Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fudging on the Promise


Rock Hard Wrestling is messing with the formula a bit, and I'm ambivalent about the results. RHW has promoted itself from day one (months before that, really) as promoting 100% Abercrombie caliber, rock hard wrestlers looking better than you've ever seen. A new addition to the stable, Ethan Andrews, is skinny as a rail, with buck teeth, hippy hair and shaggy sideburns. I'm not picturing Ethan in an Abercrombie ad. He's also not exactly rock hard, unless you count bones and tendons.

Zack of course, is Zack. He's as mouthwatering as always, and he epitomizes the seminal promise of RHW. He's rock hard, more handsome than should be legal, and perhaps the only thing that would keep him off the pages of Abercrombie he's just oozing too much overt sexuality.


I like the banter in this match. Pacing inside the ring, Ethan yells at Zack who'se pumping iron outside the ring, "Hey, douchebag! Hey, douchebag! Why don't you drop the dumbells and show me what you got!' Zack rises to the challenge instantly, incredulously asking if Ethan really thinks he can handle what Zack's packing. Ethan smacks his flat-as-a-board chest with confidence. "Bring it on!"



I continue to like Zack's development in wrestling. He's selling nicely. He continues to turn the corners of that shit-eating grin down, transforming it into a half-crazed, singularly focused glare like he's about to take a mouthful out of a pastrami sandwich. The match is back and forth from start to finish. Rope and corner abuse are sweet. Zack's reverse bearhug on Ethan is quite hot, using his clearly superior strength to shake the kid like a rag doll. Finally, an over-the-knee backbreaker (hooray!) catches Zack off guard, and he quickly gives up (too quickly... boooo).


Zack stays on script, getting caught more than once mugging for the camera, resulting in a surprise reversal or a rake to the eyes to trip up his momentum. Zack also pieces together some sweet combinations and chain moves that show a lot more confidence in the ring than I seem to remember of Zack from back in the day. Ethan takes nasty hold after nasty hold, finally screaming out his second fall submission racked in a backbreaker, flopping helplessly across Zack's buff shoulders.

 
Zack looks strong and commanding moving into round 3. Both boys have a fresh coat of wet on them to start the round, which may be a little too much stage craft, but I appreciate it. Zack's revenge over-the-knee backbreaker (hooray!) has Ethan screaming long and hard. When Ethan turns on the steam, he pounds Zack's belly just about as convincingly as I've seen anyone do it, and Zack's muscle belly is screaming out for pounding if you ask me. Abdominal stretch with punches and slaps to his abs for good measure makes Zack grunt out his final submission. Ethan flexes his biceps with his foot planted on Zack's chest in victory.


And in than instant, I scratch my head. Ethan shouldn't flex and preen like a bodybuilder or fitness model. It's just not in the cards. This match works as a big v little scenario, David v Goliath, skin-and-bones overcomes too-pretty gym bunny. I like the salesmanship from both boys. I love the pace. I'd like to see some slowing down of the holds that are really supposed to be long-held, strength-sapping, dominating maneuvers. But it's a little off script for what I've come to appreciate about RHW. A hunk bash by a skinny kid doesn't quite fit the formula. I don't hate it, by any means. It's entertaining. The production quality remains high. But I'm just ambivalent about the tinkering with the rock hard signature.

3 comments:

  1. Flexing for the sake of flexing has become an epidemic in gay wrestling. As a core idea, it has obvious appeal: bodies matter in pro wrestling, period, but get an even bigger pop from gay guys (along with faces--nobody ever mentions faces!!!). So showing it off is inherently enticing and has potential to push the story of the match in so many ways.

    But when everyone flexes, regardless of their body or looks or personality, it falls apart. The hotter guy generally loses most of the time. If he was hired in large part precisely because he looks good, then he loses almost all of the time. That's cool: there's the comeuppance gimmick--the hot guy flaunts his "superior" bod and gets put in his place--or there's the naive/inexperienced/but oh-so-tempting stud gets had/used. Either gimmick sells itself, particularly since both of those things are so rare in so-called straight wrestling. So, when the "hot" guy flexes, it works, particularly since by the end of the match he won't be moving much at all, let alone flaunting it.

    But when the other guy, the guy in control who may very well be particularly talented and deserving of his own attention, does the flexing, it throws everything off. I think it's supposed to be an "in your face" sort of thing, a whole, "you're more muscular but I pinned you/made you beg me to stop/knocked you out, so who's the stud?" sort of thing. But in actuality, it doesn't work like that. Most of the time it just ends up meaning that the guy who was hired to be the hot bod doesn't get much center screen time, while the guy who was hired for his skill ends up being photographed like the eye candy. It's a whole pointless role reverse in exactly the wrong way.

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  2. Bard,
    I should have suspected this of you long ago, I mean Chris Cuomo this, Chris Nogiec (that is one world class ass by the way) that, your all about the pretty boy.
    Though I have to admit that I found Ethan Andrews, AKA Axel on UCW more attractive in the monetesque download quality offered by UCW than the glaring, all the flaws identified, HD quality offered by Rock Hard, looks aside, the kids got talent. For me, the ability to fight always wins over looks. Doug Brandon from Can Am is a good example of this, despite his doughy body and shaved hard I found my dick getting hard every time he fought, and as his body matured, got defined and he grew out his hair, (body over time) his physique finally matched his ability and I no longer had to rationalize to others what made me hard for him.
    I have watched Zack wrestle, and I think you, or Joe, or maybe both of you have captured all that is right and wrong about him. But on some level, this scrawny, hippie haired fighter brought out something in Zack that others before had not, it might have been his best performance. For getting that out of the muscle bound Adonis, Ethan just might deserve his moment flexing in the sun.
    Topher

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  3. Topher, I protest... just a little. My tastes aren't limited to the pretty boy, but they certainly include him. I think Ethan does a decent job, compared to the caliber of wrestler RHW puts up. But my ever so gentle quibble is that he's off script. The skinny kid putting the beatdown on the muscleboy is a delightful story, but it's not entirely consistent with the RHW formula. And frankly, if the camera had lingered a bit to allow Ethan to snarl down at Zack, "All those muscles, but you just couldn't handle this," as he flexes, I think I'd be a little less startled by the flex. Kurt Kurtis told this story very well, I think, in his destruction of Brad Rochelle.... "all those muscles can't help you now, can they?"

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