I didn't know my last name was "unusual" till at some point in grade school I was asked where it came from. I asked my father, and with a certain note of finality he told me it was "American." Later, I found out it was German. The family had immigrated to America in the last decade of the nineteenth century, settling in Wisconsin and North Dakota. My father was born in a German-speaking community and didn't learn English until first grade.

By the time I knew him, he had forgot almost all his German--or so he claimed. When I later told my father I was considering taking a German language class in school, he said, "Definitely not." My father spent almost thirty years in the Army and Air Force to erase his German-ness. He was eager to halt any notions that I was anything but an American.

My connection to my three-quarter German-ness (my mother was half-German, half-French) was always ambivalent. I'm proud of a heritage I know almost nothing about, but also repelled by the stereotype. In Hollywood, "German" pretty much equates with "villain," for good historical reasons. That in itself wasn't my problem. I rather liked Hollywood villains. They had panache. Not so much German villains, however, who were typically cowardly and contemptible. 

In pro wrestling, the onus is even bigger, so when Jim recommended a 2013 FTW match featuring a six-foot-five German heel called Josef von Schmidt, who enters the ring in a gas mask, alongside a bottle-blond trainee (called "Little Schmidt"), I was intrigued. I was even more intrigued by his all-American challenger, Braydon Knight, and it certainly didn't hurt that both wrestlers entered the ring already sweating.

Knight starts the crowd chanting "U-S-A!" to which Schmidt responds like a vampire suddenly faced with a crucifix. He's a huge brute of a man, and he tells the fans they've never seen a champion like him before. Meanwhile, Knight is chomping at the bit to light into this monster.

The challenger starts off strong, probably not a good sign, given the usual trajectory of championship matches in pro wrestling--but, damn, he is hot and juicy to look at. I especially like the way he presses the champ up against the corner ropes with his full bodyweight. After some rousing give and take, a German suplex at the 08:30 mark turns the advantage decisively to Schmidt, who then hangs the hero on the ropes like wet laundry, letting his punk sidekick take a turn at him too. (The interfering lookalike valet-or-whatever is the kind of gimmick that never fails to porn me up, especially when it's time for payback.)

Knight breaks the champ's balls in a smooth reversal right after the 13:00 mark. Some solid followup work stirs hope that the belt will change hands soon. Amid the hoots and catcalls the chant of "U-S-A!" picks up again. Either Knight puts away the nasty German now or never! 

Schmidt's on his knees cravenly pleading for mercy. Knight heaves the big guy up on his shoulders and smashes him to the mat ... too close to the ropes, though, because Little Schmidt reaches in and hooks the champ's leg over the bottom rope and the ref calls for a break. The crowd calls bullshit. Knight stands, giving the punk a look that sends shivers down my pants. Then he pulls the squirt up to the ring apron by his hair and delivers a hard-knuckle sandwich to his face.

The last three minutes I'll leave for any interested readers to experience on their own. Watch the whole match on YouTube here. And, Dankeschōn, Jim, any more of these you find, be sure to shoot them my way!


  1. Another trigger for youthful memories! When I started watching pro wrestling on TV World War II was about 15 years in the past. Many still felt that the Germans, even more than Cold War Russians, were the enemy. This applied to a lesser extent to the Japanese as well, but less intensely, possibly because of remorseful feelings about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even among those who had no doubt that the bombings were perfectly justified. You couldn't find a wrestler with a German schtick or gimmick that wasn't a villain.

    While I, too, am of German descent, my family, living in the country for about 200 years, I had a lesser sense of ethnic responsibility for the crimes committed by the Nazis. Besides, many perceived my name as French, not German. Still, I felt it was wrong to paint all Germans and purported German wrestlers with the same brush. It took about another 30 years before I was aware of a German 'hero'. The Japanese had some 15 years earlier.

    Over the decade negative stereotypes of some groups shifted, like fashion, according to changing geopolitics. Iranians and Arabs became more prominent than the 'enemies' from WW II and the Cold War. Some groups never made it into the ranks of super-villains, such as the Koreans and Vietnamese. Perhaps because the Japanese had the Asian franchise and the talent pool in those communities was small.

    One thing that surprised me was that the schtick of the blond, muscular SS Übermensch or of the similar KGB Bondian superspy, like the a Swede Dolph Lundren in the Rocky franchise, never seemed to make it into the wrestling mythos. They sometime appear in my fantasies, however. I occasionally assign those roles to individuals who never had them in reality. Alexi Adamov from BGE is one (KGB).

    But it's remarkable that almost 70 years later someone can still step into the villainous German shoes and appeal to almost atavistic anger in audiences. And there are still too few rare German good guys. Not to mention Arabs and Iranians.

    But sometimes the most unexpected groups make it into the bad guy slot. I'm amazed how many Canadian heels there are, especially near the border in the Upper Midwest promotions. But there is a greater balance, with more heroes than heels overall.

    If academics respected wrestlers enough to give them studies that'd appear in journals, I'm sure there'd be interesting papers, maybe even courses, about such matters.

  2. My memories are flowing. Before gay porn books were available, I bought straight porn. There was a series about an American spy who was a voluntary priapist. He could fuck as long as he wanted. Handsome, muscular and hung, it was a definite asset in his work.

    One book had his superiors assigning him to compete in a Sexual Olympics ( it must have been 1968). Many of the athletes were intelligence operatives.

    The Russians could not be allowed to win!

    Aside from the Russians, his chief rivals were East German "supermen", a Indian (the Kama Sutra was his training manual), and an American teammate from Texas, very big everywhere, in every way. Surprisingly, there was a gay component to their relationship.

    They had an recreational, extra-competitive, three-way in which they DPed a woman. They got as much pleasure from the mutual friction of their cocks as from the woman and in the end they wrestled, the Texan won and then fucked the hero.

    He won the events he was entered in after it was discovered that the Russian was actually a set of identical twins that switched-off in the various parts of the overall championship, sort of like gymnastics. They seemed to have very great endurance and energy, which it had seemed even his priapism couldn't quite match.

    It was a fun book.


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