Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Hits (Recent Popular Posts)


Wish I Were Here














I had just finished kicking myself over missing the after-match brawl at CWF Mid Atlantic on March 30th, the one where Trevor Lee unmasked Chiva Kid. I had long suspected that something pretty adorable was hidden behind the Kid's fake fur, foam, and nylon, and subsequent video supports the suspicion. For a verklempt I-swear-I'm-gonna-make-Lee-pay-for-this-foul-deed speech by the newly dubbed Andrew Cross, look here. Mitigating my rage and disappointment was the fact that friends were taking me to a Ring of Honor show in Asheville that same night. But missing Chiva's second unmasking at Friday's Premiere Wrestling Xperience show in Charlotte ... by no less than Alabama's pull-me-stretch-me stud Corey Hollis ... has knocked me for a loop. (That night I was eating a whole medium three-topping pizza on the couch, solo, and watching Vertigo for the umpteenth time--my waistline would have been better off at a wrestling show.) Not only that, but there were at least two other matches I would give an ear and some teeth to have been on the front row for: hairy Jake "The Man Scout" Manning teaching a lesson to the insufferably smug and smooth Mr Elite (the coward using the ref as a shield in the fifth picture, above) and Mark and Jay Briscoe pounding the butts of Caleb Konley and Cedric Alexander, teamed as 7 Oh! 4 (presumably after the Charlotte area code). Fortunately, photographer Harrison South Worth caught a lot of the action (see his 106-photo album of the events here on Facebook), and thanks again to my friend Blake Arledge for pointing the way.

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'll Take Sweden








Found by chance on Tumblr, Trygve Finkelsen's dynamic photographs drew me to a European wrestling promotion I had not heard of: GBG Wrestling (site under construction), based in Gothenburg, Sweden. They advertise themselves as "Sweden's most professional, extravagant, and impressive wrestling federation." I haven't had time to explore the company's YouTube videos, but based on the photographs, the matches are smoky high-contrast spectacles, dramatically pitting (as they say in their marketing copy) good against evil, speed against strength, and cunning against honor. The match pictured above, from Saturday's show, must portray the conflict between spirit and machine. STEINBOLT (apparently all the caps are required), also known as the "Austrian machine," wrestles his handpicked opponent, Scandinavian Shiva, one half (with Bad Buddha) of the team Masters of the Mystical Arts and dubbed an "esoteric warrior-ascetic who walks the path of pain towards spiritual enlightenment" (thank goodness for Google Translate). Shiva, the tattooed longhair here, is the crowd favorite, poised against the blond, brawny, and clean-cut heel.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poser


Here is fantasy-me. I don't know his name. I figure he's almost everywhere so he might as well be here too. It's a good show, but I want to see him work those muscles on a mat or in a ring--or somebody working them for him. The pecs, shoulders, and arms catch my eye first. I respect the discipline that made those abs, but it's the iliac furrow sloping down to his crotch that knocks me out. His earnest self-absorption is kind of sweet, I think. I want a look at his back too. And his thighs. I'd also like to see him breathing. I'm serious. I think I detect a quick intake of breath with the double-bicep pose, but not enough to be really sensuous. (If you check out today's Suffering Sunday at Wrestling Arsenal, scan down about six photos to the gif of CM Punk flat on his back, gulping in oxygen. That's what I mean by sensuous.) It's a work day for me, and this cocky athlete boosted my morale for essay grading. Don't say I never share. Now off to work ...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Not Today, Junior










I can't wipe the smile off my face this morning. UCW-Wrestling's latest release [#276] is amazeballs. Newcomer heel Quinn Harper is amazeballs. Infuriating, unpredictable, raging, fearless, sadistic, and crazy. This guy's a star! You see it in his eyes: He wants to fuck somebody up right now! Promising Michael Hannigan that "I'll bend you and break you in half," he all but literally fulfills the promise in this riveting 38-minute match you could not find anywhere else but UCW. Harper also brings some crisp, raw moves never before seen at UCW. He uses the intentionally claustrophobic space like no other wrestler has thought to ... and I say space to include his opponent's body, which he twists gleefully and maliciously, disregarding any pain it might cause himself. At one point, he splits Hannigan open with a figure-four and asks, "How does that feel? Bone against bone. It hurts me, but I like it." Almost poetry, to my ears.

