I think I may have become too serious in the past 41 days or so. Sure, I believe the very fabric of our fundamental social contract as a modern society is unraveling. And, yeah, I have to acknowledge that I’ve been feeling happy not to have children to worry about suffering in the coming new world disorder. But there’ve got to be some reasons to smile these days. As if reading the secret thoughts of my darkest hours, a long-standing, anonymous, yet dependable friend suddenly reached out and dropped a boatload of candid, behind-the-scenes photos smuggled off the sets of BG East, starring some of the most sensationally sexy wrestlers on the planet taking a little off the cuff joy in life.
OMI (Our Man Inside) has long been aware of my pleasure at seeing candid images of the heroes, villains, and whipping boys who star in the homoerotic wrestling fantasies that I enjoy so much. Far too easily, we who are fans can forget that there are actual people behind the made-for-pro wrestling characters and storylines that we tune in for. Too often, we take our prerogatives as consumers too literally. We collapse the people who put in the time to craft their bodies for wrestling sport entertainment into the products they star in. So we too often feel free to critique not just the products, but the people. We act as if it’s our right, from the anonymity of our side of the computer screen, to trash people based on our tastes and preferences in wrestling entertainment, dismissing the people themselves as worthless if we judge their wrestling products or performances to be uninspiring. I delete comments from the pages of this blog when I think they’ve stepped over that line, because that’s not what this blog is about. People can, and do, do that anywhere and everywhere else on the internet. This blog is about celebrating the industry, promoting the best of what I enjoy in homoerotic wrestling, and encouraging producers and wrestlers alike to continue to titillate and innovate for a homoerotic wrestling sensibility.
So I particularly enjoy these candid shots that give just a glimpse of the men behind the masks (whether literal or figurative). I know that there are some who would likely prefer not to see behind the curtain. I respect that. But these rare glimpses of these hot hunks’ humanity make me love this industry even more.
We don’t have to like them all. Fuck, that’s the whole point really. Some of the hottest wrestling happens when hunky characters who I despise lie, cheat, and steal their way into contention in the ring. The rules of polite (straight) society do not apply in the homoerotic wrestling universe in which these magnificent men show up and throw down, putting bodies and egos and sometimes even their asses on the line in these Greek melodramas that we enjoy so passionately. In that world, these men can fly. They can be broken to pieces and pick themselves right back up and battle on with nothing but sheer will stitching them together. In that world, they’re devious and diabolical. They’re naive and gullible. They’re virtuous to a fault and psychologically flawed to perfection. In that world, they may or may not even be aware that we are crushing on them, debating about them, pulling for or rooting against them. They are apart from us, operating by different rules, and the distance can make us imagine that our estimation of them, in this world, also need not abide by conventions of common decency.
But in this world, they’re guys like you and me. Well, guys who probably work out more, eat better, and, if they’re any good, train to wrestle beyond what 99% of fans ever do. But in my experience, they’re just guys, most of whom are charming and complex, a patchwork of pride and insecurity, just like all of us who are afflicted by this human condition.
And in these waning days of 2016, I could probably use with more glimpses of genuine humanity. I wish every one of these smiling studs success and good fortune in the coming year. I want them to know that they are appreciated, even beyond being adored by those of us who are fans. When they’ve peeled their bruised and battered bodies off the mats, when the cameras are off and the street clothes are on, when they clock into their day jobs where people don’t even know that they are phenomenally sexy fantasymen with superhuman strength and skill when they strip their hot bodies down to supertight trunks, I hope their lives are filled with happiness. They are beautiful and brave, powerful and provocative. They’re terrifying and titillating, inspiring and inciting. They turn us on and transport us to a world in which our fantasies of gorgeous gladiators locked in erotic combat play out, live action, before our very eyes.
Wrestlers, when you’ve had your spine snapped in an OTK backbreaker and punched in the testicles until you’re a screaming, writhing mess on the mat, after you’ve gotten us off with your beauty and your might, I hope the world is kind to you in the coming year. Thanks for smiling. ~Bard
Taking a brief break from the heavy diet of reviews I’ve been dishing out, today I’m lingering a bit on that supremely homoerotic wrestling hold, face-to-crotch headscissors.
