Cooped Up










Austin Cooper vs Kerry Cunningham, Mat Rookies 2 (BG East)

Austin Cooper breaks in another rookie in BG East's latest video. Returning to his roots in folk-style mat wrestling, Coop infuses the sport with heel attitude as he humbles statuesque upstart Kerry Cunningham with the dispassionate cool of a born master. Kerry is easy to root against, pushing his weight around, presumptuously demanding respect and deference he has done nothing yet to earn. I can't wait for Austin to give his butt the pounding it deserves.

Cooper has played both sides of the babyface-heel coin and seems most comfortable when straddling the edges of both. He is both virtuous and cruel, a powerful blend that most wrestlers can't pull off. The secret appears to be his underplaying of both roles, adopting the roles of big brother, executioner, and old-school hooker*, much like Jonny Firestorm and Jake Jenkins. His burly muscle is visually imposing, daunting and sensuous in its volcanic power, but his broad, placid face suggests a good (though far from innocent) soul.

And those thighs! Who wouldn't want to be crushed between them! Austin is warming up in the mat room when six-foot-two Kerry barges in, barking like a drill sergeant, "What's going on here? Austin Cooper, who told you you could wrestle and practice on my mat?" Austin is impossible to intimidate. He barks right back, threatening to break Kerry's legs, "twigs," Austin calls them. Kerry talks big, but Austin is first to act, dragging the big rookie to the mat. Kerry's clumsy flailing draws Austin's disdain: "You even a wrestler?" The insult is enough to rile Kerry up, but he brings nothing that Coop can't handle.

For me, the payoff occurs twelve minutes into the match, when Austin peels off his red singlet, revealing the full glory of his fireplug physique in a Mediterranean blue bikini stretched to its limits. Complaining about the young guys always coming after him, Austin unveils the very feature--his smooth, honey-tan brawn--that draws them in. Coop itches for a good fight and offers Kerry every opportunity to bring one, but big as he is, Cunningham is not up to the challenge of the veteran's knowhow and raw power. Cooper wears the big man down, and once he's got the guy panting and sweating, he proceeds to dismantle him joint by agonized joint, finishing with a figure-four head squeeze (last image above) that knocks the rookie out cold.

* A wrestler with strong legitimate mat-wrestling abilities and an array of match-ending (or in extreme cases, career ending) holds known as "hooks," hence the name.

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