Quinn totally dominates Michael for the first eight minutes, until Michael rolls over to reverse a cartilage-popping figure-four, proving that Hannigan is more, much more, than just a pretty face. Lest you think this is Quinn's show alone, let me state unequivocally that Michael Hannigan is fully 50% of what makes this match awesome. Hannigan shows sides of himself I never saw before. He not only suffers more and better than he's ever suffered before, but also shows spunk and resourcefulness previously unsuspected. Just when I am ready to write him off with a "better-luck-next-time-kid," he finds some entirely innovative and out-of-nowhere tactic for causing his heel opponent such intolerable pain that the contest suddenly swerves upward to a whole new level of pandemonium. 

The badinage in this fight is way above par, too, rising to the levels of Joker's and Eli Black's wisecracks. When Hannigan's got him tied up in a particularly nasty little knot, Harper exclaims, "Argh! you're squishing my balls as you choke me. So unfair!" Improbably descriptive dialogue anywhere but on a radio show or the Shakespearean stage, but it's weirdly effective here. Then Michael very nearly pins his shoulders for a clean finish, but Quinn powers free after the two count and declares, "Not today, Junior. Another day." A dry quip that loses a bit of its impact in print, but most effective and surprising as delivered by this obviously seasoned heel. When Quinn shouts "I'm in control!" (while his fingers tear into his victim's eyes--not for the faint of heart, by the way), the exclamation is rapturous and predatory--pitch-perfect villainy.

The action here is crazy intense. When he's not delivering well-turned phrases like a mosh-pit Cyrano, Quinn Harper explodes into hot-tempered rages, covering Hannigan's body with stiff blows like a swarm of hornets. His fury knows no limits, and it is speedy. You don't turn the tables on this guy as often as Hannigan does without nerve-jangling blowback.  When trying to escape an especially tight clench midway through the match, Harper reintroduces the "stiff-thumb anal-intruder" (I await the official wrestling terminology for this ... um ... hold), an eye-popping tactic he introduced in his first match against Axel [#271]. Michael exacts retribution, pulling the bad guy up by his ears to beat him back down to the mat with a trio of well-placed dropkicks. Then he throws him to the wall for some typical UCW gut torment. Quinn fights back, driving Michael all the way to the other side of the room with a volley of jabs, all delivered while Quinn is still on his knees! Past the midpoint of this brawl, the give-and-take action accelerates with a series of  brisk two-counts, attesting to both men's will to dominate and the parity of both men's wrestling skills. There's no telling how this shocker is going to end, but I can't imagine anybody wanting to fast-forward through even a minute of this sweaty, edge-of-your-seat shitkicker.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hangman








It's hard not to admire Aryx Quinn's way with ring corners, turning them and his hard body into two prongs of a lethal weapon. Nobody outdoes Aryx in torpedoing his shoulder into a cornered man's midsection, and no one I can think of has been more inventive in finding ways of pretzeling his body through the corner ropes and around a hapless opponent. But his neckbreaker is something really special. It's his most photogenic hold, the sort of pose I'd like to see cast in bronze and pedestaled in my French garden (if only I had a French garden). It is a terrific hold for homoerotic wrestling, in particular, because it shows off two awe-inspiring upper bodies at the same time--the victor and the vanquished. And Aryx often tops his hold with one highly evocative O-face. I wouldn't say that Aryx Quinn invented the hanging neckbreaker*, but he has made it his own, kind of a signature hold that's both effective and hot. And he has worked some of the best necks in the business: among them, (top to bottom) Marco Guerra (in BG East's Military Muscle), Shaun Hilton (in Aryx's own Wrestler Spotlight), Cameron Matthews (in Leopard's Lair 1), Justin Pierce (in Matmen 20), Rio Garza (in BG's Bad Boys), Andy Hammer (in Jobberpaloozer 11), Denny Cartier (in Leopard's Lair 4), and Eddy Rey (in Leopard's Lair 3).