I’m sure I’ve mused about this hold before, but I’m too lazy to look it up. So I’ll probably repeat myself when I say that my heart pumps harder in my chest when a straight forward pro wrestling story suddenly introduces face-to-crotch scissors. If you buy that all of pro wrestling can easily be read as an extended homoerotic innuendo, face-to-crotch sort of slaps down the implied erotic subtext and steps at least one toe over the line into straight up homoerotic text.
How wrestlers carry it off, of course, can significantly add to eroticism. I suppose it’s possible to snap your thighs around another man’s head with that up close look at your balls in his face and it be solely about punishment and wrestling victory. But I love watching a wrestler snap shut that bear trap and then enjoy it, openly, luxuriantly, expansively. When someone on the delivery side of this hold pumps his glutes and shoves his hips forward with a little enthusiasm, when he milks the moment with pulsing flexed muscles beating out a morse code of agony from the gasping grunts of his opponent, when he stares down his own hot body and smiles at the sight of his opponent owned and getting primed for sucking cock, when he closes his eyes and leans his head way, way back and that look of an impending orgasm washes across his face, there’s nothing coded about this. This is hot, homoerotic wrestling gold.
The catcher can certainly connect the dots as well. Regardless of who ends up on top after all is said and done, I love it when a captured hunk’s eyes roam hungrily up and down his captors body above him. He doesn’t need to, but if he stretches his hands up and strokes those crushing thighs, the rippling abs, stretching so far as to palm the bulging pecs of his tormentor, it conveys what I’m silently thinking deep inside at that moment. A smothered grappler doesn’t have to, but if he’s man enough to nuzzle the balls bearing down on his face, fuck, maybe even open wide and give the trickster’s treats a hearty lick, it just puts the exclamation point on what this hold conveys from the start: wrestling persistently implies homoerotic intimacy.
When the camera angles and storytelling are just right, face-to-crotch headscissors shine a spotlight on one man’s bulging package, bringing his entire, tasty physique into the mix, making even that swelling muscle of passion a part of the corporal domination of another man. For me, it isn’t even so much about the oral sexual implications, as much as it signals that every magnificent inch of a wrestler’s hot body is engaged in dominating his opponent. Hell, when wrestling companies choose to transition from explicit wrestling to explicit sex, I typically push rewind. Because what’s getting me off is the homoeroticism of the wrestling, not the wrestling as foreplay for sex.
I suppose it isn’t such a far distance between why I’m such a fan of face-to-crotch headscissors as I am a fanatic for my favorite pro wrestling hold, the over-the-knee backbreaker. Both draw my eye to one wrestler’s bulging package. Both center the frame on the outline of a bulging cock and the ballast of balls. Both seem ripe with the erotic potential marrying gay sensibilities and a pro wrestling kink. Both make my pulse pound in anticipation of what happens next to, or with, or on behalf of one wrestler’s swollen pipe.
I sometimes find it ironic that this blog attracts so many visitors thanks to the still frames I include, because it’s the story in and around any one captured slice of time in a wrestling match that tantalizes and titillates me. It’s not any one frozen image that becomes the perfect muse to my erotic imagination, but the drama played out in motion, the slow contraction of muscles, the arching agony in a lower back, the quivering pouch, the writhing feet futilely kicking the mat. I’ve lately talked in terms of “the moneyshot,” meaning that moment in a match at which point I’m likely to climax, but that moment is about the 1,600 seconds before that led up to that moment, the deepening jeopardy of one man, the swelling confidence of another, the bodies growing wet with sweat over time, the veins swelling and pumping harder with blood from the effort and the adrenaline of competition. I get off plenty to face-to-crotch headscissors, but I’m never just getting off to face-to-crotch headscissors.
