Injury Time-Out

No, I’m not calling an injury time-out for myself. I’m just musing on the injury time-out in homoerotic wrestling. The point really is physical domination, so it should come as no surprise that wrestling of all stripes should come with the occasional injury. Even the “kayfabe” element of wrestling, I have to imagine, has it’s fair share of real-life bumps, bruises and breaks. Then of course there’s the sadistic angle so relished in our homoerotic wrestling fare – the wrestler who doesn’t just want to win; he wants to make his opponent hurt. While that’s one hot scenario from where I sit as a consumer, again, I have to imagine it’s chock full of risks associated with actual injury that requires (or should) medical attention.
This topic pops up for me in particular after I watched Naked Kombat’s release yesterday, pitting Phenix Saint and Cameron Adams against (never-bet-against-him) DJ and Viking farmboy Blake Daniels. Halfway through round 1, Phenix has DJ in a bad way. DJ’s head his locked against Phenix’ ribcage like a vice, with Phenix cranking like a mother-fucker on DJ’s left shoulder. He pulls DJ forward, sort of bulldogging/pile-driving the curly head scrapper into the mat. It looked nasty, with big, brute Phenix muscling the skinny boy around like a plaything.

The thing is, however, that Phenix actually fucked up his own shoulder in that maneuver. A few seconds later, after DJ has tagged in his partner, Phenix calls an injury time-out, rubbing his left shoulder and wincing in genuine pain. He finishes off the round, but disappears from the scene between rounds due to damaging his shoulder. NK adeptly improvises a 1-on-1 for round 2, and pulls in an unfortunate understudy to take Phenix’ place for round 3 (but not round 4… seems sketchy to me). In the post-match interview, DJ smirks when asked about the injury-provoking move when Phenix dropped him on his head. “Yeah, he got hurt out of it. I’m fine,” he chuckles. Like I said, do NOT bet against DJ.
For quite a while, NK explicitly swore off live audience matches because, they found, there were just too many injuries that resulted from the extra adrenaline pump the wrestlers got from the fans. Perhaps they have a new insurance carrier now, because a couple of months ago they began releasing many more live audience matches, which thrills me no end. Of course, injuries still occur. Leo Forte delivered a sharp, defensive foot to Trent Diesel’s face in their tag-team tussle from April 13, 2011 (setting up their “grudge” match last week). You can almost literally see stars circling around Trent’s head for a moment. Like the champion he is, however, Trent shakes it off, roars like a beast, and comes back hungrier than ever. Reminds me of Trent’s 2nd match from over a year ago, when he beat up on 2 opponents in one outing because Patrick Rouge had to bail for an injury after just one round. You can tell that, for the most part, the pornboys really respect and even care for one another over at NK… and STILL they end up doing serious damage from time to time.
I don’t think of myself as bloodthirsty, and yet… there’s something about the injury time-out that multiplies an already erotic wrestling match. Take Brit grapplers Brad Flash and Torvik Tirva and their Motel Madness 11 match. Just like a live audience does it for Naked Kombat, a pre-existing grudge can pretty much always increase the odds of injury. Apparently Torvik and Brad have met on more than one occasion prior to Motel Madness 11, and it seems that each time Torvik schools his smaller opponent with relish. While Motel Madness is hardly one-sided, and Brad dishes out just a fraction less than he gets in return, Torvik turns on the afterburners at the end of this match and goes for nothing less than twisting Brad’s knee like I used to twist Stretch Armstrong as a kid (have I done a “What Turned Me Gay” for my Stretch Armstrong yet?). Torvik is relentless and not merely uncaring of the potential for causing his opponent injury; he’s hungry for it. He bares his teeth like a feral animal and works that leglock like Brad’s knee had personally insulted Torvik’s mother. The match only comes to an end when Brad can’t stand on his messed up knee any longer. Nursing his knee on the couch, he extends his hand, conceding like a gentleman to the opponent that has yet again bested him. Torvik smacks the hand away with contempt, turns his back on the loser, and flexes with pride, rubbing in his cocky superiority.

Perhaps the wrestling injury is like the car race crash. No one wants to admit it, but they thrill to watch it happen. The adrenaline in the stands pumps harder. The vicarious rush of endorphins washes over us. No, it’s not like I want to see anyone permanently fucked up or require medical attention. But dancing along the edge of danger and flirting with injury-provoking aggression has an erotic component that I simply can’t deny. And the injury time-out, the nursing and assessing and wincing and gauging the will to soldier-on in the face of danger, is itself sweet, hot wrestling text.

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