Monday, January 4, 2016

The Kid

The Lightning Kid was never this good in anything else he did. His 1991 Global Wrestling Federation match against Steve Simpson (see the video here)  made a big impression on me because it featured a favorite archetype, the boy villain, right on the verge of becoming a full-fledged bad guy, but still basically a naive and clueless kid.

Simpson (age 27, 5'11", 227#) as the big-brother figure has the easier job. All he has to do is rough the kid up and do it with an air of superior moral rectitude. What Lightning Kid (age 19, 6'1", 200#) has to convey is more subtle--the young grasping heel, devious and rebellious but not yet seasoned or smart enough to work his way around a pro like Simpson. Not innocent, not good, but still an underdog the fans can identify with.

Of course, the Kid doesn't know that. He thinks he's got it all figured out, but Simpson is ahead of him at nearly every turn. The dizzying spin he gives his young adversary at the beginning is the most memorable part of the match, a humiliating "spanking" that hurts the Kid's pride more than anything else. The Kid's failure to recognize then that he is outclassed is almost endearing. His subsequent punishments at Simpson's hands seem quaintly humorous, like the troubles of the dauntless Henery Hawk from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. The dumb punk actually thinks he's outsmarting Simpson, but it's mostly beginner's luck. (You need to watch this one to the end.)

Also, let's not forget about the hotness of Steve Simpson back in the day. Friend to the Von Erichs, Simpson came to Texas from Johannesburg. His long doleful face and curly mop hair set him apart from other GWF wrestlers of the time. Big pecs, broad shoulders, smooth thick thighs were other distinguishing characteristics. In the early 1990s, I had a love-hate relationship with his look. At the time it struck me as both silly and savage. Yet memories of his forceful headlocks and scissorholds kept paste in my undies year after year.

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