So the Pride Center benefit show was a week ago, and what a whirlwind adventure it was! The show itself was hands down one of the best wrestling shows I've seen, likely the best show I've seen. Beyond this, for me the show was a piñata of treats and surprises that spilled over into Friday and Saturday - starting with the show's opening match, the well-established hottie Kirk Donahue versus the where-have-you-been-all-my-life heel Trevor Read - a fight so luscious it sprang boners throughout the house (mine wasn't the only one, was it?) - its tale of righteous comeuppance precisely my thing - and ending with a return to Johnsons to cap off my mini-vacay and make sure I wasn't dreaming about my tumble with the man from Argentina. (I wasn't.)
|Photo: Great Irish Dreamer Photography|
My trip on Friday to the BG East studio - already narrated in this post - gave me a closer look at Kirk and an inside look at the making of a match - Kirk vs new hire Tiko. (Later, too late, I was informed that, because of BGE's intricate and well thought-out pattern of release dates, it's not a good idea to publicize these things as they happen - my bad, I own it, it will never happen again, I promise.) But my adventures in wonderland continued to the next day, when I got another last-minute text from Kid Leopard inviting me back. Of course, I flew there. Like the wind. This time, because I had plans for later that afternoon that took me out to the 'burbs, thus shortening my visit, I did not see a complete contest, rather fragments of a ring match and a mat fight.
Saturday's visit was hectic, but Kid Leopard took time to chat. Even at his prickliest, the Kid makes funny asides, like a stage villain in an old-time melodrama. He also gives pointers to his wrestlers from time to time. A good bit of his attention during my visit is directed towards photos of buff young men petitioning for a chance for fame and glory at BG East. At one point he asks me whether seeing "how the sausage is made" is diminishing my appreciation for wrestling. I say no, not at all. Wrestling is a fantasy for me - 90 percent of it is in my head. It's a treat, then, to watch it play out solidly in front of my eyes. The sweat, the poses, the slams, and the grimaces are the materials for reveries of my own invention. He tells me he's always looking for something different, never really comfortable settling into a routine. He likes Zack Sabre Jr., he says, respective to his current interests. So do I, I say.
Later I drive up I-95 a short ways to visit Rocco of MuscleBoy Wrestling. He shows me the surprisingly small orange-and-black fight space he's created in his home. He even urges MuscleBoy wrestling star Jesse Zane to put me in a side headlock - one of my favorite holds back in my good old days. Then he pins my elbows behind my back while Jesse punches me in my far-from-flat gut. Thoughtfully, Jesse pulls his punches. It's not my thing, I say, but I just that moment discover I kinda like it. We talk about our tastes in wrestling. In a few minutes, we're joined by two other wrestlers and the five of us head out to a restaurant. There the wrestlers share behind-the-scenes dirt on various wrestlers and promoters. None of it printable here (Sorry). We're at a busy restaurant where one out of five of the people I see looks like she or he could be a movie star. I had forgotten how fit and beauty-conscious South Florida is. (I graduated from University of Miami. I had a teaching assistantship there, and in one of my classes this suntanned god with curly hair and chiseled torso was wont to arrive straight from the swimming pool, still in only his trunks, water dripping to the floor around the legs of his desk.)
Back at the house, we sit next to the hot tub. It's a lovely evening, with lizards scuttling up and down the exterior walls. I can't stay long. I have plans for how I want to cap off my Fort Lauderdale trip. As I leave, Rocco hands me a souvenir - the teeny white G-string Justin Powers wears in the last half of my favorite match. Mine to keep forever!
My last stop is Johnsons, the stripper club close to the hotel where I'm staying. I hope C is there, the stripper who roughhoused me to climax two evenings previously. He is. He's dancing with three other strippers. This time I've planned ahead - draining the ATM of twenties. I poke two of them into his G-string. He looks me in the eye and says, with a sexy accent, "See you in a minute." Minutes later, we're in the back room. Contrary to my earlier description, the $10 room is no bigger than the average men's dressing room in a department store. C, too, is not as tall as I remembered him, but he's even hotter seen through sober eyes (or soberer). He takes off my professorial bifocals and pushes me down, scissoring my head between his legs for a couple of seconds and then submitting me in a hammerlock. The submissions come easy for him, no two of them alike, and he cockily calls out scores 1:0, 2:0, 3:0 ... up to 8:0 before he stops, turning his attention to gut punching (punching harder than Jesse did, hard enough to make me grunt, mercifully no harder).
I tap out at least ten more times before we're done. He seems genuinely to enjoy all this, showing off his wrestling skills, tinged with MMA attitude and kicks. I know I'm paying him to, but still his enthusiasm, pretended or not, is sexy. He straddles me and slaps my face. He pummels my chest. He starts to rip my T-shirt, but I ask him not to and he doesn't. He makes sure he doubles Thursday's bruises to my arms and chest. He thrusts himself against me. The heat radiates off him, and I feel it in waves. I'm awestruck by his beauty, strength, and energy. I ask his permission to take his picture - against club policy, I gather. The battery of my smartphone is at zero, so he lends me his phone. I shoot him looming over me, slightly out of focus, immersed in the magenta light from the nearby dance floor. He's unhappy with the photo, so he texts it to me along with a clearer mirror selfie he likes better. I prefer the picture I took because it's this space and he's posing for me.
He wears me out, but I hang on for the duration - in the end adding a significant tip on top of the $20 "per song" rent for the room. If anything, this time was better than the first. He asks me if I'll be back. I tell him I don't live in the area and I'm flying home tomorrow. Perhaps he doesn't hear or understand what I said. He says, "We will fight again."
Oh yes, yes, please.