If there is one valuable analog of face-to-crotch headscissors, I think its the comfort a wrestling company has with the homoerotic eye of their gay audience. In scanning for face-to-crotch headscissors images across several platforms for this post, I found them concentrated in just a couple producers’ catalogs. And I think they play a part in direct proportion to how explicitly companies market to those of us in the audience tuning in and ponying up because we are sexually turned on by wrestling. Of course, face-to-crotch headscissors aren’t the only way of crossing the line from homoerotic subtext to homoerotic text. Hell, they probably aren’t even the best way. But from a strictly correlational perspective, I think they show up in proportion to how much I (at least) perceive of a producer as appreciative of and comfortable with me, as a gay man, watching their wrestling products as a means of sexual gratification.
So probably a close second as my favorite wrestling hold is face-to-crotch headscissors, because when they’re done wrong, they can reveal a whole host of troubled self-hatred bubbling beneath a veneer of nohomo bravado, but when they’re done right, I feel respected as a gay wrestling fan, drawn into the intimacy of homoerotic combat, and turned on hard.
Having recently moved, I’m getting accustomed to a lot of new things. The weatherman keeps reporting on “thund-uh-stoams.” There are apparently 100 ticks for every human being in the region. And it’s fucking hot.
That last part makes me rethink my decision to ignore places with swimming pools in my housing search when I moved here a month and a half ago. I’ve always thought of pools as a pain in the ass. And, honestly, this climate calls for outdoor pools no more than about 25% of the year, so it seemed like a waste. But damn. It’s fucking hot.
I’m sure I’ve posted here about my ambivalence about the swimming pool genre in homoerotic wrestling, but I’m too lazy right now to look it up for you (did I mention how hot it is?). So let me just reiterate. On the con side, pool wrestling too often submerges more than half of the available eye candy. Upper bodies are privileged as the only thing we can see most of the time (and neglecting attention to hot legs is another, more global complaint I make often). There’s probably about 80% of wrestling holds that just don’t translate to a pool. A Boston crab would likely lead to manslaughter charges.
But on the other end of the ambivalent spectrum, I love wet muscles. On that point, sweat, shower scenes, and oil wrestling tweak the same kink in me that pool wrestling does. There’s also something inherently playful about pool wrestling. Watching homoerotic wrestlers do it, it certainly appears to take many of them back to the same days of juvenile, carefree summers getting yelled at for horsing around in and around the pool, playfully bullying chums by seeing who can dunk the other, games of chicken, perched on top of each others’ shoulders and seeing who can topple whom.
While I couldn’t stand an exclusive diet of homoerotic wrestling in the pool, like fresh corn on the cob and the sweetest of watermelons, it’s a seasonal treat that can work for me. Though I have to say I prefer it to conclude with bronzed bodies baking in the sun, making out naked poolside.
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!
My tradition for many years was to publish some original wrestling fiction here at neverland to ring in a happy New Year. Now, most of the wrestling fiction I’ve written has starred known homoerotic wrestlers, celebrities, male models, etc., but for my New Year’s canon I always indulged in writing myself into the narratives. Making quick work of one of my New Year’s resolutions, I’m posting a new homoerotic wrestling scenario here over the next few days in serial format. While everyone involved in this narrative is a real life hunk, let me just clarify that this is a work of fiction. Fans of any of these fine men, cut me a break. It’s all imagination and fun (for me). If your homoerotic wrestling imagination makes you picture this scenario completely differently, don’t send me your hate mail, just sit your ass down and write (and share!) your own original wrestling fiction! And most importantly, have a happy New Year, wrestling fans!
To be honest, no one was more surprised by the outcome of my wrestling match with Drake Marcos than I was. Well, Drake was obviously shocked senseless to find himself on the bitter end of an ass whooping by a mere blogger. But with precious little wrestling experience, I fully expected a homoerotic wrestling pro like Drake to take me to school. The handsome industry insider was famously tutored in the harshest realities of hardcore, low down, balls out grappling by none other than The Boss of BG East himself. Drake wears his spine tingling apprenticeship at the hands of nasty, nefarious, notorious classic heel Kid Leopard like a badge of honor. Seriously, he can’t shut up about being the protege and heir apparent to the living legend. He had me pretty well convinced that I was essentially climbing into the BG East ring with Kid Leopard himself, and as a long-time fan, I’m not ashamed to admit I was entirely intimidated and, perhaps, just a little terrified.