I have removed some photos featuring explicit nudity from this posting because they belong to The Arena at BGEast, which owns exclusive rights to them.

* But this variation was invented for him. See the comments below!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pin Up



Thanks to photographer Blake Arledge's Facebook page for steering me to Cracked.com's "The 10 Greatest Wrestler Glamour Shots of All Time," published yesterday. The copy is funny, but the photos are pure American cheese and beef, starring classic wrestling stars Stan Lane, 6'1", 224#, and Steve Keirn, 6', 215#, as "The Fabulous Ones." Little known fact: I had a serious crush on Florida-based wrestler Steve in the 1970s, long before he became Doink the Clown (one of many, like Shamu's and Lassie's). By the way, you can now find Arledge opinionating on movies new and old on his blog Blake Likes Movies. Worth checking out!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PSA



WrestlerVic over at WrestleMen alerted me to some changes at the popular meet-and-beat site. With over 10,000 wrestlers listed worldwide and 2000 visitors a day, the site is a steal, offering basic membership for free, with access to the directory of member wrestlers, mail, chat room, and members' forum. 

If that's not enough to fulfill your jobbing dreams, $25 a year gives you access to weekly streaming videos to full matches (and full DVDs), an expanded profile to get your pecs out there to intimidate the universe, the mobile version of the site, YouTube interface, photos of matches, wrestling stories, and a game room with prizes: online trivial pursuits and puzzles. Lifetime membership comes for $75. Cheap!

WrestlerVic's a great guy and a pioneer in getting wrestling men together via the Internet, since 1996. And he wrestles, too--if you think you can take him.

(And, yeah, this is Ringside at Skull Island's first gif.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Want Names, Damn It





I stole these indy wrestling pictures off BG East's subscription site The Arena. The photos were unlabeled. Now I want to know just who's making me feel all ticklish down there. Can anybody help me identify these wrestlers?*  (I wish I could offer valuable prizes, but you all know how it is.)

* See the comments section below.

Monday, April 22, 2013

1979












It's all scientific. Probably boring to wrestling fans in 2013, but I like minute-long side headlocks and a 45-second armbar. I like competitors classed within a pound of each other--even when the ring announcer cooks the numbers. And I like matches to end with a pinning combination. (I hate matches ending in a draw, however.) Here we have Kevin Von Erich, 22, 6'3", 235#, versus Ron Starr, 29, 5'11", 236#, in a scientific catch match for St Louis Wrestling. I love the interview at the end. Kevin demonstrates the power of his scissors hold on the interviewer. I would stand in line for a demonstration like that. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Faggot








Being called a faggot is not a turn-on for me. Hearing somebody else called faggot isn't either. I'll admit that it even gets under my skin, although I know that the admission makes me seem uptight. It's not so much the word itself as the attitude behind it. That attitude is the way of thinking that takes male attraction to males to be inferior to male attraction to females. The same attitude can even be conveyed (and often is) with the typically inoffensive word gay--as in "that's so gay," or "this gay-ass organization," or "you don't come off as gay." (I never say thank you for the latter, supposedly a compliment. Usually I don't preach either. I try to politely ignore the implicit insult, assuming that the speaker intended to be nice.) I accept that all sexual desire has its funny side, its animalistic and absurd sides too. What I don't accept is that homosexual desire is intrinsically funnier, sadder, or nastier than any other passion. I don't think that what makes my cock hard is in any way inferior to what makes other people's cocks hard.

Strains of homophobia pervade the world of wrestling, pro and collegiate, perhaps even sumo, for all I know. Specifically it's male-male attraction that's condemned. Female wrestlers are not openly criticized for presumed lesbian tendencies. I'm unaware of there being a dyke gimmick in pro wrestling that's comparable to the gay gimmick or the various f-a-g acronyms (e.g., "fun athletic guy"). Because I'm a gay male who loves wrestling, I, along with others like me, too frequently have to work through complicated feelings of rage, insult, and embarrassment when homophobic attitudes intrude upon the sport and spectacle I love. Not even gay-oriented wrestling sites are safe havens. Several gay wrestling companies have featured wrestlers using gay-specific slurs or, less directly, depicted situations that look uncomfortably like gay-bashing.

