Friday, November 23, 2012

"Remember, it's wrestling!"

Brendan Cage earned his homocredibility in the work he did in the ring for Cam-Am.  In Pro Tagteam Sex Battle 1, the handsome stud teamed up with porn tidal wave, Aryx Quinn, to physically, psychologically, and yes, sexually dominate mouthwatering former homoerotic wrestler of the month, Landon Mycles/Marcus Mojo and his partner Jake Lyons.  Brendan likes cock.  He also clearly likes pounding his cock up the ass of hot muscle hunks.  So when Brendan invaded the living room of Thunder's Arena, I took notice.

Brendan Cage pays $400 for 25 minutes of "wrestling" with Braden Charron
Brendan brings the most overtly homoerotic element to Thunder's Arena that I've seen yet.  For example, in Halloween Havoc 2012 he apparently went on the internet and found Braden Charron, looking as hard and ripped as we've ever seen him, advertising for some private, recreational wrestling services.  The offer of $400 by Brendan lures beautiful Braden to the Thunder's mat room, where a hungry Brendan instantly begins to devour the tanned muscle god with his eyes.  "Pretty, pretty nice," Brendan says with his mouth, though his eyes are screaming, Fuck, yes!  "You know a little bit about wrestling?" he asks.  Of course you and I know that Braden knows a lot about wrestling.  Or, at the very least, we can testify that Braden has logged some crazy hot hours in the ring and on the mat, for the most part getting his juicy muscle ass squashed in one bashing defeat after another at the eager hands of some of BG East's most fierce grapplers.  "Are you ready to earn your $400 today?" Brendan asks, giving Braden an unsolicited, hearty squeeze of his huge, sculpted tricep.

"Remember, it's wrestling!"
"Remember, it's wrestling!" Braden cautions. "This isn't a muscle worship thing!" And therein lies the paradox.  Thunder's Arena is unquestionably about both wrestling and muscle worship.  It's unmistakably pitched directly at a gay wrestling kink audience.  But typically Thunder's relies on us to read between the lines, to supply our own heat to the pounding muscles of their strong suit: massive, meaty bodybuilders going toe-to-toe in mostly fun-and-games wrestling with frequent drift into selling competition, egos, and lusty desires to dominate.  It's wrestling.  Undoubtedly.  It's also "a muscle worship thing," despite Braden's protest.  But lately Brendan Cage is connecting the implicit and explicit stories written into the fabric of Thunder's Arena more openly and enthusiastically than I've seen before.  In some ways, he embodies the role that Thunder's plays in the homoerotic wrestling genre, creating a virtual universe in which straight bodybuilders grapple lightheartedly in g-strings and speedos, explicitly staying this side of "straight" wrestling, while giving an unmistakable nod to the other side of that line, where the homoeroticism of wrestling draws those like you and me.  Brendan's frequent eyebrow wags at the camera are not-so-subtle signals that he's turned on by beautiful Braden.  He's offered $400 for a private session not just to wrestle, but to feed a hunger for getting his hands all over big Braden's famously hot bod.  In short, Brendan is one of us, my friends, and he's slipped in the back door of Thunder's Arena to enjoy the fratboy hijinks there the way you and I have been imagining for ourselves for years.

Braden cops a feel, here or there, tempting Brendan farther down the path...
He wraps his arms around Braden  almost lovingly and turns him to the camera.  Brendan's bright, blue eyes give us a knowing wink as he reaches around and feels Braden's famously luscious pecs.  "Remember... wrestling," Braden warns.  "I know, I know... I'm just fucking with you," Brendan says with a smirk, wagging his eyebrows at the camera once more.

"Yeah, I'm ready, but this ain't touchy-feely!"
It's Brendan's $400, so Braden obeys his instructions to get down on all fours.  Brendan slides in behind him, pressing his crotch against Braden's fantasyman ass and sliding his hand slowly around the muscle hunk's narrow waist in order to squeeze his right pec.  "Just let me know when you're ready," Brendan purrs.  Braden growls threateningly, "Yeah, I'm ready, but this ain't touchy-feely!"  "I know!" Brendan grins, "this is the position you get in.  This is called the opening stance."  He digs his fingers into Braden's massive traps.

