Like Joe, I was captured by the sight of Rock Hard Wrestling’s new match teaser, pitting two new fighters from their roster. Since my copy of Tag Team Wrestling 12 didn’t arrive yet, and since I have a well-documented lack of impulse control, I decided to taste another sample from RHW in the mean time.
I still say that RHW’s trend is in tact. This latest match is another incremental improvement on what they’ve done thus far. The new boys are stunning. Apparently Tyler Reeves is Czech. In not sure how the name and the ethnicity add up, but this is all about suspending disbelief anyway, right? So the long, pale Czech, Tyler, is fiercely enthusiastic from go. His opponent, Cody Nelson, for the life of me looks like the love child of fellow RHW battler, Zack Johnathan and BGE alum, Justin Pierce (who despite his profile page at BGE is not, actually, 4′ tall). I realize that both timing and anatomy make this scenario impossible, but let’s just keep going with the suspension of disbelief (it’s going to come in handy a little later).
Where RHW has made improvements is primarily in pacing. These muscleboys are continually selling, mixing up strikes, slams and submission holds and well-placed strutting breathers as one man steps back and surveys the damage he’s inflicted thus far. For my tastes, it’s a two-steps-forward/one-step-back situation, though (which if my math skills work, still counts as progress). What they’ve gained from pacing 17 minutes of smooth action and transitions, they’ve lost with some poor sliced-in cuts in the action and a few really, really unfortunate pulled punches (to the point of being laughable). At a few glaring places, both boys are nowhere near connecting and then overselling the blatant misses. One particularly egregious case right at the 6:00 mark shows a close up of Cody diving on top of Tyler and then swinging wide, in an apparent move to punch him in the gut. The excellent camera work is perhaps a little too excellent, though, as we get a close up look at Cody pounding his fist into his own hand as Tyler grunts and writhes. When Cody loses that fall humiliatingly, I applaud it as punishment for his lapse in salesmanship.
In addition to pacing, though, what’s working here includes a new ring that apparently is safer for slams, as these boys lift and throw one another down repeatedly and satisfyingly throughout. They talk, taunting and baiting one another, which is a HUGE improvement over a couple notable RHW matches. They nearly tell a story, with an actual story arc. The start of round 3 with both boys sprayed down is a little obvious, and yet I’m always a sucker for a wet muscle fighter. They cobble together some sweet moves that turn me on. In particular, when Tyler has a dazed Cody bent forward over the top rope, repeatedly pounding his fists into Cody’s ribs, I’m seriously happy. But when Cody takes the second fall by lifting Tyler cradled against his chest and then dropping him down in an over-the-knee-backbreaker, I am sold. Tyler gives way (WAY) too quickly to entirely satisfy me (that bitch), but the whole thing is nicely executed and plays to this audience of 1.
Other than production quality and convenience, I still say that there are others that pull this off better and with more satisfyingly explicit homoerotic text. But I just can’t help myself but watch and appreciate RHW for the good, solid work that they’re doing to build a brand. Now I’m waiting to see Cody teach papa Zack a relentless and long overdue lesson in salesmanship.