Friday, April 4, 2014

Natural Selection

It's foolhardy to put the idea in print (and on the Internet!), but in the last few weeks it has crossed my mind that to die in a side headlock, pressed between Alexi Adamov's biceps and pecs, would be not at all a bad way to shuffle off this mortal coil. Crazy, huh? Okay, then, let's take the scary down a notch and say I could be talked into a very long and tight headlock. In the first round of the climactic last event of the soon-to-be-released Ringwars 22, that's what we get in a youth-versus-experience match between the eternally dreamy Alexi and his somewhat older opponent, Scott Starr. I wrote a first draft for a catalog description of this BG East match over spring break (several weeks ago), and even though ALL the matches on the disk were stellar, this one sticks with me still.

In the beginning the two opponents size each other up, awkwardly and cautiously, not rushing into anything, but the action intensifies and accelerates through Round 1 so that Rounds 2 and 3 speed to a satisfying and sweat-sopped finish. All through the match, the two wrestlers' unfamiliarity with each other is played up (Alexi does not know Scott's name for the longest time), and the two make a lot out of (from my perspective, anyway) an unimportant age difference. Scott is the wily veteran, quick to take cheap shots to gain the advantage over Alexi, whom he dismissively calls "kid." Alexi is the bigger and stronger of the two ("strapping" is the old-fashioned word for it, so far one without a satisfactory modern equivalent). Adamov calls Scott a "fucking scumbag" and makes verbal jabs at the man's advanced age, noting, among other things, the veteran's gray hairs and bald spot.

The crisis of the match is whether Scott can overcome Alexi's massive muscle and whether Alexi can do what has to be done to take down an opportunistic sadist like Scott. Both prove to be more than capable antagonists, but the question remains: who can vanquish (and, as it turns out, nearly demolish) the other? The same question runs through a Norse myth I mentioned in another posting earlier this year, the tale of the wrestling match between Old Age and the god Thor. In that story Thor loses, not realizing who his challenger is, but later he's comforted by the discovery that his allegorical opponent was a personification of old age itself. After all, nobody, not even Norse gods, can conquer old age.

Alexi, always something of a poker face, exudes confidence and a seductive hint of cruelty in this match. He's never had an opponent more adept than Scott at rousing his best fight in the ring. The outcome is unpredictable to the last minute, yet nothing about it is out of keeping with what we see before. Since the wrestlers, close in tenacity, play their cards exactly right, ultimately the win goes to the guy whom nature ("red in tooth and claw") has dealt the better hand.


  1. Joe, I've noticed this phenomenon before. I own an Adamov match in which he appears to be older than here. Despite the 2014 date stamp, is this from an earlier point in time? It's confusing some time to see changes in a wrestler in reverse order, so to speak. It'd be nice if the various studios of the genre would include production dates as well as release dates.

    1. I agree. I think these matches are important history, and I'd be happy to know production dates even if they vary from release dates. And I don't know whether this match is new or old, but I'm pretty certain of its awesomeness.

  2. This was the disc that caught my eye: Forced to Flex. (I tried to Copy the banner, but it didn't work and below is the remnants of the attempt).

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