Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mean Business














I love pro wrestling. I love the corner beatdowns, the unbelievable two-counts, the wrestlers' bravado, the grandstand finishers, the hair-pulling, and the big, beautiful men who wrestle. Its patent fakery is part of the appeal. I gladly suspend my scruples and disbelief for a sex- and rage-fueled spectacle performed by artists who know exactly what they're doing in the ring.

But gimmick-free, sportsmanlike submission wrestling grabs my nuts just as much--at least as much--as pro wrestling. I watch old footage of Mark Lander grinding an opponent down to a sweat stain on the mat, and I'm hypnotized by the subtle, patient strategizing and the quivering strain of body against body.  For me mat wrestling can be sexy without trying hard to be. I don't need a whole lot of story. I don't need babyface-heel roles. I don't even need hot men. I think I might find a wrestling match between frumpy, middle-aged Presbyterians sexy, as long as they seriously threw themselves, heart and soul, into the contest.

In fact, my very favorite parts of pro-wrestling matches are when the wrestlers get down on the mat and grapple, even if, for the sake of drama, entertainment, and video sales, they eventually have to get back up on their feet for some wow-making (though extremely improbable) super-holds and aerial acrobatics. (I have read that in the early days of carnival wrestling, combatants first wrestled for real to decide the winner and then upped the showboating for the rest of the match as a way to theatricalize the earlier [legitimate] victory and loss. I wish it were that way still.)

Movimus, even more than its predecessor NHB-Battle, fulfills my yen for straight-up submission wrestling, often with smokin' hot wrestlers in tee-tiny trunks who exude tons of charisma without having to hold a microphone or act out a (usually lame-ass) skit that sets up the match. (Similarly, my tastes in porn involve two men fucking the shit out of each other. That's it. I don't need the scene of the UPS guy ringing the doorbell or the pretty waterfall in Hawaii.)

With constantly moving camerawork and smart, action-intensifying jumpcuts, Movimus succeeds better than most in thrusting the viewer into the thick (and slick) of the action. It can be monotonous at times--especially when two well-matched wrestlers are locked together in a dead heat. For viewers who don't like this sort of thing it may be monotonous from beginning to end. But I get off on the huffing and gulping down of air, the squish and slap of skin on skin, the dead glazed-over look in the eyes as the wrestlers near their physical limits. Of course, I have said all this before many times.

On Thursday Movimus opened its 2014 season with this five-rounder, rematching Connor Flynn, 6'1", 170#, and Kevin Harris, 6'1", 190#, who first clashed at NHB in 2010. Both guys are intense, combustible, and well-trained grapplers. There's no pretense that newly-muscled Kevin's twenty-pound advantage will not be a deciding factor in the rematch's outcome, but there's no chance of Connor's rolling over and playing dead either. Both men thrive on competition and physical exertion, even with the deck stacked against them, even without a shiny belt and title awaiting the eventual victor.

Connor glowers perpetually, befitting his apparently saturnine nature, but he howls, yelps, and roars every time Kevin puts him in a tight, neck-snapping headlock--which is often. Kevin's the optimist of the two, full of energy and can-do attitude. Wrestling Connor, he looks like a big-pawed puppy playing with an unusually challenging squeak toy. He beams with roughhouse enthusiasm every time he succeeds in making Connor "squeak." But it's unfair to suggest these two are only playing.

By Round 3, it's clear Connor is getting a little pissed off, perhaps at himself as much as at Kevin. His attacks are fast and messy, and some of his holds look like they intend to hurt more than anything else. Kevin keeps his cool, but a glint in his eyes suggests that he's relishing this sudden intensification of the contest and he wouldn't mind slapping that scowl off Connor's face too. The action gets sweatier and noisier as it goes. The two have few words for each other. Anything they have to say to each other they say with their bodies and holds. For twenty-two minutes, these two are earnestly bent on beating each other. They mean business. All this is not just for show. Still, in the end, they're comrades in their love of wrestling. The winner and the loser acknowledge each other with respect and honor. For the moment, anyway, their business has been settled.

2 comments:

  1. I’m in a mood to be critical, and as I type this I want it to be known that I admire anyone out there producing wrestling video, except for maybe NRW, cause though I may envy his capacity for convincing some fine physical specimens to wear the sexiest gear and fortitude to produce a constant stream of new content, I always wonder who buys that stuff, I mean for Christ’s sake, a gut punch video in which the guys gut and his opponents fist don’t even come close to connecting??? But the matter at hand, Movimus gets some grade A talent, many with developed wrestling skills, Sammy Guevera was a great Indy crossover find, but I wish they could take it to the next level, do what UCW does with the blend of mat wrestling, actual punching (NRW take note) and realistic kayfabe moves. Not every fight, but every once in a while and I might consider buying more of the Movimus product. The same thing, as great as it is, gets tired over time, and as all boats must rise, UCW needs to step up their erotic game, the fights are still well fought, but it would great if every once in a while there was some discrete eroticism to the matches, hard ons under their gear, (Aron for instance in his fight against Pippin, more of that is what I'm talking about) or the fighters touching themselves or their opponents interestingly, Johnny Firestorm did a great job of that with Drake Marcos, their fight had scenes just overt enough to be suggestive. Adding that element to the UCW fights would make it that much hotter.

    The reason why BG East is successful is due in part to their ability to reinvent the formula, and offer a variety of fight settings and situations. These are merely my opinions, and I have been nipping from the cocktail cart this evening, so there’s that.

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    1. I'm delighted to hear differing opinions on this subject and especially yours, topher, always. I like Movimus precisely because it does its own thing, apart from pro wrestling and MMA. I like "wrestling" in many different forms, so I like a number of different promotions that take wrestling and combat sport in different directions and strive for different tones. UCW has probably given me all the stiff gut punches and scrotum twists I need to see, and it's hard to match BGE and Can-Am for heightening wrestling's potential as homoerotic fantasy. Movimus adheres to the wrestling tradition of companies like Krushco, Wrestlers & Lutteurs, Lets Wrestle, and, of course, NHB-Battle, which I also like ... quite a lot.

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