Every so often I find myself in a conversation with another wrestling fan about what makes homoerotic wrestling “gay.” I’m not in the camp that would argue that all wrestling is particularly homoerotic. I’ve seen some wrestling that I would classify as thoroughly and tragically straight. An occasional wrestling match explicitly marketed toward us gay fans of wrestling will even strike me as not gay in the least. Which, of course, raises this persistent and recurring question of what makes some wrestling “gay.” I’ve said in the past that I think it’s the queer eye watching a match that ultimately qualifies (or disqualifies) a wrestling match as homoerotic. Thus, a wrestling match doesn’t have to climax in fellatio or anal penetration for me to find it outstandingly homoerotic. For that matter, I’ve enjoyed watching two wrestlers who I’m pretty damn sure are, on their own time, straight as rulers, engage in entirely non-explicit, classic pro wrestling, and peg my homoerotic meter hard. Then, of course, there’s the distinction between a wrestling match that’s explicitly gay as opposed to a wrestling match that’s homoerotic.
There are a lot of moving parts to deconstructing what makes a particular wrestling match gay (or straight, for that matter). But I recently found myself arguing that one component that transforms wrestling into homoeroticism (and not just being gay), is that iconic barometer of male erotic attention: the erection. I’ll add it to my swelling collection of homoerotic wrestling if I get hard watching it. Even faster, I’ll drop it in the “homoerotic” side of the equation the moment I see one of the wrestlers sprout wood.
I’ve had a few conversations with experienced, gay professional wrestlers from BG East about the topic of erections in the ring (or on the mats). Clearly, the heat of competition, the conspicuousness of a camera crew, or perhaps the camera itself can be a cold shower to gay wrestlers who happily report getting hugely turned on by wrestling on their own time, but don’t quickly rise to the occasion when the cameras are rolling. But thankfully, the pro wrestling erection is not all that hard to find at all, and I send up a little cheer and prayer of gratitude to the homoerotic gods every time I spot one.
I’m definitely not a size queen, but it is true that more massively endowed members are more readily spotted, particularly when the trunks are still on. And I really love what a big, growing, stretching, swelling cock looks like straining at the seams of beautifully snug wrestling gear. It’s often (not always) value added for me when a raging erection is openly acknowledged and a full-on plot device in a wrestling match. That said, there’s something poignantly, intensely erotic about the unmentioned special guest that shows up unannounced, obviously born of an unspoken, deep down, honest to the wrestling gods erotic enthusiasm for muscle pounding wrestling.
So, sure, I could conceive of wrestling that’s gay and yet not all that homoerotic (though just knowing that wrestlers are gay likely tips the scales on my side of the screen). And I treasure many wrestling matches between ostensibly straight wrestlers who, nevertheless, crank my erotic fantasies with both (all four) hands hard. But a surefire element that never fails to make me claim a wrestling match as my kind is a hard, bulging, visibly swelling erection (preferably two or more) that stands as a living, weeping embodiment of what has made wrestling an erotic obsession of mine all my life: it’s a fucking fantastic turn on.
A few months ago, I sent an email to Bard asking if perhaps he would like to be interviewed for his website. To see if we could get a deeper glimpse into the man who has provided us with such great blogging material since 2009. A way for him to express himself in an entirely new way – where perhaps he is not totally in control. An innocuous request, which I thought might pique Bard’s interest. It did. – AH.
AH: You have been blogging since 2009, and you’re still going strong. Congratulations! What do you think has been the secret to your success and longevity?
Bard: Thanks, AH. My focus and productivity with Neverland has waxed and waned in the nearly 6 years I’ve been blogging. I think the biggest factor in my longevity is that this is a labor of love. Homoerotic wrestling is honestly something I enjoy immensely. I’m thinking about and talking about it a lot, so putting some of those thoughts into print for the blog doesn’t feel exactly like work. I also think that I’ve kept churning out posts by switching things up every so often. From my “what turned me gay” series to “name that ass” games and wrestler interviews, I’ve tried to keep things fresh and fun for me. Hopefully that comes across to readers, and hopefully it’s fun for them, as well.
AH: You keeping your blog fresh and fun definitely comes across to me, and I hope to all your other readers as well. I have especially enjoyed when you have had polls included in your posts. Do you have a favorite recurring post that you’ve enjoyed the most?
Bard: I’m glad it’s stayed fresh for readers. Particularly early on, I really didn’t know who my audience was, and even still, I’m not always sure how my stuff is received. So it’s nice to hear when it’s clicking for folks. One of the series that I think I enjoyed more than anyone else did was the “Guess that…” games. It started with “Guess that Ass,” but there were also some “Guess that Tat” and “Guess that Cock” episodes. I love puzzles, so putting those together was probably way more fun for me than for readers. I think my other favorite recurring series was the “What Turned Me Gay” sequence I did in the first couple of years of blogging. It was autobiographical and an honest examination of what I’ve found erotic over the years, with a heavy hit of social commentary and sarcasm. If I had to sum up my blog in one sentence,that would probably be the sentence.
AH: When you are watching a match that you plan on reviewing, what is the process that you go through?
Bard: Well, first of all, I grab the lube. But, that’s probably not what you meant. I sit down with my iPad in front of me and push play. I typically watch for purely descriptive stuff to start with. What are they wearing? What’s the setting? Then I spend some time listening closely. Regular readers know what a sucker I am for compelling dialogue in the ring, so I listen for the story that the wrestlers tell when they first encounter each other. Are they appreciating each other’s physiques? Are they trash talking? How do they make sense of this familiar moment when two ripped hunks climb into a ring and throw everything they’ve got at beating and dominating one another? What’s in it for them: ego strokes, erotic attraction, an honest lust for competition? I try to take notes on the the highlights of the action, particularly the parts that impress or surprise me. But, sooner or later, inevitably, I put the iPad down and pull out that lube. It’s an extremely rare homoerotic wrestling match that doesn’t make me need to get off if I spend enough time watching it.
