Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yes / Um, Not So Much 2

When I find myself in the mainstream, I feel perversely compelled to reassess my tastes and interests. (It hurt, really hurt, when I found out that I enjoyed--no, loved--James Cameron's Avatar, especially since I was so certain I would be "above" it.) I make no claims that my tastes in wrestling are typical. And I never insist that others follow my tastes in this or other things. This blog is more than anything else a self-exploration--a combination of journal and scrapbook, as I've said before. If there's stuff here you can relate to, I'm always surprised and thrilled to hear it. And I'm happy to find that my efforts are of use or value to others besides me. But mostly I'm writing about what I (as in me, my, mine) love about wrestling in its many forms. The blog's therapy, and God (in whom I have no trust) knows I sometimes need that.


YES!

The fireman's carry, because once or twice a month I'm tempted to torch my living room and call 9-1-1 for rescue. The strongest restraint is the knowledge that too few firemen will go the extra mile, strip off their shirts, and airplane-spin me till I'm dizzy. (Having never experienced it, I can't say for sure, but I've always imagined the airplane spin to be heaps of fun. The more experienced among you should correct me if I'm mistaken.) When a wrestler needs to tote an opponent more than five feet, muscly shoulders make the best delivery system. 

UM, NOT SO MUCH

The Irish whip, because we all know that the flung opponent "bounces" off the ropes because he wants to. Don't we? Or am I shattering someone's belief system here? (Just kidding, believability is not my highest priority in wrestling entertainment anyway.) Granted, the whip adds zest to a wrestling match, creating the illusion of speed and frenzy and expediting the transportation of one's opponent from one spot to another, but there is far too little body contact to wholly satisfy me. Why not deck the guy, heave him across the shoulders, and carry him? Or just lift and toss? I know, I know, I grumble.


YES!

Choking, because asphyxiation is sexually arousing. And why run the risk of dying accidentally (and alone) by doing it to yourself with your mother's discarded pantyhose, when you can pick a fight with some hot-tempered badass and have him do it to you? Classic movie fight scenes in which two rugged men struggle, often while chest deep in a river, clutching each other's throat till one of them snuffs the other (usually by thrusting the loser's head under water and holding it there--thus making it look like the river, not the hero, killed the guy) are one reason why Golden Age Hollywood will last forever.

UM, NOT SO MUCH

Folding chairs, screwdrivers, florescent light bulbs, razor wire, and thumbtacks, because ... ewww!  In the late seventies, pro wrestling did everything it could to (1) capitalize on the popular bloodlust excited by slasher movies and Hong Kong chopsocky and (2) reduce the amount of prolonged, tight, and sweaty clenching that was beginning to look a tad too like coitus (especially since by 1976 even mainstream Americans had seen at least one porn flic and thus knew what coitus looks like). The promoters' answer was bladejobs: spectacular bloodbaths that lent "authenticity" (or, to quote Stephen Colbert, "truthiness") to wrestling entertainment. Even now, wrestlers in too-tight skimpy briefs who want to make it clear that they are NOT eye candy engage in blading and often brandish their deeply etched foreheads with pride. Me, I am too fond of the eye candy.


YES!

The victor planting his foot on the vanquished, because nothing says "You've been owned" quite like resting a foot on the chest, back, throat, or forehead of a fallen adversary. The gesture is imperious enough to suggest manly egocentrism or at least the heightened machismo one expects of a successful combatant. I'm also fond of a kneeling archer pose astride a prostrate loser's face. 

UM, NOT SO MUCH

DQs, countouts, no-contests, and draws, because I require closure in a pro wrestling match. Roughhouse is another story. Grappling for tits and giggles is different than a squared-circle contest, which implies dramatic structure. A tussle with a buddy on the rec-room rug does not require closure. But every drama, Aristotle taught us, has a beginning, a middle, ... and an end. (I'm equally unimpressed with false endings and the endless intertwining of character arcs in serials.) I love a big finish. I don't mind (in fact, I often quite like) when winner and loser shake hands in a gentlemanly fashion at the end of a match, so long as there is a definite winner and loser. Loss by technicality is not my idea of an ending. It's fine for "legitimate" sporting contests, because in life many efforts resolve themselves (if at all) ambiguously. But in the kayfabe world of wrestling, no, not so much. 

