KARN vs Ace Owens, Super Villain (Wrestler4Hire)
I haven't seen enough of Wrestler4Hire to have an informed opinion, but I have three hunches based on what I have seen so far:
- The company draws some of the best looking and most talented wrestlers from both live event promotions and internet wrestling sites,
- it favors squash jobs over give and take, and
- it strongly believes that wrestling won't sell without tacked-on storylines, which require lots of exposition delivered orally in the form of monologues.
In this 2015 release, KARN's minions have captured and beat up Ace, who has, for unknown purposes, trespassed upon the supervillain's "fortress." Perhaps the fact that Ace was in wrestling trunks and boots while poking around the place raised the underlings' suspicions. That much we do not see, but we are told about it by KARN in a spell-it-out speech to the victim, who choses at first to remain mum. His reticence is understandable. Ace has awakened in a dramatically lit wrestling ring with the rugged badman hovering over him (also attired to wrestle). Finding the intruder unwilling to provide information, KARN decides to finish what his henchmen neglected to. Ace exacerbates the situation by attempting to fight back -- if insolence can be called fighting back.
What follows is a string of wrestling holds, some of them pictured above, with few counters by Ace, leading to a fine piledriver finish that nevertheless does nothing to resolve the mysteries implied in the opening monologue. Who is this super villain? What makes him so villainous, apart from having lackeys and a fortress? Why would he be suspicious of a jock in wrestling trunks poking around his place of business? What is his business? As an avid reader and moviegoer, I am underwhelmed by the plotline, but wowed by the two factors that drew me to purchase the download in the first place:
- KARN, all silky-smooth, malevolent muscle, and
- Ace Owens, pure and fresh as SnowWhite and doomed in the way only the "preternaturally beautiful" (I quote the online description) can be.
This is one of those It Is What It Is things common in underground wrestling. What it is not is straightup wrestling or a sustained and self-contained wrestling narrative. I had a nagging sense that this is not the whole story, that more information will be provided in a second act we do not see. There's minimal coherence from one hold to the next, often just a pause as KARN deliberates over what to do to Ace next. The never explained elements of the story are no problem as far as I'm concerned. The wrestler's bodies carry the 28-minute video well enough without ring psychology or denouement.
In my fantasy version of events, the villain's hired thugs have tricked, drugged, captured, and stripped down Ace (let's say he's a hiker) and left him for their boss to use in whatsoever way he sadistically pleases. I drop the trespassing angle--or translate it into a red herring meant to further confound the still-groggy captive. In my version, Ace puts up a better fight, actually gaining some ground, however short-lived, on his sinister opponent. KARN treats Ace as an extravagant but expendable toy. Fearing for his life, Ace fights more recklessly and desperately as the match builds to the climax, inadvertently setting up the devastating piledriver by exhausting himself almost to the point of collapse.
In my opinion, the video squanders KARN's and Ace's wrestling talent and ring savvy. Both have shown elsewhere that they are capable of playing up the drama inherent in pro wrestling. I'm not saying the wrestlers have "phoned in" their performances, though perhaps the lack of a live audience zaps some of the contest's potential energy--as does, I believe, the backstory. At any rate, something doesn't click for me the way that the pairing of these two talents ought to have. But the parts here are better than the whole--the trim and beautiful physiques, Ace's grimaces and groans, KARN's cool contempt for his opponent/victim, the arm locks, the hair-pulling, the scissorholds, and the piledriver that brings the action to a halt--and, in this case*, the parts are plenty enough for me.
* I always make exceptions for the sexy.
* I always make exceptions for the sexy.