AH: I think I need to be invited to a viewing party at Bard’s house! I’ll bring the lube! I tend to look over pictures and see if there are moves that grab my attention. Gear is definitely a big plus in my book, too. I go back and forth on the dialogue; sometimes I think it enhances a match, sometimes I think it hinders it. Is there one type of match that is your “default” for watching, or does it depend on the mood? Seems like you’re big into the muscle worshiping and eroticism of matches more than the moves/wrestlers themselves
Bard: Fascinating that your impression is that I’m less into the moves and wrestlers and more into eroticism! I wouldn’t necessarily have said that. For example, I’m like a dog with a bone when it comes to an OTK backbreaker, or to a hot wrestler getting trapped in the ropes. A flying dropkick, relatively rare in homoerotic wrestling circles, is a sensational turn on for me. My moods swing me toward ring matches more often that mat matches, so the ring would probably be a “default” setting for me. My moods also tilt me toward matches with some back and forth momentum and at least a pretense of competitiveness about it. So, while I occasionally get a hankering for a sweet, crushing, humiliating squash, a competitive match would be my default setting for what I’m typically looking for. All that said, I get bored pretty fast on a complete diet of relatively straightforward, G-rated wrestling with no explicit and very little implicit erotic content. I can tune into mainstream pro for that. So even if it doesn’t have nudity or making out or fuck stakes involved, I’m very partial to wrestling that gives at least a nod to the homoerotic sensibilities of our audience.
AH: Perhaps my impression was on purpose, Bard….to get a rise out of you! You’ll never know! My go-to move for any match is any variation on the sleeper. Pass the lube if that occurs. You mentioned mainstream pro wrestling; to the best of my knowledge, you’ve never mentioned any pro wrestlers/pro wrestling on your blog. Is that again because of your audience, or is it because like you say in the about me portion of your blog, “devoted to contemplating in excruciating detail the world of homoerotic wrestling”?
Bard: You provocateur! I heartily approve. Early on in my blogging I talked about my complicated relationship with mainstream pro wrestling. I’ve posted about my major, youthful crush on muscle hunk Billy Jack Haynes in my “What Turned Me Gay” series. And I think I have some early posts about the classic vintage Brit pro Keith Hawarth. And, hell, the banner for Neverland is the fantasyman himself, Tommy Zenk. But I grew disenchanted with watching contemporary mainstream pro over a decade ago when it kept striking me as blatantly homophobic. Throughout most of my blogging, I’ve enjoyed reading other bloggers who keep their eyes on straight up pro, like Beefcake’s of Wrestling, Ringside at Skull Island and Inner Jobber. But I find wrestling explicitly for gay eyes to be just as entertaining, more titillating, and much less of a moral dilemma to enjoy, so I spend most of my viewing and blogging time on the more gay-forward homoerotic wrestling companies.
AH: I’m sorry. Obviously I didn’t do my research. Since you mentioned other bloggers there have many multiple blogs and bloggers on the subject of homoerotic and underground wrestling pop up in the ensuing years since 2009. How do you feel about that?
Bard: Hell, I forget half of what I’ve written, so I certainly don’t expect anyone else to have my entire 6 years of blogging memorized. I think it’s fabulous that there are a number of homoerotic wrestling blogs. The old Rants, Roids & Wrestling blog was just shutting down as I was starting up. I loved the artwork and storytelling there. Joe started Ringside at Skull Island about 6 months before my blog, and I’ve always enjoyed Joe’s take on the scene. And of course Wrestling Arsenal is a classic that’s been around forever and has a fantastic, unique voice and angle all his own. There have been times when I’ve been just about to post something when I discover someone else (usually Joe) has already reviewed it, said it, asked it. But honestly, I think it’s fantastic that there are several voices out there, a lot of different perspectives and tastes reflecting much more of the diversity of homoerotic wrestling than any one of us could by ourselves.
AH: What do you think of wrestlers having more of a Social Media presence than ever before?
Bard: I think it’s the future of entertainment of any kind, including the homoerotic wrestling business. Pro wrestling is as much driven by personality as it is by athleticism or hot bodies. We have more access to interact with and know about the people in our lives, and social media has given us the opportunity to build the illusion that public personalities are “people in our lives.” So, anonymous guys with hot bodies showing up in a ring, wrestling with more or less skill, and then disappearing from view is much less compelling these days than wrestlers turning us on in action and then populating our Twitter and Facebook feeds with photos and attitude and the illusion that their professional character is part of our social network. Wrestlers like Ty Alexander, Kayden Keller, Ethan Andrews and Cameron Matthews have done great work at the sell in and out of the ring. I know fans enjoy seeing them in social media, and I strongly suspect that those who exploit that fan experience beyond the confines of a particular wrestling product will only literally sell more products. And have you seen the number of photos that Ty posts of his ass!? Fuck, that guy is working it with a vengeance!
AH: True. There have been plenty of wrestlers, through all of the homoerotic sites that have been “one and done” – they have the great bodies, but if the personality is not there or they don’t sell for the camera and draw the audience in, they are not featured again. It does give us a kind of “behind the scenes” look at some wrestlers. However, don’t you also think that there could also be some fatigue with specific wrestlers who appear over and over again combined with their increasing online presence?
