ass and, having beat Jenks' face down to the mat, magnanimously decides to "let ya catch a breath for a second."
Probably a mistake, I'm thinking.