Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fantastic Display of the Finer Arts of Wrestling

In 1986 I had the hots for both Steve Simpson and Brian Adias. Adias had the classic Southern babyface look, one part youth pastor, one part car salesman, one part cowboy. Simpson was clearly from someplace else (South Africa, to be exact), the Hapsburg face and Pre-Raphaelite curls clearly un-Texan, yet the guy had plenty for Americans to love. Ultra-cool while being ultra-athletic, Simpson had a smooth, urbane style that nevertheless could erupt into violence if provoked.

This is a contest between two popular babyfaces that, despite its many good features, ends on a technicality, saving both faces' faces, so to speak, therefore a disappointment for me personally, since I like unambiguous closure in wrestling matches. I remember watching this WCCW contest on ESPN. It did (and does) exactly what babyface-vs-babyface matches are supposed to do: create anxiety (of an exasperatingly pleasing sort) in the fans who want one of them to win, but neither of them to lose.

It's a throwback to the "scientific" wrestling of a couple of decades earlier, already a rarity in the mid-1980s. In the absence of a grudge or antipathy of any sort, the dramatic tension arises from the deepening frustrations of finding yourself pitted against your perfect equal and the question of whether either man will veer to the dark side. Even if neither succumbs to the temptation of cheating or going for a low blow, the flaring tempers provide plenty of opportunities for macho posturing, most frequently in the wrestlers' instinct to default to clenched fists at the least provocation.

1 comment:

  1. Steve Simpson was one of those wrestlers I just never saw enough of. Too few matches, too short matches, too few really good opponents. In short, too frustrating!



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