Bard: My thinking has evolved on that question over my time blogging. Early on, I was pretty harsh on wrestlers who seemed to show up everywhere at the same time. I took some swipes at Cameron Matthews and Rio Garza a few years ago when both of them were showing up in simultaneous new releases across two, sometimes three different companies, sometimes even wrestling the same opponents across promotions. I still think that repackaging the same match-ups across promotions is bad for consumers, and my hunch is that there’s probably some corporate intrigue about the choice of a producer to tape and release copycat matches at the same time. Like, what’s the wisdom of releasing at the same time Rio and Jobe wrestling each other in the ring in two different matches? But I think instant downloads and social media are sensitizing us to a faster pace of information and exposure to wrestlers. And, frankly, I’ve simply found myself charmed and titillated by popular wrestlers like Cameron, Jonny, Drake and Ethan inhabiting multiple platforms, giving us long-form text, photos, and videos alongside of snapshot status updates to construct 3-dimensional characters in and out of the ring. Getting more access to these sensational wrestling characters has actually increased my anticipation and excitement for their new releases. There may be fan-fatigue for some wrestling consumers, but these days I see multi-platform promotion for wrestlers to be compelling. Now if we could just get Drake to update his fucking blog [laughing].
AH: Haha, there you go bashing Drake again. Can’t you leave the poor guy alone? Are you trying to get fans to sympathize with poor Drake? I didn’t want to name names earlier (cough Austin/Frey cough) about showing up across different companies and multiple matches a month, but hey, he must be doing something right in the eyes of the people producing and shelling out the products. And he is not the only one. It does seem to make it harder for a rookie to get noticed and make a lasting impression, although I have to say that 2015 was a particularly strong year for them (at least for me.) with Chet, Biff, Van Skyler, etc.
Bard: I do like the increased social media presence of some of the wrestlers you mentioned, although like new releases, they are updated rather infrequently. I think that actually works in their favor, as it keeps the audience salivating until there is a new post, a new video, new pictures.
AH: Since we’re talking about wrestlers populating social media, what are your thoughts on all the bloggers talking about homoerotic wrestling
Bard: Oh, can’t forget Austin Cooper! His heel work at BG East in particular is crazy good. But regarding other bloggers, I have tons of respect and take a lot of enjoyment in all of them. There was a period where I was diligently reading everybody and intentionally cross promoting other blogs, but I just ran out of time to stay on top of that. I still visit Beefcakes of Wrestling several times a week to check the mainstream pros I ought to be looking up on Youtube. I check in on Ringside frequently, now that Joe’s back at it again, particularly for a glimpse at some of the promotions that I don’t really follow. Alex is always sensational, and his work at The Cave is a great mix of sensational writing and inspiring reviews. I think each of the bloggers with an eye on homoerotic wrestling have unique perspectives, different things that draw their attention or spark their interest. And that’s what I like about blogging as a format. It lets us step inside someone else’s head for a moment and recognize the arousing and provocative things that we may not see on our own.
AH: Seems like each blog has a corner of the homoerotic wrestling scene all to themselves. I love it when multiple bloggers discuss and dissect the same match as it leads to differing views and makes me want to watch the match again trying to hopefully see it through a new lens. Before finding all of these blogs, I never thought that all of these posts would be so arousing!! I just thought the videos and pictures would turn me on. Glad to be proven wrong. So you have your avatar on your blog that shows off that chest and gives a glimpse of your abs. You’ve let your audience into your mind – but you have left the rest of your body and self, vague. Is that intentional on your part?
Bard: When I started blogging, I didn’t have a clear picture of exactly what I wanted the blog to be. But I did feel committed to make it relatively confessional as a gay man strongly turned on by wrestling. With an interest in a frank discussion of eroticism, I decided that I’d feel freer to be blunt and honest about my sexual turn-ons if I were relatively anonymous otherwise. One of the greatest things about blogging has been hearing from guys who say, “I’ve had the same experiences, but thought I must be the only one!” But I don’t know if I’d ever have had the balls to dig down to those moments of homoerotic confessional truth, to talk about some of those things that many of us experience but may seldom discuss with friends and family that don’t get it, if I thought that my mom or my boss might stumble across my words. These days, I think of that avatar I use like a wrestling mask in the pro ring. There’s something that it hides, but there’s something that it frees to be seen, to be more open and passionately me as well. And, quite honestly, over time I’ve discovered that there are some relatively unhinged people in the webosphere who take all of this way, way too seriously, who I really wouldn’t want to know me in any more detail than what I share on the blog.
AH: Very well said. I was quite late to the game in finding homoerotic wrestling sites and blogs dedicated to it. But once I did, I had that “Aha” moment, where I was like I am not the only one who likes this stuff! And we thank you for digging down deep, through your anonymity, to bring us your fresh take on these subjects that so strongly turn you on. I hope this interview does not provoke any unhinged people out there to search either of us out.
Bard: Some guys are extremely… passionate… about their opinions about homoerotic wrestling. It’s a fine line between passionate/playful and unhinged, but there is a line, I think.
AH:Rock Hard dabbled in luche style masks I believe once in their history (although it was obvious who the combatants were) and BG East has had masked wrestlers as well. Do you ever watch lucha wrestling videos on youtbube or know that history, or were you just using the wrestling mask as a metaphor to prove your point?
Bard: I am familiar with lucha wrestling and some of the standard parts of the lucha mystique as it relates to masks and unmasking. Mostly, I was speaking metaphorically, though.
AH: So, 2016 is a momentous year. We have a Presidential election as well as the Olympics. Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore of homoerotic wrestling?
