Maxx Danno vs Vince Charnov, Philly Fights (BG East)

Vince is fit, but he lacks his adversary's strength and drive. Maxx approaches him distrustfully and disdainfully, a promising start to a match that feels authentic in every respect. This cleared-out room with a black mat does it for me. Maxx and Vince are the real deal. The measured pace and gasps of exasperation aren't make-believe. This is back-to-basics wrestling.

Roundly humiliated for the first four (out of 23) minutes, Vince suddenly traps Maxx in a head scissors. I don't know what to call it, but he lays Danno on his back across his (Vince's) chest and stomach, clamps his hairy thighs on the guy's ears, and, for a few seconds, stretches Maxx's heaving body for the camera's (and my) enjoyment. Maxx pulls out of it, crunches Vince's head between knee and mat, and folds the guy's leg neatly in half. He forces a submission out of Charnov, not accepting a simple "I give" until Vince adds the requisite "sir."

Back on his feet, Vince shows more spunk, trapping Maxx in a headlock and holding him nose down to the mat. Danno squirms and grunts, and Charnov tightens his grip, cursing his opponent while draining him of energy, a smart but short-lived tactic. The advantage so obviously belongs to Maxx that I have to respect Vince for not only getting on the mat with him but also persisting in the fight as doggedly as he does. And "fight" is the right word. Maxx is not just a big, hard guy; he's a real wrestler: he's got power and technique on his side. Still, this is no squash job. The give and take tends to favor Danno, but it is nevertheless give and take.

Maxx Danno vs Rick Gillette, Philly Fights (BG East)

Maxx finds tougher competition in bodybuilder Rick Gillette, heavier and more solid than Danno. Though Rick concentrates mostly on bodybuilding  (we get a posing session at the beginning), he has a wrestling background, too, and if there was anything he had forgot about holds and strategy during his years of pumping iron, it all comes back to him as soon as he squares off against Danno. This is a tenser and more sensuous match than the previous one as Rick effectively blocks Maxx's attacks and maintains a steady clamp on him. It's 100%-Gillette till Maxx rolls the stud over on his back. Rick counters with a tight headlock, but Maxx pulls free, rolls him over on his chest, and submits him with a pinched-tight Boston crab. Rick taps out, but Maxx is slow to release, murmuring sardonically, "You don't like that, huh?"

Rick comes back with a vengeance, and it is beautiful, muscles flexing as he worms in, around, and over Maxx's body. He's faster than Maxx, but Maxx immobilizes him with a combination scissors and stretch. Maxx holds him steady for 40 titillating seconds, but Rick's body keeps working, writhing as Gillette gulps for air, eventually forcing his release. After that, Rick doesn't let Maxx get away with anything. A quarter way through this 42-minute contest, as emergency sirens blare outside the building, Rick stretches Maxx out wide and applies an unbelievably hot rear naked choke that Maxx somehow escapes, while remaining crucified against Gillette's solid muscle until he musters the presence of mind to reverse.

Maxx rides Rick's back, fixing him in a full nelson and smashing the guy's face to the mat. Rick powers out of the hold and, more impressively, rises to his feet with Maxx still on his back. "You thought you had me, didn't you?" observes Gillette, pushing Danno away, his body perfectly taut as he faces his opponent. The two lock up again, and after a grunting struggle, Maxx submits Rick with a sadistically pain-enhanced variety of one-legged Boston. The event becomes only sexier as the two start wearing each other down, relentlessly, with hardly any timeouts, ending with a tight, joint-popping cradle. The eroticism is not overacted, but the stretch in these men's crotches tells everything. Too bad this is Gillette's one and only BGE appearance because this battle screams for a rematch.


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