I’ve documented that match elsewhere, so I won’t rehash too many of the glorious details. Well, I can’t help myself but savor at least some of the details again here. Suffice it to say that the first two thirds of that late night session in the BG East ring presented me one of the steepest learning curves of my life. Full disclosure, the Cheshire Cat (as I’m fond of calling him) is significantly younger than I am. He’s also taller. And, as I mentioned, he’s more experienced. So it should be little wonder I was out-hustled and punished hard by Drake as the night wore on. Not that I wanted to be anywhere else in the world than stroking his sensational thighs as they crushed my body. He’s long and lean, but the kid’s got incredibly strong (and sexy) legs. True enough, I was choking on the pain, but reaching around and grabbing that meaty ass, staring down that shit eating grin permanently stretched across his handsome face, I was hardly disappointed with my pro wrestling ring initiation thus far.
The lid was completely blown off, however, when I managed to muscle my way free from yet another bear trap. In an upper body comparison, I’ve got the Cheshire Cat beat bad. So although it took some work, I finally broke free and slipped behind the young pro. I may not have had any significant pro wrestling experience, but when it comes to being intimately familiar with the size and scope of the BG East catalog, I’m fucking world class! I’d studied every Drake Marcos match publicly available. I watched this cocky kid going down in flames time after time, and one thing that even a casual homoerotic wrestling scout will tell you is that Drake Marcos gets off on getting choked. Slipping my big bicep across his throat, I tightened up slowly. And right then and there, I was convinced that this whole match had just taken a 180 degree turn. I knew I had the cocky pro all buttoned up the moment I saw his cock crawling up his lower abdomen, stretching the pouch of those tasty, tight pink briefs.
Once I knew just where to apply pressure, I played the Cheshire Cat like strumming a guitar. I felt the heat pulsing off of his body, straining underneath me. He was hating it. And he was loving it. He tried to pry arm away from his throat. Not that I couldn’t easily thwart him, but I swear I could feel it in the way his body sagged against me that despite himself, he didn’t want to be free. He wanted to be in my control. He wanted to get dragged to the edge of consciousness. There were spurts of reluctant fight writhing in my arms, but the writing was on the wall. Drake Marcos was all mine.
Again, the photographic evidence of the fun to be had with a barely conscious, completely crushed homoerotic pro wrestler at your mercy is available elsewhere. Hung like dirty laundry from the ring ropes and turnbuckles, I snapped pics with my phone to savor later, and to document for the homoerotic wrestling world the precipitous fall of a rising pro wrestler. Dragging his hot, sweaty body to the middle of the ring, I claimed one last trophy: a close up photo of those pink briefs ripped off his sexy body and shoved down his throat.
Again, no one should be surprised that after everything was said and done, Drake’s bruised ego desperately tried to spin his humiliating defeat. Online, he claimed my pics were photoshopped. One minute, he was trying to convince his astonished army of fans that this crowing blogger had chloroformed him. The next minute, he was arguing that his split personality betrayed him, and all my pictures were nothing more than evidence that he wasn’t in his right mind around the time he was getting tossed around and tapped out.
I admit it. Watching Drake wriggle and writhe on the line was irresistible. I didn’t need to poke him. It wasn’t necessary for me to rub it in, publicly humiliating him in front of all his wrestler buddies and adoring fans on social media. I didn’t have to have such fun at the Cheshire Cat’s expense. It was just such a fucking pleasure.
Fast forward about a year. I was actually starting to feel sorry for Drake just a little, watching him struggle to come up with some new excuse for how his sweet ass got owned by a blogger. But the biggest surprise of all was getting that email from Kid Leopard, the Boss himself, inviting me to take my infatuation with all things homoerotic wrestling to a whole new level. My besting of his protege clearly hadn’t gone unnoticed. My raging crush on yet another BG East hunk, Trey Dixon, also had not escaped the Boss’ attention. So the Boss had an offer he knew I would be completely incapable of refusing: be a “celebrity” guest referee in a no holds barred ring match between Drake and Trey.
