Chad Daniels vs Rex Bedford, Hug It Out: Bearhug Challenge (88Wrestling)

Rex smells blood as he enters the ring against Chad. The most on-fire heel at 88 (and likely all of underground wrestling) likes beating guys up, and he's good at it, too. Knowing or just sensing that Chad is fresh off some bad run-ins with Ethan, Jett, and Chase, Rex relishes the prospect of making a quick and easy kill. In April, he told me he prefers fighting bigger guys because he "feels obligated to put them in their place." Watch closely his early assaults on the blond "maverick" at the start of this match, and tell me I'm lying when I say his eyes light up like hot coals every time he makes the blondie spasm and squirm. Anybody who thinks he's too small to fight six-foot-two Chad needs to study how closely he resembles a barracuda or badger when Rex strikes his guy. 

88 is big on ring games, and this bearhug challenge is its best to date. The first man to win three submissions with a bear hug wins the match. The nature of the game gives the tall blond an advantage that the intrepid five-seven Bedford lacks for all his Animal Planet spunk. And though Chad comes to the ring fresh from taking on Chase and Jett together, he's stoked for a big win against Rex. It's almost as if a whiff of Rex's fire inspires him to strike back with all pistons firing after Rex half succeeds in making Chad his personal bitch in the first three minutes. And Chad is not above fortifying his height and weight advantage with a cheap shot when a cheap shot is what is called for.

As the screen grabs above illustrate, Rex and Chad do not limit themselves to bearhugs. Though hugs are the only holds that count for tap-outs, both wrestlers know that they're not enough to take a man down. You have to weaken a guy first if you want the bearhug to have its full effect - and not even the splendid hug varieties in this match would be enough, by themselves, to hold my interest in this contest. And this contest holds my interest exceedingly well.

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