I’ve been hard on poor Zack Johnathan (aka Zack Vazquez) in the past. Of course, he’s deserved it. He’s ruined more than a few wrestling matches that I’ve been hot to watch, due to his poor salesmanship, his shit-eating self-conscious grinning, and his weakness in delivering or taking receipt on punishment in any convincing way. His body is incredible, but he’s been getting on my nerves in the ring.
I’m so pleased to report that Zack has entertained me pretty much from start to finish in his latest match for Rock Hard Wrestling. I’d have given this pitch a pass if it hadn’t been for my complete trust in the bulls eye delivery of Zack’s opponent, Brody Hancock (aka Reese Wells). This is a “revenge” match after Brody appropriately punished the model boy early in RHW’s inception. Zack arrives ready to even the score.
And shock of shocks, Zack delivers!!! His banter is much less self-conscious. He occasionally lets that shit-eating grin peek out, but he pretty quickly twists it into a focused, dominating sneer every time. And Zack’s wrestling is significantly improved, in my opinion. Zack delivers combination holds like a pro. Early in the match, he yanks boy-Brody off his feet by his throat, suspending him over his head in a sweetly convincing choke. Then smooth as silk, Zack slides Brody’s body down his own into a confidently snapped-on high bearhug. And without too much melodrama, Zack quickly sprints across the ring and drives Brody’s back into the turnbuckle. This is way more delivery and skill than I’ve come to expect from Zack.
Of course, by no means is this sale all about Zack. Dependably, Brody works this match with like the hard, hot workhorse he always is. His gear is a distinct improvement, and I’m thinking Brody is packing on some more muscle on that whipcord body that he’s making good use of. In answer to Zack’s cocky taunt, “How did you like my choke?,” Brody answers by raking Zack’s eyes across the top rope and demanding, “What did you think of that, huh?!” Later in the match, Brody has Zack pinned chest-first in the ropes, at which point he reaches over Zack’s head and shoves his fingers into the model boy’s nostrils, prying Zack’s nose upward. The gratuitous baseball pump at the end of round one illustrates the marvels of Brody’s beautiful body, though I have to note that he’s packing on enough muscle that I’m no longer wondering where he’s hiding those guns.
But still, for all the crap I’ve given Zack, I just have to say again that he just about redeems himself in this match. He’s working hard and innovating, such as countering a camel clutch by muscling his way to his feet with Brody still clamped to his back. Zack’s boston crab tapout submission totally sells me in a way that I just haven’t bought Zack’s submissions in the past. His kicks to Brody’s hamstring and smooth transition to a figure-4 leglock are polished. Even a blown gambit inside-outside the ropes suplex reversal manages to sort itself out without too much stretch of the imagination.
My one remaining complaint is a bit of off camera audio assistance that I’m finding distracting. Again I say, if the production quality wasn’t so excellent here, perhaps they could get away with some sound effects, but the picture is just too crystal to manage artificially-enhanced blows. Both boys are stomping and pounding pretty damn effectively on their own, so I really don’t think it’s at all necessary, at least not with these two. Zack as a serious contender is so nice to see. Our little boy is growing up, and his delivery of one of my all time favorite holds near the end of the match is commanding, convincing, and sweetly erotic, dominating, and humiliating. Nice work, Zack.