Blayne vs Cason, Custom Video Series 74 (Thunder's Arena)
The Arena's output is so manic it's hard for me to keep up. The next new thing is barely out of the gate before an even newer set of pecs and biceps vies for my attention. Download prices being on the steep side, thirty bucks and upwards for a twenty-minute download, I'm constantly playing catch-up on freshly sprouted recruits who have already amassed a catalog of a half dozen or more matches. Even the sales are a little crazy - sales inside of sales, where buyers sometimes have two or three discounts to choose from. Some days I feel like I'm taking a math quiz, figuring out which deal is the most economical. On top of this, there's the variable quality of the product - from new instant classic to something that's more audition tape than sustained wrestling. Thunder's has always favored an off-the-cuff style, and the frat-house high jinks often work, though the shtick is not as fresh now as it used to be. Even with a tightly edited trailer providing a taste of the action, buying an Arena video is pretty much a grab bag situation.
It seems like just a few weeks ago that Cason - a great-looking strongman who has "star appeal" written all over him - was the hot new commodity. His humiliating defeat of muscle-god Steel was trumpeted as a testosterone-fueled Second Coming - and now, in this custom order match, it appears that Cason, in turn, has perhaps been dethroned, in this case by the smaller yet immensely likable Blayne, who previously played the role of goofball sidekick - the Thunder's version of Screech Powers. I once was leery of custom matches, but now I see them as providing healthy new perspectives on moribund gimmicks and angles. Such is true of CVS74, in which Cason joy-rides Blayne for two-thirds of the video, only to get blindsided by the smaller wrestler's pluck and determination. Whether this is proof that the godlike Cason has feet of clay or whether this seeming defeat is merely a blip in the hunk's skyrocketing career is a question not fully answered in the match itself, which I totally enjoyed - in no small part because I think Cason and Blayne are sensational (here and elsewhere).
At the end of the match I'm left with two impressions that affect me on a primal level. One is of Cason breaking a heavy sweat as he ties Blayne into knots, much like a rodeo cowboy roping up a calf. The other is Blayne clambering up and around Cason's statuesque physique in a last-minute attempt to even the score, much as Iceman18 heroically scaled Mack in a Vegas Battle I watched earlier this year. Not usually a fan of David-and-Goliath matches, I do enjoy smart and believable variations on the angle, and Iceman and Blayne are very sympathetic Davids, and Mack and Cason are sexy and impressive Goliaths.
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