Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Hits (Recent Popular Posts)


Monday, July 29, 2013

Man of a Thousand Flips










Last week, Beefcakes of Wrestling featured UK wrestler Charlie Garrett twice--a great find for fans of wrestling muscle everywhere. On YouTube you can find this video of a May 25th British Wrestling Federation match, pitting Charlie against PJ Jones. 

BWF was founded in January to "re-popularize British Wrestling," apparently in response to current efforts to establish WWE and TNA as the benchmarks of professional wrestling everywhere. As a fan of what I've seen of the old (1965-1985) World of Sport wrestling shows, I'd like to see wrestling in the UK regain its position as something other than an imitation of American-style wrestling and reclaim its place, with Canada, Mexico, and Japan, as an international influence and trendsetter. 

If Charlie is not the answer to all that, he is at least a good thing for wrestling, an archetypal babyface if ever there was one.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Magnificent!














The other day I found a discussion forum on the MeetFighters website, the question being which movie or TV show has the best fight scene. Several responders cited Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), specifically the climactic battle between Gordon Scott as Tarzan and villain Jock Mahoney (who played Tarzan in two later films and fought another Tarzan in the Ron Ely TV series of the sixties). Almost every Tarzan movie from Johnny Weissmuller on had one or two good fight scenes, though most were cut short. When I was a kid, my go-to source for wood-worthy fights was the Tarzan matinees on local (Altus, Oklahoma) TV--and sometimes westerns, especially those made in the 1950s, when cowpokes often tore off their shirts before brawling. In Tarzan the Magnificent the final showdown lasts a full seven minutes. Although I have the film on DVD-R, I misremembered the scene, confusing it with one in an earlier film in the series. After watching it again, I see it really is a worthy nomination for the honor.

There are several good fights in this movie, including a mud fight (i.e. "quicksand") in which Tarzan fights but eventually saves the life of the man he must fight later in the climax. And what a climax! The caps above only scratch the surface of the beauty and magnitude of this fight. After the villainous Coy Banton (Mahoney) accidentally kills his partner in crime (with a ricocheting bullet), he misses Tarzan with what turns out to be his last bullet. Tarzan has a clear shot of Banton with his bow and arrow but hesitates, deciding a mano-a-mano fight would be more satisfying and fun. Both men throw down their weapons, and Tarzan moves in on the villain. The fight starts on a rocky precipice overlooking a waterfall. Banton kicks Tarzan in the face, then pulls him up by the hair to knee him in the chest. Then he dives into the river in an attempt to escape.

Tarzan high-dives in after his man, and the two tangle and choke each other underwater. When they emerge, Tarzan bitch-slaps Banton a few times under the pounding waterfall. Banton flees, climbing up on a boulder. Tarzan climbs up after him, ripping off Banton's shirt in the process. Tarzan gives the bad guy another slap and a punch in the stomach. A right uppercut to the jaw sends Banton spinning back into the water, and he starts madly swimming to shore, with the ape man right on his tail. The soaking wet duo flee to what's obviously a soundstage set, where the villain hides behind a boulder so he can kick Tarzan in the gut as he runs past. Here's where the confrontation we see in the pictures above takes place. The two properly wrestle now, with Banton climbing on top of the muscleman to strangle him. Tarzan throws him off, and the two get on their feet to duke it out.

A trio of solid jabs to the chin send Banton down to the ground. It looks like Tarzan has won. But no! Banton reaches in his pocket for a pair of metal "knuckles" and coldcocks Tarzan with them. Both men are on their backs now, but Banton is first to his feet, and he scrambles to escape--for some reason heading back up the precipice, only to collapse from exhaustion. Tarzan groggily gets up and chases after him. The weary antagonists go at it some more, their shoulders and chests glistening with sweat. They climb up a solid rock cliff for the final struggle, as Tarzan tries to wrest the weapon off Banton's fingers. The knuckles finally slip free and fall to the river below, and Tarzan grabs the man by the hair and delivers three staccato smacks to the kisser. Then he stands over his kayoed foe, victorious and, yeah, magnificent, before throwing the bad guy over his shoulder and carrying him back to civilization and the white man's justice. It is quite a scene!

