I knew that Austin Cooper was popular, but damn? Three Wrestler Spotlights!? I totally get it, of course. Coop is delicious, and he’s grown into a solid utility player, convincingly showing up as a babyface hero, a pretty boy jobber, and, on rare occasions, a sensationally nasty muscle heel. Of the options, personally, my heart skips a beat when Dr. Cooper is in the house.
Austin’s badass heel persona (or is it that fragment of his split personality?) earned the nickname Dr. Cooper when he pounded lovely Leo Tomasi’s face into the turnbuckle until his nose started bleeding in Jobberpaloozer 13. With a sadistic flair that I didn’t know Austin could execute, he planted the lovely jobber into a tree of woe. “We’ve got to invert you to stop that bloody nose,” he laughed. Apparently repeatedly dragging Leo’s head off the mat by his hair and then dropping the back of his head down over and over again is another old family remedy for staunching a nose bleed in Austin’s family. “Just call me Dr. Cooper,” Austin declared, mauling his opponent mercilessly and seemingly charged up that much more at the sight of blood. “Here to help you re-Coop-erate!”
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen full-on Dr. Cooper show up quite as exquisitely as he did in that magnificent brutalizing of Leo Tomasi. But I live in hope of another house call from the doc, because I don’t know if I’ve ever been as entertained and turned on by Austin as when he went full throttle heel.
In his unprecedented third Wrestler Spotlight, he’s up against three very different opponents, and there are three different iterations of Austin who show up. He comes closest to channeling Dr. Cooper again in the second match, when he takes on Jake Ryder on the mats, so today I want to start by savoring that one from the new BG East catalog.
The scene opens with Jake warming up as Austin enters the mat room. Austin points out that they can hear a pro match happening next door, which is somehow an instant turn on for me. I’m not exactly sure of the math, but somehow, knowing that at that very moment there were two hot, hard hitting, loud BG East matches taping at the same time doubles my erotic interest. Having visited BG East South and been given a personal tour of the facilities by studpuppy Drake, I can picture just how close the ring and the matroom are, and it makes total sense that a particularly rambunctious match in either one would likely be overheard in the other.
The narrative of Austin and Jake’s mat match is sweet. Jake apparently hasn’t done his homework, so he doesn’t realize that he’s stepping onto the mat with a highly competitive former amateur wrestler in high school. Apparently Jake skipped over the part in Austin’s highlight reel when he quite literally spanked the sweaty, jockstrapped ass of his former high school wrestling buddy, that “other” Jake, Jake Jenkins, on the mats. No, Jake Ryder only knows of Austin’s ring work, and he seems genuinely surprised to hear from Austin that he was first an accomplished mat wrestler.
The first glimpse of Dr. Cooper comes out when Austin asks Jake if he’d prefer to just walk away. Knowing what he now knows, Jake is generously given the opportunity to forfeit and back away with a little less dignity but, yet, his body still in tact. “No, I’m totally game to go through with this!” Jake insists, clearly already insulted and determined to show the golden boy up.
On the one hand, Austin’s fixation on proving his amateur credentials by having a “clean” match might suggest that it’s his babyface hero personality in charge on this day. He insists that they shake hands. He demands decorum and a conforming to the specific rules of amateur wrestling competition. After just a couple of minutes, during which he takes Jake to the mat and controls him like an Olympian, there’s a sense that this match could fall into the category of upright babyface gets upended by an unrepentant rulebreaker, especially when Jake slides Austin into pro body scissors and locks his ankles, crushing the goldenboy’s midsection in blatant disregard for freestyle rules. “Fuck your rules!” Jake snarls when Austin complains like a simpering bitch.
But, like I said, it’s Dr. Cooper who showed up to play. When Austin insists that they push reset and recommit to a “clean” match (Jake rolls his eyes and extends his hand disingenuously), Coop grabs the hand and follows up with a nasty heel strike to Jake’s lower abdomen. Jake is nearly lifted off his feet, sent slamming back first into the wall, before the doctor throws him to the floor and cranks on a headlock, grinding Jake’s nose into Austin’s massive pecs. “I know you didn’t mean that,” Austin snarls.
The hybrid of amateur mat wrestling and pro wrestling is sensational to watch. We’ve seen in the past that Jake is a dangerous bad ass, himself, so when the pretense of rules and sportsmanship gets rubbed away, it’s a nasty, mean, vicious pit fight. The sure and steady hand of Dr. Cooper isn’t always present. He submits to Jake moments before he’d have been choked out cold, for example. Jake makes him hurt. He’s unnecessarily rough. He crushes and punches and taunts like he’s taking out revenge on the high school jock who bullied him way back. A particularly shining moment occurs when he controls Austin’s ankles with the golden boy flat on his stomach. Hooking Coop’s ankles beneath his armpits, Jake lifts the hunk’s big, powerful legs, folding him up the wrong way, bending Coop’s lower back at a sick angle. Jake leans forward, grinding his fists into his opponent’s torqued back viciously. And then, like the avatar of every homoerotic wrestling fan on the planet, Jake shifts his grip and palms those world class, award winning glutes on Austin, digging his fingertips into two of the sweetest cheeks on the planet.
But when the tide slowly turns Austin’s way, I love seeing Dr. Cooper really go to town. Like a sensational heel, he narrates his crushing offense, explaining to Jake each step along the way what each hold and maneuver is, detailing his mastery of both amateur and pro wrestling techniques. It’s an amateur wrestling clinic, with Jake owned and pinned repeatedly (like, I think I counted 6 pins!). A single leg cradle. Small package. A crotch-ripping spladle showing off the sweat stained crack in Jake’s briefs. And then Coop punches him in the chest, rips him apart limb from limb in a sensational surfboard, and finally wraps him up with a bow in an intimate, long, lingering figure-4 sleeper.
“You’re going to hate life a little bit when you wake up,” Austin taunts even as Jake kicks and flails futilely. Jake’s eyes roll into the back of his head right at the moment that he mutters bitterly, “I hate… you!” Without another word, he’d body goes slack with Austin’s beefy calf pressed so securely against his throat.
A few more summary points that I’d like to mention… You know the shit gets real when the singlets get ripped off and the boys start taunting each other about their fashion forward undergear choices. Jake is fucking ripped. Like, I have not appreciated his aesthetics nearly as much as I did in this match, and if by chance he’s still feeling sore after this match, I hope someone will let him know I’d be happy to rub him down with a bottle of baby oil and several of my eager appendages.
But this is a fantastic Austin Cooper match precisely because I sort of forget by the end of it all just how dazzlingly pretty Coop is. I mean, sure, I still want to drizzle him with honey and lick every inch of his bulging muscles, but it’s his power and control, his delight in taking ownership of his opponent, the way he viciously molds a serious competitor, slowly but surely, into an impotent practice dummy, that brings me to an explosive finish.
I hope he lets Dr. Cooper open up a practice full time. I know there are fans who are devoted to one or more of his other personalities. But for me, there’s little as pleasurable as watching an achingly pretty blond muscle boy tap into his inner bad ass and absolutely go ballistic on an opponent.