Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Favorite Posts of 2016

At least, it was a pretty good year for wrestling. The list below features 100 posts on 103 matches that made me want to wrestle (my one and only criterion for inclusion in this retrospective). You can't get more subjective than that. For me, as a fan and blogger, these matches (new and old) were the most inspirational.


Flash LaCash vs Van Skyler

JT LaMotta vs Ryan Sorensen (XCW Wrestling)
25 January

Brad Armstrong vs Dale Veasey (Georgia Championship Wrestling)
26 January

Damian Dunne vs Drew Parker (Shropshire Wrestling Alliance)
27 January

Justin Gabriel vs Cody Rhodes (WWE)
29 January

Dave Markus vs Ivan Karamazoff (Movimus)
30 January

Antonio Inoki vs Jack Brisco (Japan Wrestling Association)
31 January

Will Ospreay vs James McPhail (TNA)
2 February

Corey Hollis vs Shaun Tempers (NWA Chattanooga)
8 February

Axel vs Derrick Cole (UCW)
9 February

Flash LaCash vs Van Skyler (BG East)
10 February

Dave Markus vs Ivan Karamazoff

Ricky Starks vs Sammy Guevara (Inspire Pro Championship)
12 February

Asskickin4u vs LS Powerhouse (Rec Pro Wrestling)
13 February

Jake Jenkins vs MJ Vergara (BG East)
14 February

Lino Di Santo vs Horst Hoffman
15 February

Ace Perry vs Hakim Zane (White River Wrestling)
21 February

Guido Genatto vs Dolph Danner (BG East)
23 February

Krush vs Stan Torum (Krushco)
26 February

Ace Perry vs Cole Radrick (Emerge Wrestling)
1 March

Jonny Firestorm vs Nick Naughton (BG East)
2 March

Dave Markus vs Tito Marones (Movimus)
6 March

Krush vs Gaz

Johnny the Bull vs Race Steele (Heartland Wrestling Association)
9 March

Lio Rush vs John Silver (Beyond Wrestling)
11 March

Steven Walters vs Billy Brash (Premiere Wrestling Xperience)
17 March

Krush vs Gaz (Krushco)
26 March

Jessy Sorensen vs Joey Ryan (Paragon Pro Wrestling)
29 March

Ian McGregor vs Richie Brooks (World of Sport)
31 March

Tyson the Hammer vs Kenny Star (UCW)
2 April

Matt XStatic vs Marc Anthony (All Star Wrestling)
5 April

Dave Markus vs Dario Espinosa (Movimus)
9 April

Billy Santoro vs Jessie Colter (Naked Kombat)
10 April

Doug Acre vs Landon Conrad

Derrick Cole vs Max Ryder (UCW)
20 April

Leo Sun vs Steve Mason (Movimus)
24 April

Doug Acre vs Landon Conrad (Naked Kombat)
30 April

Alex Waters vs Chad Daniels (Rock Hard Wrestling)
6 May

Chris Ridgeway vs CJ Banks (Just Do Wrestling)
11 May

JT Dunn vs Jesse Vane (Beyond Wrestling)
13 May

Jonah Marx vs Brandon Blake (Naked Kombat)
16 May

Zack Johnathan vs Austin Cooper (Rock Hard Wrestling)
20 May

Jerry Lynn vs Terry Daniels (World Championship Wrestling)
26 May

Danny Duggan vs Thomas Walton III (Elite Wrestling Initiative)
31 May

Frey vs Jake Jenkins

Stan Torum vs Krush (Krushco)
1 June

Minoru Suzuki vs KENTA (Pro Wrestling NOAH)
9 June

Marco vs Steel (Thunder's Arena)
11 June

Ken Doane vs Brent Albright (Ohio Valley Wrestling)
14 June

Frey vs Scrappy (Thunder's Arena)
26 June

Krush vs Gaz (Krushco)
30 June

Frey vs Jake Jenkins (Thunder's Arena)
2 July

Jake Jenkins vs Steel (Thunder's Arena)
7 July

Jesse Vane vs Stockade (Beyond Wrestling)
10 July

Scissorboy Alex vs Tomas (Fightroom)
11 July

Tomas vs Josh

Bryen Douglas vs Papa Dingo (Mid Ohio Wrestling)
12 July

Tomas vs Josh and Cody vs Josh and Aaron vs Matt and Scissorboy Alex vs Matt (Fightroom)
13 July

