From Russia with Love

Anton Deryabin vs Ivan Gromov, High Stakes Tournament First Round, 24 October 2015 (Independent Wrestling Federation, Russia)

This week, for the first time since I started the blog in 2008, the United States was not the largest audience for Ringside at Skull Island. This week, the USA took second place to Russia, with more page views by half (i.e. 150% of the US page views). The other nations in the top-10 group were France, the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia. Perhaps I should learn Russian now? Maybe I'm being cyber-attacked, some hacker mistaking my laptop for a polling booth, but I prefer to think my stellar coverage of Russian wrestler Ivan Gromov is the reason, though my last mention of him was months ago.

The darker the green the more the page views.
Ivan's appeal is hard to pin down. His look is a large part of it, those always ill-fitting trunks, for instance, like somebody handmade them for him out of a shower curtain. He's daunting. He's heavy, an interesting mix of proletarian muscle and Cro-Magnon bone. And he's mean in a dungeon master sort of way, powerful too. My peculiar hypothalamus, which conflates aggression and sex drive, finds all of that erotic.

Gromov is used to winning, but he's up against portly six-time IWF heavyweight Anton Deryabin in the first round of this 2015 tournament, and the fans clearly prefer the champ. Anton looks tough yet genial, a good-natured drinking buddy who'd be useful to have around when the other barflies get rowdy. He's less energetic and animated than Ivan, but he's big enough to make your backbone stick to the mat for a long time.


  1. I agree. Gromov exudes a certain sexual je ne sais quoi. He puzzles me a bit. Obviously he has a great body that even though his trunks have that weird elastic waist band, it's a small complaint given how much more prevalent long tights cover up some of our hottest wrestlers.

    I love to see hot men struggle but Gromov doesn't give me much satisfaction there. In this match there are some better moments there though and I've definitely enjoyed this match a couple of times. I know there are a lot of matches of him out there, but I would love to know which are the best ones to see him get worked over good and hard.

    And glad you've gained a lot of Russian readers!


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