Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bart 2

Bart vs Finn McCool, Vegas Battles 20 (Thunder's Arena)

I'm not sure I've seen all Finn McCool's work at Thunder's Arena (I've seen three other matches, I think), but right now this 21-minute match is my favorite. The sturdily built rookie puts up the most fight I've seen in him yet in this hotel room tussle with up-and-coming pro star Bart. He's pretty enough all on his own, but something about wrestling makes a pretty man even prettier. The posing does not upstage the wrestling in this video; a little bit of posing occurs within the match, for instance, when Finn dominates Bart and can't stop himself from popping his biceps in celebration.

Bart looks great here, too. This is a better overall match than his debut against Scrappy (who can be seen on the sidelines, watching) because Bart's at his best in a fight, even a friendly tussle like this one. He's better in the squared circle (so I hope Thunder's makes that happen soon), but he does plenty even when confined to a single mat on a hotel room floor. His video with Scrappy focused more on holds, each one presented as if individually wrapped like a Hershey's Kiss. This one offers more in the way of a continuous work, with Finn keeping the pace up as a convincing adversary.

Cool versus Hot seems to be the theme here. Fittingly I watched VB20 first during the summer solstice. Finn's trunks are in winter shades (blue-green and black) which nicely offset his lightly freckled pale skin. Bart's so tan I can almost smell the coconut oil from here in North Carolina, and his retro-'60s tropical trunks hit the right note of campy and hot. Finn keeps the pro wrestler busy, and the outcome remains in question till literally the final minute.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Max vs Axel

Max Ryder vs Axel, Match 539 (UCW)

Max Ryder sweats extra-large. That right there is reason enough for me to be happy he's back at UCW after a year's absence. That may be the main reason, in fact, but I'm quick to add that he also does facial expressions like few others anywhere. Max Ryder grimacing makes me grimace, the way I yawn every time my dog yawns. (I should add that Axel, Max's opponent here, is developing a mighty fine O-face too, as well as some manly scruff on the chin that might as well just come right out and say "Suck my dick.") To me, Max looks like he just stepped out of a tight-fisted Mickey Spillane novel like Kiss Me, Deadly or One Lonely Night. Maybe it's just the name Max Ryder, but that's definitely a good thing.

I'm double-thrilled Axel is throwing the welcome-back party for Max, with more big releases scheduled for the coming months. In a promo video, Axel credits most of the sweat on display to Max and the heat wave that struck the Mid-Atlantic states the weekend the video was shot. Axel doesn't sweat much, but he admits that even he contributed some of the shine to this match. He definitely contributed a fair share of the heat.

Match 539 reaffirms my opinion that 2017 may be remembered as the Year of UCW, with so much fine talent accumulating in its claustrophobic and broiling (and increasingly iconographic) fight space and a string of fights (this one included) that will surely be talked about years from now. Max and Axel fight strong and hard here in a contest refreshingly free of bro banter and heavy on ass-kicking.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Nick Flex vs Ryan Donovan, Catalog 2 - Muscle Boys Get Rough (MuscleBoy Wrestling)

MuscleBoy Wrestling is back. Too hot for PayPal, the company had to find and install a new way to grab my money for more video downloads. As a result, the new promotion was unable to process orders for about two weeks. All that's fixed now. I got the good news yesterday and rushed to get the Nick Flex match I was missing. Along with Justin Powers and Chris Cannon, I'm in love with Flex.

Poor Ryan Donovan is a goldfish doomed to the piranha tank. I figure Ryan is a cute slim guy and all, but so long as Nick's back is in the shot, the jobber could be Donald Duck or just anybody. He puts up a better fight than the goldfish would, but he can't throw enough at Nick to keep the big guy from eventually kicking his ass. Ryan's bear hugs, gut punches, and choke holds haven't enough muscle behind them to faze our Flex.

