Picking a Fight










Jonny Firestorm vs Lane Hartley, Custom Combat 2 (BG East)

I want love to walk right up and bite me
Grab a hold of me and fight me leave me dying on the ground.
"Love Interruption" (2012) by Jack White

The publicity for BG East's Custom Combat 2 promises to put control of Hartley vs Firestorm in the viewer's hands, not only to maneuver from move to move but also to decide who wins and who loses. Reportedly there are over 100 possibilities to mix and match the fight you want to see--give and take, one-sided squash job--and these two BGE wrestlers, more than all others, have a store of holds and punishments to keep a fan up all night working his remote or keyboard, perhaps with one hand, if so inspired.

The format poses a unique challenge for anyone dumb enough to try to review the disk. I mean, if you don't like the match, don't you really have only yourself to blame? The short answer is yes. Both wrestlers are top-of-the-line ring wrestlers, with sweat glands that give and give and give. If you can't find or make up a match you can jerk off to here, you really must not be into wrestling. I'm not fond of big-vs-little contests--I can't root for Goliath, and I can't (usually) believe Little David could really pull off an upset, not mano a mano anyway--but Firestorm is one tough bird, with balls and resources beyond six of most other competitors, and heartless Hartley sells victory like no other and he sells defeat like no other, too. Perhaps if you can't get into heel-vs-heel mayhem--and if that's your condition, I do pity you--perhaps then CC2 is not the right wrestling video for you. Perhaps!

The real challenge lies in trying to describe the confounded thing. Ah, yes. Borgesian. That sums it up. (Don't just stare at me like I'm crazy, look the word up if you don't know what it means or, better yet, read more fucking books!) To take the first occurrence of "forking paths" as an example, the action freezes on the two in the middle of a test of strength, with Firestorm grimacing at the camera as Hartley hunches over his shoulder. Three options appear on the screen: "Continue even match," "Jonny takes over," and "Lane takes over." Me being me, I opt for the first. The test of strength continues for a few more seconds. Then Lane breaks it, with Jonny almost immediately reversing. Reversal follows reversal at a rapid pace, neither man able to maintain the lead for long. And the battle is fierce. I am in wrestling heaven. Lane wins (barely) the first fall by submission with a surfboard hold. Immediately, the two aggressively charge each other, butting foreheads like rutting rams. The action freezes again. I'm now given five options: "Punish Lane's legs," "Punish Lane's abs," "Continue even match," "Punish Jonny's neck," and "Punish Jonny's torso." Me still being me, I let the evenness proceed. And on and on.

The camerawork is the tightest I have seen at BG East. The camera all but climbs in between the wrestlers as they lock themselves together, so not only do I get to choose the direction in which this match proceeds, it is as if I'm right there on the mat with them, feeling the heat rise off their muscle. Add to that the audio, which gives every guttural sound a hyper-real immediacy and intimacy. I feel like some intergalactic emperor forcing his two favorite slave-boys to fight over who gets to hand-feed me grapes this evening.

It is a given that my attraction to both these wrestlers, different as they are from each other, contributes to my high esteem for this video. So when Hartley bites Firestorm to escape from a chinlock (in just one of myriad iterations on this DVD), I was reminded of Jack White's song "Love Interruption" (excerpted above), and immediately I plunged into an erotic reverie of rough handling and angry sex, my imagination adding yet another way to control the fight--with endless options. Nevertheless, without the attraction or the imagination, I would still regard CC2 as a masterpiece.

Last, before I forget, thank you to Jim in Nashville for urging me to make watching this video a priority. Last weekend, he made this case for Custom Combat 2 (a steal at $19.95):
The Jonny-Lane video is a gift that keeps on giving. I found an option last week that I had never reached before. And believe me, as many times as I've watched that video and pursued all kinds of storylines, finding a new option is pretty impressive. As I watched last time, I thought of your hesitation about the size difference (which I generally share) and I realized that it's deftly handled in this match up by keeping a lot of the action on the mat or moving around the ring. At any rate, it works. ... I've had it for quite a while. ... I think both men are at a peak, physically and mentally. Hot stuff.





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