Star Axel Hammer Diesel

Axel vs Kenny Star, #454 (UCW)

Kenny's hairy pecs are the best pecs ever to appear in the UCW fight space. He's a damn good wrestler, and other parts of his body deserve praise too, but the pecs are outstanding. Kenny's chest is a standard by which all other chests should be measured, much as Eli's eight-pack is invoked whenever conversation turns to the subject of bellies. As for Eli's abs, I am already on record as duly blown away by them, but what abs are for 88% of gay fight fans, chests, forearms, butts, and thighs are for me.

Here's the story: In the middle of Axel's critique of Kenny's recent match with Quinn (#439), Nero Angelo shows up in sexy ref stripes. Axel is training Kenny, and feedback on matches is essential to UCW training, but Nero insists that it's time for Axel to defend the title belt, which he has in hand. It's hard to tell whether Nero is more concerned about the belt or Star's torso, but the brief interruption evidently starts Axel to thinking about Kenny as his possible successor. As he and his protege spar, he has to remind himself (and perhaps Kenny) that sparring is all they're doing, especially as the heat rises and the training session starts to look like something more than routine practice.

Maybe Kenny too is starting to think of himself as Axel's successor, and the thought of inheriting his mentor's zillions of fans may give him ideas, such as an overthrow, for instance. Just in case, Axel bears down hard on the kid, and in the guise of instructing him, he delivers a humiliating beat-down just so the rookie remembers his place. Applying an unnecessarily painful arm bar, he tells Star, "That's the kinda stuff you wanna do," to which Star replies, "Yeah? Y' think?" Axel rides Kenny hard, putting down his technique and striking back at him with barely concealed irritation. It looks like the mentor-protege thing is under a lot of stress. Think Whiplash ... or think Macbeth.

When Kenny decides he's had enough, the fight flares up big time. The champ and the rookie are surprisingly well matched, and they engage in impressive rounds of give and take for the next twenty minutes. Axel exhibits what appears to be a severe crack in his personality, behaving more like Quinn or Eli than his usual self. He thrashes Kenny, then tells him that what he just did is something he personally would never do because he's a "nice guy." About a third of the way through, Kenny finds himself struggling to escape a dangerous choke hold. He does and starts dishing up some (hate to say it but it's true) well-deserved comeuppance on Axel.

Both wrestlers are taking this training session way too far. Still, they show off an impressive array of holds and attacks, such as figure-four crab, surfboard spine-buster, bear hug, gut bash (a UCW staple), claw hold, chinlock, thigh stretch, high kick, and all manner of low and dirty blows. Their fit bodies, flushed and sweaty, are on exquisite display the whole time, but especially in the final ten minutes, when the action plummets to a ferocious finish. Following the tumultuous ordeal, Nero reappears as comic relief, lustfully toweling the sweat off Kenny's heaving torso. He's a welcome break from the tense and brutal fight, which will probably have ripple effects in matches to come. Only time will tell whether Axel and Kenny are destined to be mortal enemies or inseparable allies.

"I thought you'd be a little tougher," says Nick, straddling his opponent. "I thought you'd be a little taller," counters Tyson, reversing the position and taking control. It's the kind of banter you hear in Hollywood movies, either at the beginning of a romantic comedy or at the climactic showdown at the end of an action-adventure (funny how the two often mirror each other). Both these wrestlers are sexy-muscular and mat-smart, and equally important to me they sweat like a couple of Coke bottles at a picnic.

As usual, Nick has his ropes on standby. He's on record as saying that for him rope bondage is an extension of binding an opponent with arms and legs in wrestling. He likes to immobilize opponents and subject them to various forms of sadistic play. Tyson seems okay with the ropes being there, almost as if he has plans for using them later for his own purposes. Tyson too is something of a fetishist, though for him, as for me, wrestling itself is the obsession.

Early on, Diesel fondles the white ropes hanging from the rafters. Hammer heaves him up on his shoulders, holds him aloft, groaning, high off the mat, and then body-slams him, immediately covering him  and smothering Nick's face under his (Tyson's) crotch. Nick scissors Tyson's head, and for 35 grunting, writhing seconds the wrestlers are mutually immobilized, trapped between each other's legs.

Both wrestlers are fully aware of the erotic overtones of what they're doing, and they even play them up, though steering clear of the overt pornography of, say, Naked Kombat. This is a balance that UCW has been gradually adopting for a couple of years now, distinguishing itself from the teasing coyness of other underground wrestling companies and from stagy quarrels over  girlfriends, the never-seen beards that some promotions use to assert (usually without conviction) the wrestlers' creds as hetero.

There are certain things I have come to expect of all UCW matches: One wrestler backing the other against the wall for a gut-punch session. The trading of Boston crab holds, usually one right after the other. Tormenting an opponent in a cross arm bar. Rubbing crotch to crotch while splitting the other guy's thighs. Schoolboy-pinning a wrestler in order to get a clutch on his family jewels. Bear hugging, of course. Strangling, smothering, scissoring, slamming. All this, happily, we get in UCW #455. The guys throw in some pretty detail work too, such as tickling the sole of an opponent's bare foot while holding him in a single-leg crab and clapping one hand over an opponent's mouth to keep him from screaming while twisting his nipple with the other hand. Of course, there's Chekhov's rule that you never show a gun in the first act unless it gets used in the third: So, remember those dangling ropes ....


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