Ivan Gromov vs Vladimir Kulakov vs Alexei Schukin (IWF Russia)
25 July

Ben vs Aaron (Nicky's World and Web)
28 July

Steel vs Chase (Thunder's Arena)
30 July

Beast vs Billy the Kid (Thunder's Arena)
2 August

John Silver vs Keith Lee (Beyond Wrestling)
3 August

Eli Black vs Quinn Harper vs Derrick Cole (UCW)
6 August

Josh vs Scissorboy Alex (Fightroom)
7 August

Shane Haste vs Daisuke Sekimoto (Pro Wrestling NOAH)
10 August

Josh vs Scissorboy Alex

Krush vs Donald Jay (Krushco)
11 August

Axel vs Eli Black (UCW)
12 August

Jesse Sorensen and Wes Brisco vs Caleb Konley and Drew Donovan (Paragon Pro Wrestling)
13 August

Talon vs Beast (Thunder's Arena)
20 August

Ace Perry vs MV Young (Vicious Outcast Wrestling)
2 September

Chris Andrews vs Chris Masters (Pro Wrestling Pride)
7 September

Buzz Sawyer vs Tommy Rich (World Championship Wrestling)
14 September

Alex Reynolds and John Silver vs Tony Nese and Jesse Vane (New York Wrestling Connection)
16 September

Shane McCall vs Rob Mullen (BG East)
18 September

Chase Michaels vs Axel (UCW)
19 September


Chase Michaels vs Axel

James Riley vs Caleb Konley (Paragon Pro Wrestling)
28 September

Bob Orton vs Hans Schmidt (Chicago Wrestling)
3 October

Tristan Archer vs Peter Fischer (Fédération Française de Catch Professionnel)
5 October

Jimmy Snuka vs Kevin Von Erich (Georgia Championship Wrestling)
10 October

Derrick Cole vs Chase Michaels (UCW)
17 October

Hans Schmidt vs Verne Gagne (Chicago Wrestling)
20 October

Duke Russo vs Dave Markus (Movimus)
21 October

Jesse Adler vs Colby Corino (CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling)
22 October

Dezmond Xavier vs Daniel Winchester (Rockstar Pro Wrestling)
24 October

Jeetu Pahalwan vs Aabid Pahalwan
30 October

Duke Russo vs Dave Markus

Krush vs Stan Torum (Krushco)
3 November

Lou Thesz vs Buddy Rogers (Chicago Wrestling)
4 November

Dolf vs Marco (Thunder's Arena)
14 November

Scissorboy Alex vs Justin (Fightroom)
17 November

Colby Corino vs Jefferson Early (Vanguard Championship Wrestling)
21 November

Duke Russo vs Shon Tracy (Movimus)
22 November

Johnny Mundo vs Garza Jr. (Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide)
23 November

Austin Tyler vs Quinn Harper (UCW)
27 November

BRAM vs Doug Williams vs Chris Andrews vs John Harding vs James Baker vs Eddie Ryan (Pro Wrestling Pride)
28 November

Jeetu Pahalwan vs Akash Yadav Pahalwan
30 November

Van Skyler vs Payton Meadows

Krush vs John Henry (Krushco)
2 December

Falcon vs JJ (LDN Wrestling)
3 December

Dean Bly vs John Watson (NHB-Battle / Movimus)
6 December

Van Skyler vs Payton Meadows (BG East)
9 December

Antonino Rocca vs Karl Von Hess (NWA Chicago)
11 December

Rick Gillette vs Maxx Danno (BG East)
12 December

Dario Espinosa vs Ray Mousi (Movimus)
13 December

Jake Jenkins vs Brad Barnes (BG East)
14 December

Buddy Rogers vs Pat O'Connor (NWA Chicago)
19 December

Jeetu Pahalwan vs Ashish Pahalwan
30 December



Friday, December 30, 2016

Jeetu in Blue


Jeetu Pahalwan vs Ashish Pahalwan

As the YouTube video description informs us, Ashish is a promising young wrestler, and he poses a real challenge for Jeetu. At times, both seem concerned less with gaining ground than with maintaining control over the other guy, mostly through a constant state of imbalance. The drive to control almost for the sake of control alone keeps both pahalwans on their toes. There are stretches of gridlock interrupted by frantic, flailing motion, nearly in time with the cascading beat of the dhol drums. Ultimately, the dead-heat match is extended; then Jeetu takes full ownership of his opponent.