Bard: Yowza, that’s a challenging question. Coincidentally I traveled to Mr. Rushmore just last summer. I found it oddly underwhelming. But if I were to select 4 faces to get carved into stone as pivotal people in homoerotic history, I’d definitely start with Kid Leopard. I think BG East has been uniquely shaped by his vision and commitment to homoerotic wrestling, and I think BG East has, in turn, uniquely shaped the entire industry. Honestly, I think if anyone else’s face was carved next to him, Kid Leopard’s visage would pummel him. Who else is as iconic? Maybe Ron Sexton of Can-Am. I have no idea what he looks like, though, so I’m not sure if anyone would recognize him. But I think of him as, perhaps more than anyone else, bringing together the two worlds of wrestling and porn in ways that completely laid the groundwork for the likes of Naked Kombat. If pressed, I think perhaps a third face to carve into the Mr. Rushmore of homoerotic wrestling might be Steve Sterling. Bodybuilders in homoerotic wrestling are a mainstay these days, but I think of Steve as one of the first, if not the first, legitimate, incredibly muscled, competition bodybuilders to bring serious, aesthetic, massive physiques into the homoerotic wrestling fan’s immediate gaze. As for a fourth “founding father,” I’m sort of stumped. I think I’ll put Scott Williams’ face in that final spot. Not because he fundamentally shaped the industry at all. Just because I think he’s fucking handsome as hell, and I’d pay the price of admission to get to see that sensational jawline literally carved in stone.
AH: Shit, I am getting into my car and driving directly to your Mt Rushmore of homoerotic wrestling! Where do you think this art form goes from here? There has definitely been an evolution, one you know better than me, about homoerotic wrestling. Now, you don’t need to wait a period of time for that “package” to arrive in the mail – you can instantly stream/download a match from just about any wrestler, any promotion, at any moment (and get a shock when you get your credit card statement too). Mr. Firestorm has dabbled in newer matches (with the google-glasses bird’s eye view, and his choose your own adventure style match against your personal friend Drake); do you think that is the way to go – where it seems the audience has more of a say in what goes on in matches, or should we leave it to the people behind the scenes who have crafted gold into our memories for so long
Bard: I think there’s value added in both consumer directed products as well as the fare that established wrestling producers know how to put together so well. The custom and fan-choice matches scratch that great, postmodern itch of breaking down some of the barriers between viewers and the action, which I think is sensational. It’s also why I love behind the scenes glimpses and the online presence of some homoerotic wrestling personalities these days. It pokes holes in that wall that divides the passive viewing fan from the extremely active, intense, visceral nature of wrestling. However, 9 times out of 10, I’d let Kid Leopard pick a sexy hot pairing for a sweaty, high flying, low down ring match drama and be confident I’d be 100% entertained. I love the unexpected. I love to be surprised and shocked by how a match turns or by the depths to which wrestlers will go to dominate. So I certainly wouldn’t want everything to be a Chinese menu of homoerotic wrestling choices. Some producers have a fantastic eye and taste for this that takes me places I’d never know that I need to go.
AH: Once again Bard, fantastic analysis; That’s the great thing about this subject and others like it – it’s so open for discussion and debate. Do you have any last rumblings and grumblings you’d like to share that perhaps you haven’t yet voiced in your blog yet?
Bard: I think the only other thing I’d pontificate about today is one that many readers have heard before from me and from others. I regularly get comments to my blog with pointed, often personal, frequently crass criticisms of wrestlers. Most often the ones that really trigger me are the personal attacks on wrestlers’ bodies, like someone is too fat, too skinny, too ugly, too whatever and so somehow deserves disrespect. On the one hand, I’m at the front of the line when it comes to loving and leaning into the fantasy of professional wrestling. When wrestlers belittle each other and heap trash talking contempt upon one another’s physiques and appearance, I can understand why fans would turn to social media and comment logs to participate in the same sort of posturing. However, as many can probably attest to, I do my best to censor those types of comments out of the comment pages on my blog. I know this pisses some readers off. But I just have to say, again here today, that this practice of trashing wrestlers with personal attacks feels a lot like me inviting a whole bunch of friends over, and having one of the guests in my own home trashing and attacking another of my guests. I know you’ve got your opinions, and I know many of you aren’t shy about expressing the highly critical ones. But no. Not in my house. Not aimed at my friends.
Because that’s what’s happened as I’ve been blogging over the years. I’ve had the great privilege of meeting many of the wrestlers who I’m completely infatuated with. And it’s a mind fuck to actually sit down and talk with a stud puppy who, perhaps just the day before, I was pounding out a screaming climax to while watching him wrestle on my screen. And while I have zero problem getting off again and again to the wrestling work of these hunks I’ve got to meet in person, I just can’t behave as if these wrestlers are somehow not real people who deserve common human decency and respect. A few of them I’m particularly privileged to count among my friends, and I take that seriously. So not liking a match they’re in, or offering the critique about something they wear, or what you wish they’d done to a particular opponent is fantastic by me. But body shaming them, or calling them losers, or questioning their intelligence, or assessing them as worthless is crossing a line.
So, like I said, readers have heard this from me before, but in closing, I’d just say it again. Keep it classy. This little corner of the world inhabited by gay guys with a particular thing for getting off on wrestling is probably bigger than most of us might have originally thought it was, but we shouldn’t take for granted the balls it takes for wrestlers to strip down, gear up, and put their bodies on the line for this community of ours. I know for a fact that there are homoerotic wrestlers who have been shamed and punished when they’ve had friends, family or coworkers discover they’ve wrestled for a gay audience. That’s shitty. But the last thing they should also face is that very audience shaming or harassing them out of petty cattiness.
