Monday, June 30, 2014

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.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tumbl for You 5

More eye candy for lovers only. Spot any obsessions? Yeah, well, there's the beauteous and evil Prince Devitt three times, but I've also got a surly Bobby Roode, a raging Chris Dickinson, and a sleepy Seth Rollins (and pal). There are bears and teen bodybuilders, too, both vintage and new. Jack Slammer's Tumblr blog has become something of an obsession of mine. Lately I've been raiding it for pictures and laser-hot captions for my Aggronaut! page. I only recently rediscovered jockohomo on Tumblr, which I followed back in my MySpace days. Tumblr continues to be my best relaxation exercise since I gave up channel-surfing. Maybe there's something here you'll like.












































Saturday, June 28, 2014

BB2








Jordan Clarke's war cry at the 15:22 mark of this match seems to confirm my earlier impression that Movimus is upping the hell-yeah in its matches this year. It's more of a roar or animal yowl, and maybe it signals one more step in the redefinition of the company's approach to underground wrestling, from staid pursuit of sport and the tallying of points towards something a bit more emotive and dynamic.

Jordan originally picked Max Anderson as the man he wanted to wrestle in his debut in May. The two wrestlers found themselves at something of a stalemate at times. They were almost too perfectly matched in ability and size. At the close of that contest, feeling they still had unfinished business, the two requested this rematch. 

Max and Jordan are as well matched as I could hope for. (As some of you know, an even match is something of a fixation of mine). They are sturdily built mat battlers, Jordan's torso and limbs somewhat more solid than Max's, Max's somewhat more agile. Both are blond, which is why Movimus is calling the rematch, like the first match, the "Battle of the Blonds." 

Beyond the surface similarities, there's a kind of chemistry between them, a friendly but fierce competitiveness that can only be satisfied by making the other man submit. Neither holds anything back. If not exactly reckless, they are vehement in their drive to prove themselves the better man and bold in their use of force to get what they want. They're also smart enough to recognize that wrestling is about outmaneuvering one's opponent, and that requires mental focus and strategy. 

Both are good guys. There's no "heel." Their temperaments are compatible, but in some ways opposite to each other, too. Max is taciturn. Jordan is expressive and spirited. Max sinks deep into himself, unwilling to waste energy in playing head games with his antagonist.  Jordan is exuberant, vocal, quick to respond to each new stimulus or turn in the action. In the jargon of Myers Briggs, Max seems like an INTJ personality (introverted-intuitive-thinking-judging), while Jordan leans in the other direction, ESFP (extroverted-sensing-feeling-perceiving). I find the temperamental dissimilarities as fascinating as their physical similarities, especially as they manifest during competition.

Before I get too caught up in psychology, though, I should remind myself that this is fundamentally a muscle sport. From start to finish, I was engrossed in the match as a corporal event, without any impulse to analyze or theorize as I was just doing. The match's momentum builds through four tense falls, which are gratifyingly physical.  And hot. Without showboating or overdoing it, these two athletes kept my fingers on my fly for the full nineteen minutes.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Melee









Rock Hard Wrestling's latest release is a three-way melee, as advertised, three men in the ring together until one gets eliminated, setting up the climactic one-on-one contest. My money's on Josh Steel to make this show interesting. Matt Engel has already had his shot at a one-on-one with Josh. For the less experienced Justin, this is his first crack at the smug but likable surfer-boy-turned-bodybuilder. Matt and Justin soon figure out that the way to go here is to gang up on Josh. Josh practically invites it, leering at his two opponents like they could use some sand kicked in their faces. Josh is the yummiest morsel in the ring, and he knows it, but inviting a two-on-one beatdown could be a fatal decision.

Matt and Justin are as yet unknown quantities to me, with, between the two of them, less than half the ring experience of Josh. Josh can wrestle, no doubt about it, and he's got appeal, cock-loads of it. In the beginning it looks like he is going to make short work of his opponents. He twists skinny Justin up into a knot while holding Matt at bay with a mule kick to the midsection every so often. But when Matt snags him in a full nelson, stretching the hunk out for Justin's punches (and a contemptuous slap), it looks like the two are clearing the way for them to take on each other.

