May the Best Man Win
Zach Reno vs Kirk Donahue, Babyface Brawl 4 (BG East)
The match I was most looking forward to in the newly released slate of BGE matches is the first of three in the latest Babyface Brawl. I have the hots for Zach and Kirk both, Zach a little more than Kirk, probably because he's been around longer and because his hairy thighs and stomach always hold my eye. And the Babyface Brawl series ranks among my favorites since a match between two ostensibly sportsmanlike wrestlers is a bit more interesting to me than even a heel-vs-heel match (which I love too) because the long hard struggle often brings out the inner sadist in at least one of them, if not both--such a wonderful sight to see, like a newborn's first peek at the world!
However, Zach comes off as a heel from the start, primping in front of the mirror and intimidating the more reserved newcomer with big talk. That's fine, just not what I was prepared for. (Sometimes I wonder whether series titles--BGE and elsewhere--mean anything at all.) Of the two, Kirk is the more eager to wrestle, and Zach's unmotivated hairpulling cinches my opinion of the role he intends to play: the win-at-all-cost blowhard. Unsurprisingly, Reno takes down Donahue rather easily, within seconds of the initiatory collar-and-elbow lockup, then taunts him. Kirk has his riled-up face on as the two lock up a second time, this time Kirk slamming the big shot and then flexing provocatively.
Zach's response is pure textbook heel: he kicks his opponent in the gut then karate-chops the back of his neck. I'm thrilled to see Zach puffing his chest out here. In previous matches he's been hesitant to make an impression, rather too modestly letting his opponents look good and playing down his own wrestlerly assets. The more he provokes Kirk's hotheadedness, the hotter the fight becomes. Zach in forceful control is a good thing, indeed, giving the contest its shape and tone. It's safe to say this match brings out the best in Kirk, also. Hints of his temper have shone in brief outbursts in previous matches, but here it attractively mans him up, and the collision of these two gets tastier with each passing minute.
The hotness of pro wrestling is directly proportionate to the performers' proficiency in expressing pain, and Kirk and Zach are masters of it. True to the s&m subtext of all such events, they barely conceal the delight they take in making the other guy wince and moan--and when it's their turn to suffer, they are richly and satisfyingly dramatic without resorting to the sort of overkill that spoils the gravitas of the moment with clowning. The strong-style chops are a big plus, providing the realness you almost never see at some online promotions and don't always find even at BG East.
Give and take plus exuberant rough handling times two killer physiques equals one sublimely satisfied customer at my house. Reno vs Donahue is main event material, as far as I'm concerned. I haven't yet checked out the two later matches (a very young Jonah Richards vs Cameron Matthews and a highly anticipated new Biff Farrell, in a match against Chet Chastain, still waiting in the to-watch queue), but this first match is exactly what I was craving, even if not exactly what I expected.