Alex Waters vs Tanner Hill, King of the Ring 8 (Rock Hard Wrestling)
I only thought I loved Alex Waters before I saw this three-out-of-five-fall championship match. Clearly, whatever praises I have heaped on this man in the past are not enough. Alex, with scruff and unruly hair, is no longer a boy heel, but now a full-on threat to all that's good and decent in the world--and he takes my breath away. He's never been this volatile and gritty before, and the fact that from some angles his challenger, Tanner Hill, resembles the younger Alex Waters adds poignancy to this battle's conclusion.
Alex is thicker than he used to be. I mean physically thicker, heavier, harder, less suave, more intimidating. He's a man now, no denying it. There's nothing delicate or breezy about him. He looks like somebody you would want to fight, if you have even an ounce of fighter in you; otherwise, he's the guy you want to cross the street to avoid running into. "Hey, the King has entered the ring," he grumbles testily while climbing through the ropes, his weighty belt slung over a shoulder. "King" is right! Still beautiful to look at, Alex's overall bearing suggests a world-weary prizefighter getting paid big bucks to flatten some upstart punk who thinks he has as much right to the belt as the champ.
Tanner is a great looking challenger, and maybe he has a shot at winning this one. I can't say, not wanting to spoil this match for any potential viewers. But from the start, the kid looks doomed to me. What he lacks is something Alex had almost from the beginning of his Rock Hard career: a streak of sadism. Tanner wants a title. Alex wants to hurt somebody, anybody, and hurt him hard and thoroughly so that the spirit is entirely broken ... and it might as well be this clean-cut frat boy as anybody else.
Tanner rises to the occasion, to be sure, again and again, in fact. But for me the match is most alive when Alex is grinding away at the upstart, intent on destroying him, bit by suntanned bit, preferably. The only thing I'd add is a slow side headlock, for personal reasons, perhaps. I'd like a full minute of Alex grinding Tanner's right ear, his hands interlaced to cinch the hold, and giving the head a malicious jerk every few seconds. What I do get that's nearly as good is a set of figure-four chokes and arm bars (pictured above) designed to make Tanner weary of his life. This is Alex at his best. I can't say for sure, but this may even be Alex at his best ever.