Thursday, December 29, 2016

Beastiality










Beast vs Blayne, Ring Wars 28 Special Edition (Thunder's Arena)

New hire Blayne had five matches under his belt at Thunder's Arena before I caught a first look at the rookie. He has a pleasant face and a nice body, classically attractive pecs with tufts of pit hair to bring everything down to earth. Previously the Arena set him against Brute, Frey, Marco, Scrappy, and Vinny, so both big guys and guys closer to him in weight and build. Beyond these factual observations, I have no particular take on the guy yet. The draw for me here is Beast, who has performed superbly in previous ring matches at Thunder's.

The setup is simple: muscle-daddy takes on naively enthusiastic neophyte. Beast works Blayne's arms, neck, and spine, armbars, headlocks, and bear hugs being among my favorite holds, so no complaints here. We get rope action, Irish whips, and a corner mount, the great pro-ring standards, even some give and take as Blayne pushes back. It's a short match, fifteen and a half minutes with some dead time between holds, but the guys start right off fighting, sparing us a lot of posing and ogling each other. Overall, it's a nicely polished little gem.

The macho banter reiterates what we're seeing or about to see, usually underscoring the obvious discrepancies between the two wrestlers in size and experience. Perhaps the match does not look like much when stacked against Beast's bouts with Billy the Kid and Talon, but taken on its own merits, it's plenty good fun and (for me) a nice introduction to Blayne, whom I've been curious about. The price was right, especially with a holiday discount, and it's an important addition to my collection of Arena downloads.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Loser Leaves Town


I'm taking off for a bit. By the time this announcement posts, I should be halfway to Berlin. I don't plan to blog during vacation. I was hoping to see some wrestling in a language I don't understand, but regrettably I couldn't find online advertisements for any shows in the area during my stay. I intend to resume posting sometime before the new year.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Skin Deep











Ron Wilson vs Dillon Walsh, Wanna Wrestle 45 (NHB-Battle/Movimus)

I caught this 2010 NHB-Battle match for free just before Movimus's fourth-anniversary deal disappeared on Sunday night. Bad timing on my part, I know. The video is now available only by purchasing it. It's worth the price. Dillon is one of the company's most beautifully shaped wrestlers, and this is a rematch with Ron, a pugnacious fighter who knows how to put a fellow in a hard bind. You can grasp the tenor of the contest from these photos, but you need motion and audio to feel its earthy vitality.

Last week, somebody who works at Movimus asked me what I thought about diversity in underground wrestling ("from body types to ethnicities"). The company promotes a wide range of competent wrestlers, but as a business, Movimus (like other similar businesses) finds that only "a certain type" of body sells videos. I have noticed the same thing on my blog: youth wins out over age, beauty wins out over knowhow. I had too many thoughts on the subject, contradictory thoughts, and I was politely thanked for them, but I know I had come nowhere close to a satisfactory response.

I love good wrestling even when I don't find myself attracted to the wrestlers--for instance, if they're women (despite one early experiment with a girl in junior high, I'm a Kinsey 6) or if they cover their muscles in business suits. Good aggressive wrestling makes the wrestler attractive to me, yes, erotically, even though the attraction may vanish as soon as the match is over. Like most people, I also love muscle and a pretty face, good hair, a winning smile, skin, bulges, tallness, wit, bedroom eyes, etc. I'm aware firsthand that other fans love these things more than they do wrestling. I have no problem with that, and I confess the same is often true of me. I'm more likely to purchase a match that promises both wrestling and ass. Ass is always a good thing. In fact, I don't think "confess" is the right word because it suggests something crooked, wrong, or petty, and I don't think attraction to physical beauty is crooked, wrong, or petty.

It is, however, unfair that excellent wrestlers who don't fit "a certain type" get relegated to the margins ... in their area of expertise. Ideally, skill in the sport and/or performance should count more than conformity to irrelevant standards of appearance. That's business, one could say, but it's not as simple as that. In most sports, even in mainstream professional wrestling, athletes' looks and youth get less attention than their mastery of the game. In show business, where looks do count, talent and professionalism count even more. Actors don't have to be beautiful and young to earn fans' respect. They need only to be good at their craft. People like or dislike a Kevin Spacey or a Tom Hanks for his acting style, not his biceps. Yet so-called underground wrestlers are frequently judged on qualities that have nothing to do with wrestling.

