Eli Black vs Rudolfo Dias, Mat Rookies 3: Rookie Rites (BG East)
I think Eli Black may have met his match in Rudolfo Dias (5'10", 160#). Or may be one day soon. In attitude and in fight, Rudolfo may be the one man in all the underground wrestling universe who can lay claim to being Eli's equal. After a kick-ass debut kicking Cameron Matthews' ass in Mat Hunks 10, Rudolfo hardly counts as a rookie anymore, as the Catalog 123 match description frankly acknowledges. But the powers that be at BGE felt that Dias lacked a proper initiation - a rookie rite of passage - and Eli was the obvious man for the job.
Rudolfo's low-key and often inscrutable humor is based on making even his deference to the vastly more experienced Eli sound a bit like smack talk. After his headlock nearly turns Eli's face a grape-shade of purple, Rudolfo coolly shrugs off the victory, saying, "Just learning, bro." He plays his false modesty so close to true that it's hard to read what he's really thinking when he asks Black for pointers. Is he really impressed by Eli's many conquests, or is he sucking up to a BGE veteran with more clout with the bookers, or is he puffing Eli's ego up for a more humiliating death blow? Or could it be all three?
Eli is as cool as ever. There's no sign that Rudolfo's passive-aggressive jibes and punishing submission holds daunt him in the least. If one wrestler appreciates, even welcomes a hard challenge, it's Eli. He's the embodiment of the Nietzchean mantra "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," and he's faced a lot of opponents without being killed yet (well, just the once), which kind of makes him the stronger man. For all his sass and vaunting ego, Eli's strength is in his composure in the face of setbacks and his willingness to learn from every experience, even the kind that causes weaker souls to whimper and retreat.
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