The Agony and the Ecstasy

I don’t mind watching hot guys who can’t wrestle… sometimes. Every so often it can just be about gorgeous guys, minimal gear, and going through the motions of what wrestling sort of looks like. I don’t have to believe it. I’ve got an active imagination, and I can suspend disbelief as necessary for the sake of entertainment. But it’s a treasure when I come across a match that meets me more than halfway. When the boys sell me without me having to squint my eyes and pretend I didn’t see all those pulled punches, I’m a very happy camper indeed.
At face value, Submission 8 makes me skeptical. The boys involved aren’t in the upper echelons of my favorite homoerotic wrestling rankings. Jonny Firestorm is in his beefy, hairy incarnation, and though I’m not nearly as fanatical about it as some of the commentators at the BGE discussion group, I tend to get more of a kick out of Jonny tighter and trimmer. This is my first chance to see Skip Vance in action. He possesses such a boyish look about him that it almost puts me off. His level of fitness is astonishing and speaks to more maturity than shows on his face. And there’s something about his tanlineless ass that’s a bit captivating. But frankly, I tend to objectify wrestlers with more size and a little more mature look about them.
Thirty seconds into the match, I don’t care about any of that crap at all. Skip fesses up that he’s “all about the looks,” and it’s all down hill for him from that point forward. Jonny has fantastic skills. He focuses on the task at hand, and he takes the opportunity to illustrate, using Skip as his helpless sparring dummy, a catalog of holds and maneuvers he’s mastered.

Frankly, even all that sort of fades into the background as this match progresses. What’s absolutely fascinating about this match is that I totally believe that Skip is on the receiving end of a boatload of hurtin’. This works for many reasons, of course. Jonny has the skill and self-confidence to twist, toss, pry and pummel Skip to the very edge of physical tolerances. Jonny obviously understands how far joints can be pulled before they pop… how much tension bones can carry before they snap… how far he can push an über-flexible dancerboy like Skip before he’s done actual, acute damage.
This also works because Skip suffers so sweetly. He’s getting bullied and beaten senseless, and he shows it. Early on, when he still has some shred of dignity left (he’s only submitted three of four times at this point), he gets mad when Jonny refuses to release the hold in which Skip has just gasped out his most recent submission. “All right, all right, all right! I give! Fuck! I said I give!!” he snaps angrily.
Skip’s bruised ego gives way to a tone of fear in his voice as he’s forced to submit over and over again. Jonny keeps toying with him, sometimes letting him breathe a few seconds before renewing the assault, sometimes not. Skip’s last gasp of indignation comes when Jonny makes him count out his own three-count pin. After that, Skip’s voice starts to sound a little desperate as he begins to get the picture that Jonny is playing by his own rules. Stretched out in a backbreaker with Jonny clawing at his balls, Skip sputters and coughs, his voice rising an octave. “Oh, fuck!” he pleads. “I give! I GIVE!!!”
Pleading turns to sobs and screams. Sometimes Skip frantically tries to bat Jonny away, squirming desperately to stay free for a precious few more seconds of relief. At one point, Skip has his head in his hands, desperately gasping, “I want a break. I need a break. Just give me a couple of minutes. Fuck, I’m hurtin’…” Jonny’s definition of “a break” is clearly different than Skip’s, though.
Sometimes, Skip looks like he’s trying to play possum, just desperately hoping that Jonny will let the torture session come to a close. But Jonny is relentless. Skip’s entire body is shaking with sobs as he cries, “Just stop. Just stop….” Like a true sadist, Jonny only stops when the pretty boy physically can’t cry any longer.
I genuinely feel a little anxious for Young Skip in this match. He’s suffering so convincingly, it manages to tweak both my empathy and my wrestling kink at the same time. I’m torn, wanting Jonny to keep teaching that lesson and wanting him to give the completely outmatched kid a break. In the end, I’m happy to say that I got sucked into the moment. Skip and Jonny meet me more than halfway. I’m provoked at multiple levels, and that’s a whole lot deeper than I typically expect from homoerotic wrestling. Nice work, boys.

