Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Where's the Streetwise Hercules to Fight the Rising Odds?


Hear my prayer, Bonnie Tyler, incline thine ear.

Previously in this blog, on a few occasions, I have shared my boyhood dream of being a villain. The closest I actually got was community-college English professor, which, in the eyes of my students, was an overshoot. When I was nine, my favorite actors were Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Vincent Price. Later, as I entered adolescence, they were Robert Shaw (after I saw From Russia with Love), Michael Dunn (Dr. Loveless on The Wild Wild West), and Bruce Dern (in just about anything). More generally, I empathized with the lions and ivory hunters in Tarzan movies and anyone who spoke with a European (or effeminate) accent and cradled a cat in his arms in Hollywood.

However, in pro wrestling, I liked the good guys: Verne Gagne, Jack Brisco, Tony Atlas, Kevin and Kerry Von Erich. I can't explain the U-turn. The heels fascinated me, too, but the heroes were my fantasy figures. My heroes did not always have to win, but I was thrilled when they did and felt somewhat empty inside when they lost. In the olden days of TV wrestling, when a hero fell,  I could at least comfort myself that soon he would make the dirty heel pay tenfold for the present injustice.

When I started this blog, I was surprised to find that most gay and bi wrestling fans prefer the heels. I get it, I even feel it, but on a purely intellectual level I sometimes think we're embracing our old bullies out of a sense of sexual guilt or at least we are validating their claim that we were "asking for it" all along. (My sadomasochistic hang-up, not yours.) The sites that cater to fans like me do, in general, favor the heel over the babyface. In fact, for most other fans the word babyface is synonymous with jobber (typically implying "he who must be destroyed"). But my heart (or some other organ) is still drawn to virtuous beauties like Paul Perris, Troy Baker, Justin Pierce, and so on. I loved the matches they won. In my fantasies, I revised the matches they lost.

Why don't the gay sites have heroes anymore? Well, some of them do. There's Marco at Thunder's Arena, who's mostly a good guy, and he wins most of his matches against rivals who are far less honorable and talented. So what if he takes sadistic pleasure in delivering up justice? So do I. There's Axel at UCW, who is the company's two-time champion and an enemy of bullies. There's Krush at Krushco, whose opponents are sometimes thinly disguised stand-ins for oppressors of the gay community (e.g., Stan Torum). Then there's Biff Farrell at BG East, but except for his outdoor mat match versus Van Skyler (my favorite Biff video to date), he has been the company's semiofficial wrestling dummy.

For me, the whole point of heels in pro wrestling is their ultimate comeuppance at the hands of square-jawed and burly heroes. I love comeuppance, I shoot off to it, but comeuppance rarely figures into the action on gay sites. And the good guys who triumph almost always turn into heels in the process. The ever-suffering (and hot) good guy is a Christ figure of online pro wrestling, and BG East is the Oberammergau Passion Play of suffering innocents. To be fair, there was, not too long ago, Brad Rochelle's triumphant one-shot against Kid Leopard, but matches like that have been exceptions to the rule.


Biff Farrell with a big-brother-shows-some-tough-love attitude

Biff Farrell vs Chet Chastain, Babyface Brawl 4 (BG East)

I can't say for sure whether Biff is a good wrestler. He did handle himself well against Skyler in a mat match, but perhaps he's not cut out for ring wrestling. He has the looks of a squared-circle hero. He's an all-American type: typically meaning, back in the pre-Obama world, young, white, no tats, no scars, no facial hair. Biff's body is super-heroic, almost Herculean. He has a winsome aw-shucks-ma smile, and he seems to like to play rough. He's exactly what I've been waiting for, but so far he has done nothing to save Metropolis from the bad guys.

In Babyface Brawl 4, Biff squares off against someone I never pegged as a babyface, for some reason. He's nice looking and well built in a Spider-Man sort of way. Most of his opponents have been much bigger than he. He looks like a guy who'd have a wry (read: mean) sense of humor that I personally would enjoy. In the ring, though, he's a bit of a weasel with his goatee and indelible smirk, and I've never much minded when he's had his ass handed to him by Guido or Dolph. And I entered BB4, hoping to see the squarely-built Biff wipe the smirk off his face once and for all.

