Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gonna Be Fun










Rock Hard Wrestling's still rocking. In the company's latest release, Alex Waters climbs in the ring with Zack Johnathan after an exchange of teasing taunts at the weight machine.

"This is gonna be fun," Alex purrs as he follows his opponent into the ring. True to form, Alex sneak-attacks Zack with a fist to the back while ZJ is pulling his T-shirt over his head. Alex yanks the shirt off and tosses it to ringside. He bodyslams the man, straddles his waist, and starts landing punches to his chest.

"This is gonna be fun," he repeats, all but licking his lips as he stomps Zack down each time the guy gets halfway up on hands and knees. A coolly efficient corner beatdown follows. Then Alex pulls Zack back to ring center for more abuse. Alex is unusually gifted at selling his punches and kicks in an apparently offhanded manner. Probably nobody at RHW cops an attitude better than Alex.

Then he takes Zack to the ropes, though perhaps it's too early for the ropes, being the kind of fun and games best saved until both wrestlers are drenched in sweat, which won't happen for another twenty minutes.

About six minutes into Round 1, a poorly judged elbow drop throws the advantage to the beleaguered Zack, and a part of me is rooting for him to give Alex the licking the punk has been setting himself up for. By now Zack can demand equal time, at least. White trunks and boots identifies him as a hero ... or sacrificial lamb, depending on the outcome (Alex, in any case, wears black and blue).

Hero's a role that fits Zack Johnathan well. He has always looked great in gear (he has a physique that would give Michelangelo the wets), but in these last two years he has also bloomed as a convincing performer and ring presence. I could see him as the guy who finally cuts this well-groomed millennial sadist down to size. One day, if not today.

The greater part of me, however, just savors what a work this Alex is: bad news with a Pepsodent smile, a fistful of styling gel, and biceps you could crack your teeth on. All that raw potential going up against a hot, experienced guy like Zack can't be anything but explosive.

Each man takes one of the first two rounds, each one lasting about ten minutes. The 1-1 tie ensures one of my favorite things at RHW: the hard-fought climactic third round that could go anywhere. It, too, lasts about ten minutes, and ends with strangulation and a backbreaker, pretty much my idea of pro wrestling's butter and jam.

A match with either Zack or Alex in it is worth watching; with both of them, it's must-see.

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