Bête Noire

The French phrase literally means "black beast" and refers to someone (or something) that is dreaded. But not all dread is the same. I dread the next four or more years of the U.S. Presidency. That is real, stomach-churning dread, which I'd rather not think about (plus it has nothing to do with this blog).

But there's also dread I find titillating and seductive. In wrestling, this feeling arises when I think of viper-mode Randy Orton, CJ Banks, and Ivan Gromov. This dread churns my balls, a combination of horror and erotic attraction. It fuels my attraction to horror movies, roller coasters, great white sharks, and, in the squared circle, big, nasty brutes seemingly devoid of conscience.

The synchronicity of a recent email from Jerry, a longtime friend to this blog, and Bruno's recent post started me thinking about  Gromov again--and his strange allure.  The first three still shots above are from Jerry. The fourth is from Bruno's blog, Beefcakes of Wrestling.

Maybe it's the severe haircut, the plastic (?) wrestling trunks, the gold cross he wears around his neck, or his laconic personality, so stereotypical of Russians, but something about Gromov (maybe a combination of all the above) triggers contradictory impulses to fight, cower, swoon, and fuck. His heel style is distinctively intimidating, one part soulless beast, one part cocky swagger, one part approaching hurricane, one part sadistic machine, one part big brother, one part snake in the grass. He has chainsaws in his muscles and icicles in his heart. He's not indestructible, but he has the indestructibility vibe.



  1. Great post. Ivan Gromov is new to me, thanks to that post at Beefcakes of Wrestling, but I was immediately intrigued. You outline his appeal perfectly.

  2. Wow, Joe, I love the GIFs from th video Links! Since I haven't yet watched them (they're on my Watch Later list until this weekend), I r ally hadn't s the n much of him in action. He loves is excellent.

    While I sent you this material, I want to acknowledge two of the Commenters in the original blog entry, Anonymous and JM, who actually did the work of compiling them and Sharing them with the Followers there.

    Thanks agains! Oh, AlexMller72, I sent you the same material. I hope Ivan me get appear in a story or two or more! 🖖

    I tried to find a scary (Russian) bear, but this the best bête noire I could find!


    1. Spell check, arrgh!

      really hadn't seen and looks excellent.

      I updated my IOS recently and since then it's become most bizarre.

    2. AlexMiller72, I was wrong when I wrote. Since corrected.

  3. I've been trying to come up with a suitably intimidating and Russian connected nickname for him. Anybody have any suggestions?

  4. I also dread the next president Joe, but probably not for the same reason you do haha!

  5. Apparently, every wrestler in the NFR (НФР) has a personal song. This is Ivan's, with my best attempt at a coherent translation:

    Живет в Домодедово Громов Иван,
    На ринг он выходит–толпу он заводит
    Прыжок на канаты, грозный взгляд
    Противник напуган, противник зажат
    Громов – художник мускульных сил,
    Сердце фанатов он покорил
    Накачаны руки,широкие плечи
    С ним каждый борец боится встречи!

    The Son of Distant Thunder

    There resides in Domodedovo one Ivan Gromov,
    The crowd is turned on when he appears in the ring
    He bounces on the ropes with a menacing look
    His foe is terrified, his foe is in his grip
    Gromov--the master artist of muscular might,
    He subdues the very souls of his fans
    His buff arms are pumped, his shoulders are broad
    All wrestlers dread every bout with him!

    [the title was added by me, playing on the meaning of grom, distant thunder]

  6. Who's the beast in the first pic with Gromov?

  7. That's Russian wrestler Vulkan (real name, Andrey Rodin)

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