There's a fine line between a passionate hug and an erotic bearhug.
"Is this opening stance or a massage!?" Braden protests again.  But he doesn't flinch, really.  He doesn't shove Brendan's exploring hand away.  So Brendan slaps Braden's ass. When Braden doesn't complain, he slaps it again.  "Cut the shit, and let's wrestle!" Braden snaps, his patience finally wearing thin.  He wants to wrestle, and just playing a game of ass-grab isn't on the menu (so maybe it's actually Braden who's really "one of us" in this scenario!).

"You really don't like this!?" Brendan asks incredulously.
They do wrestle, and it's hot action.  Brendan hoists his musclebunny off his feet in a lovely bear hug, before slamming his back to the mat and mounting his ass provocatively.  He spends a lot (alotalotalot) of the 24 minutes of this match mounted across Braden's back, shoving the muscleboy's face into the mat and grinding his crotch into Braden's bubble-muscle-butt.  He keeps dialing up the sexual tension, groaning lustfully as he pumps his hips, until he crosses some invisible line that pisses Braden off.  Where is that line, up to which Braden will permit Brendan to stroke, squeeze, and grind, but beyond which he's not willing to go, even for $400?  That's pretty much the eternal question gay man have been asking through the ages, haven't they, playing fratboy hijinks with their macho buddies, psychologically masterbating off of the sublimated intimacy while upping the ante, bit by bit, to test whether the defensive heterosexuality is merely a veneer overtop of a deep down cocklust?

"Yeah, come on, that don't bother ya!"
Braden catapults Braden off of him when near-pin morphs into a some rousing worship of his massive biceps and sculpted pecs.  "That's not my thing!" Braden protests.  "If I wanted a massage, I'd go down the street."  "Take it easy man, take it easy," Brendan smirks, reminding Braden he's earning $400 to walk that fine line with him.  Brendan's rides the wave across most of the best of what Braden offers, including those mountainous biceps and pecs, but also including slapping and even kissing his ass. "You really don't like this?" Brendan asks, his crotch pressed tightly against Braden's ass as he squeezes tight to a full nelson.  "Really?" he repeats incredulously.  Braden complains, "I just thought we were gonna wrestle!"

"Oh, yeah, it's just wrestling, man!" Brendan mocks.
Of course, 30 seconds later, Braden is the one who's the first to rip off his opponent's baggy shorts to reveal Brendan's speedo underneath.  The smile that stretches across Brendan's surprised face is priceless.  He spins around in shock and gives Braden another appraising look.  Is he, or isn't he?  Just how far can he take this mouthwatering brick house?!  "Oh, yeah, it's just wrestling, man!" Brendan mocks, even as Braden immediately starts to protest that he's just here for above board athletic competition.  Sensing a green light to go another block, Brendan returns the favor and peels Braden down to a bikini-bottom.  "This is good!" Brendan laughs.  "You're having fun with me right? You're having fun?"  Braden isn't exactly enthusiastic in response, but he doesn't quite give his lustful benefactor the red light, either.

Brendan leans in extra close in a distracted test of strength
A test of strength looks like Brendan is in way over his head as Braden begins to power up, but when the salt-n-pepper daddy leans in and rests his cheek on the muscleboy's flexing pec, Braden loses his concentration and quickly ends up on his back again.  "Look at that muscle!" Brendan marvels, pinning his opponent's wrists to the mat.  He leans in and kisses Braden's right bicep.  "Does that bother you?" he asks, doing the same to the left bicep.  He slides his hips forward and rests his pouch on Braden's chin, laughing.  "You gotta admit, this is pretty fun!"  Braden grimaces and turns his mouth away, but he doesn't exactly "say no."  "Does that bother ya?" Brendan asks, slapping Braden's cheeks with his cock stretching the fabric of his speedo.  "Yeah, come on, that don't bother you.  I know how you are."

