Friday, November 15, 2013

White Trunks

In his 2010 match against Kevin Harris for NHB-Battle (now available through Movimus), Mikey Hanlon makes a compelling case for white Speedo-like trunks in wrestling. The case has been set forth before, by pro wrestlers like Kevin Von Erich and Alex Wright. Mikey's trunks make theirs look like diapers. The translucence of the white fabric provides a fair but partly cloudy view of the man's crack, and the crotch is nature's belated answer to the 1970s "unisex" fad. Then, too, there's the shock of white on white, Hanlon's pale but robust complexion against the bleached white of the trunks.

The match itself illustrates the challenges of a mismatched battle. Hanlon is the more charismatic, faster, and stronger of the two. Harris is taller and heavier. Both seem to know a lot about wrestling strategy, on which I'm not equipped to comment. Evidently meeting for the first time, they are wary of each other, spending far too much time circling and calculating the next move--support for the idea that, in pro wrestling and mat grappling alike, familiarity and history make for a livelier and more exciting match. That's why rematches and feuds are necessary for wrestling to be entertaining. (This match is, by the way, labeled "Match 1"; I haven't yet seen Match 2.)

Hanlon initiates a good three-quarters of all the moves, perhaps tiring himself out in the process, though even at his weakest he is radiantly dynamic, even playful. Hanlon goofs, the way strongly built athletes goof in order to show off for the camera or perhaps to downplay the shock effect of their power and beauty. Hanlon strikes kung-fu-like poses and bobs and weaves like a Golden Gloves champ, all in jest. It's titillating as fuck, but probably unwise to spend energy frivolously while competing against a bigger fighter.

Harris handily evades most of Hanlon's advances, often turning them back against the aggressor, who fails repeatedly to calculate the wrestler's size and weight into his tactics, heroically ballsy as they are. Harris uses his long limbs to push the determined Hanlon away. His strength and size allow him to easily push the smaller figher off or to drag him to the center of the mat, where he can control him. Harris is perhaps more reserved than calculating in his evasions, but Hanlon would have been better served to wear the big guy out, rather than letting Harris goad him into always being the first to take action.

It takes about 20 minutes before the first tapout ends Round 1. In Round 2, the sweatier Hanlon gets, the harder Harris has to work to hold onto him. Still, this round, the last, is less than half the length of the first, due in part to the wear and tear of Round 1 and to the fighters' growing familiarity with each other's strengths and weaknesses. I wanted the match to be better than it was, but still it was good. Mostly, I couldn't tear my eyes away from Mikey's trunks, my gaze orbiting their brimming whiteness. Hanlon's astounding physical fitness and energy and those mesmerizing briefs make this frenetic but stretched-thin show very worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great review. I never paid attention to those white trunks but you are right. Add a little bit of sweat to the mix, we've got a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.



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