"I thought this was supposed to be a wrestling match," says rookie Richie Douglas. "You talking to me?" Austin Cooper rebuffs him, slugging his fist to the kid's tight abs before he can crawl all the way through the ring ropes. Coop exits the ring just long enough to drive Richie into the ring by the sheer force of his knuckles. Truth be told, I wish this were a wrestling match, but I know what I'm getting into. This is BG East's newly released Gut Bash 11. I know what that means. It's not my bailiwick, yet there's no stopping me. I would follow Coop anywhere.
Pretty much the title tells it all. Richie doesn't even get a hope spot. Austin is in glorious full-throttle dungeon-master mode, and he acquaints his fist, his elbow, his boot, and his shoulder with the newcomer's abdominals on the mat, against the ropes, over the turnbuckle, and draped over his shoulder. For fans of gut punching, 100% gut punching, this is the real deal, but for me, in the wrong neighborhood after sundown, all this is is a 33-minute exhibition of Coop's sumptuous body, never more beautiful than it is right this instant, all the jiggles drawing my eyes to the right places, skin shining like a new penny, the gunmetal gray trunks hugging his hips like shark skin. This might not be wrestling as I understand it, but it's total heaven for me.
Richie has a fine build, too, slim and taut, and Austin does a sweet job of stretching it out and bending it towards the camera, like he's showing off the facets of a diamond under the light. But for me personally it's Coop's muscle that counts here. When Richie takes too long before submitting, Austin leaves him tangled in the ropes a few seconds longer, fine-tuning the dislocation of the new recruit's shoulder. Bending his victim across his shoulder, Austin demands he say and repeat, loudly now, "Austin Cooper is the man!" Richie hesitates, but not for long. In Richie's shoes I'd sing the simple declarative out in my clearest Mozart tenor, over and over, with escalating intensity. This may not be the wrestling I love, but it will inspire the wrestling fantasy I'll stage tonight, I can pretty much guarantee it.