Good Clean Fun
Duke vs Cap, No Holds Barred 122 (Thunder's Arena)
Technical difficulties kept me from seeing this match sooner, but it was worth the wait. Cap and Duke are well balanced as opponents and in excellent shape, and the Arena wisely keeps the contest simple and real - no story but the struggle to win, an uncomplicated setting of mats and makeshift drapes. No effort is made to hide the still-camera photographer reclining to get mat-level shots of the action. Neither wrestler is keen on talk. Titles tell us that the shooting had to stop and restart because Duke hurt his neck. True to the series title, no holds are barred, so guts get punched and balls get squeezed. The match does not stand out in any way, but it's solid ... and stimulating.
Duke and Cap both are the sort of muscly jocks whose company I sought out in my youth. Cap, in particular, looks like he would have fit right in to the Florida Christian high school I attended in the Nixon years. So, for me, there's an element of nostalgia in my enjoyment of the match. I'm not sure why the jocks back then put up with my company, except who doesn't like to be worshiped? Awkward physically and socially, I was still sturdily built and game enough to be a wrestling dummy for the guys - a good workout, if not the ablest competition. We even wrestled in rather provocative (for the times) briefs (back when they were still called underpants): light, stretchy, bikini-cut, animal prints.
Duke vs Cap is credible and unpretentious. The small array of holds and moves are well executed and conducive to the sort of roughhouse one might expect in a dorm room or barracks - nothing more, but they really work in this low-key context. I like that Duke is showing more emotion in his fights of late, though occasionally he falls back on the stolid and unflinching face that was his one and only expression a year ago - but, in a new context, it now has force. Cap is eager, strikingly good looking, a classic boy-next-door type. My only regret is I wish I had waited before buying this match because right now Thunder's is selling it packaged with Cap's fight with Blayne at a good price.
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