Some guys love the bearhug, but for my money, an over the knee backbreaker makes me swoon more than any other hold. Chris Geary taps into this fantastic move a lot, here being both owned and worshipped simultaneously.
The mechanics of the OTK backbreaker are initially beautifully simple. The high impact aspect is fantastic, and it writes its own story. One man scoops up his opponent, cradling him across his chest, then drops down to one knee, driving his opponent’s prone back crashing down on top of his thigh. How much more vulnerable and helpless can a man be than swept off his feet and clutched across his opponent’s chest? How much more deliciously sadistic can a wrestler get than to cradle his opponent like a child, then plow his lower back across his leg.
Personally, I think anyone can sell the OTK backbreaker drop. But it’s a much more refined skill to sell the prolonged OTK backbreaker hold. Frankly, I think the physics and kinesthetics argue against this hold. There are too many ways for a victim to squirm, roll, or pike themselves free (or at least throw their opponent off balance). Many of the best intentioned OTK holds end up falling apart because even when both fighters are willing, the balance and positioning are a delicate thing.
So it takes a real salesman to convince us that he is caught and suffering helplessly while bent backward across his opponent’s thigh. My first Can-Am purchase, Canadian Musclehunk Oil Wrestling 3, features one-hit-wonder (sadly) Marco Denetti just barely managing to handle an OTK finisher on Ed Harte. The funny thing is, while Denetti is totally committed to his performance from go, Harte is an underwhelming salesman… until he’s suffering in the OTK. Denetti can barely maintain his balance with this massively thick bodybuilder perched across his thigh (in fact, there are a couple of collapsed OTK attempts earlier where he just can’t manage it). But when Denetti finally gets Harte in position and presses down on his leg and chest, bending the bodybuilder backward, Harte suddenly kicks it into high gear. He groans like he’s in the middle of a long and sweet climax, and then suddenly his voice raises an octave and he cries out his pained submission. “Do you give, pretty boy!?” Denetti shouts. “I giiiiive!!!” Harte finally cries out. It’s perhaps the only moment in the entire match that I buy, but Harte finally sells me.
My first BG East purchase (I feel like I’m retelling a series of first dates), was Fantasymen 18. While this collection is a little inconsistent from match to match, it features the consummate artist Brad Rochelle being cracked in half, bent backward across Jeff Phoenix’s knee. As a jobber, as a heel, as a face, Brad always commits. In their first of three falls, Brad sells us the notion that Phoenix (who, let’s face it, doesn’t always look like he knows what he’s doing), has surprisingly reversed Brad’s joint torture into applying a bow and arrow. Dragging him up by the hair (love that!), Phoenix then sweeps Brad up in his arms and drops him across his outstretched knee in a classic OTK. Here’s where Brad’s mastery kicks in. With Phoenix prying his captured hunk backward, pressing down on his chin and leg, Brad looks like he’s being bent so far backward that he’s really just about to break. Brad may look like a muscled fratboy, but (my God!) he bends like Barishnikov! And he suffers like no one else can.
Blond muscleboy Phoenix helps convince us that Brad is helplessly suffering. “Do you want more pain!? Do you want more pain!?” he demands. “I’ll give it to ya!” Brad chokes and whimpers, rejecting the invitation to submit. Phoenix has broken out into a full sweat now, the vascularity in his chest popping out as he flexes impressively, appearing to fold Brad still farther across his knee. Brad’s speedo-clad crotch is arched upward at the apex of his bridge, but Phoenix doesn’t pay it any attention (we never see Brad’s jewels… someone needs to find that price point). Eventually, Phoenix breaks the OTK and flips his opponent over to his stomach in an almost-as-hot boston crab. Brad sounds almost like he’s sobbing, crying out, “No, no, no…” for what seems like an eternity. The cocky Phoenix claims, “I can do this all day. Do you wanna give!?” Brad chokes desperately in that stuttering near-sob of pain, suffering just to the point that can’t be believed, before finally, frantically tapping the mat and weakly panting, “I give, I give, I give, I give…”
Now, just seeing Brad and his opponent in tight speedos would be worth the price of admission. But the genre of homoerotic wrestling adds to the spectacle of body beautifuls the element of suffering, control, domination and submission. Brad doesn’t just submit to lose the fall, we get just the hint that he submitted to letting his opponent capture him, torture him, and humiliate him. Brad eventually destroys the blond stud in falls two and three, but without a doubt Brad is at the top of his game when prone, bent backward at an astonishing angle, and sobbing in pain across his opponent’s outstretched leg.
For my money (and yes, I’ve invested quite a bit), the over the knee backbreaker, when done right, is by far the sexiest tool in the homoerotic wrestling arsenal.