The January release of Austin Cooper: Wrestler Spotlight 2 (part of the yet-unreleased Catalog 107) is modestly encased in a square cardboard sleeve, stamped on one side with a photo of Coop, tinier photos of his opponents (Lane Hartley, Kelly King, and Eli Black), a list of the matches, and the usual copyright info. It lacks a certain aesthetic something. It's almost as if BG East immediately jumped to the pirated edition of the disk. I'm happy BGE's new minimalist DVD sleeve is saving the planet, but couldn't it at least have a spine to display the name of the video? This is fucking up my whole bookshelf system for organizing DVDs.
But it's what's inside that counts, and about the three matches inside I have no complaints. The middle match is a stunner, in my opinion, with Coop tackling the meaty and aggressive King, who reportedly has vowed to "leave this whole roster in ruins," though whether he means the whole BGE roster or just the "Playgirl models," as he contemptuously dubs a large number of the company's other wrestlers, is uncertain so far. King is a terrific physical match for Cooper, both men sexy, muscular, and cool as cucumbers. They've got the sort of stocky but hard build that looks right for pro wrestlers. Kelly's bigger, impressively, though not excessively. He is immediately dismissive of the iconic fighter, who arrives in his (thank you Jesus) metallic gold trunks, practically spray-painted on. Kelly attacks, a couple of blows to the abs, then a side headlock transitioning to an arm bar. Austin reverses the arm bar, throwing a monkey wrench into Kelly's theory that the fitness model will be a pushover.
Taking a break, Austin inspects his abs for damage. Nothing. Still luscious and perfect. They couldn't look more perfect, inspiring Kelly to drive his boot into them again. "How did you fall for that twice?" King taunts. He appears to be getting the better of the spotlighted wrestler, but he works Cooper's finely hewn body with all the care and attention that it deserves. In less than five minutes, he claims his first submission, rejecting the man's verbal "I quit," insisting on a palm-to-the-mat tap-out. Kelly follows with even more vicious assaults, complaining that for all his jacked muscle, Austin is surprisingly "weak." Cooper shows him up, though, by repaying each savage assault and winning the second fall by tap-out. Yet, in addition to being bigger, King may be wilier than his "pretty boy" opponent, more willing to fight dirty to gain the advantage, more happy to cause pain. In the past, Coop has played the sadistic heel with style and efficiency. Here, he prefers taking the high road, only fighting fire with fire as payback for his opponent's misdeeds. With a fighter as reckless and aggressive as King, though, this could be a HUGE miscalculation.
Every match on Austin Cooper: Wrestler Spotlight 2 is worth the price of admission. Coop can be understated and overblown at the same time. He can be the consummate babyface in one match and in the next match a sneering heel, and he's totally convincing in either role. The man has a way of melting me at the kneecaps.