Top Dog

Brock Hammer and Jimmy Reilly fight tough. They're not mad at each other, everything is above-board and sportsmanlike, but the two hold nothing back in trying to submit each other. Both are big, strong men who know how to grapple. They are "thinking" wrestlers, to be sure, as skilled and strategy-minded as chess masters, but their defining characteristic is reckless brute force. In this great new match from Movimus, nothing is only for show--no theatrical embellishments, no posturing, no svelte twinks, and no salon-tanned gym bunnies--just a couple of roughnecks who can handle themselves in a fight and who are determined to come out on top.

Tattooed, shaggy Reilly, 5'10", 195#, may be my favorite of the new crop of wrestlers Movimus has introduced this year. He's hot. His brawny build and sex appeal are hard for me to detail in words, but even before he engages his opponent, he exudes vigor and a certain rowdy quality I find irresistible. The company's still photos don't do him justice. This guy needs to be seen in motion to be fully appreciated, probably true of most good wrestlers. And he takes on his first match like gangbusters. Something about him makes me wish I could wrestle, because something about him makes me want to take him out for a test drive. He looks like he'd be fun to fight--not that he looks like easy pickings, in fact just the opposite--he looks hard to contain. Brock certainly has his hands full with him. 

Hammer, 6'2", 215#, is pure, unadulterated aggression. His looming ego is matched only by his iron will and grappling expertise. Movimus dubbed his match in August, against Travis Carter, as the "battle of the beef." The man is big, hairy, and hot-tempered. You bump up against this guy, and you're gonna feel like a crash-test dummy. His black cowlicky hair seems symbolic of his overall unruliness. He's a talker and a taunter on the mats, not my favorite traits in a wrestler, but far from turnoffs. He wastes no time on opening banter with Jimmy, taking the newcomer down in the first five seconds of Round 1. Keeping Jimmy down is a little harder to do. "Top dog" that he is, Brock issues a steady stream of taunts, some of them snarky encouragements for Jimmy to keep on fighting, some of them plain statements of the fact that Hammer may be just too much wrestler for Reilly to take on in his debut.

Hammer keeps Reilly on the defensive, tying the punk into all kinds of knots. He wears his opponent down with a steady offense, making sure that Jimmy breaks a sweat before he does, and while he maintains a composed tone of voice, almost professorially equanimous, he reduces Jimmy to animal groans and squawks. Brock knows how to hurt a guy and make him feel small. That much is certain. In five minutes, almost to the second, he gets the submission he's looking for.

Hammer pulls out the best Reilly has to give, and vice versa. The second round is more hardly fought than the first. Jimmy's not going to roll over for this guy, no matter how daunting he is as competition, and the rigors of the match seem to energize the will to win in both fighters, even while exhausting them physically. This, I think, is a quality that makes wrestling exciting: two bodies pushing themselves to the brink, in spite of the wear and tear of continuous exertions. In particular, this is a quality of singles competition, man against man, with nobody to tag in for relief. Jimmy thrusts Brock away with his powerful legs. Brock hauls Jimmy up for what looks like it's going to be a pro-style bodyslam, but then sets him down, having made the point that he's got the muscle and control to come out on top. The round climaxes with a tradeoff of killer headscissors that determine whose thighs have the most crushing pressure.

Fast learner Reilly gets stronger and more aggressive with each round. Having a hard-as-nails opponent brings out his best. This kind of drive is exhilarating to watch. Each man revs up the other man, so much hotter than the typical rookie beatdown, where a heel destroys not only his opponent's body but also his will to fight back. Round 3 opens with Jimmy putting Brock in a long, agonizing, and seemingly inescapable hold. On the brink of total paralysis and against all reasonable hope, Brock muscles out, but just barely. Jimmy won't be deterred. This fight gets hotter (and, amazingly, more even) the longer it goes. Movimus has produced a classic here, reinforcing Brock Hammer's place as a major star of the mats and initiating a fiery new talent in Jimmy Reilly. After this 24-minute thriller, consider me a huge fan of both these guys.


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