Flex is big, beautiful, and, most of all, not a bit worried. By the midpoint he is bigly, beautifully sweaty too. He's considerate enough to fine-tune the harrowing details of punishment like ball squeezing, jaw punching, rib booting, hair yanking, nipple slapping, and pile driving. If Ryan wanted lots of screen time, he gets it, most of it featuring him flat on his back, arms and legs spread wide, with a dreamy, unfocused floating-to-the-top-of-the-tank look on his face. (And, as it turns out he is pretty damn cute, too.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

You Probably Think This Blog Is About You

Born and Bred vs Flawless and Lawless, NWO Spring Break Your Neck (Fight the World)

I'll admit it. I watched this match solely because Jesse Vane is in it, as one half of FTW tag champions Born and Bred with Anthony LaCerra. Their challengers are Blake Morris and Rex Lawless (Flawless and Lawless). Its Swiss-clockwork choreography, as much as I respect the work put into it, is less of a draw than Vane's shaved head and tough and compact 5'6" body. I'm superficial. I confess. That said, the acrobatics here are mesmerizing--the intricacies of which require somewhat longer than usual GIFs to do them justice--this is just not the sort of wrestling I prefer, though the guys do throw me a bone with a side headlock and some fisticuffs.

Sunday 23 April 2017, New York, New York

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Bart vs Scrappy, Vegas Battles 19 (Thunder's Arena)

Bart's at Thunder's Arena, all's right with the world, my world at least. I'm averse to breaking kayfabe on wrestlers' alter egos (anyway, a brother blogger has spilt the beans already), but I will say that I'm a huge fan of Bart's other wrestling persona, and his presence in two (so far) Vegas Battles provides a closer, better look at his cowboy good looks and bump-worthy ass. All comparisons are odious, I know, but Bart strikingly resembles one of my first wrestling buddies in high school (then college), decades and decades ago, except my pal might have been a little taller (at 6'3") and had a N-shaped scar next to one eye.

Scrappy introduces the new hire nicely here, in VB19, a 17-minute hotel room "battle" that shows off Bart's personable manner and knowledge of pro-wrestling holds, spotlighting full nelsons, clutches, headlocks, scissors, and a climactic piledriver in the hotel suite's kitchenette. Nipples get a lot of attention from both wrestlers, with top-shelf dial-turning and bruising pinches. Scrappy has the sharper definition for bodybuilder fans and I adore the guy, but Bart's body has what I call thump and is more to my liking.

There's more wrestling here than I've seen lately at the Arena, but a lot of the usual jokey showing-off too. It would be fantastic if Mr. Mike could coax Bart into the ring in Florida against Beast or (heart palpitations) Spike. Or borrow a ring on the West Coast. Bart is a whole lot of what I need right now. I plan to get around soon to his second match (against handsome Finn McCool). I hope Thunder's intends to give us even more Bart in the months ahead.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Big in Japan

Brian Cage vs Takashi Sugiura, Navig. with Breeze 2017, 4 June 2017, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Pro Wrestling NOAH)

If I were a wrestler, I'd rather get a call from Japan than from WWE. Japan may not always be the gateway to fame and fortune, but every wrestler I know who's wrestled there improved his game by at least 100%.

Like a lot of bloggers on the subject of wrestling, I feel that Brian Cage (6', 265#) is my personal property. I feel a special kinship with him, though we've never met. He's been everywhere--under various names at almost all my usual go-to sites. I've been following him ever since he was working the Wolverine gimmick in Florida, but he really caught my attention seven years ago, when he became one of the Taylor brothers (Brian Cage-Taylor) at Pro Wrestling Guerilla.

In this match from a couple of weeks ago, Cage holds his own against one of NOAH's toughest bad-asses, Takashi Sugiura (5'10", 229#). One of the best reasons to wrestle in Japan is the chance to get in the ring with somebody like Sugiura, whose arch theatrical mannerisms translate to all languages and cultures and keep an audience of 1400 riveted to his every move. Other reasons are the respectful, appreciative fans in Japan and strong style--the integration of elements of real (shoot) fighting into pro-ring performance and storytelling. Strong style gives pro wrestling its nuts back and lends authenticity to even the tired-er clich├ęs of pro-wrestling theater.


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