The Good Villain

Flash LaCash vs Gunner Baer, Forced to Flex 2 (BG East)

Late in 2013, Flash LaCash debuted against underground wrestling's most formidable heel ever, Guido Genatto, who also debuted in that match. It was an invigorating and eviscerating heel-vs-heel contest. The ordering of that match (in the string of eight LaCash matches in current release) may seem, in retrospect, unfortunate for Flash since it has somewhat obscured his genius for villainy. He ultimately had to bow to the alpha-aggressive Genatto. But who remembers that when Guido archly announced, "Daddy's here for you," the ever-unruffled Flash threatened to "pop your head like a pimple, Daddy"? Cool rebuff - and Flash was the hardiest of all Genatto's BGE opponents.

Flash belongs to a collection of strong second-string heels, too often sold short on this blog, compared to big dogs like Guido, Lane Hartley, Eli Black, and all three major Kids (Leopard, Vicious, and Karisma), not because BG East doesn't throw them plenty of work and not because they underperform. I'm not sure how I paid them so little attention. Others in the group are Rolf Fulton, Brute Baynard, Dev Michaels, Nick Naughton, and Jobe Zander - guys whose hard, sometimes brilliant work, for whatever reasons, is too often given only superficial attention here. These guys don't often win awards, sometimes aren't even nominated, but fully deserve respect and admiration.

In last year's Forced to Flex 2  BG East called on Flash LaCash to break in Gunner Baer, whose name regrettably echoes Gummy Bear. Gunner has a chip on his shoulder, and Flash happens to know a lot about busting a chip and shoving the pieces up a muscle boy's ass. Outside the ring Flash butters the new guy up, praising the man's pecs and biceps. Gunner is too eager to show them off, and Flash pounces, immobilizing the rookie with a full nelson and tossing him into the ring.

I can forgive the newby for giving minimal sell to Flash's moves - he is a rookie, after all. He leaves it to Flash to sell the whole match. The wily veteran picks up the slack - magnificently, I would say. In essence, Flash is performing a one-man show here. He keeps up the pace, summons up energy for two, and creates drama out of thin air. 

The ability to improvise like this is proof of professionalism, for which Flash deserves much credit. He was better served with Jake Jenkins, a man who knows how to sell and, though hardly flamboyant, insinuates drama into every fight. Other opponents have needed to be carried on LaCash's strong shoulders. In 2016, Kip Sorell won everybody over with his good looks, but it was Flash who made him look good in the ring and more or less won the match a fans' choice award. (Not singlehandedly, mind you - Kip, unlike some pretty jobbers, sells pain exquisitely.)

The whole forced-to-flex angle is not my thing. I think I've made this point before. I get that it's like getting a circus lion to roar. I get that it's a synthesis of wrestling and muscle posing - to the detriment of the wrestling, I would contend. I get that gay fans (almost everyone but me) eat it up. Flash handles the situation admirably, adds neat little touches - like cranking a biceps pose into a high chicken-wing and giving the triceps a butcherly pinch. Then he hurls Gunner into a corner, commanding him to show off his abdominals as Flash turns him into a living, breathing punching bag. Then tossing him back to the center of the ring, he hooks his fingers on the front maxillary teeth, stretches Baer's mouth agape, and bellows, "Let's see that double twin motherfuckin' peak!" Enraged that Gunner's peaks may be growing bigger than his own, Flash pins an arm to the mat and knee-drops the muscles a few times in a vain attempt to flatten them, taking care to stretch the fingers backwards to heighten the punishment. In my experience in watching this sort of match, few other heels imbue the forced flexing with so many sadistic details.

For those details alone, LaCash deserves admiration. He also fills the room with his barked-out commands, all but drowning out Baer's monotone moaning. His drill-sergeant badgering gives the match color and a backbeat. Like a poet or a composer, he even finds a theme or motif for his verbal abuse - in this case, snake references ("snake in the grass," "garden snake," "python," alluding to the babyface's green trunks). The match's visual coherence derives from his ability to create believable segues - such as turning an ab crunch into a front chancery. I suppose technique is supposed to be invisible - part of the magic trick - but it takes training and imagination to pull all this off as smoothly as Flash LaCash does.

Visit BG East here.


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