A Tough Little Shit

Joe at Ringside at Skull Island has detailed what’s going so right in gay underground wrestling to produce the likes of Rock Hard Wrestling’s latest release, pitting brawny golden boy Austin Cooper against Eli “the Shutdown” Black. As is so often the case, I agree with Joe in every point he raises. Continuing my own train of thought after learning from Joe’s reflections, I’m compelled to linger a little longer on this little piece of the mountain of evidence that this is, indeed, Eli Black Month.

Bodyslam breaks down this gorilla press to perfection!

“I’m supposed to wrestle you?” Austin asks when he climbs into the ring and takes a look at Eli. “I don’t know, dude, you’re kinda small. Do you wanna, like, play a board game or something you might be able to win at?” Eli’s just a couple inches shorter than the golden boy, but he’s giving up an astonishing 30 pounds of thick, mouthwatering muscle. However, the words “giving up” and “Eli Black” in the same sentence are an unlikely combination. “Sounds to me like you’re just trying to find an excuse to not get your ass beat by somebody smaller than you,” Eli responds to Austin’s taunts, cool as ice.

“Wow, dude!” Austin chuckles. “Guy’s got a little mouth on him.” Indeed, as Joe points out, this 3-fall match is a gorgeous and athletic rendition of the classic big-vs-little pro wrestling battle that’s been told for generations. While the path has been well-worn, Austin and Eli walk it very, very entertainingly.  Austin suggests opening with a game of mercy (aka, “test of strength”). Eli’s ego is about 4 time bigger than his ripped to shreds body, so he of course (possibly foolishly) agrees. They lace their fingers together and flex their wrists. Eli pours out everything he’s got, straining and huffing and puffing. Austin rolls his eyes and then looks at the camera, demonstrating that he isn’t about to break a sweat.  “Don’t mock me!” Eli snarls through gritted teeth, his pride already injured a couple of minutes into the action.

Austin hangs Eli from the ropes like laundry on the line

There are two Austin Coopers in this match, and both of them combined into one person are exponentially sexier than either one on his own. First, there’s Austin, budding into potentially “the dreamiest heel of all time,” as Joe puts it. It’s not as if he needs to break the test of strength with a sucker-shot knee lift to Eli’s gut. He clearly doesn’t need to pick up and twist Eli’s taut muscles like a pretzel, hanging him like freshly rung laundry from the ropes in order to pound his knee into Eli’s legendary rock hard core. It’s not like Austin needs to kick Eli when he’s down. But like asking Mallory  “why climb Everest,” Austin dishes out unnecessary roughness all over Eli’s battered body for a simple reason: because it’s there. But there’s another Austin Cooper in the ring in this match. He’s every bit as beautiful, bulging, and brawny. But he’s a sensitive, empathic playmate checking on Eli’s well-being with concern. “Are you all right?” he asks with apparent sincerity, even moments before that other Austin rains down another barrage of fists to Eli’s abs. “I’ll help you up,” Austin offers when Eli is struggling to pull himself up to his feet, a half a second before that other Austin bends over, wraps his bronzed, muscled arms around Eli from behind, and hoists the fierce scrapper up off his feet into yet another rear bearhug.  After evil Austin rings out one of the sexiest OTK backbreaker submissions I’ve ever seen, Eli starts round 2 cringing and clutching his throbbing lower back. “You really did a number on my back for that one!”Eli snarls angrily. Empathic Austin replies, “Yeah. I feel bad for that. Come on, let’s just go…” But just as amiable Austin is helpfully about to suggest that Eli take a breather in the corner, evil Austin suddenly sucker punches Eli and laughs at him for being so gullible.

The agony and the ecstasy – The most gorgeous wrestling pic ever?

Both Austin Coopers learn not to underestimate every ounce of the dangerous 140 pounder in front of them. One taunt too many, one humiliation to far, and Eli’s MMA training kicks on like autopilot just as Eli seems to be too dazed to defend himself. Primus goes to work on one joint after another, effectively neutralizing all those golden muscles of Austin’s and, more importantly, shutting him the hell up!  He pries Austin’s left knee backward so severely that the “big boy” is in danger of having his own boot shoved up his ass (with his foot still in it!). “Kiss your boot!” Eli snaps angrily, ready to dish out just as much humiliation as he can take. Eli is like a swarm of bees, stinging all over Austin’s luscious body leaving the golden boy with nothing to do but writhe and squirm, defenseless to even know where the next stinger will land.  “It’s a shame your tag team partner Jenkins ain’t here, big boy, to save you!” Eli’s crotch-ripping grapevine displays his fierceness and Austin’s mouthwatering physique, both to perfection. “Time to finish this!” Eli growls through gritted teeth. “And it’s going to end with you lookin’ like a bitch!”

Crucified and just so much workout accessory

Falls even at one a piece, there’s mutual respect filling up all the open spaces between these two cocky young athletes. “You’re a tough little shit,” Austin grudgingly admits. “You surprised me a bit.”  Eli grins at having forced that reluctant praise out of his 30 pound bigger opponent. “I told you,” he replies, “I gotta get my name out there.”  The final fall is down and dirty. Eli paints on still another coat of humiliation, taunting and toying with vulnerable Austin when the golden boy is completely under his control. But Eli’s got 2 strikes going against him. Strike one: he’s fighting 2 different Austin Coopers at the same time, and that fact seems to unsettle even scrapper Eli on occasion, not knowing who he’s facing from moment to moment. Strike two: Eli puts 110% effort into absolutely every move, every hold, every punch, stomp, and slam. Sure, that puts the “big boy” on his back repeatedly, but Eli’s body has taken a serious beating by the time round 3 is well under way. Another atmospheric belly-to-belly splash delivered by Eli clearly hurts “the Shutdown” at least as much as it damages Coop. Sure, a flying cross-body slams Austin to his back, but getting up (slowly), it’s Eli who’s clutching at his throbbing abdominal muscles, quivering from the impact. Even 110% of what he’s got left in his tank isn’t enough for Eli to pull off a second flying cross-body, and the bronzed muscle boy catches him in mid-air. It’s steadily downhill from there for Primus. Once a ship the size of Austin has managed to change the direction of this match, there’s just nothing for Eli to do against wave after wave of Austin’s size advantage crashing squarely and repeatedly into Eli’s battered back. Evil Austin does leg presses with Eli crucified across his back helplessly.  The ultimate indignity (just ask Kid Karisma), Austin drops his meaty ass like dead weight across Eli’s quivering lower back.

The RHW camera work is, as always, incredible. The high definition close up of Eli’s sweat-soaked face contorted in agony as he writhes on the mat with Austin circling like a lion toying with his lunch is nothing short of exquisite.  Austin plays the possibly psychopathic split-personality heel to perfection, leaving you never quite sure if he’s certifiable, or if he could really and truly possess a viscously sadistic sarcasm that dry. And although this doesn’t quite turn out the way “the Shutdown” probably intended, I’m not about to doubt for even a second that Eli’s soaking up his lessons in the school of hard knocks, conceding the battle in order to win the war and accomplish his explicit goal: to take over the underground wrestling world. It’s Austin Cooper and Austin Cooper winning the match. But this is Eli Black’s Month.

*My thanks to Rock Hard Wrestling for sending me some unpublished stills from this match to post here. All shots from RHW are used with permission, and as gorgeous as they are (that shot of Austin’s crotch ripping in half with Eli looking on like an evil genius might be my fav homoerotic wrestling pic ever), they’re just at taste of how hot the action-in-motion is in this match!

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