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Jake vs Scrappy, Battlespace 91 (Thunder's Arena)

If wrestling matches could be vacation destinations, I'd be booking a three-day weekend in Battlespace 91. So what if it's in a garage! Scrappy and new hire Jake live in a roughhouse fantasyland where knuckle noogies and nipple tweaks count as wrestling moves. Scrappy is as fresh and game as he was his first day at the Arena, and Jake is a hot and rambunctious adversary.

It's all fun and games till someone gets hurt. Then it gets interesting. Jake, it turns out, is not your garden-variety bodybuilder who strikes poses and pretends to wrestle. He's a natural and surprisingly nimble mat strategist. A few minutes before the midpoint of this 14-minute hazing, Scrappy, who's been put through the proverbial wringer, decides to up the ante with tendon-popping holds and full-grunt-mode punches.

As the competition toughens, tempers flare and chuckles die down. Things get real. A line has been crossed, and the guys fight like the outcome is a matter of life and death. The shift in tone, unsurprisingly to me, makes everything even better than it was before. Suddenly taking the fight seriously, Jake and Scrappy demonstrate the full force of their skill and determination. Suddenly this is Scrappy's sexiest match ever, and Jake has won a new fan. Now more than ever I would like to be there in the thick of it, umbrella drink and souvenir cocktail glass in hand.


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