I get off on character development (among other things). Heel turns. Rookies graduating into sophomores. Cocky mat masters completely humiliated when they try to take that shit into the ring. The evolution of a pro wrestling character is the perfect antidote for what can be (is by necessity?) typically formulaic sets of taunts and holds culminating in a crowing victor flexing over top of his vanquished opponent.
If anyone is keeping me guessing these days, it’s Austin Cooper. I’ve been a fan since I first saw him at Rock Hard Wrestling. These days, you can sample his goods (“fantastics”) at RHW, BG East, and Thunder’s Arena (wrestling as Frey). Austin’s most recent BG East release, Muscle Rookies, highlighted for me just how effectively he has muscled his golden physique into my erotic imagination with an element that can be too often lacking in this genre: suspense.
Austin’s opponent is the titular muscle rookie, Adam Atom. Another Thunder’s Arena alum, Adam is built like a Mac truck. Everything about this kid is phenomenally thick. If there’s any justice in the world, the homoerotic wrestling gods have blessed Adam with a beer can cock to compliment his tree trunk thighs, bubble butt, barrel chest and that neck that I’m pretty sure is thicker than my waist.
A former very successful amateur wrestler, Adam tears it up on the mats. More precisely, he tears Austin up. This is fantastic storytelling for my tastes. Austin’s initial BG East match was Ripped Rookies, in which he and fellow RHW muscle buddy Jake Jenkins went from good natured buddy wrestling to sweat soaked strip and spank wrestling with the studied deliberateness and pacing of grapplers much more experienced. There was something privileged and too, too pretty about Austin back then that made me announce that, although he finally trashed Jake decisively, it was JJ’s consistent, raw, intense sell (not to mention his coverboy face) that grabbed me. Joe at Ringside at Skull Island announced he was on team Coop, while I signed up for team JJ.
Not that I didn’t fully appreciate Austin. There’s something of an intensely sensual comic book superhero about him that’s sensational. But I have to say it wasn’t until around Demolition 16 that I really found myself captivated by the goldenboy. Not surprisingly, the subtitle for Demo 16 is “Austin’s Heel Turn.” Shedding the stars and stripes trunks and turning decisively vicious and sadistic, I found myself mulling over a membership card for team Coop.
It may just be the random sequencing of releases from BG East, but since then, Austin has gone back and forth between saccharine babyface hero and truly vile heel. The narrative in the web text has argued that the goldenboy had some sort of mental break, a dissociative episode in which two crazy hot wrestling hunks were born within the same powerful, bulging, aesthetically beautiful body. If it’s Austin who climbs into the ring these days, he’ll be handsome and clever and awesomely athletic and, most likely, get thrashed by a cunning heel who eats babyface beauties for breakfast. If it’s “Dr. Cooper” who climbs through the ropes, he’ll be unnecessarily vicious. He’ll break all the rules just to make a point. He’ll laugh out loud when he makes an opponent cry out, whimper, or even on occasion bleed. In a better world, we could see Austin face off against (and get fucked over) by Dr. Cooper. In this world, we’re left with the mystery of discovering which of the sensational studs it will be showing up with each new match.
I mentioned that everything about Adam Atom seems thick and juicy (including that outrageously kitschy ring name!). The muscled fireplug demonstrates that, at least at this point in his career, he’s just a little thick in the head, as well. While it’s true that he completely OWNS Austin’s sensational ass on the mats (Dr. Cooper is nowhere in sight), Adam smirks at Austin’s suggestion that “if only” they’d met in the ring, the story would have gone completely differently. “See, I can do anything I want with you!” Adam taunts with a liberal dose of double entendre. “I’m unstoppable here. I’ll be an unstoppable pro!” Something visibly comes over Austin. I swear, you can just about see that dissociative switch thrown. He peels out of his golden singlet and challenges the muscle rookie to take this shit to the ring. Adam agrees, not recognizing that there’s an entirely different opponent standing in front of him now, in green and yellow trunks and with a complete disregard for common decency. This is the goldenboy turned mad doctor who has forgotten more about mat wrestling than Adam will ever learn about the ring. Adam assumes that his mat success translates directly into pro ring skill. Oh, you hot, thick, ripe for the picking muscle rookie.
Dr. Cooper paces the ring like a starving puma eying an oblivious buck. Adam is game for this, but Coop milks this home field advantage for everything its worth. There’s more geography here than in the mat room. There are ropes and corner posts that the cocky rookie is just getting introduced to. Unfortunately for him, it’s Coop making the introductions.
Adam does an impressive job hanging with the beautiful, shining, golden heel for a while. I don’t know where the fuck an amateur learns how to smack on a gorgeous, spine snapping camel clutch like that, but I have to assume Adam has either been a longtime fan of mainstream pro, or he’s secretly had some pointers from one of BG East’s many background coaches. There’s a moment here where I’m wondering if all of that total humiliation on the mat is about to repress Dr. Cooper behind the veil, leaving only goldenboy Austin to get his big beautiful ass handed to him by nothing but a rookie.
But no. A little offense from the rook just brings out the best in Coop. The gorgeous heel targets the rookie’s testicles for special attention. Low blows drive home the lesson that this isn’t mat wrestling, Adam. Being big man on campus doesn’t amount to shit when you step into the ring for the first time against a seasoned pro wrestler who we’ve watched develop an obvious fetish for inflicting ring torture. You’re fast on the mats, Adam? Getting your balls crushed mercilessly into the ring post will slow you down.
Dr. Cooper on a roll is a magnificent thing to watch. The mixture of veteran ring skills and mouthwatering thrill at ripping an opponent to shreds is sensational. It’s not like I don’t know that Austin has it in him to bear down like a hurricane all over a slack jawed rook. It’s just, I don’t know whether it’ll be goldenboy Austin or dark and dangerous Dr. Cooper showing up when I sit down with a new release. Will this be the awesome telling of the destruction of a pumped up muscle rookie by a sly, sadistic heel, or will this be the thrilling upset of a seasoned veteran babyface by a completely green but devastating rookie savant?
I hope that poor Adam Atom isn’t turned off to future BG East appearances. The powerhouse rookie gets the full treatment from Dr. Cooper, and sometimes cocky jocks fresh off the mats have relatively delicate egos when it comes to being initiated into the high impact homoerotic pro wrestling world. But he calls to mind BG East classic Buster, who, perhaps ironically, needed only one name to Adam’s redundant two. And if Adam can have even half the homoerotic wrestling success and fans of Buster, he’ll be a major player. And best news of all, Adam: BG East practically NEVER books rematches.