Friday, January 9, 2015

Pleasure Island

I don't know whether Marky Mark Oxner is or was ever any good at wrestling. I think he was, but then I am blinded by his cuteness. He could strut attitude in a way that made me want to fight him and beat him up. He was a heel with boyish charm--like Beau Nasty, like Mikey Vee, and like, more recently, Aryx Quinn, perhaps the last of the type. In his brief career at BG East, Marky Mark was the perfect blend of go-go boy and wrestling heel. In Fantasymen 9, in the early days when the entire Fantasymen series was a blend of go-go and catch, Oxner tangled with Troy Gulezian, an older, bigger wrestler whose BGE career was briefer than even Oxner's. Oxner is unmistakably the heel here--he pulls hair, talks cocky, and enjoys tormenting Gulezian. In the end, he also delivers a picturesque defeat (as the last picture demonstrates).

Now this 1995 match looks like a throwback to the Athletic Model Guild of the 1950s of giddy, apple-cheeked bodybuilders from the Midwest earning coin by wrestling each other for a mail-order audience, almost exclusively queer and closeted. (Yes, I'm aware of the dark side of AMG, too, but it was behind the scenes. Onscreen, the petty thieves and dope fiends assumed a Disneyland cheerfulness.) I like the bouncy mischief and high-spirited roughhouse of wrestlers who look untrustworthy, attractively so, but not very dangerous, like Marky Mark. The old stuff wasn't very polished. Some of it probably wasn't even wrestling--but it FELT like wrestling. But the pre-NASDAQ Crash era of underground wrestling was a bit like Pleasure Island in Pinocchio, a theme park for rowdy boys boisterously making asses of themselves. 

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