What do I do? I pretend that the slur is ironic, knowing full well that comparable "ironies" are not directed to other minorities on the wrestling roster or in the audience. Usually a heel voices the slur, thus establishing his heel-ness and rebellious heel attitude. In such cases, I rationalize that the use of the word is part of the show. I take it as being somehow less real, fakery like wrestlers' coming from "parts unknown." I suspect that the slur is read in a multitude of ways by different members of the audience. But I also know full well that no heel is going to establish his villainy credentials by using nigger or kike in his tirades. 

But why then the slur against gay guys, specifically? It can't be that the wrestlers and promoters don't know we're in the audience (and the gay wrestling sites obviously know we're there ... and listening). It might be that they suspect that the type of gay guys who watch wrestling shows are too deep in the closet to object. Perhaps some of us even see it as kinky, fun abuse. Or perhaps it's a way for wrestlers to express their discomfort with being sexually objectified, in their skinny, shiny tights and oiled torsos. (On Facebook recently, a sexy, buff wrestler I'm very fond of complained that some fans seem to see him and his colleagues as "male strippers." More's the pity that they are not.) Or it might be that homophobia is so deeply embedded in our culture--like sexism, and racism--that use of the slur has no intentions whatsoever anymore, good or bad, ... like accusing your rival of having a vagina, or naming a football team "Redskins." And we all know that guy-talk gets kind of rough sometimes, with no real malice intended.

Also, it might be, as Wrestling Arsenal has suggested on a number of occasions, that pro wrestling spectacle is, in its entirety, a ritualized or stylized emasculation ... of wrestlers and fans. Homophobic slurs would then be just another form of low blow, or wedgie, or unmasking, or humiliating defeat. Or it might be cathartic, a way of inciting "gay panic" among the men in the audience, who may feel a bit touchy about showing up to watch "attractive dudes 'rolling around in their underwear.'" The slur might somehow collectively purge the crowd of its small-dick syndrome. I find this explanation not only plausible but kind of reassuring, but I also suspect that the average wrestler and the average wrestling fan do not go through the intellectual loops required to "read" wrestling entertainment in this way.

Words are just words. I know that. I'm not for banning any of them. I'll admit that I very rarely use faggot and queer and homo, but almost always with a measure of genuine affection undercutting the sarcasm. And thin-skinned professional "victims" make me cringe almost as much as people who deride people they believe are inferior to themselves. Hate and bigotry, however, are more than just words. They are attitudes, beliefs, and character qualities. Unchecked and unopposed, they become pervasive and normalized, perhaps even idealized as aspects of the rugged individualist or the romantic rebel. From there, it's just a step or two to thinking that we're not all in the same boat--or that some of us intrinsically don't deserve to be in the boat at all.

For that reason, I have determined to cheer the flamboyant gay-perceived wrestlers, to wolf-howl studly bubble-butted male wrestlers as if they were NFL cheerleaders, as much as possible to avoid publicizing matches that seem mainly fueled by gay self-loathing, and to follow the lead of my friend Elizabeth, who, at Ring of Honor in Richmond last year, told the guy next to us who had expressed some concern that the show was about to go all gay on us, "Gay? We like that. That's the reason we came!"

Photos: Top to bottom, so to speak--(1) TNA wrestler Bully Ray apologized last month for calling a fan "faggot" and "frickin' queer" on camera; (2)  WWF tag team Billy (Gunn) and Chuck (Palumbo), who in 2002 had a kayfabe "commitment ceremony" during which they came out as heterosexual; (3) straight GLBT rights advocate and wrestling coach Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally; (4) authentically bisexual Orlando Jordan flaunting it with a boy toy on TNA Wrestling, circa 2011; (5) 2009 photo by Oliver Stach of unidentified mat wrestlers at a Dutch wrestling tournament; and (6) Fandango on WWE.

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