Sunday, April 3, 2016

Theater in the Square

Milad Akbar vs Calvin Beckham, 9-21-2013 (Premier Pro Wrestling)

Milad is one of a few small wrestlers who can really sell a David and Goliath match. His muscle mass deserves some of the credit, no doubt, narrowing the weight gap between him and his more statuesque opponents. A larger share of credit is due to the wrestler's ring style, grandiose moves delivered with an unfailing sense of the heroic. He uses space to maximum effect. Like a dancer.

His slow-motion roll after Calvin bashes his shoulder to the mat is a fine bit of theatrical upstaging that shows Akbar commanding the spotlight even when his adversary has the upper hand. The slowness gives the movement a gravitas beyond the physical space the wrestler occupies. It also magnifies Milad's suffering, making it palpable ... to the eye. The outstretched legs (accentuating the crotch, as others have noted before me) and flailing arms hold our attention, dramatically stealing it from his opponent's mere bulk.

Of course, Akbar is not working alone here. Beckham too is selling each spot; the difference is his size permits him to under-sell his moves to good effect, which he does particularly well in the action (not shown in the GIFs) outside of the ring. As the match reaches its climax and Milad hopefully turns the tables on the hunky bully, he again uses movement, along with the blunt durability of his physique, to control both his adversary and the story the match is telling.

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