Dramatic Lighting 101
Davey Richards vs Lio Rush, DEFY3, 26 May 2017 (Combat Zone Wrestling)
At last somebody's getting the lighting right for ring wrestling, stark and glaring, recreating the backroom smoker ethos of decades ago. The camerawork is aces, too, and Davey and Lio are as fine wrestlers as you can find anywhere, with sweat glands working overtime. The weak spot is the wrestling. It has its moments, when Rush and Richards punch, kick, and hurl each other with the passion of back-alley fighters--or Davey's slow roll, weary and battered, to the ring apron, caught in a stunning closeup shot. The other stuff, the cartoon choreography, impressive as it is for what it is, just cannot compete with the drawn-out grunt-n-groan rasslin' of days of yore, with headlocks that lasted for days and corner mount poundings that seemed to be pulled from the recesses of the id. Richards and Rush are fully capable of the old-school sort of pounding intensity--the evidence is right here, even in this match--but today there's not much of a market for the old-timey stuff. The flipping and flying entertain a wider audience, even people who don't much care for wrestling. Nevertheless, Richards and Rush imbue it all with the spirit and drama of rock-em-crush-em wrestling--they keep the show moving at a pace (too fast to suit me), wowing the crowd when they could be creating an agonizingly cathartic experience, which, ultimately, this event, for all its technical strong points, is not.