Saturday, May 3, 2014

Go Pro

Last month Cameron Mathews announced he had just shot his final match for BG East. He made the breakup sound friendly, unsurprisingly, thanking Kids Leopard and Vicious for "putting up" with him over the years, and then proceeded to turn the discussion towards his new projects, one of them being the production of videos for Ron Sexton's One new behind-the-camera project is a series called I Wanna Go Pro, and Cam mentioned a few of the episodes already in the can, so to speak, featuring wrestling buddies like Z-Man, Austin Cooper, and Eddy Brock (Big Sexy at Thunder's Arena). 

In I Wanna Go Pro: Z-Man, the first of the series to hit DVD (available through Can-Am), Z-Man takes on three opponents: Lane Hartley, Big D, and Chasyn Rance--the premise being that Zack, already a big deal in underground wrestling, wants to see if he can take on some tried and true pro wrestlers. Z's participation in this collection caught my attention, but Lane's and Chasyn's names on the cover made this disk a must-have for me.

Z-Man wrestles my new favorite heel Lane Hartley first. Z enters in a long black robe with a cowl, which, happily, he discards quickly. He has chosen to wrestle barefoot, a risky decision, since Lane wears what look and sound on the ring floor like mountaineering boots. Z first faced off against Lane five months ago, disastrously for the Z Man, yet Lane manages to sucker punch the trusting "rookie" once again. It's hard to believe our man is that clueless, but since he's up against Hartley, I wouldn't have it any other way. Lane stomps Z's bare toes, yanks his hair, rakes his fingernails across his eyes, and chokes him. And that's just for openers. This encounter is captured in the super high-key lighting that's typical of Cyberfights, while smooth, unobtrusive camerawork misses nothing of the action. 

Caught in a full nelson, Z backs Lane into the turnbuckle, reversing the momentum. He can't match Lane for dirty fighting, but he does throw his heart into giving the handsome brute a taste of his own medicine. He's fine and all, but he's no Lane Hartley, who's a natural born sadist. As expected, a few minutes on top goes to Z-Man's head, so it's easy for the true alpha-male to reassert his dominance and double down on the hurt. I guess I can leave it to you to guess who walks away with this one.

Next up is bald, barrel-chested Big D. Again, Z-Man reenters in the black cowl, still attempting to scare somebody. He tries his hand at an Undertaker-style challenge, pointing a threatening finger at his opponent and speaking in his deepest pretend-baritone, saying, "Ohhhkay?" ("Okay?" Seriously? And as a question? This is so awfully cute yet so sadly doomed at the same time.) He climbs the corner ropes for added leverage. Big D does the only rational thing by flinging him down to the center of the ring. "Not really quite sure what you're going for here," says D with a crooked smile, "but I'll work with it," crashing his elbow into the back of Z's neck. (In my opinion, for what it's worth, this is the funniest, best timed retort in the history of pro-wrestling banter.)

Big D has pretty much whipped Z-Man's ass before he strips him of his costume, and then he uses the cowl as a noose, next as a gag, before tossing it out of the ring, giving us an unimpeded view of Z's delicious agony. He planks the fitness model across the corner ropes to tenderize the jobber's ribs with his fists and the tip of his boot. Then off the ropes, he stretches Z back for more punching, grinding, and clawing. Back into the ropes, D tangles Z for some hair-pulling and nostril-resizing.

An iron claw at ring center almost finishes Z-Man, but miraculously (and "miraculous" is an understatement) he turns the tables on the hulking Big D. Don't expect too much of this spot of hope. If you take a second to scratch your ass, you'll miss everything. In no time, D is flinging Z around like a flyswatter again. But (would you believe it?) there's a second hope spot, during which Z dang near chokes D out. This one lasts more than a minute, but it only serves to rile up an already plenty riled-up D. 

In the third match, Z-Man takes on Chasyn Rance, a pro wrestler closer to Z in size and probably the kind of challenge he should have started with, formidable enough for a "rookie" and far more reasonable than trusting one's safety and wellbeing to the likes of Lane Hartley or Big D. As in previous matches I've seen, Chasyn is an oilily cheery wrestler, jocular with an aftertaste of nasty, if you catch my meaning. As much as I enjoyed the first two Go Pro matches, I was looking forward to this face-off most of all because it's closer to the even give-and-take battle I prefer in wrestling. 

At first, the advantage switches between these two wrestlers every 10 or 15 seconds. This is very exciting because both wrestlers are hot. Z is on everybody's lust list. Chasyn is, in my opinion, one of the sexiest wrestlers in regional pro wrestling today (the region being Florida), and his appeal is enhanced by the way he engages his opponents in the kind of grappling and close body contact that turned me on to professional wrestling. Short and squarely built, muscular but not so muscular as to stretch the skin taut, short pomaded hair and a jawline where it's always five o'clock, Chasyn has the dark good looks of a Greek hero of old. He talks incessantly (not one of my favorite qualities in a wrestler), but he's so good in other respects that I can tolerate the chatter.

As the match progresses, Chasyn's confidence and experience give him more and more an advantage over Z. The action is still give and take, but Z finds himself more on the taking end the longer the fight lasts. Rance has more moves than Z, as we might expect, and watching him crank out one grimace after another from the Z Man entertains me to no end. As the battle heats up, we get more combat on foot, Irish whips, body slams, and the like, but then Chasyn takes Z back down to the mat for further detail work on the wrist and fingers. This kind of attention to the small stuff is what makes wrestling sexy for me, and Chasyn does it instinctively and, thanks to Cyberfights' smart camerawork, now I see it up close. 

All three matches are great, nearly equal in value despite the pointed differences in the three opponents' ring styles, yet this last one stands out for me because it is my kind of wrestling. With the series off to such a fine start, I'll be eagerly anticipating future episodes in the series as they become available on DVD. If they're consistently as good as this one, Cameron Matthews may be becoming even a bigger force behind the camera than he already is on camera, and that is saying a lot.


  1. I've had mixed feelings about Z. He has a terrifically sexy body and a handsome face. But I think he's been overdone as a jobber. I've always wanted to see him be more dominant in his matches, in short, to win more. I like this concept and the participants are intriguing. But it looks like more of the same. I'd have liked to have been surprised and delighted to have him have hand Big D his head, for example.

  2. I've been waiting for BGE to VOD their Z-Man/Lane match, so it's good I don't have to wait any more.

    Of the guys you list, Big Sexy and Lane Hartley are the big draws for me. I do wonder how all this will be different. I liked Cyberfights because it was pros who I didn't see anywhere else, like Brett Barnes, Tyler Black, etc. This sounds like the same type of action and same guys I can see elsewhere, to the point of even debuting with a duplicate match.

  3. Strange I felt the other way. The matches had too much back and forth, which I generally don't find interesting. My feeling is that I can see back and forth matches on TNT and WWE easily enough. I prefer a total squash job, which you don't get to see nearly as often and is limited to underground matches and the 80s

    Different strokes and all. Niches within an already niche domain.

    I like Zman as a jobber, would be weird to see him as a heal. Would love to see Big Sexy and Lane Hartley as jobbers in a squash match.



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