Sunshine Shooters 7

In pro wrestling, a "shoot" is unscripted, unfixed, "straight-shooting" fight action. Sometimes whole matches are shoots, sometimes with big stakes, as in the 1954 Atlanta match between Mildred Burke and June Byers to decide who "would run women's wrestling throughout the nation":
Most astonishing was the character of the match itself. In an age when every other pro bout was a faked exhibition designed to fool spectators, Burke and Byers planned to wrestle for real, to conduct what was known inside the game as a "shooting match." Pro wrestling had been fixed for years, and by the 1950s the ring action had become more and more florid in its fakery, but the ability of wrestlers to "shoot" still set them apart. Shooting ability protected champions from opponents who might think of deviating from the script and pulling a double cross in the ring in a bid to steal the title. In the past, when powerful promoters could not agree on who should be champion, they let their wrestlers shoot for the title.--from Jeff Leen's The Queen of the Ring* (Atlantic, 2009).
Since I'm an easy mark (as opposed to a smart mark, i.e. a fan who's an insider to the behind-the-scenes workings of the business), I like to believe that BG East's Shooters series is for reals. Against my better judgment, I like to think these matches are ones The Boss couldn't decide who ought to win and who ought to lose, so he let them throw down and find out who's the better man at that moment. Whether they are authentic or not, the Sunshine Shooters 7 matches are, at least, stripped down and less "florid in [their] fakery" than the usual underground contest.

Madone looks like one tough customer. A rugged, raw-boned torso that looks like it has taken on a few brawlers over the years, and a black eye that looks like the inside of an oyster, suggesting that at least one of those brawls was recent. Cooper, on the other hand, not a nick, speck, or mark on the guy. Mister Perfect in every way. 

Coop invites Vic to wrestle. Vic likes punching things, humans included, but he accepts the challenge of a match with no uppercuts or jabs. Still, he doubts whether he can control himself if things turn hot and sticky. The match starts colorlessly. The two roll around some. It doesn't look promising as entertainment. It's all a little too soft ... at first.

But then things do turn hot and sticky. Austin starts making Vic his personal bitch, and Vic's blood starts steaming. Cooper shines with a couple of bear hugs that would look right at home in an old Hercules movie. Vic fires back with his fists. I don't want to give it all away, but I will say that my boy Austin may surprise a few fans with this one.

Naylor and Douglas are too beefy to be twinks, but they've got a twinkish glow. Manly, yet young-manly, the two engage in what amounts to strip wrestling. The harder they wrestle, the more they sweat; the more spandex they start to peel off, the harder they get. Naylor looks plenty pleased with himself when the rookie he so easily dominates gets a chubby.

Ray never fails to amaze me as a wrestler. Besides his instinct for employing the right move at the right time, he has a mean streak and a hard-on for causing pain. I'm impressed with Richie, too. In Gut Bash 11, he jobbed for Austin Cooper. It's hard for me to notice anyone else when Coop is in the frame, but I did notice Richie. He's a looker, with a face that would be at home above an Eton school tie. A nice body too.

After tapping out to the tune of Naylor's headscissors, Richie starts equalizing the fight, showing he's not the type to roll over and play dead for just anybody. The stiffer he gets, the stiffer he fights, and pretty soon he's all over Ray, squeezing the last wheeze of oxygen out of the guy. It's give and take from here on out. A small package pin and rear naked choke leave the victim gorgeously vulnerable-looking.

Hoyt Riley looks like the sort of raw meat Cole Cassidy would like to torment. Neither guy is in tiptop condition by industry norms because both prefer workouts on the wrestling mat to CrossFit. These are real men engaging in a real contest. Still, Cole comes off as the archetypal BGE bruiser. I can see him as the black hat in a spaghetti western or the hardbitten crime lord in a Hong Kong chopsocky. He's got a weathered, mean look. The pencil-thin lips tell it all.

He warms up with a caveman-drubbing of Hoyt, pounding him facedown to the mat, the goal apparently being to drive Hoyt clean through the mat, through the flooring, then further down six feet deeper than the house's foundation. Hoyt shows some resistance and lives to pay for it. This is an unadulterated cagey-veteran-versus-faded-babyface monster bash, fight-club-style, sweaty, grunting, absolutely absorbing.

After an initial humiliation, Hoyt rebounds with a slick, salty slab of comeuppance that climaxes with Cole trapped in a choke-on-my-cock smothering. I don't think I have to say that Cole will not take this action lightly. He headbutts Riley's groin, and the rest ... well ... the rest is all too clear at this point. Frankly, Hoyt offers up a more effective resistance than I would have predicted, but this is Cassidy's show all the way: assault and battery, with a wedgie and knockout chaser.

A couple of sophomores who made big splashes in their debuts set out to prove who is the better bad-ass in the SS7 main event. Personally, I see no way out for Tomasi, though I'm a fan of his look, tall, slim, with wavy, fashionably cut hair, Michael Fassbender style. Archer has killer's eyes, and as a long-ago pal once told me, you need only look at the eyes to tell which fighter will come out on top.

In seconds, Archer scoops Leo up into a bear hug. Leo squirms and reaches behind, trying to pry Archer's bulging forearms away from his spinal column. It's not a hold you'd expect the shorter guy to pull off against the taller guy, but Archer has pounds of steely muscle on Tomasi. The victim doesn't get loose till the tormentor decides to slam his body down to the mat and go for a different hold.

Archer is a persistent and inventive bully. The fight is not altogether one-sided, but it's at its most interesting when Archer is in charge. I like the workmanlike way he goes about causing his opponent to suffer, like a mechanic straining to wrench loose a stuck nut and bolt. Once he has tamed Tomasi, Archer rides him like a wave, all the way to a highly satisfying torture rack finisher.

* A really, really good book. Seriously.


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