Anyway, I officially step back off my soap box and thank you, AH, for turning the tables on me and interviewing me for a change. It was a fascinating experience to be on the other side of the questions!
AH: No, thank you very much, Bard. The honor was all mine, and thank you for agreeing to do this!
Despite my explicit preference for homoerotic wrestling fare with an element of competitive suspense about it, I’ve been finding myself watching, and enjoying, quite a number of one-sided matches lately. The “squash” is a particular subgenre that I can enjoy, but, like I’ve said, I tend to prefer to see more give and take, more narrative suspense. So it’s interesting to find myself sitting in front of a whole lot of lopsided squashes. Sampling more than my typical diet of them, I’ve been reflecting on what almost always does work for me in a squash, what can but doesn’t always work, and what almost never works for me in a squash.
First, what almost always works for me is seeing a dominant pitcher deeply delighted by the feel of mastering his opponent. This is what I’m talking about when I prattle on about “owning,” when one wrestler doesn’t just beat the other, doesn’t just make him tap out or submit, but takes visceral pleasure in controlling an outmatched contender. Obviously, the absence of this element can make a squash a bore for me. The squash where the dominant stud seems thoroughly dismissive, so out of his opponent’s league that he can barely be bothered to pay attention to the suffering he’s causing, tends to disappoint me. I’ll feast for days off of a viscious, dominant heel who obliterates an opponent in a landslide and convinces me, one way or another, that he could very well need to rub one out soon before or soon after the camera’s are turned off, because he’s just too damned turned on. Frankly, this doesn’t even need to be entirely about sexual tension. I’m less interested in whether the winner wants to fuck his opponent’s ass in victory than I am in whether the experience of conquering, controlling, and possessing an outmatched opponent in and of itself seems capable of giving the winner erotic pleasure. Whether he cums all over the catcher’s face on camera, or just leaves me believing that he needs a little “alone time” in the locker room to pound one out on his own, I’m buying it, if he’s selling it.
A lot of examples come to mind. Most of Kid Vicious’ catalog falls neatly into this category. If KV doesn’t bust a load all over a lamb-to-the-slaughter opponent, I feel 99% certainty that he took care of it soon afterward. He always looks to me like he’s mentally getting off on destroying an opponent (the prettier, the harder). Kid Karisma taps this consistently as well. His recent Undagear 23 match with reigning homoerotic wrestler of the month Marco Carlow is a perfect example. Kid K looks like he’s eating this squash up with a spoon, and when he rips Marco’s gear off, poses overtop of his fallen prey, and beats a hasty retreat from the mat room, I’m convinced it’s not just a hasty retreat he’s about to beat. Jake Jenkins muscle mauling of it-boy Kip Sorrell in Backyard Brawls 8 is another specific example. I think of JJ as one of the most G-rated wrestlers on the scene, but his laughter, his luxuriating in Kip’s total destruction beneath him leads me to write the off camera script that has JJ needing a moment to himself to celebrate beating the living fuck out of that ridiculously pretty pin-up boy.
There are other elements of a squash that can, but don’t always, work for me. A predator who plays with his food, for example, can sometimes turn me on, other times no. I’ve written my appreciation for trash talking taunts in the wrestling ring for ages, but in a squash, withering derision can seem more like dickishness than homoerotic tension. Personally, I find taunts more erotically provocative when the battle is close, when there’s suspense as to whose brash boasts will be born out as true, and who will be humiliated in regrets for winding up his betters with checks he couldn’t cash. In a squash, taunting trash talk and verbal humiliation are tricky for me. Sometimes I’m stoked hotter. Somtimes not. Cathweight squash scenarios also can go either way for me. When the opponents are so clearly, ridiculously mismatched in size, a big-beats-little squash can sometimes work for me in a big way, but at other times leave me a little bored with what turns out to be the forgone conclusion. Competitive catchweight matches or, even, little-beats-big squashes typically float my boat big time, all else considered, but it’s a touchy thing if it’s a big-beats-little squash from the start.
Guido Genatto’s matches teeter back and forth with me around some of these coin toss elements. He won’t relent in physical or emotional abuse until an opponent is a pool of sweat and tears, sometimes just this side of the line for turning me on, sometimes just the other. For the big beats little squash dilemma, big Joe Robbins similarly sometimes comes up heads, sometimes tails.
Finally, it’s a little hard to put my finger on precisely the element that almost never works for me in a squash. I know it by how I feel, rather than by the specific content of the wrestling. When I’m left genuinely feeling sorry for the loser, when I have this impulse to call the principal’s office and report an incident of homophobic bullying in the halls, then I’m totally not on board. When it’s so one sided and the dominant stud is heaping on misogynistic insults, questioning the battered boy’s masculinity, then it touches a nerve that makes it hard to stay in the mood for. There’s a particular stripe of sadism that’s more sociopathic than homoerotic, that delights in inflicting suffering but seems more likely to end in the winner pissing on the loser than cumming across him. That schtick is not in my wheelhouse (no judgment implied, though if it is in yours).
My most recent experience with this is the third match in Undagear 23, in which Ethan Axel Andrews fucking brutalizes delicately gorgeous Jayden Mayne. I’m not just saying this because Jayden charmed the pants off me in his interview here late last year, selling the living fuck out of being an earnest, ambitious babyface on the rise (though that, he did). And fuck, Ethan’s turned my crank more times than I can count. But then there’s this crime scene that unfolds in Undagear 23. Ethan mauls Mr. Hollywood in such a way that I’m sort of hoping for someone on the camera crew to break this shit up. I’ve seen Ethan sell me over and over on his erotic delight in owning an opponent, but here, he just strikes me as a bully. He’s just mean, not because he’s getting off on it, or he cares if you’re getting off on it, or he secretely intends on stripping Jayden’s fine, fine ass bare and taking the spoils of victory with a Trojan on. He just comes across as enjoying hurting defenseless creatures, just because he can. Call PETA. There’s a sicko who enjoys torturing puppies!