"I'll keep feelin'; you keep squeezin'!"
Braden acknowledges the attention that Brendan is paying to his stunningly hot legs and offers his benefactor the opportunity to feel their power in a headscissors.  "Yeah, okay!" Brendan accepts eagerly.  Brendan strokes his opponent's muscles wrapped around his skull lustily, making Braden threaten to squeeze harder.  "Go ahead!" Brendan says through clenched teeth.  "I'll keep feelin', you keep squeezin'!"  The headscissors turns into a schoolboy pin, with Braden slapping his low-hanging pouch across his opponent's cheeks in retribution.  "Remember that? This is the way you like it, right?" The smile stretched across Brendan's face is a crystal clear answer.

This is, most definitely, the way Brendan likes it!
What else do you get for $400 and 25 minutes with Braden Charon?  Brendan requests the pleasure of being captured in Braden's side headlock and trying to escape.  Braden crushes him mercilessly, though the proximity of Brendan's captured face to his opponent's bulging pouch doesn't seem to be entirely "punishment."  Later, Braden allows Brendan to stroke his washboard abs for a few seconds before saying, "Okay, that's enough of that."  Stroke his abs? No, but Braden will let you punch his abs.  And he'll raise his arms and let you lift him off his feet in a bearhug, and then treat you to the same just to show you what it feels like to have all that muscle wrapped around you.

$200, right?
"Come here, man.  That's good.  That was very fun!" Brendan finally embraces his wrestle rentboy, slapping him on those pecs he so admires.  But wait, was it $400 or $200 they agreed on?  When Braden confesses he doesn't actually have $400 on him, he may have crossed the line once and for all.  Trying to bargain Braden down after the fact earns a suddenly panicked Brendan a fireman's carry out of Thunder's Arena to be forcibly transported to the nearest ATM to pay up.

There's a morality tale or two in this match.  There's something here to be said about the dangers of playing the "just how straight are you?" game with your buddies.  Of course, real fans who know of Braden's work from his Randy Blue days know that he'll go a lot farther, but presumably $400 won't cover the ground he staked out for RB.   I also think there's a morality tale about walking that delicate line between appealing to a homoerotic wrestling audience while simultaneously appealing to a more closeted, just-this-side-of-the-line gay audience whose closet boundaries may be less threatened by strictly straight-up wrestling than full on porn.  It's a dangerous line to walk, with pitfalls both for straying too close or keeping too safe a distance away from the line.  I have to think that there a lot of you who are like me (and Brendan) who harbor a serious lust to see the beautiful bodybuilders of Thunder's Arena more exposed, infused with more erotic content, slapped down, felt up, squeezed and kissed in exchange for suffering domination at the hands of a randy wrestling opponent.  I for one am glad to see someone like Brendan Cage facing the danger head on and pushing that line (both Braden's and Thunder's).

11 comments:

  1. I love Thunder's Arena, but the Brenden Cage storyline is both deliciously sick at times and troubling, perhaps even unintentionally insulting to us gay fans. Past Halloween treats from the Arena have given us vampires and ghouls, but now we get predatory homosexuals? They exist, to be sure, and they are indeed scary, but I have to wonder where the gay audience is supposed to fit in to all this. The other gay-targeted wrestling companies do pretty much the same thing and not just at Halloween, with predacious bosses and fights prompted by one guy staring at another guy's muscled body for a bit too long--and fans join in the creepy fun by using the comments sections to make unseemly passes at much younger wrestlers they don't even really know. I like to think it's all just innocuous teasing and flirting, but sometimes I wonder. Is the real message here that we must tone down or even suppress the erotic aspects of our love of wrestling--or pretend they are something other than what they are? Or, conversely, are we being told that sexual harassment is okay?

