The hug as a device of torture is a sweet paradox. One man wrapping his arms around another man's waist, in a different context, is about tenderness and affection. When those arms are cinched tight, with the recipient squeezed hard, the intimacy of the embrace turns from tender to tortuous.
The mainstream pros do it at least as often as the homoerotic pros. When the musclegod Lex Luger clamped tight a bearhug, employing that stunning musculature in concentrated focus on the small of his opponent's back, it's no wonder that we could see not only pain, but fear on the faces of his victims. To be lifted off your feet and crushed against the sweaty, muscled torso of Luger must have been a nightmare for many, and surely a dream come true for at least a few.
The homoerotic pros, though, make explicit what's undeniably implicit in every wrestling bearhug: the bearhug is all about the interplay of sexual intimacy and sadistic domination. Classic Can-Amer Cliff Conlin was a master salesman. Watching the hairy-chested heel beating up on his opponents was always golden, but when some studly challenger like Dean Christian captured Cliff, lifted him off his feet, and squeezed him until he screamed, that was priceless.
When Brad Rochelle picked to pieces Jeff Phoenix in BG East's Fantasymen 18, the final and decisive fall was a long series of one impressive bearhug after another. Brad hoisted his man off his feet, pinned him against his pelvis, and squeezed the breath out of him until he passed out. Total control. Total domination.
David Taylor's repeated bearhugs on Rusty Stevens in Wrestle Bait are amazing, not only due to the ease with which David holds Rusty off his feet, but even more impressively the way that David remains hard as a board throughout. Rusty looks like he's sitting on that gorgeous cock of David's as it sticks out from between Rusty's ass cheeks perched in David's powerful embrace. Passionate suffering becomes passionate ecstasy, and the bearhug is the seamless border between the two.
And finally, I have to mention again the inspired pairing of Mitch Colby and Cole Cassidy in BG East's Ringwars 15. Mitch's beautiful body is flexed everywhichway as he drags Cole off his feet and lifts him high in his arms. The fantastic juxtaposition of Cole's delicious suffering and Mitch's cocky self-congratulations for his stunning domination makes my head spin. And what makes my head spin even more is reading Kid Leopard's teaser that the next BG East catalog will include a Wrestler Spotlight tape featuring three matches with Mitch! Sweet mother of God, someone has heard my prayers!