I’m often off script. I misread babyfaces as heels. I’m distracted by the dialogue and overlook the plot. I key off on embellishments and fail to appreciate the fundamentals that make a wrestling match solid. I’m sure that’s what happened when I watched Leopard’s Lair 6.
The fundamental facts of LL6 are abundantly apparent. First of all, titular Kid Leopard makes an appearance, and nothing signals imminent danger quite like having The Boss get personally involved. KL arrives ringside to personally task Jonny Firestorm with helping Blaine Janus successfully transition from a mat wrestling standout to a serious ring wrestler. The wheels within wheels are clearly spinning. “You be nice to our nice Canadian friend here,” The Boss shoves a finger in Jonny’s face emphatically. “Show him some moves, how to take bumps, how to use the ropes, the usual corner to corner stuff.”
Blaine looks just about the prettiest I’ve ever seen him. He’s beautifully tanned and sensationally fit. The Boss picks out the perfect pair of baby blue trunks to bring out the Canadian beauty’a icy eyes. In contract, Jonny’s unfamiliarity with a razor and his bear daddy belly serve the same purpose as those magnificent baby blue trunks. Blaine is just that much prettier, that much more aesthetically perfected, his lean, smooth, coverboy torso that much hotter for the contrast to Jonny’s slipshod personal grooming and over-indulgence at Dunks. Without question, there’s a game afoot as KL gives Blaine white wrestling boots that were apparently, previously promised to go to Jonny. But then, The Boss turns to Blaine and ominously promises that Jonny will take good care of him. “Aren’t you Jonny,” KL asks his favorite choreboy, “you’re going to take real good care of him!”
So the moving parts are rife with drama and suspense. When Jonny starts to show Blaine some pro moves, the Canadian dazzler is a quick study. Too quick, perhaps. When it’s Blaine’s turn to give the moves a try, he rapidly masters them and adds a little gratuitous improv. “I seem to be a fast learner, eh?” Blaine congratulates himself for making Jonny whimper in a demonstration camel clutch. The suspense builds as we are led to anticipate the first diabolical reveal of this match: is Blaine a ringer who will deliver the shocking break-up message that I’ve long suspected The Boss has written to Jonny, or is Jonny yet again KL’s tool to crush the ego and dreams of another would-be babyface hero?
The tutorial busts out into all out brutality soon enough, which is no surprise. Blaine uses all of those sun-kissed muscles to put some sweet, uncharacteristic hurt on BGE’s recently dethroned Top Heel. The scoop slam prelude to a leg nelson pin is enough to make me believe that KL has been coaching Blaine in private in order to kick his lazy choreboy to the curb.
But alas, now on full alert, Jonny mounts a comeback and fucks Blaine over. And over. And over. Jonny’s single leg crab and ball claw chaser makes Blaine scream in submission repeatedly. Jonny is the sadistic crowd pleaser once again by ripping Blaine’s baby blue trunks off, shoving them down his throat, and then wedging the Canuck’s tight white undagear super high up his beautifully bronzed ass cheeks. Most of the match is essentially an upperclassman squash as darling Blaine is sorely abused, and disabused of the notion that he could replace Jonny as KL’s new favorite. The submissions are uncountable and largely ignored. Jonny isn’t satisfied until he’s knocked Blaine out cold with a DDT and then dragged him weeping back to consciousness with a whimpering ball claw.
The second, upfront fundamentally sensational plot point happens when The Boss arrives back at the ring room. “Jonny, what the fuck have you done? I told you to teach him, not to kill him, for Christ’s sake!” KL looks royally pissed off. Jonny looks seriously nervous. Blaine looks quietly relieved. When The Boss climbs into the ring, there’s a rising certainty that senior level violence is about to bust out, and by the look of panic in Jonny’s eyes, he’s clearly wondering if he’s finally disobeyed his master one too many times.
KL coddles Blaine, gently helping the wasted beauty up off the mat. “I hope it wasn’t too intense for you,” he consoles the Canadian’s bruised ego. Sensing his favored status in serious jeopardy, Jonny yanks on Blaine’s shocking blond hair in preparation for another beatdown, but The Boss smacks him away angrily. “Cut it out, for Christ’s sakes!” KL reprimands his unsettled choreboy. “I don’t want you to do stuff like that.” The Boss pulls Blaine away protectively.
“That’s for me to do!” KL snaps with his infamously evil grin. In a flash, he bulldogs the dazed pretty boy, knocking Blaine out cold face first into the mat. It’s so sweet. The suspense is relieved in a rush of sadistic pleasure. Jonny retains his ambivalent hold on the position of The Boss’ favorite choreboy heel. Their two twisted souls savor the delight of lording over another exposed, overly ambitious, would-be rock star broken into beautiful pieces at their feet.
