Mike Martin vs Chris Xaos, Motel Madness UK (BG East)

Though I study and teach British literature, I am no Anglophile, yet I do love Shakespeare, Jagger, Bowie, and Mike Martin. So I'm going to suspend disbelief that people in the UK, whether they're mad or not, actually check into motels with training weights, framed photos ready for hanging, and shelves of VHS tapes. Like most skeptics, I'm also ready to admit that almost anything's possible.

Fortunately, Martin is not a wrestler who requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. He gets the eroticism of wrestling, and he gets wrestling for its own sake as well. So, I take it, does Xaos. And whether this is a motel room or the Queen's private sitting room, this 20-minute fight is packed with toughness, groans, and remarkably little attitude or posing.

Except for the occasional banter, there's nothing restrained or understated about the wrestling. Mike, considerably smaller and lighter than Chris, is known for his phlegmatic brand of ruthlessness. He fears nobody, and he's at his best when he calmly, studiously disarms and torments his opponents. Young Chris is more enthusiastic, but enthusiasm does not save him from a hurting machine like Martin. Or I should say it does him a world of good since, winning or losing, he sports a wide unaffected smile, and he basks in the attention Mike gives him, in whatever form it may take.

Here is a short, sincere wrestling contest that's as flirtatious as it is aggressive. No championship is at stake. The only prize is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, equally embraced by these two. Or rather it is the thrill of wrestling itself, engaging with another man on equal footing, reveling in the friction and huff-and-puff of close, prolonged contact and the exhilaratingly physical bumps of roughhouse.


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