Born to Bully

I can think of several reasons Rock Hard Wrestling's Brian Baker needs to be a bully. He's big--6'4", 205#. He's got the scruffy hair of the archetypal schoolyard terror. He's got a menacing sneer, lips parting at the corner to flash a jagged canine. In the end, he shows no compunction about drawing and quartering his much smaller opponent, fellow Rock Hard recruit Luke Harrison, 5'10", 140#. 

Luke and Brian face each other in their sophomore appearance, having been broken in by Josh Steel and Austin Cooper, respectively, in Catalog 14. Oddly it's Harrison who talks like a bully as he enters the ring, practically begging Baker to knock his block off. Brian may need to order up some Rosetta Stone software to Learn to Talk Shit, but he certainly doesn't have any qualms about stomping Luke to the mat and applying a claw hold to his abs.

The two neophytes run a little slow through most of Round 1, however. They need to work on the balletic and dramatic aspects of catch wrestling. Somebody needs to show them how to work the ropes more. But even in their reluctance to throw themselves at each other, balls to the wall, there's something real about the way they square off. My memory of schoolyard fights is a lot like this: both boys a little scared, a little hesitant, though fascinated by the violence in which they're about to engage, both kind of surprised to find themselves in a situation they previously have only seen on TV. When Brian says, "I'll break your arm," I was taken back to a scuffle in sixth grade during recess, when stuff like this was said as a fair warning and not yet as the chef's special at the S&M Cafe. 

After an iron claw submission brings Round 1 to a close, the action gets a lot bolder, when they stop worrying about how they look on camera and start concentrating on giving each other hell. Brian's more comfortable in displaying his size and power advantage over Luke, considerably more enthusiastic about pasting the sole of his white boots to the small of his opponent's back. On the mat, Brian effectively stretches the shorter wrestler out, loosening up five or six vertebrae in the process. When he again presses Luke back to the ropes with an iron claw to the forehead, he's clearly tapping into his heel instincts now, seething as he huffs and puffs through his teeth, a trickle of sweat sliding down the side of his neck. 

In Round 2 we get a good hard look at the bully Brian Baker is obviously meant to be. At last the monster's out of the box, and it's a joy to behold. I'm liking this big bad guy.


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