    I don't think I'm being overly sensitive about this because I too love gay-identified heels and villains in movies, even though often the innocent victims are straight-identified guys--even when we all know that the "victims" aren't actually 100% "straight." I love James Bond's now famous comeback to his effeminate interrogator in the new film Skyfall--which at once recognizes the villain's overstepping of a line yet manages not to condemn the homoerotic attraction itself. Told there's a "first time" for everything, as the bad guy fondles his chest, Bond replies, "What makes you think this is my first time?" It would have been a great response for Braden to make to Brenden--or perhaps even to us fans if and when we step a little out of line.

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    1. I completely respect your take on this, Joe, of course! And I think this is part of what I was trying to get at in noting the "dangerous" quality of dancing around the line that Brendan's character dances around in Halloween Havoc. I think of him less as predatory (though his match with Geo veers more that direction) than playing the guy who's trying to feel out whether his partner in crime is as "straight" as it seems, and I admit to having been down that road far too often in my own life. I don't pick up a "gay panic" hit off of Braden's response, which would have sent me much farther down the path that the match seems to have sent you. Braden's boundaries appear to me more about "what you get for $400," though he does make a couple of off-handed comments about "I'm not into that." But those comments, taken in the context of Braden also being the first to forcibly remove his opponent's shorts, don't push my "victim" button. And the real line-crossed in the narrative is Brendan trying to weasel out of paying the agreed upon rent. Braden doesn't seem the worse for wear for either the pinch-'n'-tickle or the wrestling, until Brendan attempts to shortchange him.

      I don't think you're being overly sensitive, but I also don't read this story as really casting Brendan as a heel or villain at all. Like so many first fumblings into the self-discovery of homoerotic wrestling kink (or perhaps I should just speak for myself!), perhaps this awkward step will take Thunder's deeper into owning up to what's really going on... they're entertaining a gay audience that gets off on wrestling. Hope so, at least.

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    2. Thanks, Bard. And I agree.

      Big Sexy, another one of the Arena's stars and a particular interest of mine, has always been a model of the way a straight wrestler ought to view the homoerotic aspects of his sport (or aspects of it as we kinksters tend to see them), that is, with acceptance and good humor, even a bit of unexpected empathy.

      And I might have been thrown off somewhat by the "Halloween" theme of Brenden's latest two matches. I like both Brenden and Braden--A LOT--so I would not want to leave you with the impression that either of them has offended my sensitivities about sex.

      My own "sensitivities" vary with the wind, as you know. And I did not mean to imply that your review had missed the mark in its insights to this particular contest, which is (in fact) amazing in many respects. I only wanted to voice my own ambivalence about the ways pro wrestling and gay underground wrestling address their gay audience. On the one hand, I would never want them to "walk on eggshells" because somebody like me might misread their intent or get a slight queasy feeling about it all from time to time. On the other hand, I do not like to be told (outright or indirectly) that my erotic response to wrestling is "wrong" ... or even ridiculous.

      My issue is, most of all, with myself, as I am both drawn to and skeptical about certain kinds of sexual scenarios that sometimes get played out in wrestling entertainment and in my own fantasies. Having escaped decades of self-loathing over my sexual orientation, I would hate to feel that I dip back into it through my passion for wrestling. Nevertheless, it's something I toy with from time to time -- guilt and loathing making good grist for a story, even if totally out of line for a life.

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    3. I recognize those "issues," too. I've written off entire wrestling-porn sites that seriously cater to the gay predator/gay panic story line repeatedly. That said, I'm not sure what part of the Braden/Brendan match is Halloween-themed, so perhaps there was intended to be a "creepy" text/sub-text, in which case I'm on the side of "this is insulting" crowd. Ambivalence. Disagreement. Contention. Provocation. Hey, this must be art!

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  2. Interesting conversation, guys. I wasn't sure whether to respond or how to respond if I did, but here goes.