With 2015 coming to a close, it’s time to reminisce. I published 100 posts this year, and readers added up an astonishing 493,000 page views in 2015. Most readers (by far) find their way to the home page of neverland, tracking the most recently published posts from day to day. Fascinatingly, the second most viewed page was the About neverland page, which sort of warms my heart because it’s text intensive (so you weren’t just chasing pics) and, well, all about me and my philosophy of blogging. By far the most popular pic clicked on this year was of hot, hairy chested Damien Rush crunching out a most-muscular pose with his masked undoing hovering ominously in the background.
Readers also clicked most on my review of the Gazebo Grapplers 17 match pitting jungle boy Lorenzo Lowe against hot jobber Tim Messina. You also seemed to be as infatuated with the pulse pounding 2015 debut of big, bulging, beautiful, blond, blue-eyed beefcake Biff Farrell, clicking directly through to my adoring review of his introduction to the homoerotic wrestling audience in Lon Dumont’s Wrestler Spotlight DVD. Of course, these stats are systematically biased toward older posts (you’ve had less time to rack up clicks on December posts, for example). Which makes me think that my September review of Hunkbash 15, although only the 3rd most viewed blog post of the year, may actually turn out to be the hotttest click over time. And I can certainly understand why. I’ve nearly worn out my DVD of Logan Vaughn’s divine, titanic thighs squeezing every ounce of resistance out of every inch of supplicant-in-training Trey Dixon. There are tastes du jour and then there are exquisite, timeless dishes that we’ll be savoring for years to come, and I have to believe that Trey crushed into sweaty, slack jawed worship at the bare feet of Logan is going to be a keeper.
Neverland readers originate from across the globe. English-speaking United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada are, in order, the top ranking origins of the most readers. Germany comes in fourth place with over 13,000 page views, edging out Australia. France, Japan and Mexico round out the top 8 countries of origin of homoerotic wrestling fans checking out the latest here at neverland.
Those of you using search engines to find your way to these pages typically know what you’re looking for, most of the time using keywords “sidelineland” or “neverland wrestling.” Fascinating me to no end, the next most common search engine keyword earning a click to neverland is “David Muir shirtless.” Google it, and sure enough, neverland is ranked #1. Again, consider my heart strangely warmed by the newsboy love that clearly many of you share with me. Those of you searching for a particular wrestling crush sending you this way were most likely to be seeking out Lane Hartley or Lon Dumont.
As for my favorite moments of 2015, one of the most fabulous reveals that I celebrated on the pages of this blog was my current top newsboy crush, Gio Benitez, coming out to his adoring public via Instagram photos of sunning his magnificent muscles next to his then-boyfriend Tommy DiDario. When he then documented his Paris marriage proposal via social media, getting down on one knee (Tommy said yes, of course!), a newsboy homoerotic wrestling lover champion tag team was born in my imagination. Every time I see Gio’s gargantuan biceps straining the seams of his suit coats as he reports on GMA, I no longer need to imagine what those hot, bulging muscles look like shirtless, thanks to Gio sharing the wealth and proudly showing off his, and his fiancee’s fabulous muscles in 2015. I’m still waiting for my wedding invitation.
One of those little moments that probably blew right past most readers but tickled my crotch just right this year was a snarky little exchange I had with none other than BG East Boss himself, Kid Leopard back in February. In my relentless pouring over and critiquing the nominees for BG East’s 2014 Bestie Awards, I adamantly announced that Kirk Donahue did not deserve to be in the running for Best Ass. You know what a smart ass I am, so of course I poured it on thick, speculating that the eventual winner of the category ought to bend Kirk over his knee and spank that adorable, yet not outstanding ass until he confesses who he fucked to get the nomination. Well, my smart assedness earned me a firm, slighty chiding message from Kid Leopard, who I assume is nominator in chief, explaining that I was completely off base in my disregard of Kirk’s award worthy butt. Getting a virtual slap on the wrist from the Boss both tickled and aroused me so much that I promptly published a public service announcement clarifying that, with additional persuasive evidence offered by the Boss, Kirk’s ass is totally nominatible. Of course, I was still a smart ass. And I still say Kirk’s ass is sensationally fuckable, but nowhere near deserving of a top 5 ranking in the exceedingly hot field of BG East butts. But anytime Kid Leopard calls me into his office to slap me around a bit, it’s going to be on my list of favorite moments.
