Austin Cooper and Bruce Ballard vs Ethan Andrews and Jax Brewer, Tag Team Turmoil (Rock Hard Wrestling)
Believe it or not, I didn't use to like tag team matches. The prejudice dates back to my teens, when I secretly watched pro wrestling on a tiny black-and-white TV with antennae that hardly ever delivered decent reception. The snowy, low-def picture made it nearly impossible to distinguish who was in the ring at any given time. Making matters worse, too much of the match was a full shot of the ring, supposedly to capture the frenetic action; however, the figures were too small to make out, hence reducing the eroticism and my sense of involvement.
It's only since I started this blog that I developed an appreciation for the art of the four-man match. Bard at neverland contributed significantly, planting the idea in my head that tag partners were lovers fighting other pairs of lovers. Wrestling Arsenal was an influence, too, romanticizing the loneliness of the partner waiting to get tagged, a sad, helpless witness to his partner's brutalization. Rock Hard Wrestling sealed the deal once and for all by teaming Austin Cooper and Jake Jenkins back in the summer of 2011. I loved the chemistry between those two.
Coop is back in Rock Hard's latest, along with a new partner in Bruce Ballard (Dash Decker's former wingman), the two taking on Ethan Andrews and Jax Brewer. The vid opens with Austin and Bruce in the ring. Austin claims never to have met either of his opponents. Bruce's memory is fuzzy too. The gist of the conversation is that the pair consider themselves too good for their assigned competition. Ethan is quick to remind Coop that he kicked Coop's ass in this very ring. Like the bullies they are, Coop and Bruce make fun of their adversaries, who they think look like a couple of "ballerinas." The smack talk escalates till they feel heated up enough to commence wrestling.
After that, I get three full rounds, which means I get to see each side get plowed over by the other side at least once. I'm happy. The ballerinas, so called, account for themselves well, even though their bullies carry heavier, tougher muscle. The selling is generally good. The weak link is Jax, the newest arrival of the four, who hasn't yet got the knack of selling holds, sometimes grinning in spite of himself like the kid with only one line in the school play. However, a great deal can be forgiven when you look like Jax--that face! that torso! that butt! those thighs! Coop and Bruce work well together, playing the arrogant muscle-jocks to the cheap seats. The match works. It's fun.
As I would hope, the final round brings all four men into the ring at once, and mayhem ensues, climaxing, in the apt words of the online product description, in "a diabolical dual submission." I especially like the two-on-one attacks, which neither side is above resorting to. And unlike the flickering haze that nearly blinded me as a teen, RHW's hi-def video work provides sharp imagery and vibrant color, with enough tight shots of holds to suck me into the pain and the triumph.