Do ageism, sexism, racism, homophobia, and body fascism play a part in the entertainment world, including wrestling entertainment? Absolutely they do. Bloggers like me heap praises on abs, pecs, liplocks, and bulges, but how often do we praise resilience or knowledge of holds ... or wins? It's not unusual for me to gush over patently bad wrestling if the "wrestlers" are cute. And despite my good intentions, sometimes I forget to recognize good wrestling ability if the wrestlers don't conform to "a certain type." Yet as I've admitted many times, I have only minimal knowledge of what constitutes good wrestling. On that count, I need to do better.* After all, great wrestling, sexy wrestling, comes in many sizes, shapes, and shades.

*Call that a new year's resolution, if you will, but be aware that I'm terrible at keeping resolutions.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Make America Grunt Again







Buddy Rogers vs Pat O'Connor, 30 June 1961 (NWA Chicago)

On June 30, 1961, Rogers took the title from Pat O'Connor in front of 38,622 fans at Comiskey Park, a North American professional wrestling attendance record that lasted until the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions in 1984. The ticket sales of $148,000 were a professional wrestling record for almost twenty years. The match, a two out of three falls match, was billed as the "Match of the Century". During the match, both men had gained a pinfall, when O'Connor missed a dropkick, hit his head, and Rogers pinned him to win the match.
The roar of the crowd is something missing in underground wrestling. There's really no substitute for it. To have one's pain and power not only as a private moment but also thunderously echoed in the throats of thousands must be a rush for both the villain and his punisher. As O'Connor works a 100-second spinning armbar on the detested blond heel Rogers, the fans' screams are shaking the rafters, leading the commentator to state the obvious: "And the crowd loves every second of it!" Just seconds after Rogers gains his release, O'Connor repeats the agonizing assault as an encore.

The rage and sadism of masses are best released in spectacles of this sort--and not in arenas where their intolerance takes more dangerous turns, such as lynch mobs and Nazi rallies. This is the beneficial catharsis Aristotle proclaims (in reference to the performances of tragedy) as the necessary release valve for voting citizens' undemocratic prejudices and fears. And fear was a palpable thing in the fever pitch of the Cold War: While this very match was taking place in '61, Berlin was being halved between East and West, with the Cuban Missile Crisis a little more than a year away, and with the JFK assassination a little more than two years away.

The full match is astounding. I found it difficult choosing which GIFs to exclude, sacrificing some of my favorites for the sake of reasonable upload times and still ending up with ten. This 28-minute, three-fall championship event is hot, sweaty, carnal vindictiveness on a plane all its own. I didn't think much of Buddy Rogers when I was young, but I have retroactively become a fan. He and O'Connor here, at this point in time, are the Euripides of American professional wrestling.










Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cole / Black










Derrick Cole vs Eli Black, #506 (UCW)

Eli wants his belt back, so he tips guest referee Tyson twenty bucks to make sure he wins against current champ Derrick. This is Cole and Black's second run-in (their first was the summer's awesome three-way with Quinn Harper), their first singles match, Cole's first major defense. Tyson might have other motives for wanting an upset, since it was a year ago that Cole debuted against him and made him look like a chump in front of the fans and pretty much eliminated him as a serious contender for the title (back when Axel still held it).

As I write this, it's 28 degrees F in Philadelphia, so evidently this pool match was shot some months ago. Both guys are fired up in a bullies-after-school sort of way, Eli insisting that the belt still belongs to him. "What are you, a featherweight?" Derrick asks contemptuously. Never slow on a comeback, Eli asks, "What are you, a fat-ass-weight?" Setting this match in a "kiddie pool," UCW ensures that skin will be slick and shiny from the get-go. Derrick probably doesn't do himself any favors by insulting the ref, telling Tyson he knows "you people" don't swim. Then he turns to the camera, speaking of himself in third person, saying, "Don't worry. Derrick Cole's not a racist. He just calls it like he sees it." (Yeah, right, because racism doesn't exist in the 21st century.)

The fight goes back and forth between these two bad boys. Lots of splashing and drama, but the pool limits the kinds of holds these guys can use against each other, so the action spills out onto the lawn from time to time. It's great seeing these two square off against each other, but it's not either heel's most captivating performance as wrestlers. Still it's hard to ignore the chemistry between these two extraordinary heels. Happily, based on the outcome, I'm pretty sure these guys will rematch in the fight room, hopefully soon.


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