7 thoughts on “The Agony and the Ecstasy

  1. completely agree with your take on this fight, Skip's sell of the beating is totally convincing. It wasn't just the sobbing and the cries to give up, it was the little things like pushing Johnny away when the hold was released.I am generally not a fan of squash matches, but in this instance Skip convinced me that he was just to beaten to fight back. This was a perfect set up to turn the pain into something erotic, which based on pics from other Skip Vance fights, he might just be up for some anal sacrifice.Not sure why BGE does not seem to be interested in breaking that barrier on a more regular basis, maybe Naked Kombat can take the concept of the squash and elevate it to the next sexy level.Topher

  2. I'm just curious: if as you say you weren't initially inspired to see this match based on how the guys look or the description of the action itself, how'd you manage to see it at all? Did you just pay money for it not expecting it to entertain you and just hope for the best?

  3. I'm frequently unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised by "b-side" matches. Tyrell, Rio, and Reese were what caught my eye in Summer Sizzlers. It turns out that it was Bobby that totally blew my mind, and Jonny & Skip were another happy surprise. This is why I resist the match-by-match format BGE is trying out. Many of my favorite matches of all time were not the matches I expected to love the most on those tapes. I like that sort of surprise.

  4. OK. I'm all about happy surprises, and I totally relate to buying a multi-match tape and expecting to mark out for one only to enjoy another as much or more. I'd even expand that experience to include matches where I was really only interested in one guy in the beginning and came out of it being a fan of the other guy as well. Two good examples came from my favorite eye-candy wrestler Troy Baker: his matches with Shane McCall and Jarrett Cole. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by that at all. Since I particularly enjoy hunky jobbers who look good and take big beatings, of course I'm likely to mark out for the rough, tough heels who dish it out compellingly. And that brings me to my reaction to the match in this post.It all boils down to the premise that Skip Vance steps on to the mats strutting and boasting that he's "all about looks." This in turn sparks Jonny Firestorm's resentment, turning the match from a generic, "I'm a hard ass who just wants to wail on anyone who dares challenge me," into a specific "You bring the beast out in me" fantasy. That's perhaps my single favorite squash match premise. It always makes a match look less forced, like it was just booked to happen that way, and makes it more real, gives the match heft.The thing is, of all the wrestlers on the BGE roster, I don't buy Skip Vance as that strutting, bravura "stud." I'm not saying he isn't attractive. I'm not saying nobody would possibly see him that way. I'm just saying, when a company has had guys who are or have been strippers, porn stars and even a handful of guys who've been in and on the cover of widely distributed muscle magazines, to take one guy who hasn't done any of those things and clearly isn't a guy who looks like he spends hours a day pumping up, preening and sculpting his look and body, and then to pair him with another wrestler who has consistently portrayed himself as being dismissive of, even bored with prior opponents who are significantly more blatantly "hot," who then uncharacteristically acts like he's completely aware of that guy's studliness to the point of wanting to make him suffer for it, well… I can only say my reaction was, "WTF?"And this goes back to an older argument. On all the times you've said someone like Rio Garza was good looking but his performance lacked, I still say, it isn't his performance, it's the absence of his opponent's reaction to his appeal. I think if this match had Rio in Skip's place, just the set-up alone would change how you (and everyone else) perceived him and, consequently, made his performance seem more engrossing.

  5. I think I see what you're saying, Josh. A couple thoughts: I don't think Jonny gives Skip any more credit than he has to anyone else. His ire, it looks to me, arises from Skip's ignorance of wrestling and overconfidence in looks. Jonny's beast seems spurred to life by the dumb-twink angle, rather than the hunky hotness of Skip. This hardly argues against your critique that BGE is neglecting the aroused-erotic storyline, but I do think Sub8's plot has more face validity than you suggest.If Rio were hypothetically to replace Skip in this match, jonny still probably wouldn't begrudge him the respect Rio's body deserves. But if Rio sold agony even half as convincingly as Skip, he'd skyrocket in my estimation (he'd give Lon a run for my money!). If Rio had as flat an affect as I've most often seen him, he'd be way underperforming what Skip pulls off. That said, Rio's forced to flex with Reese earns Rio more of my respect. Reese isn't really giving him the love we've been talking about either, but the two of them work up a pretty hot story between them, and Rio works hard and shows some personality. If he also showed some cock, again, he'd skyrocket in my graces.

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