Only the Strong Survive
In a more just world, I would have seen this April 4th no-disqualification match live. Photographer Tony Knox gives me the best look I can get of it in these vivid and dramatic shots. After a precipitous rough start outside the ring, masked and horned "Mexican Sensation" El Ligero ultimately pins smart-ass champ Zack Gibson to become Grand Pro Wrestling's new British Champion. I hope that soon good clear video of this fight shows up someplace where I can see it.
These fighters are not only well matched in weight and fight, but also mismatched in gear. Ligero wears jeans. Gibson wears black and blue trunks. Dressed versus undressed wrestling was best analyzed in a Wrestling Arsenal article a couple of years ago called "Clothed Wrestler, Naked Wrestler." WA associates the appeal of this fight with a CMNM fetish, an erotic encounter between a fully clothed man and a naked (or near naked) man, with the clothed man dominating*. This fetish (not exclusively gay) is related to the James Bond phenomenon of a tuxedoed Agent 007 surrounded by a bevy of beauties in bikinis, the male spy invariably holding an erect weapon in hand.
Wrestling Arsenal associates the appeal of this kink for men as nostalgia:
Many young men play around with nudity as a way to bond homosocially with one another. They may go skinny dipping or hot tubbing (just with the boys), or “de-pants” each other, or walk around naked in the locker room or hotel room, or play Strip Poker, or go streaking or mooning.
Part of the appeal of CMNM pornography (and of pro wrestling) is the desire to return to those playful days of youthful male bonding, when a party wasn’t a party until one of the guys was partially or totally nude. Grown men are now holding “CMNM parties”, where a few of the guests just walk around naked, without sex taking place.I too associate the homoerotic appeal of wrestling with nostalgia, a desire to perpetuate "those playful days of youthful male bonding" (and jockeying for alpha status) into manhood. Just as the types of people we're erotically attracted to are imprinted in our consciousness in childhood, so too, I believe, are the kinds of actions, behaviors, and performances that turn us on.
At GPW's "Only the Strong Survive," the more clothed wrestler does triumph in the end in Ligero-vs-Gibson. I can't explain it psychologically, but that seems "right" to me, too. The guy in jeans ought to be the one pinning the guy in trunks to the mat. It's just how it's meant to be.
*I was in my thirties before I discovered this kink, consciously anyway. My boyfriend at the time was a photographer whose work now appears in galleries and several popular books on gay male erotica. He wanted to take some nude photos of me. I consented, mostly to be supportive of his burgeoning career in art. I didn't realize how hot the encounter would be. He, in T-shirt and jeans, studied me, buck naked, through the viewfinder, occasionally repositioned my body to get the pose he wanted, and all this time I was growing a stiffy, partly because of his acute but atypically cold attention to me physically, partly because of my vulnerability, him clothed, me naked.