Tarzan movies first initiated me to the homoerotic thrill of the fight scene--the muscle, the savagery, the glistening wetness. If I were to list my 10 favorite Tarzan fights, Scott-versus-Mahoney would rank close to the top, if not at the very top. My other picks? You don't even have to ask.

  • Johnny Weissmuller wrestles an African crocodile (or giant rubber dildo) in Tarzan and his Mate (1934)
  • Though short on body contact, Weissmuller's brutal handling of John Buckler (as the duplicitous Captain John Fry) in Tarzan Escapes (1936) has stuck with me for decades
  • Johnny Sheffield (as Boy) fighting bad-seed Kimba (Tommy Cook) in Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946), one of my favorite RKO Tarzan movies
  • Lex Barker's knife fight with Frederick O'Neal (as King Bulam) in Tarzan's Peril (1951)
  • Jock Mahoney (as Tarzan) facing his final challenge against Woody Strode in Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963)--punch for punch the chief contender with the fight in Tarzan the Magnificent
  • Ron Ely's underwater fight against (again) Jock Mahoney in Season 1 of the TV series Tarzan (1966)
  • Mike Henry versus Rafer Johnson in Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968)
  • Miles O'Keeffe's slow motion struggle against the Ivory King (wrestler Steve Strong) at the end of the otherwise gawd-awful Tarzan the Ape Man (1981)
  • Joe Lara forced to fight in the Roman arena in Season 1 of the TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996)
In the 1940s, stuntman-turned-actor Jock Mahoney, 6'4", 220#, was passed over for the role of Tarzan in favor of Lex Barker. But Jock could be relied on for the best fights, even though he was in his forties when at last he got to wear the lion-skin loincloth (and don't even start me up again on my fetish for loincloths).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Krush Day










He's big. Bigger than you. He's bald. Wanna make something of it? He's virtually indestructible. Don't even. Ambitious wrestlers are lining up to test themselves against him, trying to build a reputation for themselves out of bruises and aching joints. And today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Krush. Make a wish and tap out the candles.

Krush is a trademarked product of Krushco. Use only according to the label instructions. Caution! Contents highly combustible! Do not use near fire, flame, or sparks. Do not turn upside down. Keep out of reach of children. For indoor or outdoor use. Not to be used as a flotational device. Warning: May cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. Contains nuts.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Medalists






Yesterday BG East sent out some photos of the company's awards presentation, the followup to the announcements made earlier this year. Here we see The Boss (Kid Leopard) handing out medals to two of the year's winners. Wrestling fans voted on the awards in January, honoring the best and toughest of BG East's 2012 video releases. The awards and the ceremony will, I hope, be a regular part of BGE tradition in the coming years.

Nominated in six categories, Austin Cooper won in two: Best Spotlight Release of 2012 and Best Ring Match of 2012 (for Babyface Brawl 2, in which he and Cameron Matthews had fans clutching their dicks from beginning to end). Those arms and thighs deserve at least an honorable mention too. In the last year Coop has blossomed as a ring performer. As babyface or heel, single or part of a team, Austin never fails somehow to touch some small part of me and make it larger.

Kid Karisma, nominated in three categories, won for Best Butt of 2012 in a tight race, beating out competition like Cameron, Austin, Darius, and Lon Dumont. If his glutes are worthy of high honors, his whole backside from shoulders to heels should be declared a national treasure. Hot tempered, strong, and sexually aggressive, on top of looking like a million bucks, Kid K is fearless on the mat and in the ring. He can't be matched for balls. Whatever Karisma puts out there for us fans, I want it. 