The challenger's entrance and mouthy banter confirm my estimation of the guy. A test of strength bears out my idea of Biff as the better man. Biff approaches the upcoming fight with gusto, something I associate with most heroes. He likes to play rough, and he wants to win--and he deserves this win:  anywhere else he would have already carried home a trunk full of trophies and belts*. 

Still I'm a little worried because BGE often favors the little guys, and indeed this opponent is wiry and resourceful enough to pose a challenge. But he's not strong enough to keep Biff from muscling loose from a full nelson, and that right there says a lot. And Chet's reaction is true to weasel form: a sucker kick low on the abs. That gives him an edge, but he loses it two minutes later when Biff shows him how a full nelson's supposed to work.

A figure-four leglock proves too much for Chet, who yelps, "No, no, get off me, no no no seriously, get the fuck off ... please please please get off." Decent guy that Biff is, he releases, without even demanding a submission in return. He doesn't want to hurt the guy. He just wants a fair win. Aaand of course Chet kicks him again, a little lower on the midsection this time, calling Biff a "dumb fuck" for being so easily suckered. It's hard for me to disagree with Chet on this one, but my fingers are still crossed that the weasel is digging his own grave.

For the next four minutes Chet shows Biff none of the mercy that Biff showed him. I love the give and take in this match, even the injustice, because if Chet is indeed doomed, I want him fully to deserve every last ounce of hell that he'll soon be put through. As much as I want Biff to triumph, I don't want to see another squash job, even at a weasel's expense. Punishing Biff for his gullibility is fair enough. The guy needs to recognize a heel when he sees one and not fall for his tricks. What I'm hoping for is a coming-of-age moment for Biff, where he wises up, tears this little skunk apart, and fulfills his heroic potential.

But here we are, about a third of the way through this 28-minute brawl. It's a damn good fight, and Biff looks fantastic as ever, even better than he did in his last release. But to avoid unintended spoilers, I dare go no further in my blow-by-blow. Is this the birth of a hero I'm hoping for? or confirmation that Biff is fated to be a perpetual jobber at BG East, good looking, strong as an ox, but inexplicably ineffectual? or will Biff turn heel, realizing that only heels succeed in the real world? or is he a suffering, self-sacrificing hero, bearing the injustices of the world on his body? or will Biff and Chet kiss and make up, forming a tag team? I know the answer. Some of you know the answer. The rest will have to pay up the usual $49 to find out.









*BGE doesn't have a trophy or belt anymore, but Biff was honored with a Wrestler Spotlight recently, though he was squashed in all three matches.





5 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a lot to think about early in the morning.

    I might be kidding myself, but I don't think I like heels out of guilt or belief that I'm asking for something bad. I was actually never bullied, but I wasn't prom king, either. My tastes were formed long before gay wrestling by comics, pro wrestling and Tarzan movies. I often empathized with the villains and heels because they were the outcasts. I never liked heroes like Superman or Batman except when being humbled. They were too perfect and more reminiscent of the bullies than the bad guys were. I'd apply the same to Hulk Hogan and 80's wrestling good guys. Too perfect, so I liked seeing them punished. I related to X-Men and Spider-Man, because Marvel had heroes that were outcasts, too. They were the underdogs. Even though gay wrestling faces are usually the underdogs, I still like seeing them struggle. I do wish they'd come back and win more often.

    On this match specifically, I liked it. I agree that Chet is no babyface, but the guys and the action worked well for me.

    And on Biff, I do think he can wrestle and I think BGE has underutilized him. I think he'd be perfect if he won in the end. I like him, but seeing him being made into a wrestling dummy so often has been disappointing.

    Sorry for the long and rambling comment, but it's stream of consciousness first thing in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your influences are the same as mine, Alex (except for comics--I read them but my heart never latched onto them). As for "long and rambling," it's my favorite prose style. I like depth and ambivalence. Bullet points are for the birds!

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  2. I enjoy seeing a jobber struggle, but the deeper I go into it, the nastier it gets, the more I want him to win, and for everything to be okay in the end. I guess I'm kind of wishy-washy. (I mean, I am and I'm not...)

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