Saturday, May 24, 2014


The rugged, more experienced Kevin Harris keeps Jimmy Reilly in a constant state of defense. Though this is real submission wrestling, Jimmy sells the pain, agony, and frustration like a pro wrestler, a natural at grunt-and-groan vocalizations, infusing the legit contest with an added dose of drama. What's more, they appear to be having a good time.

Kevin looms over Jimmy, outmuscling the game newcomer and staying one and a half moves ahead of him for most of the match. At the now defunct NHB, Kevin squared off against some of my favorites there: Mikey Hanlon, Max Anderson, Brock Hammer, and others, bouts currently available for sale at Movimus. (Plus, for this Memorial Day Weekend, there's a sale on select downloads, a savings of five bucks per video.) This new match finds him in prime condition--the guy is a knockout!--and he lords it over Jimmy, often with a playful smirk on his face, no sooner clasping him around the chest than demanding a tap-out.

Jimmy is every bit as tough, dynamic, and emphatic as I could hope for. Even so, he is out-wrestled by Kevin, and the 24-minute tussle offers no surprise reversals or circus acrobatics. The guys keep themselves close to the mat (or rolling off of it) and at times seem hypnotized by the pure high of physical exertion. The fight doesn't pretend to be a morality play of the kind associated with ring wrestling--no grudges to settle, no attempt to humiliate, no high camp, no roles to play. Instead, it's textbook grappling and submission, strenuous and prolonged with sudden bursts of adrenalized aggression. This kind of wrestling affects me because it is in the moment, aboveboard, rambunctious, and unostentatious. Jimmy exuberantly expresses his anguish but never loses heart, and Kevin pursues victory doggedly, without irony or pretense. Real, up-close competition between two athletes can be, even without adornment or tricks up the sleeve, riveting!

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