Now, I’m 100% certain that there are plenty of homoerotic wrestling fans for whom Ethan’s mugging of Jayden is pure gold. Jayden is genuinely outmatched and outclassed from start to finish, and there’s an undeniable beauty in his spoiled masculine innocence. I’m not suggesting that anyone else does or should feel about it the way I do. I’m just musing, in my own little corner of the internet, about this thing that can take me a little by surprise: a homoerotic wrestling match that simply, essentially, fails to push my buttons. Squashes are just like that for me.
Of course, I thought I was being deferential, complimentary, even, when I asked young Drake about being a rising fan favorite jobber at BG East. Clearly, that’s not the way my question was received, however, because the Cheshire Cat’s irrepressible smile disappeared in an instant and the earnest grappler bristled. His string of early career squashes aside, Drake promised that he was honing his craft and improving every day and every match, and I should be prepared to bank on the promissory note that he would cash in the day he scored his first, decisive match victory. Then, of course, Drake made another promise last Christmas, apparently still bristling (though with that dimpled grin back on his handsome face), when he told me he had “a present” under his tree particularly for me to open.
In the subsequent months, more words were exchanged. A rookie no longer, Drake continued to issue the vaguely threatening invitation to come on down and see the “present” he was dying to deliver to me as, apparently, his chief blogger and critic. Critic!? Me?! I’ve been fawning over his Fugelsang-esque hot looks from before I ever knew his name or saw him in square cuts. However, no amount of deference or flattery could sway young Drake’s intent on unwrapping for me some of what he perceives to be retribution for my flagrant audacity in lauding his jobber cred.
Honestly, I’m not sure the young stud quite knew what to say when I pointed out a while back that I would be in the vicinity of BG East’s south campus around the same time he would this fall. The jobber stuttered more than a little, but caught in a web of his own making, Drake eventually agreed that the time had come to set aside childish taunts and schoolyard threats and sort out just what it was he felt obliged to “deliver” with a real, live, hot blooded homoerotic wrestling blogger standing in front of him.
My recent rendezvous with Drake Marcos marked what feels like my second pilgrimage to the holy sites of homoerotic wrestling. My first pilgrimage I documented about 3 years ago, when I had an opportunity to spend time in the Boston area and even scored myself an invitation to visit the Boss himself where so much magic has happened and continues to happen. Not nearly so perversely hotheaded or constitutionally delicate as his online persona, this pilgrimage to BG East’s Florida campus was hosted by a genuinely gracious Drake Marcos who devoted a ton of time and attention to showing me the holy sites while other BG East regulars all happened to be out of town.
Prior to opening their newest wrestling facilities in the area, many BG East Florida matches were filmed at a particularly picturesque, canal-side bungalow with a screened in pool and carefully kept gardens. The grounds themselves pulse with the echoes of so many beautiful BG East boys posing dockside.
I had a momentary impulse to lick the very palm tree that vicious Bobby Horton momentarily tied Mitch Colby to in Backyard Brawls 5, bashing the fitness model fantasyman like a tormented St. Sebastian, before Mitch turned that shit right back around and threw Bobby to the grass, flexing his hot, muscled, tanned body in the young hunk’s face.
We know the matches that have taken place in that pool and poolside, including this summer’s Wet & Wild 7 tourney which earned fiercely hot Trey Dixon July’s homoerotic wrestler of the month title here at neverland. Lobolito got the full-on Kid Vicious bash-rinse-repeat cycle in Wet & Wild 4, tortured with such an exquisite intensity in those same waters that I swear I could almost hear the screams of pain still echoing off the pool deck (seriously, has KV ever looked hotter than muscled up and dripping wet in that match!?).
So many sizzling matches have taken place on wrestling mats set up poolside, such as Kid Karisma dragging Christian Taylor’s lovely, long body in, then out of the pool in Wet & Wild 5, working Abercrombie-boy Christian over until both studs had to retire indoors for Kid K to savor the spoils of victory in air conditioning. I’ve spent so many hours watching footage from that screened in pool that it felt like I was cozying up in profoundly familiar surroundings.
And speaking of those indoors, I also got a long, lingering look at the sunroom, the site of a dizzyingly hot catalog of matches that are never far from the top of my cue. Right here’s where Mitch Colby and Derek da Silva, one of the hottest combinations in history, absolutely crushed one another’s balls until both were writhing in pools of sweat and ecstasy in Crotch Crushers 1. Here’s where Mitch also confronted the only wrestler to compete with him as the longest running title holder of my favorite homoerotic wrestler title, Rusty Stevens, leaving me apoplectic for weeks afterward with the sheer hotness of the score settling in Breaking Point. BG East fans will be unsurprised to hear me say that the sunroom is tight quarters. Most every sunroom match I’ve seen has involved catching inadvertent glimpses of the film crew reflected in the wall of mirrors on one end. There’s an architectural intimacy that I think explains why just about any pairing of hardbodied hunks there has an extra hit of sexual tension.