Justin squares off against "pretty boy" Matt, believing precipitously that Steel is out of the picture, but Josh immediately bulldozes him to the mat. Matt tries to take advantage of the situation with an elbow drop, but Justin squirms out of the way. Matt gets a charley horse, and Josh gets a good laugh at the expense of his knuckleheaded opponents. But will he get the last laugh? In the end will he get the pleasure of bumping these two wannabes' heads together? It all depends on whether Matt and Justin can effectively pool their resources, and whether these two united are a match for Josh alone.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Taking a New Tak








When I was younger I was fascinated with guys like Tak, but I usually kept my distance. For me, these guys were too ideally European, northern European with their square shoulders, honey-ivory skin, and artlessly stylish hair. They were all Yale or West Point bound, I thought. They probably played the violin or piano, too. Unlike me, they did not come from trailer parks. They looked comfortable, even smug, with their socioeconomic privileges. I wanted to be them as much as I wanted to hurt them. (One early indication that wrestling was key to my erotic disposition was a tussle on the bedroom rug with my buddy, snow-white, blond Robin, an officer's son, after the two of us got overstimulated watching The Wild Wild West. I topped him, pinning his shoulders down, making sure he felt it too. He vainly thrust up against me, and I realized I had a boner the same second I realized he had one too.)

To me Tak looks like that kid in Cabaret who sings "Tomorrow Belongs to Me." I want to jump that Hitlerjugend ass and grind it into the pavement. I can't see me immediately warming up to Tak as a friend (my prejudice, not his, I know that), but if I were his age again, things would definitely heat up if we were handcuffed together and tossed into a steel cage. Viggo, now there is a guy I can warm up to. He's got a little rodeo cowboy in him, I think. He would look terrific in military fatigues, too. I figure him for a guy who likes to fish or surf or repair small engines. And I may be his only gay fan who misses his lumberjack beard.

In Mat Rats 41 at Thunder's Arena, Tak and Viggo square off. Only in my head is this class warfare, by the way, but once an idea gets in my head, it stays. We discover Viggo standing on a yoga mat, balancing, upward dogging, and finding his center (I found his almost immediately). Tak shows up, sporting his best look yet and jeering at the yogi for not working weights. The Arena advert for this match states that Tak has added ten pounds of muscle, and it shows. He was almost always the little one in the company's big-little matches, but here he is, not much smaller than Viggo. He's determined to start something too, interrupting Viggo's stretch, calling him "old," mocking his name in a sing-songy voice, and then dismissively tossing the "lavender" mat at Viggo's chest. If Viggo doesn't take a swing at this jerk, I may need to jump through the screen and do it for him.

The two trade muscle poses, and as improved as Tak's physique is, it fails the Tarzan test* against Viggo's.  Viggo grabs Tak from behind, heaving him up in a reverse bear hug. Tak dangles and flails like Fay Wray. (Yeah, I was big on jungle adventures as a kid, too.) I have to say the positioning of these boys' bodies at this point is pretty near to perfect. Then Viggo flattens Tak to the wall for a short gut-punching session. Surviving that, Tak starts pouting about Viggo hitting him with a cheap shot. In his own defense, Viggo states that it was Tak who insisted on getting up in his face in the first place: "You expect me to just take it?" "Yeah I do," Tak says, in a whiny pampered voice that makes me want to poke him in the eye (or poke him somewhere, anyway), "I do expect you to take it," and flings himself at Viggo. The two lock up collar and elbow. Viggo slaps the blond to the mat and upward-dogs the length of his smooth body, while giving the punk's neck a stretch. Good alpha-male that he is.

Tak kicks Viggo off and reverses, one more sign of how strong Tak has become. He stretches Viggo back, filling the screen with Viggo's bronze-colored torso. He likes punishing the big guy, but his overconfidence is bound to catch up with him, or at least I hope it does. This is a fun, breezy match, entertaining from beginning to end. The eye candy is great. Tak could not be more perfect as the smarty-pants brat who's cruising for a bruising, and Viggo wouldn't be a lick more mouthwatering even covered head to toe in bacon. Tak has finally won me over as a fan with this fight, and Viggo solidifies my initial impression that he's more man than I could ever hope to tangle with, even without his beard.

*The Tarzan test is so simple it probably needs no explanation. Guys who can pull off wearing a loincloth pass. Those who can't, fail.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Seize and Destroy









Panther, in particular, catches my eye here. At 6'1", 185#, he towers over Jayden Mayne and commands the squared circle. This is pretty much his show. He slips into the ring, sizes Jayden up, and asks, all sneering attitude, "Do you have any idea ... whatsoever ... what you are in for?" Jayden mumbles a retort, but Charlie ignores him, preferring a self-appreciating gaze into the room's spacious mirror. The peacock heel thing has been done to death perhaps, but Charlie Panther imbues the gimmick with a glint in his eye and loads of macho style.