My third favorite moment of 2015 was a little self-generated pride and joy I felt in getting my ass back to what really started neverland in the first place: writing homoerotic wrestling fiction. In August I took the flimsy excuse of Details Magazine identifying their top 31 male models, to write up a first round of homoerotic pretty boy wrestling fiction. I have yet to complete the tournament, though Sean O’Pry, John Halls, and Jarrod Scott more than ably earned their way into the semi-finals. What may not have been as apparent on your side of the screen was the pleasure I had in getting back to exercising my homoerotic wrestling imagination. I’ve gotten back to the keyboard several times this fall, and I anticipate 2016 getting me back to the online homoerotic wrestling fiction publishing business again. I’ll keep you updated.
My second most favorite moment in blogging this year was the feast of homoerotic wrestler Halloween costumes I got to enjoy, and share, in early November. Ty Alexander, Kayden Keller and Drake “Don’t-Call-Me-Jobber” Marcos partied hearty on Halloween this year and gifted you and me some hot shots of their sensationally sexy superhero costumes. By way of introducing himself to me, and by extension, you, adorably hot red-headed rookie twink Charlie Evans also sent some shots my way of his Iceman costume for Halloween this year. As soon as homoerotic wrestling studs send me unsolicited (or at least, lightly solicited) photos of themselves roaming the real world, I’m aroused and the moment is indelibly etched onto the list of most memorable moments.
My top, very most favorite moment in blogging for 2015 took place in the comments section. Casual readers may not think to check the comments, but you do so at the risk of missing hot gems every so often. Such was the case when I posted one of my long, adoring, full throttle fanboy infatuation pieces on my long-time homoerotic wrestler crush, Scott Williams. Scott shared his appreciation that his fans are still gagging for it, assuring us that he is “still keeping in shape and wrestling privately here in Boston and when I travel…always will love it and will always make you proud on the mats or in the ring!” He signed his comment “Sending bearhugs – Scott Williams.” I have since seen glimpses and snippets of evidence (follow the likes of Ty Alexander on FB, and you’ll see what I mean) that Scott is, indeed, still climbing into the ring, and he remains incredibly, profoundly, astonishingly sexy fit still today. I think it’s a crime against homoerotic wrestling fandom that Scott is keeping his wrestling work out of the publicly consumable sphere these days, and I think you should, at this very moment, send an email to BG East pleading with them to convince this classic hunk to cum out in a new release in 2016. In the meantime, that virtual bearhug from one of my longest running wrestling crushes still keeps me warm at night.
So, 2016. I’m hoping it’s a year for getting back to what has been the most fun for me over the past 6 years. Be it resolved that I will publish homoerotic wrestling fiction in the coming year. Be it also resolved that I will snag some fresh new wrestler interviews, because the lack of interviews in 2015 was, in retrospect, tragic from my perspective. I’ve also been not-so-subtly angling for an opportunity to be your Every-Joe-Fan at an honest-to-the-homoerotic-wrestling-gods taping of a match, and I see no reason why 2016 shouldn’t be the year that that invitation doesn’t show up in my mailbox. Those are a few of my hopes and dreams for the New Year. Hope yours is hot, sweaty, and includes some OTK backbreakers.
In the face of gross inhumanity, and particularly in the face of religious hyper morality imposed on everyone else, I’m reminded that being gay, adoring homoerotic wrestling, putting all that out there and letting others in the world know that we’re not alone… all of that is a political expression of liberty. In the spirit of loving on the French, let me just acknowledge a few of the Frenchmen I’ve adored.
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.
I typically take the time around the 4th of July to point out my lack of patriotism. But this year feels different. I know that I’m not the only one who feels a little more like a proud American this 4th of July. Such a major, seismic shift on marriage equality certainly doesn’t protect everyone’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, of course. LGBT Americans can legally be fired, denied housing, harrassed by both public and private authorities in a whole lot of places in this country still. But access to marriage is pretty cool.
