Trevor Lee vs John Skyler, Green with Envy (CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling)
Over the weekend I caught CWF Mid-Atlantic's St. Patty's show in Gibsonville, most of which involved ring comedy in one form or other - cartoon antics at one end (karate-chopping rockabilly Lucas Calhoun of Chikara) and social satire at the other ("the one percent" Logan Easton Laroux, looking down his upturned nose at us fans and his opponent, Cam Carter). But the main event consisted of zero comedy and left the deepest impression on me, confirming my conviction that wrestling at its best is a noble and solemn rite that at times knocks on the door of Tragedy.
This is probably the best match I have seen live and in person. John Skyler had challenged Trevor Lee for the heavyweight title the week before, at the end of another CWF show I saw live in Chapel Hill. Before the bell sounded in the Mid Atlantic Sportatorium, there was already an air of impending cataclysm. The haunted expression on Lee's face seemed to warn off the "green with envy" Skyler, not because Lee feared the challenge but, as it seemed to me, because he dreaded the violence he was capable of inflicting upon the challenger.
As early as the 10-minute mark, Lee and Skyler were drenched in sweat. Far from wearing down, the fight's intensity and violence escalated even as the wrestlers became more and more fatigued. The crowd was divided, most of us cheering on the champ, but a large number rooting for the challenger. The battlers were merciless in their savagery. Inwardly the crowd felt each kick to the face and stomp on the elbow.
Time and time again, there were sudden and catastrophic turns of fortune that seemed as much products of Fate as of the wrestlers' strengths and strategies. Towards the end of the 42-minute battle, with both wrestlers ravaged by the extravagant torments they had already inflicted on each other, Skyler staggered towards Lee, wielding the belt medallion. Lee struck first, though, knocking the belt from the challenger's hands. It lay there forgotten until, minutes later, Lee hurled Skyler down, face first into the gold medallion, the contender hoisted with his own petard, so to speak.
In retrospect, I see that the preceding ring comedies set us fans up for the main event's climactic blast of seriousness. Were they comic relief? Or did they lend more gravitas to the main event? That's a hard call to make - and maybe different fans responded differently to the stark contrasts. At any rate, no other live match has shaken me the way this one did.
|Me and the champ after the show|
Visit CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling here.
Photographs by Dominique Elliott.