Sophomore Slam Dunk


Adam Atom vs Ronaldo, Fantasymen 36 (BG East)

Adam and Ronaldo make their second BG East appearances as the main event of the latest in the company's popular Fantasymen series. In style and attitude, both wrestlers take me back to Fantasymen past, when golden talents like Joe Mazetti, Nick Archer, and Mike Columbo ruled the squared circle. The match is steeped in BGE's kill-the-babyface formula with Adam Atom, a solid block of prime beef, assuming the task of wrecking statuesque beauty Ronaldo, a project he generously stretches out over 28 minutes.

We discover Ronaldo pacing the ring, literally slapping his chest in anticipation of the upcoming contest. Nothing demure about this hottie, he'd rather fight than pose, and when he does strike a pose, there's something thrillingly warlike about it. Expecting a simpering narcissist like so many other pretty boys, I immediately take a liking to the guy, doomed though he may be. The six-foot hunk wants to be taken seriously as a brute, and I love the generosity with which we wafts his let's-scrap pheromones over the ring. No mincing rosebud is this guy! Beautiful and tough is always a winning combination as far as I'm concerned. Nobody is taking Ronaldo down without a fight.

Adam Atom circles the ring with a derisive smirk on his face, haughtily ignored by his opponent. While Ronaldo is taller, Adam is heavier, compact and as effortlessly ominous as a ticking bomb. I think I know how this combination usually plays out in a wrestling ring. "C'mon!" Ronaldo demands, eventually taking notice of his opponent. He wants a fight, and every taut muscle in his body looks ready to brawl. Atom enters the ring, and a shoving contest immediately ensues. Ronaldo ducks under a wild swing and collars his opponent in a full nelson hold that Adam eventually succeeds in muscling free of. The struggle strikes me as phony, but phony the way I sometimes like it, like Kirk Morris-hurling-boulders-at-his-enemy phony. Adam reverses the nelson. Ronaldo strains, but he doesn't get loose till Atom flings him down to the mat.

I don't think the still shots do the wrestlers or the wrestling justice. What makes the stream of camel clutches, bear hugs, body- and head-scissors, stretches, and stomach claws work for me is Atom and Ronaldo's total commitment to them - a little hammy at times, to be sure, but blessedly sincere without a trace of camp or irony in it. This is old-BGE style that gives me a tingle in the boxers. It's machismo as pageantry and theater, and Fantasymen 36  puts Ronaldo and Atom at the top of my watch-out-for list.

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