Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fire and Ice

In the promo Movimus claims that Connor challenged Case to this fight. That seems right to me. Connor Flynn goes into this contest with the same grim determination and fiery temper he brings to all his battles. In submission wrestling, Connor (in red) appears to trust in two things: strategy and rage. His strategy here is to focus on legwork, perhaps to crush his opponent outright or to weaken him before finishing him off. When, after the first two falls, C.T. proves virtually immune to the force of Connor's thighs, the hothead must change his tactics midstream. 

As for Connor's hotheadedness, it seems less a ploy to psych his opponent out than an element in his overall strategy, giving him the speed and flexibility to switch courses in the heat of the moment. I'm just guessing, of course, but it seems to me that Connor likes to envision his opponent as a sworn enemy, rather than just a sporting adversary. Connor seems to hold a grudge against anybody who steps on the mat against him. The mental picture drives him to put up his best fight. It also adds drama to his bouts.

Case Thornton, in blue, keeps his cool. When he speaks, he addresses Connor in a chummy but condescending manner. If Connor likes to stoke the flames of fury, perhaps Case sees no reason not to push the guy over the edge. Blind rage makes for plenty of mistakes, mistakes a technician like C.T. can use to his advantage. During the struggle itself, Case goes strangely quiet. Typically he's not a talker. His face goes blank too as if, sinking into an inner fortress, he calmly weighs his options. Connor goes hot, while Case goes deep.

What makes Case interesting to watch is the stuff that happens after his long stretches of apparently doing nothing at all. He may not match the dramatic excitement that Connor brings to a fight, but like a crouching wolf or a coiled serpent his strike is sudden, subtle, and swift. Most opponents don't know what hit them. The question is whether Case's zen-like indifference and emotional distance give him a substantive edge over Connor's revved-up maneuvering or leave him, like a deer in the headlights, incapable of escaping Connor's wrath. 

Movimus's camerawork once again is in the right place at the right time, capturing everything I need to see to make sense of the match. I also like the Movimus wrestlers' emphasis on the natural drama of sport ("the constant variety of sport ... the thrill of victory ... and the agony of defeat"*).  For all the heat generated over the 24-minute struggle, Thornton and Flynn still congratulate each other after the fifth and final fall like gentlemen. "Get you next time," says the loser. "You'll lose to me next time," the victor replies, not skipping a beat.

* Despite a lack of interest in non-wrestling sports, as a teen I was hooked on ABC's Wide World of Sports, mainly because of its hyperbolic introduction, which never failed to affect me viscerally, especially the traumatic landing of the ski jumper coinciding with the words "agony of defeat."

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