I can't think of two more deserving guys for high honors in the field of wrestling. We should all look up to men like these.  Damn I just want to put my hands all over that. Hearty congratulations to both these fine athletes and best wishes for another outstanding year in wrestling.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tattoos Versus Singlets










Rock Hard Wrestling makes good on its company name in its latest tag team match. Josh Steel and Brian Baker yuck it up when Brodie Fisher and Alex Waters enter the ring in matching singlets and snap smart-phone photos of each other flexing their hard biceps. How square can you get, right? Not only that, but how hilarious is Brodie's Canadian accent? But Brodie and Alex get the last laugh in this hugely satisfying after-school special that teaches us all about the perils of teenage mockery--and Josh, the shaggy-haired surfer boy, looks to get the worst of it. The match offers plenty of double-teaming (on both sides) and four of its hottest "tag teen" wrestlers set loose on each other.

I can't say how much a fight like this one porns me up. Sure, I like regular porn, too, but not as much as a good bare-chested brawl. I blame all those Tarzan movies I watched, growing up. I blame a childhood spent on military bases, watching GIs roughhouse outside the barracks and at the base swimming pool. I feel like I'm missing something, though, in not quite getting the whole riding crop and bondage thing--though sometimes I get it a little bit--or even the verbal abuse thing--except when the potty-mouth has to swallow his shattered teeth. I'm open to these things and always ready to try something new, but my meat and potatoes is still basically guys beating other guys up, caveman style. A passion that's lasted over half a century is entrenched in the psyche. It's all the tastier, I think, when the bad boys get what they're asking for.

The tattooed bad guys (Brian and Josh) outweigh the good guys (Alex and Brodie) by thirty pounds. They use the advantage well, and though there's no mystery to how all this winds up (just read the online product description), this fight is far from a one-sided squash. Brodie's not intimidated by his opponents' derision or their size. He opens Round 1 by scooping six-four, 205-pound Brian up in the air and smashing him to the mat. Not even five minutes into this 25-minute two-rounder, and I'm rock hard. And it gets even harder as the minutes tick by and boots slam into muscle, tags get blocked, limbs get pretzeled against spines, and the sneering blond boy gets worked over in the corner--three times! There's also the joy of watching a fighter make his opponent punch himself in the face. Call it comic relief.

There are three famous little words that make everyone happy, but Rock Hard's latest release reminds me that I'd happily settle for just two, from one wrestler to his partner ... "Finish him."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Thinking Man's Wrestler














Thank you to Gary, a friend to this blog, for recommending this YouTube video of one of my favorite wrestlers, Zack Sabre Jr, battling Japanese powerhouse Dick Togo in Westside Xtreme Wrestling's 11th Anniversary (2011) show in Oberhausen, Germany. Togo, 5'7", 210#, in the midst of his retirement tour (completed in the summer of 2012), had thirteen years of ring experience over Zack, 6', 185#. It's a hard-fought give-and-take squeaker, a testament to the excitement of traditional catch wrestling, in which the two fighters literally exhaust themselves against each other. Zack shows incredible resilience and resourcefulness. Dick, a time-tested master, demonstrates his toughness and strength."WOW!" wrote Gary this past weekend. "This just took my breath away." Mine, too. 

The match escapes the expected cliches of youth-versus-age, heel-versus-babyface, and East-versus-West. The crowd is mostly in Togo's corner, whose Anglicized name "Dick" is meant to be descriptive: he was sometimes dubbed "The Biggest Dick in Japan." Zack, too, taps into his heelish tendencies, unsentimentally attempting to break the legend on the eve of his farewell to professional wrestling. In the fourth screen cap above, we see Zack meticulously bending back Togo's fingers, finger by finger, patiently incapacitating his opponent. One commentator refers to Zack as the "Thinking Man's Wrestler," honoring the young man's critical ring skills, and having followed Sabre's online musings and tweets for years, I would say his intelligence, good taste in music and literature, and eloquence have always impressed me. Both wrestlers are astute in their strategy and 360-degree ring awareness (I wish there had been more cameras to catch it all). Given differences in age, height, weight, and build, they are satisfyingly matched to each other.

Dick Togo, who first stepped into the squared circle when Zack was three years old, could not have had a more splendid monument to his 21-year career than this brutal nailbiter. And it's a star-making turn for Zack Sabre Jr, who, while lacking the conventional "look" and "manner" of a professional wrestler, is gradually carving out a niche for his uniquely strategy-based and heatedly aggressive wrestling style.

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