Clobber Stomp Hurl

Dragan Okic vs Peter White, 6 June 2014, Ohlsdorf, Austria (European Wrestling Association)

I like watching all kinds of wrestlers - heavy, slim, soft, hard, dark, light, tall, short, hairy, smooth. But right now if you asked what kind of wrestler I would like to BE, I have no doubt I'd want to be Dragan Okic (6'1", 235#) or Peter White (6'2", 220#) in this middleweight championship match. More particularly, I'd be Okic, who here reminds me of the spectacular physicality of sweaty old-school greats like Buzz Sawyer. Even more particularly, if I can venture into surrealism, I'd like to be the Bosnian's flawlessly packed and sweat-soaked steel-blue wrestling trunks.

There are problems with the videography here, but it exemplifies the beauty of a single handheld camera at ringside, circling and zooming in on the key moments of the match with a stronger sense of presence and continuity than tightly edited scenes allow. Increasingly I'm persuaded that the long-take tracking shot is the way to go in recording a wrestling match, but it requires that the wrestlers be as skilled and authentic as Okic and White. Less capable wrestlers benefit from rapid cuts that eliminate the goofs and create a lot of the contest's drama in the editing room.

This particular match, though, is golden. Not only are the competitors well matched, they also bring dignity and authority to every second of what is basically clobber-stomp-hurl primate aggression. It's also concerned with justice, a particular slant in my wrestling fetishism. But what really has me reeling is Okic's massive, glimmering muscle and unassuageable fits of rage. I don't even mind the face makeup because stress and sweat wear it off in the course of the 14-minute brawl, adding to the drama. There are moments that sag and limp, but overall this is everything I need out of wrestling.

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