Pleased to Meet You
Drake Marcos vs Lauden Sevior, Undagear 27 (BG East)
Drake and Lauden sneak into the BGE mat room like a couple of ninth-graders breaking into their parents' liquor cabinet. Lauden gushes over Drake, his wrestling hero, happy to breathe the same air and share the same light. Drake looks flattered, modest even, as dear sweet Lauden can't seem to wipe the shy grin off his face: "I was waiting for a day like this. Yeah, the chance to finally meet you ... and wrestle." They strip down to their underwear, admiring each other's slim physique.
Drake has never looked better. He's fit, and there's a brightness about his personality that gives him that glow that some people have on camera. I already know his work, and I like what I've seen, including his teasing quarrels with Bard at neverland. The revelation here is Lauden, 5'8", 130#, who has appeared in earlier matches against other slender roughnecks like Ethan Axel Andrews, Jake Lowe, and Ray Naylor, but this is my first real look at him, and I'm impressed. He's a bit of a wild child with an understated sex appeal, like the neo-hippie who waits tables at your favorite vegan café. But as Drake discovers, Lauden may be slight, but he's steelier than he looks.
Even as the contest intensifies, the fight remains friendly, with strong undercurrents steadily rising to the surface. The fight gets noisier, and the pace picks up. Loosened up, the wrestlers go for showier moves and more punishing holds. They start taking bigger risks supposedly because they're driven by the will to win, but more likely because they are starting to trust each other more. Drake slips into his heel role with some cocky taunts, not fully satisfied until he sees Lauden's face stricken with pain. But actually controlling a wild faun like Sevior is more work than Drake expected. They both get bossier (and sweatier) once Drake strips Lauden down to his strap, about midway through.
If any fight deserves to be called refreshing, it's this one. I can't remember ever smiling this much during a wrestling match. Drake and Lauden are winsome, sympathetic, and the wrestling is, for lack of a better word, romantic. They both have appeal that's less apparent in still shots than on video. Drake climbs a notch or two in my esteem. Lauden, whom previously I mistook as one of those guys who wouldn't stick around, has subdued but piercing presence. Now he's on my radar in a big way.