    Only speaking for myself, I don't like this direction at all. I'm definitely on the derogatory and insulting side. I say that as someone who really, really likes Brendan Cage's match against Big Sexy. I wish he was that character in his other matches, but we now have three of his four matches where he's this creepy, limit-ignoring predator, each time ending up with someone being carried to the bedroom against their will. I didn't get the impression they were headed to any ATM, unless Brendan can get there on his knees and it's located in his bedroom.

    It has definitely negatively impacted the odds of any future purchases from Thunder's Arena by me. If you're going to work so hard at (and be so insistent about) it not being gay and just being wrestling for as long as Thunder's Arena has, I don't think this is an appropriate first entry. It's probably been popular, but they don't have the credibility to offer this up nor the lens to make it work, in my opinion.

    I think I'd rather save up my money for whenever BGE joins the 21st century and offers downloads.

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    1. Well, if Braden is taking Brendan off camera with the idea of making him pay the other $200 worth of his bill off with being forced to give head, then this match sort of looks like a lot of the more explicit gay wrestling products out there from BGE and Can-Am. I'd be more upset if the whole scene had ended with Braden pissed and no longer "playing," but now intent on doing Brendan serious harm (creepy predator gets punished). I don't read that in this at all, however. Perhaps knowing Braden's range from Randy Blue prompts me to let Thunder's off the hook too quickly, but I get the impression that Braden is having a very good time, on or off the clock, horsing around with Brendan, including getting his ass literally kissed. "Impression" being the operative word, I suppose. It's not the word on the page as much as it is the image conjured by the reader, really, that defines that a text means. If you see this match and are left with the impression that Brendan's a creepy predator, then Thunder's has to deal with that, just as much as they get some easy publicity from me reviewing it and finding it largely entertaining.

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  3. Guys, come on. John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer are "homosexual predators." An exceptionally attractive bodybuilder offering to pay an even more exceptionally attractive bodybuilder $400 to be his passive plaything in a wrestling match does not an instance of homosexual predation make. In fact, I'd call it a surprisingly savvy bit of insight from Thunder's Arena: that a bodybuilder as pumped, handsome and ripped as Braden can be "had" for a buck is a huge fantasy for his fans.

    If anything, Thunder's Arena actually plays it rather clean with this match. It's a Holiday Themed match, a trope they've used in the past to introduce a few gimmicks they use normally. For example, "Z-Man's Holloween: Trick or Treat" way back in 2008 featured our titular hero at his most mock arrogant getting jumped, jobbed and KO'ed by his initial Thunder's foil Sebastien. It all builds to a spot where Seb ties Zack up with duct tape and "mercilessly" assaults him with a steel chain, as if Seb's a mythical fiend a la Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger or any number of nightmare beasts, ultimately punching Zack in the jaw and Zack spitting out a copious amount of red goo. Would I find any of that sexy in real life? Hell to the no! But on a wrestling video, well... no I still don't find the idea of a guy being beaten so much he spits up blood particularly enticing. But I do accept it as an extreme manifestation of the basic Hunkbash fantasy. Above all, I give Zack, Sebastien and Thunder's props for having the balls to try it.

    More importantly, Braden is presented less as passive victim than willing participant. In fact, I'd speculate that the story hews more closely to both wrestlers' real life experiences than many might suspect, hint, hint. Bard impressively analyzes the tongue in cheek (ha!) side of the banter. 400 bucks is Brenden's ruse to lure Braden into some compromising positions. It's also Braden's ruse for accepting them. When Braden gets in the referee's position (aka, on all fours), he doesn't flinch or gasp or recoil in horror; he arches his back and spreads his knees, as if he's getting into better position but really just shaking his moneymaker (ha! That's literal!). Overall, I thought the way Brenden and Braden played the line of how so many standard wrestling stances look like sex positions (Doesn't the G-R clinch look like a lover's embrace? Muay Thai like one wrestler is coaxing the other's head down for a blow job? The ref's position like the guy is about to scream, "Fuck me, with actual gay sex!") was one of the most brilliant things I've seen in gay wrestling in years, truly a "Why hasn't anyone done this before" sort of thing.

