I caught a young, nicely muscled hottie in the gym locker room flexing in the mirror. Context is everything. I see (and appreciate) flexing in the work out room all the time. On the gym floor, posing is cocky, perhaps competitive, certainly exhibitionist. But in the locker room, a double bicep in the mirror is just gratuitous, narcissistic, and, frankly, incredibly hot.
The wrestling flex-pose is all about context, too, I think. The spontaneous surge of adrenalin that inspires a dominating victor to pump out a most-muscular makes sense. It's self-congratulatory, self-reveling, the exclamation point at the end of the statement, "I own you now!"
Prior to a match, the flex-pose is a little more like the gym bunny in the workout room. The two as-yet-untested studs flex for one another, to be seen by one another, to be compared with one another. The pre-match flex is about intimidation and psyching each other out, as in, "Just look at these muscles! This body is too much for you to handle." The pre-match flex sets the stage for the grappling, sometimes serving as the only real plot, as both men present their bids (I'm the strongest... my muscled arms will break you... my powerful thighs will squeeze you), and then as the match unfolds, they play their cards to see who actually has the best hand.
The flex-pose during the match is more like the self-worshipping muscle boy in the locker room, it seems to me. Once the action has begun, pausing to flash a lat-spread doesn't really make sense, other than to tell the story of the narcissist who simply can't get enough of his own hard body. The flex-pose in the course of a match is gratuitous, even risky, and often threatens the suspension of disbelief... oh, and did I mention, it's hot?
Classic Brit wrestler "Mr. Muscles" Johnny England seemed to enjoy portraying the self-worshipping musclehead in the ring. In his match against Steve Grey, his pre-match posing-to-intimidate just keeps going well after the bell rings. The match opening test of strength displays Mr. Muscles dominant power as he toys with his weaker opponent, alternately driving him to his knees and dragging him to the balls of his feet with a sneer (I admit to writing up that very scene in my wrestling fiction because it's so entirely tasty). England's straight-arm overhead press at 08:07 is one FANTASTIC use of a bodybuilder-wrestler. For my money, though he's clearly less heavily muscled, Steve Grey has by far the more worship-worthy bod in this match, and his peculiar move at 06:48 makes me think all sorts of naughty thoughts.
I recently saved up my pennies to take a look at Tyrell Tomsen's match against Braden Charron in StripStakes 1 (please, please, please let there be a StripStakes 2!). Neither of these body-beautifuls sell me on the action. There are some nice pec claws clamped onto Braden (tragically, the move is not reciprocated on Tyrell's gorgeous pecs). But Tyrell's body and his constant flex-posing (literally from frame one) is entrancing. Tyrell basically re-enacts the locker room scene I saw yesterday (or vice versa), as he worships his incredible muscles in the mirror - in the middle of his match. When he gets sweaty (perhaps relying a little on stagecraft), his stunning, naked, anatomy-chart of a body could be put to no better use than to flex... not for Braden, but for his own self-worship (and, of course, ours).
Finally, I can't help but mention the artistry of Brad Rochelle once again. His match against indy heel Kurt Kurtis in Hunkbash 7 reveals Brad's awesome presence and self-awareness in the ring. As the title of the tape would suggest, Brad gets bashed. But the first fall is a back-and-forth. Early on, Kurt calls out Brad, saying, "all those muscles can't help you now!" So Brad's luscious muscles become the subject of the first fall. Brad fights to prove that his muscles will destroy Kurt's guile. At one point, Brad has Kurt on his stomach, his lower legs being bent forward painfully. From behind his opponent, spontaneously, Brad flexes one of his beautiful baseball biceps. Brad helps us believe his self-worship, by monologuing, "You just wish you could see this," to his opponent who clearly can't see his posing. Brad makes sense of the mid-match flex for us, acknowledging that the posing is for his own self-congratulatory narcissism (of course, really, it's for you and me).
The wrestling flex-pose probably, in most cases, defies belief. It's extraneous to the contest. It's a distraction from the stated task of securing domination of one man's body. And personally, I'd have it no other way. Keep giving me my own, private show, that marries hot wrestling with unadulterated body worship.