Friday, August 22, 2014

Knockoff Vuitton










"There's still a lot of things about this young man that I'm trying to figure out." So speaks a commentator at the WCWC Legacy Title Match that opens the August 9th broadcast (starting at the 7:00 mark here on YouTube). Since the young man in question is Ashton Vuitton, we can read the remark in several ways.

A huge fan of Ashton's muscles, I am trying to figure out a lot of things too. I'm fond of his gimmick: the vain, self-absorbed fashionista who goes "up to eleven" on gaydar. I'm even a little envious of his bodacious physique. However, I'm less a fan of his wrestling. There's not much wrestling, in fact. Mostly he cavorts. 

I like the gimmick all right, but even Gorgeous George and Ravishing Rick Rude got down and dirty in their matches, saving most of the shtick for their entrances and exits. (It's rare that I agree with ringside commentators, but one of them makes my point better than I can: he says Ashton looks like he thinks he might dirty himself by wrestling.) Throughout this match, Ashton plays up the fact that he is superior not just to his opponent but to pro wrestling itself. For me, this lack of commitment to the contest works against the gimmick's desired effect. 

I may root for his opponents (Big Duke, in this instance) to smack the pretty right off this guy, but since he doesn't seem to care about the outcome of the match or to work strenuously to win it, my pleasure in his downfall is somewhat diminished. The aloof nature of the performance also lessens the match's libidinal heat. When the crowd chants "Dukie's gonna kill you," Ashton registers almost nothing. He doesn't seem to care. In many ways he looks out of place in the squared circle like he was unexpectedly teleported from a Milan runway to this venue. That chant ought to grab me by the balls. But their taunts need a more deserving target. The physical and mental engagement of wrestling is what cranks me up. Aloofness from the ring action, the opponent, and the audience doesn't do it for me.

What I want Vuitton to be is a born sadist who happens to look fabulous in mink and skintight trunks, rather than a silly, shallow butterfly about to be crushed. That's not to say that I find the match unenjoyable, only that I sense a waste of erotic potential here. My enjoyment is less visceral. Instead, the pleasure is light and breezy--fun, but not hot. I pay attention to the spectacular facade and smile, rather than feeling shivers up my spine. I enjoy the sculptural beauty of Ashton's body (which is hot) and his brilliant clowning. That's quite a lot, after all. So if IceCapades was my kink, I'd be all over this.

To be clear, I'm not particularly concerned about the way the Vuitton persona toys with the gay gimmick--or vilifies homosexuality. I don't think it does the latter, not with this crowd anyway. (If anything, I find it not sexual enough--homo or hetero.) It's a joke--only a joke--everybody knows it, and the crowd gets off on it. That's good. In that sense it's a success. People are entertained. Still, I crave something more.

One homemade sign, "Vuitton is a knockoff," succinctly suggests both the fan's contempt for the preening muscleboy and insight to the fashion industry's snobbery that Ashton devilishly lampoons. It brings a smile to my face too. Still, I wish Vuitton would act more like a villain I can't wait to see Big Duke knock out.


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