Drake was ridiculously charming, solicitous even as we toured the place. I was beginning to think the young buck’s bluster and ballyhoo online was thinly veiling a genuinely sweethearted gentleman. He was kind and attentive, anticipating my questions and interests, playing a gracious host and placing my need to reverentially soak in the setting of so many homoerotic wrestling fantasies deliberately and lingeringly at the forefront of his priorities. In other words, it wasn’t long before I was convinced all over again that young Drake Marcos was, indeed, a dyed-in-the-wool, hardwired, cradle-to-grave jobber, through and through. However, when the tour continued on to the newest BG East facilities not far away, I started to suspect that there may, indeed, be more to this adorably dimpled Cheshire Cat.
When I think about how I present myself online, I think about this blog. The depths of my confessionals in the well over 1,000 posts I’ve composed over the past 5 years pretty much leave me feeling naked (and hungry). So when someone approaches me in a different online format, who has clearly never read the pages of this blog, it’s always a little disorienting. “You into wrestling?” someone asks on Facebook. Seriously? I mention BG East or Can-Am on Twitter and someone asks, “What’s BG East?” Whaaaaa?
So today’s post explaining the do’s and don’t’s of chatting me up on Facebook and Twitter is probably pitched to the wrong audience (because, obviously, you’re reading this blog). However, after several cease and desists and “unfriending” (aka, “fuck off, bitch”), I thought I’d just clarify how I manage who I am and how I socialize in the most misnamed technology in history: social media. First of all, I am an unapologetic gay man. If you try to strike up conversation or ask me to accept you as a “friend,” but you appear to be presenting yourself as a straight man, into just women, with a total lack of style and a frequent use of homophobic slurs, I will ignore you. Some of my closest friends are straight guys, mind you, but my quota of token straights in my life is filled at the moment. Same goes for the boobulous women complementing me on my abs. Wrong tree.
Now, an overt nod to wrestling in your profile or chatter is a major plus. Assuming you’ve made it through the first round of exclusion criteria above, I almost universally acknowledge those who approach me with an explicit connection to wrestling. The gay guys who approach me who seem to hold no fascination for wrestling tend to have about a 0.50 probability of me ignoring them. Which side of that coin you fall on probably depends on whether I’m already inserting you into a wrestling fantasy of mine by looking at your profile photo. Yeah, it’s all about me.
Speaking of which, regular readers of this blog know well that I’m a major fan and booster of hot asses and succulent dicks. Honestly, I’ve dragged you all along on quite a few rounds of “Name that Ass” and “Name that Cock,” so it should come as no surprise that I love asses and dicks. I’m still planning a revival of the “Name that…” games at some point, because, let me repeat, I love asses and I love dicks.
That said, metaphorical asses and dicks frequently make it through my initial two rounds of exclusion criteria above, and then get my boot later on. What qualifies one as a metaphorical ass who I don’t have time for? Rabid, right wing, Tea Party, misogynist, internalized homophobic, guns in every hand but save fetuses at all costs, racist, anti-immigrant bullshit qualifies one instantly as the sort of ass that I have no time for. That’s right. You may be gay and a wrestling freak, but if you shove your politics in my face and I find them abhorrent, I’ve moved on. I’m fine with you believing your wing-nuttery, but I’m not about to see it in my feed on a regular basis.
What qualifies one as a metaphorical dick that I can’t stand? There are a few signals to me that someone is a dick. “Hey fucker, I’m going to beat your ass and you’re going to take it,” is a pick up line that does not work for me in the sphere of social media. Buy me a couple of drinks, strip your rock hard body down to a jock strap, and serve up some sweet trash talk and sure, you’re back to being the sort of dick I love. Come on way too strong and insist on dominating without a basis of consensual amiability, and you’re coming across to me as the sort of dick I don’t have time for. Another signal of a distasteful dick is trashing people I care about and respect. Bitchy take downs and critiques of the bodies of homoerotic wrestlers in the business, for example, merits a “see ya,” from me. Thoughtful critiques of the homoerotic wrestling industry are lovely, but one-dimensional flaming of a particular company or product is just dickish.
I don’t tend to respond much to “hey, stud, let’s cyber wrestle.” That doesn’t usually merit a delete from me, but I’ve said way too often that my dance card is full up at the moment. It comes close, but typically doesn’t quite cross the line when someone asks to share pirated homoerotic wrestling products. Again, if you read the pages of this blog, you know that I’m a big, big booster of the industry and want it to thrive and prosper. Intentionally pirating copyrighted material is awfully damn close to dickishness that I don’t have time for. You probably won’t get deleted, but I’ll try to pretend you didn’t just ask me that.
Want to chat about your favorite homoerotic wrestler? Want to comment on dicks and asses (the good kind)? Want to steer me to a new company or product because you’re fucking love it to pieces and think I will too? Let’s virtually socialize! Care to offer a different opinion or take me to task because you think I’ve missed some essential hotness in my meanderings and musings? Love it. Be classy, gay, and within the brotherhood of homoerotic wrestling fans, and let’s connect. The other type of asses and dicks, keep moving.
Sure, “hump day” has a nice ring to it, but I know I’m not alone in enjoying taking time out in the middle of the week to appreciate the fine art that is a Tree of Woe. The ToW portrays such vulnerability, such anticipation, capturing so much back story and foreshadowing impending doom on the horizon…. just like most Wednesdays in my life. Here are a few choice ToW’s to put the torture of Wednesday into homoerotic wrestling perspective.
I won’t name names, because that ALWAYS gets me in more trouble than it’s worth. I’ll just say that the same disappointing thought has occurred to me more than once recently as I’ve been sampling homoerotic wrestling new releases. This recurring thought is, Grabbing crotch does not make wrestling homoerotic.
100% homoerotic wrestling featuring (among many other elements) Mitch Colby grabbing Derek da Silva’s crotch in Crotch Crushers 1.
