Closest of Friends, Bitterest of Enemies

Bryen Douglas, in newly minted heel mode and black-striped booty shorts, takes on his former tag partner Jessie McCoy in this no-DQ bull-rope match from NWA Midwest in 2014.

For me personally, the best thing about tag teams is their breakups. The longer they've been together, the juicier the split at the end. The resulting confrontation presents an ideal situation for squared-circle drama: two competitors with built-in history and consequently a knowledge of each other's bodies and psychologies most opponents do not have. And sometimes nothing clears the air like a fight.

Roping the two wrestlers together stops either of them from running away. The thick rope serves handily as a weapon too. It can also symbolize the former tie between the two that violence must now sever. When the exes are young, as in this case, the battle can be steamy. Jessie, the good guy in red and black trunks, starts things off by lighting into Bryen, fists flying in the first half-second. In no time, Bryen is striking back, in and out of the ring. This is body language writ large, as staccato kicks, headbutts, and jabs convey the pair's contempt for each other, climaxing with the heel climbing the corner ropes for leverage in strangling the good guy. The death blow, a TKO by cowbell, is dealt with shocking suddenness.

Thanks to my new friend James for sharing this link to YouTube. This fight is at 1:37:00 to 1:49:00. Unfortunately, the camera's autofocus gives us a sharp view of the foreground with the fighters and ref in a haze. The clearest shots are of the ring ropes. There's not enough light, and the lens might be dirty too. Still the video, as is, gives us a fast-paced, entertaining, no-frills scrap.


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