I’ve been fascinated to watch the strong and conflicting opinions the SCOTUS decision has sparked among my friends and colleagues, who, generally speaking, tend to pitch their tents in the same political camp. Straight people shamed for flying the rainbow flag. White gays shamed for celebrating marriage while people of color and trans folks are continuing to get fucked up and gunned down. Marriage advocates shamed for distracting us all from other problems like poverty and racism and gun violence and sexism.
I’ve got my own opinions, of course, but I have to say that I can’t help but be pleased that we’re talking a little more openly about a lot of things that ought to be complicated and unsettled. I confess a little thrill that bigots are feeling compelled to have to state their bigotry and try to rationalize it as something else, rather than just silently assuming that they’re the moral majority. And I really like that a lot of people I know who have long assumed that we all think alike are realizing that one particular decision or policy or issue that we all may endorse to some extent doesn’t erase the rich diversity of who we are, what we value, where our priorities lie, and how we think.
It’s not uncommon in homoerotic wrestling to see American flag wrestling trunks. This gear typically signals that the wearer is a babyface hero, handsome, virile, and virtuous. And in the homoerotic wrestling matches I watch, those guys get their stars and stripes clad asses handed to them 9 times out of 10. Not always, I know, but most of the time.
The hunks in American flag trunks most often embody a naivete, a simple minded faith in things like hard work, strength, and sincerity to tip the scales of wrestling competition and justice their way. Their virginal earnestness is saccharine sweet, a glossy glaze over the realities of the homoerotic wrestling ring where things aren’t always (or even often) fair. Their wide-eyed, muscle bulging innocence seems to make them blind to a world where cheating, unsportsmanlike behavior, and ferocious mercilessness more often than not spank the ass of righteous, rule-abiding reverence for an honest battle of strength and skill.
I don’t know if this trope still plays the same way in mainstream pro wrestling (because I haven’t watched mainstream pro wrestling in forever), but I think it’s a particularly engaging narrative for homoerotic wrestling audiences. We know that survival often goes not to the fittest, but the most cunning. We know that when the rules are stacked against you, sometimes the most appropriate response is to fuck the rules. We know that often our most important assets in the battle against those who revile and oppress us behind a veneer or virtue and righteous indignation is to turn the repulsion right back around on them, to throw what they despise most in their faces, to metaphorically grab them by the balls until their self-righteous, “hard earned” privilege and power melts into weeping, impotent, contemptible helplessness.
Because more often than not, it isn’t their righteousness that has propelled them forward in good fortune. It isn’t their hard work. They haven’t just wanted success more, as if their will power is superior to those who haven’t prospered and been rewarded as much. It’s just those fucking rules that have made the difference, that have been slowly (sometimes quickly) tipping the scales their way from the moment they were born, that have advantaged them not because they earned it or deserved it, but just because they were born into families with a particular hue and history, because they effortlessly found their affections drawn in the socially acceptable direction, because they had that silver spoon in their mouths all along. So, many of us with an eye for homoerotic wrestling have learned that it’s those fucking rules that are the problem, and watching a homoerotic wrestling heel fuck the rules and humiliate a stars and stripes clad goldenboy is deep down satisfying.
I’m sure there’s much more to the American flag jobber narrative than that, but what I’m left wondering this year is whether my new found investment in my citizenship, riding this wave of judicial victory and the turning tide of public opinion, may make me, and perhaps you, a little less cynical about the American flag. I’m sure it won’t happen anytime soon, but is there a place in homoerotic wrestling iconography somewhere down the road for a sneering, contemptuous, irrepressible heel decked out in stars and stripes? Might finding myself embracing a little patriotric pride for being welcomed a little more into the fold of mainstream America shift my tastes for enjoying the sight of the American flag, strapped to the ass of an classically hot pretty boy, trampled and trashed for the poor excuse for institutional oppression it has so long seemed to me to represent? May I want to see an American patriot savvy and sly, queer and cunning, as vicious and vile as necessary to pound… who?… into tantalizingly sexy mincemeat?