To be (perhaps) continued ...


7 comments:

  1. Interesting list. This time, I'm 4.5 out of 6. All your yeses are great, especially the under-appreciated fireman's carry.

    I like the Irish Whip, not because of the whip itself, but so much can happen after it - cross body, shoulder block, back body drop, countered back body drop attempt with a kick, hair pull or leap over the back, power slam, dropkick, clothesline, duck under the clothesline then sleeper, full nelson, neckbreaker ... the list goes on. I like the surprise and anticipation of what's next. There are so many things I like that come out of the whip and I think that it's a great way to change the momentum of the match.

    And the .5 is for folding chairs. I'm with you on all other foreign objects, which normally lead to blood, but there's something fun and stupid about these random chairs lying around. The surprise attack and smack of a folded chair across a broad muscular back is something that takes me back in a good way.

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    1. I was about to respond similarly about the chairs! I don't like chair shots to the head, or honestly, I'm not a fan of head or face punches even though that's such a big part. But I am highly aroused when a nice rack of pecs, abs and crotch gets opened up from smack on a broad back.

      For DQ endings, I do love instances where a hero just gets gang beaten and overpowered. It reminds me of triple threat matches that are more 2-on-1 because of predetermined alliances. For instance, I really loved the infamous loss of the British Bulldog on his home turf, when Shawn Michaels beat him with the help of HHH and Chyna. I hated Michaels back then, but secretly loved seeing his scrawny butt get the better of studyly mountain that was Davey

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    2. I'm ready to concede on the Irish whip. It can be thrilling, as I said even in my critique of it. The chair thing only makes me laugh, or rather smirk, which changes the match from erotic ritual (I'm pretty sure I channel my lapsed religiosity through wrestling these days) to 3 Stooges slapstick. But that's just me, I know. I'm overly serious about the spectacle, even though, yeah, I know it's only entertainment. I'm glad chair smashing has its fans because there's a lot of it. As for 2-on-1 beatdowns, I try to be openminded (I'm not opposed to 3-ways in other areas of life), but it's not one of my fantasies and the ones I've seen that have worked have worked because I mentally erase one of the competitors (or simply replay a one-on-one segment of the bout, pretending that it's all a singles contest). Again, different strokes for different folks, but I'm happy to hear people are still out there stroking.

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  2. "DQs, countouts, no-contests, and draws" - Thank you for this one.

    May I add interference? Just as you say I kinda need closure, but after watching two guys go at it for 30 minutes it just makes me mad to watch any type of interference to the advantage of any side, no matter the situation.

    I actually like to see some type of cheating and rule-bending, but interference just makes me "shut-the-tv-off/turn-off-the-computer" angry.

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    Replies
    1. I despise interference. I don't know how many excellent matches have been ruined, with several instances of the heel "beneficiary" as puzzled and pissed as everybody else. It's almost more as if the intent wasn't to aid one side or dis the other, but just to ruin what was a match everyone felt was almost a classic. I've felt that the rules and refs were largely irrelevant since the early '60s, so what's a little interference?

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    2. Interference that leads to disqualification bums me out, too. Interference that draws swift and merciless punishment hots me up. Not being a wrestler, I have occasional fantasies of being a heel manager (in a turban and a sequined jacket--so NOT me in real life and beyond my actual capabilities as an actor), interfering in my man's match and drawing fire as a result, creating enough of a distraction that my client (always big and hairy ... okay, always Rick Rude, in fact) wins!

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  3. I especially agree with the points about folding chairs, etc., and footplanting.

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