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Brute vs Beast, Ring Wars 38 (Thunder's Arena)

Thunder's growing excellence in staging pro-style ring battles is really something. I had my doubts at first, but those faded away last year at my first introduction to Beast. He combines the best features of some of my favorite pro wrestlers from '71 to '17. He's an almost perfect amalgam of Kevins from Sullivan to Owens, yet completely his own man, too. Only one other wrestler in the underground scene strikes me the same way: Brute draws from Valiant to Angle, but simultaneously remains one of a kind. The collision between the two was unavoidable and, for me, irresistible.

Brute is the bigger man by six inches and forty pounds, with more ring experience, but throughout the match I kept losing sight of that fact. To me, they appear almost equally matched, perfect for each other. Only now and then did I notice the disparities. How much of this misapprehension is due to ring performance and how much to my rich fantasy life I can't be sure. I can only say I was transfixed by this contest of personalities, muscles, and strategies, especially as tempers heated up in the latter half of this lean, mean 20-minute video.

Chin locks, bear hugs, turnbuckle thrusts, guillotines, snap mares, and scissors, basic but dramatic assaults, dominate the action, along with a dash of eye-gouging. Noticeably better in ring psychology, Brute drives home the emotions, but Beast's hairy chest and heaving abs are my take-away eye candy. A rear naked choke clinches the deal ... twice.

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