    The denouement with Braden carrying Brenden out is truly left to the viewer's imagination. I guess that's the thing: it all boils down to where the viewer's coming from, to use a mangled version of a cliche. If you think implied gay sexual voraciousness is offensive, that there's a line between "real" wrestlers and mere eye candy or that what ends up on tape sometimes is a cinematic record of one guy violating the other's limit, well... you will be offended by a host of matches. Personally, I'm way more offended by speculation that presents specific wrestlers as somehow less capable than others when they're specifically hired, trained, valued and, yes, paid to do exactly what they do.

    In light of that, to our esteemed bloggers, Bard and Joe, I've been wondering since the last catalog came out what you think of Rio vs. Z-man? I ask because you both took each worker to task for not being competitive in a lot of their matches, particularly with opponents who you seemed to think outclassed them in skill and bravado. Since this is a match between equals, it would seem to be designed with your tastes in mind.

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    1. Hey Josh. Haven't seen the Rio/Z-Man match yet, but I'm looking forward to it. For the record, while I've "taken to task" Rio and Z-Man for several reasons, I've also celebrated and even praised them both as well, including tapping Z-Man to join the ranks of former homoerotic wrestlers of the month around here. And as for me, I love a hot, sexy squash from time to time, so I think you mischaracterize my critiques. An unequal yoking can make for wildly hot wrestling.

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  4. Ah, I had a long, nice comment but I lost it because of my browser... Just wanted to say that in my opinion, calling this predatory or philosophising on the effects of the "gay image" is going overboard.

    Perhaps Braden really just wanted a regular wrestling match. Perhaps this was just the intended script, a fantasy of seeing how far you can go in a situation like this. I'm sure we've all had one like this at some point in our lives.

    Maybe I'm just simplifying things, or thinking with my other head :) but speaking of that, I just wanted to say that I love Braden and he's one of my all-time faves. If there were shirts with his image or briefs I'd wear them proudly.

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  5. I would really like to say a lot about this, but English being my second language makes it difficult for me to really express what is going through my head. So I'll just try to resume all of my the best way I can.

    Although the plot for Brendan's matches at TA have revolved around this same wrestling-for-hire, (or found-you-on-craiglist) theme, the first minutes of the match seemed really believable to me. I did feel uncomfortable watching those first 7 minutes of the match, in part because it made me feel alienated. One of the things I have come to appreciate the most from being gay is the need to respect everyone's space and limits. So watching the intro to the match did make myself question if this is a reflection of how I enjoy wrestling, and how I would act if I was in that place.

    I think part of the issue comes from me knowing this is, at least, planned or scripted action and yet being very believable to me. I don't know if the language barrier has to do anything here, but I found both Brendan's acting and Braden's responses to be very credible, which is distant from the usual edited matches, where you can see the guys being lost and looking for instructions from behind cameras.

    And past the first 7 minutes of the match or so, I get again this is TA, that everything is a fantasy and to me everything goes back to normal.

    I don't think TA may have produced these matches planning to alienate part of their consumers, but I can bet they knew they were pushing boundaries and that it was going to generate buzz. To me, what is being discussed here is just the core of TA's existence. I know what I'm not going to see at TA, yet I'm really willing to check out from time to time how far their "straight" action will go.

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  6. I think this is an awesome discussion, and I'm thrilled to see so many different voices represented. I hope that we do "wrestle" with what the homoerotic wrestling we watch says about us as well as what we say to those who produce the homoerotic wrestling we watch. I suspect the different reads that we have on the Brendan/Braden match have to do with our unique tastes and learning histories, so it's no wonder that reactions range. However, the fact that we embody "diverse tastes" shouldn't let producer's off the hook for feeling the implicit challenge here to think the implications of their products beyond just making another buck. I hope that folks at Thunder's and the rest of the companies that produce wrestling for a gay audience are paying attention!

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