He has always had muscle, but it's never been this sharply chiseled, and thankfully he decided to dump the Race Bannon hair styling of the past. He looks awesome now. Jayden has a solider core than we've seen in previous matches, part of an improved upper body in general. He's been a pistol since his first match three years ago (in Ringwars 19, a banner BG East release like this one), and he's getting only better with time.

For the most part Panther dishes up the pain, and Jayden sells it, every second of it. Besides never resisting the impulse to scissor his opponent between his iron thighs, Charlie also targets Jayden's backbone, playing amateur chiropractic with a sadistic twist in a series of kicks, jabs, racks, stretches, and clutches, polishing them off with a sharp elbow grind to the lower abdominals. From time to time Jayden goes into hero mode for a glorious hope spot, during which he aims for Charlie's thighs and neck. He doesn't seem daunted by his opponent and proves that pretty much anything the big guy can do, he can do too.

The opener (Horton versus Loko) is weak, in my opinion, but this second match is one reason Demolitions 17 now ranks high on my list of all-time great BGE videos. Panther still has far to go before he measures up against tried-and-true demolition men like Firestorm in the third match and Genatto in the main event. (It might be fun, in fact, to let Guido loose on Charlie's new Michelangelesque muscle, and watch what happens.) Whether Panther or Mayne rises in the company's ranks is a matter of luck and persistence. After all, BG East is no "small pond." But these moments in the squared circle are covered in stardust. This might not be the best work Charlie and Jayden are capable of, but it definitely is a shining indication of their potential.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

23 Chops in 37 Seconds








Beyond Wrestling's YouTube VOD of the battle between the Dojo Bros (Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong) and the team of Biff Busick and Drew Gulak is stunning. For $2.99, you get a 2,555-day rental (that's seven years, by the way). It's the climactic main event of BW's Point of No Return show, shot in Providence, Rhode Island, last September 15th, a sweat-soaked 31-minute turf war between two teams composed of wrestlers equally gifted as heels and babyfaces. They're heel enough not to back away from anything or stint on the brutality. They're babyface enough to inspire the crowd's empathy and devotion. The crowd is divided, but easily the most vocal among them are in the Dojo Bros' corner.

There's some mat grappling in the early part of the event, but mostly we get stiff chops, a lot of them--hence the title of the free preview "23 Chops in 37 Seconds," where Eddie and Biff take aim at some kind of record. Given the stark lighting of the ring and its outer boundaries,  much of the match looks like the movie Fight Club, only with no skinny movie stars to be seen. Naturally, the mayhem spills out of the ring onto the concrete floor amid the enthusiastic fans, where wrestlers' spinal columns suffer serious trauma against the edge of the ring. We get some no-punches-pulled corner beatdowns too, as well as the expected flurry of two-count near pins as we approach the end.

What impresses me the most is the division of labor between the two sets of partners: for most of the match Eddie is assigned to fight Biff, and Roddy to fight Drew. I think of this arrangement as a "big buddy little buddy" duo. More often than not, the big buddies (Biff and Eddie) fight each other, then tag in the little buddies (Drew and Roddy), often simultaneously. I find these alignments thrilling and sexy. The drama gains poignancy as the camera catches two wrestlers battling, while not too far away is a solitary partner outside the ropes, aching to get a tag.  The groupings do not, of course, rule out double-teaming, and in the final ten minutes of this match, the duos are permanently dissolved in a hair-raising split, as the four men are in the ring together, one big buddy trying to submit the other team's little buddy while his little buddy tries to submit the other team's big buddy. In the end, we see the four men in the ring together again, trading punches, Biff versus Roddy and Eddie versus Drew.

After the climactic finisher (a big buddy holds a little buddy down for a full three-count pin), we see a sweat-drenched Biff devotedly attending to his exhausted little buddy, Drew. Eddie grabs the microphone. He extends his hand and heartfelt congratulations to Drew. Then he turns to Roddy for a hug and a pat on the back. Then he turns back to Biff, the crowd buzzing with expectation. "Biff Busick," Eddie says, "it's still not over between you and me." Good news for lovers of good wrestling. The big buddies plan to tangle again ... in an iron-man match ... and then, before parting, the antagonists bump shoulders in a show of grudging respect.


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