That’s the story, really. And it’s lush and masterfully told. It’s paradigmatically Leopard’s Lair material. As I look back, I can only admire the sly subtleties with which they have toyed with my expectations and taunted my secret longings. But that’s not what I saw the first time I watched Leopard’s Lair 6.
Rewind the tape back to the beginning, when Kid Leopard strolls into the ring room with Blaine, barking orders at Jonny. Walking in the room behind them is, unremarked upon, Rafael Valmor, shirtless and in long shorts and a cap. When KL walks Blaine over to the corner of the room to hand pick the tastiest gear for him, Blaine playfully punches at Rafael’s washboard abs. There is, for the briefest moment, a wink and smile exchanged between Blaine and Rafael. It’s intimate and blindly trusting. Although left completely unexplained, I can see no other explanation than that at some point after Rafael scored a sensational debut upset in his Undagear 18 match with Blaine, the lingering, sweat soaked victory kiss Rafael planted on Blaine blossomed into off camera romance.
After KL has selected Blaine’s gear and instructed Jonny to take real good care of Blaine, The Boss makes his exit from the ring room mysteriously explaining, “I have my own project to attend to.” With a commanding lift of the chin toward Rafael, KL asks, “Are you ready punk?” With that sensational earnestness that has made me a Rafael fanatic from the start, he enthusiastically replies, “Yeah,” and follows the Boss out of the ring room to leave his boyfriend to contend with the bear daddy choreboy.
It’s scraps, I know. It’s barely interpretable as innuendo. I’m supplying a lion’s share of the details to connect these dots, but holy fuck, when Rafael turns his back to the camera and follows The Boss, his magnificent ass steals the show.
Push fast forward again. Jonny has brutalized Blaine. The Boss has feigned concern, only to DDT the Canuck out cold. Jonny is literally applauding Kid Leopard’s double cross (triple cross? just cross?). “Come on in here, kid,” The Boss calls to Rafael who has followed in to stand ringside. “Let me show you something,” KL beckons to him. What the fuck is going through Rafael’s head at that moment!? I’m completely infatuated with this, of all the moments in this match. The suspense-laden plot to this point fades in comparison to my anticipation of what Rafael Valmor is about to experience, as he steps into the ring to see up close what’s become of his boyfriend. Is Rafael about to be treated to the same fate? Is The Boss’ obvious lustful attention driven by how tasty Rafael’s ass is, or by KL’s insatiable hunger to fuck up pretty boys?
“You can have the honor of pinning him,” KL offers Rafael, pointing at his slumbering, defeated Prince Valiant at their feet. The bright, eager smile on Rafael’s gorgeous face makes my cock swell with excitement. He looks like he just laid eyes on the presents under the tree in the wee hours of Christmas morning.
“No!” Jonny interrupts insistently. Again, this secondary (tertiary? primary?) plot thickens with suspense as all of Jonny’s hard work appears to be handed over to a beautiful bon bon who was literally not even in the room, much less lifted a finger to earn the victory. Then, with a smile, Jonny suggests that The Boss yank the long shorts off of Rafael, and so permit his newest pet the privilege of planting that mouthwatering ass of his on his boyfriend’s face wearing nothing but lilac briefs.
Honestly, during my first read through of this match, what finally topped me off was watching Rafael drop to his knees, mounted triumphantly across his (let’s face it, former-) boyfriend’s chest, and flex his pretty little baseball biceps as Jonny slaps down a three-count pin for him. The Boss is snapping photos of the scene from every angle, capturing that delicious moment when a smolderingly sexy pretty boy betrays his hot bodied lover without hesitation.
Rafael fucking gets into it! He punches Blaine in the gut. He gets up and plants a socked foot across his ex-lover’s face humiliatingly, smiling for the camera as Jonny joins in with a boot pressing into Blaine’s crotch. “Oh,” Kid Leopard groans with pleasure from behind the camera, “you boys make me proud!”
Rafael isn’t credited as a wrestler in Leopard’s Lair 6, but fuck it all if he doesn’t, actually, score the final, decisive pin fall. He’s on camera for all of about 2 and a half minutes, but here I am, obsessing about his appearance in this tale of sick and twisted fate. I want to know what, exactly, KL was doing with Rafael during those 20 minutes that his boyfriend was getting royally fucked up by Jonny. Was is physical seduction? Were there promises made to prime Rafael to smile so brightly as he dropped his impeccable ass down across his boyfriend’s chest and sucker punched him? Based on all TWO of his matches to date (which add up to an undefeated 3-0 record at this point), I’m entirely ready to believe that Rafael Valmor could very well be as turned on as the rest of us are by the homoeroticism of wrestling, which could easily make him the perfect, imprintable, insatiable consort to the Emperor of Agony himself.
I know, I know. I’ve clearly missed the point of Leopard’s Lair 6. But the lingering thought that leaves me hard is whether or not we will get to enjoy more of this gorgeous bon bon that The Boss so suggestively refers to as “Kid.”