Bedtime for Scrappy

Vinny vs Scrappy, Ring Wars 42 (Thunder's Arena)

Ring Wars 42  opens in medias res  with a close-up of Scrappy's terrified face, sort of like the opening shot of Hitchcock's silent classic The Lodger, and already this match is hotter than nine-tenths of everything I've seen in my life. The camera pulls back and we see that we're in an office of some sort, but immediately Vinny marches Scrappy through the door and to the wrestling ring. A mere half-second later I am the biggest Vinny fan in the world. Not that I wasn't already an admirer. I had seen him in earlier Arena matches, including a memorable run-in with Scrappy last year. But my first sight of him in the squared circle shakes me to the core. The man makes me growl - and the relentless beating he gives Scrappy for the next 20 or so minutes casts him, Scrappy, Thunder's Arena, and my obsession with wrestling in a brand new light.

Inaugurating the Ring Wars series is the best thing Thunder's Arena ever did. Like almost everyone, I was excited when the news came that Thunder's was adding ring wrestling to its catalog, but I also had my doubts. My doubts were based on Thunder's winsome but tendentious lightness - the highly touted frat house ambience, the cutesy bro banter, the tongue-in-cheek queerbaiting - but Vinny's presence in the ring is, by itself, a sobering sight, and Vinny brings a sternness and majesty to the role of heel that makes my dick stand at attention. Add Scrappy's immense capacity for feelingly expressing pain and horror and the radiant beauty of his physique, and we're looking at an instant favorite go-to at my house.

The "brand new light" is more a revival of the old mystique of masculinity, my childhood awe of five-o'clock shadows and broad shoulders. I realized that in RW42  Vinny embodies a form of maleness I had lost track of, perhaps through over-analysis on this blog and elsewhere. While still awoke to the performance aspect of masculinity - and of course its use as an instrument of repression at times - I also see it as tied to the idea of the sublime - an aesthetic response to beauty that rises above the power of rhetoric and words to pin down, but which evokes a sense of wonder that is partly horror, partly reverence, partly awe, partly glamor, and partly an attraction that feels like a mild seizure. Starry nights, the ocean, Proust, and tigers evoke the sublime for me - and here in RW42  so does Vinny.

Visit Thunder's Arena here.


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