Do you know what I mean? I’ve seen an anecdotal rise in the number of wrestling products marketed to you and me in which the most homo and/or erotic content is almost entirely limited to a crotch grab. Now, I love a nice crotch grab. That goes for all sorts of contexts and purposes, actually. The feel of a pulsing, raging cock in my hand is absolutely intoxicating! Two raging cocks in my hand, and I’m guaranteed to have a hangover the next morning. I do not have anything at all against the homoeroticism of taking another man’s cock firmly in hand, per se.
Jobe Zander looks like he’s searching for his keys at the bottom of his purse in Can-Am’s DeCrotchery 3
But my beef, so to speak, is the over reliance on this device to sell wrestling as gay. I realize that there’s a sub-fetish contingent out there with a particular kink for watching and/or experiencing cock abuse. While I don’t count myself in that particular tribe, I can appreciate and get turned on by some cock control as a tool of soul crushing erotic domination. But if that’s really the only element in a match that might distinguish it from a TBS prime time mainstream episode of plasticized canned wrestling drama, then it’s just got one toe on our side of the fence, as far as I’m concerned.
Gino Liotta and Joshua Goodman engage in mutual crotch crushing as just one element of steamy action in Crotch Crushers 2.
Running across a bevy of barely homoerotic wrestling trying to take a short cut with crotch shots as credentials for checking in with you and me as gay-oriented has started to grate on my nerves. So sure, you squeezed his balls… if you’ve got a disinterested look on your face, it sort of douses the heat. You grabbed a handful of whatever is stuffed down the front of his trunks, okay. But, if neither your hand nor his suffering seem to sell me that you’re about to rip him apart out of a primal lust to own his muscled body, then the stagecraft wears thin.
Friend of neverland, Ben Monaco, convinces me long before he goes for Alex Arias’ crotch that he’s all-in for homoerotic wrestling in Mat Rookies 1!
All this begs the question, of course, what it is that distinguishes some wrestling as homoerotic and others as something else. Of course, mainstream wrestling can turn me on (when it isn’t pissing me off with over-the-top homophobia). Just about any wrestling itself speaks to me as homoerotic almost by definition. But I propose that there’s an ontologically different beast that is homoerotic wrestling. I’ve danced around this topic many times in the past. It’s a know-when-I-see-it sort of concept, in large part. It also overlaps with the cliche of “chemistry” between wrestlers, which is nearly impossible to quantify but, nevertheless, is unmistakable when its absent. I don’t know that I can put a finger on the baseline requirements (for me), but what makes something distinctively homoerotic wrestling always hits me on many levels.
Of course, explicit sexuality never hurts to sell wrestling as homoerotic. A suck, a fuck, a kiss even (especially), and I’m a long way to being sold that this wrestling is all about me and my kink. Hell, just having the boys talk openly about the eroticism hanging in the air between them is plenty to suck me in, and when it’s done right, eroticized banter will rev me up a hundred times hotter than an going-through-the-motions post-match fuck.
Reese Wells works 5 different angles at once in dishing out dominating abuse over Jobe Zander’s package in Ball Busters 1.
It doesn’t require explicitness, though. It can be the fixed gaze of one wrestler and the self-conscious glance at the ground by the other that piques my homoerotic wrestling gaydar. It can be the intimacy of the setting, the gear, the lighting even, that contribute to making me recognize that this is homoerotic wrestling. It can, and often is, one wrestler so narcissistic that he convinces me that, if humanly possible, he’d fuck himself into a stupor if that annoying opponent of his would just get the fuck out of his face.
The best in the business push the homoerotic button from the instant the camera brings them into focus. Homoerotic wrestlers of the month Cage Thunder and (spoiler alert… keep reading at your own risk… oh, wait, too late!) Lightning Rod aka KV are beautiful examples. A half a second after I see their eyes lock onto the body of their opponents like sizing up a juicy filet, I understand without a doubt that the combat that’s about to unfold is first and foremost sexual. They communicate a hunger to grab hold of and consume their opponent that’s instantly arousing. The crotch grab is perfectly homoerotic when they latch on and threaten to rip an opponent out by the roots, because of everything else they’ve done to make it clear that they get off on this!
In Ball Bash 2, Reese Wells gets harder the more vicious Jonny Firestorm attacks his crotch! Now that’s homoerotic and hot!
There are plenty of wrestling products that push me way over the edge without ever veering into crotch grabs, fucking, or nudity even. They’re often completely homoerotic in my eyes for a dozen other elements that signal to me that this isn’t wrestling for 8 year-old boys with g-rated comic book fantasies of heroes and villains. And equally as true, a gratuitous ball claw or tug at a cock is seldom the end-game for landing a wrestling match firmly within the circle of what I consider gay-themed, for gay eyes, wrestling kink, or homoerotic.
Unmasked and unsheathed, Stinger swells with excitement as Homoerotic Wrestlers of the Month Cage Thunder and Lightning Rod batter his stinger mercilessly.
As the photos I’ve attached to this post illustrate, the crotch grab is a delightfully hot tool in the tool belt of the accomplished homoerotic wrestler. When it’s dished out in measured quantity, it’s fantastic! When placed as an integral component of an onslaught of unmistakably homoerotic content, the crotch grab is often precisely the point at which I lose all self-restraint. However, and I’m not naming names, but I just need to say it: solely based on a wrestler grabbing his opponent’s crotch, it doesn’t make it homoerotic wrestling. A one-trick pony gimmick in an otherwise lukewarm bath of run of the mill wrestling does not a homoerotic wrestling match make.