Keeping Up with the Kick-Assians

I bought Cyberfights' I Wanna Go Pro: Austin Cooper for obvious reasons. The first of the Wanna Go Pro series, the one with Z-Man, sold me on the premise: a trio of Joe-versus-Pro matches, with a "Joe" who's both much fitter and much better looking than the average Joe. Take Austin Cooper, for instance. Austin is somebody I love with the dweeby intensity I reserve for all handsome young muscle boys game for a good tussle now and then.

(Note: Despite being produced under the Cyberfights banner, don't look for this disk at the Cyberfights website. It's currently available through Can-Am.)

Austin goes through the same gauntlet of rough and ready pros Z faced in the first of the series: Lane Hartley, Big D, and Chasyn Rance,  hot, cruel kick-asses every one of them. In the opening match, against Lane, Austin resembles nothing so much as an inflatable doll so pumped up it's on the verge of popping. And as the two wrestlers circle each other, I imagine Lane busting each of Austin's muscles like a kid in a room full of bubble wrap. 

Playing the nice guy, Lane delivers the usual sucker spiel. He extends his hand in a comradely show of sportsmanship, but straightaway, out of nowhere, boots Coop in the ribs. Austin caves in on himself like he's having a seizure, giving Lane a clear shot at the small of his back. Lane will strike a man while he's down. It wouldn't occur to him not to. Then he applies a vise-like armlock to show the crumpled wannabe who's boss. He stretches Austin's arms back and jams his knee to the back of Austin's neck. Through it all he delivers the same soothing patter dentists use when they're starting up the drill. Sadistic as he is, Lane still affects an easy, urbane manner worthy of a Lannister.

In addition to his willingness to kick a man while he's down, he isn't averse to pulling hair to get Coop where he wants him, that is, head clenched between his muscular thighs (Lane's legs are amazing). "I know it's uncomfortable," Lane speaks in a voice full of understanding, if not compassion, "but it can't always be fun, though, you know? It's a learning experience," giving Coop's head a particularly severe crunch on the second syllable of "experience."

Austin's agony affects me deeply, but not in the right way. Stretched backwards into a U, his taut stomach heaving and contracting as he gasps for air, Austin makes me wish I could climb into the ring and dig my steel toe to the center of those rippling abs.  So what about my much talked about disinterest in one-sided beatdowns? I retract nothing, but I should point out that context is everything. Lately I have come to realize an unflattering truth about myself: I'm more tolerant of the persecution of babyfaces when the heel is as hot and meaty as Lane is. So much for impartiality, I suppose.

The match is exactly how I like it, not a whole lot of running and leaping, not a lot of posturing, but long tight squeezes that test every inch of Austin's luscious body. Lane paces himself. He pushes Austin only so far and then lets up, building the suspense and prolonging the torture. At one point, he takes Coop to the far edge of a sleeper hold but then stops himself, having just remembered some new torment he wants to try out. His technique works similarly for us viewers. Right when we're ready to explode, he eases up, only to work us over from a different angle. I am enthralled.

Late in the match Austin takes advantage of one of these pauses, very nearly bringing off an upset. This too has its perks as Austin has a well developed heel side, as he has demonstrated elsewhere on multiple occasions. Lane gets a taste of his own medicine and doesn't seem to like it. But going in to this match we all know the balance of power for what it is, and Lane doesn't suffer long before reasserting his alpha status and putting the brakes on Coop's dreams of pro wrestling glory ... for the moment at least, since Big D and Chasyn wait in the wings for their own piece of Austin in the next two events.

My verdict? I like this latest IWGP even more than the first. And I liked the first. Now I can't wait for the third installment. Hopefully up next is wannabe Eddy Brock, i.e. Big Sexy at Thunder's Arena. This series is the shit.


  1. What an intriguing concept! Perhaps the title is a bit misleading. To me it implies a seasoned pro going up against an "amateur" Joe. None of the names you reported fit that description. I haven't seen Lane in action, but in stills he looks most toothsome. Usually, I'd favor Austin, but in this case I think I'd've rooting for Lane. Sometimes heels are over-glamorized and heroes under-appreciated, but as you say, context rules. From the synopsis you write, I'd say that Lane acts more like a traditional, "proper" :) heel than most given that label.

  2. Thanks for the review. I'm not a huge fan of Austin, but I don't dislike him, either. I definitely like Lane, so I'll probably get this.

    I'm also excited for Eddy Brock. It'll be really interesting to see him in a different environment. Based on his usual persona, I can't imagine he'll be squashed and could see him actually winning a match or two. But maybe they'll use him differently.


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