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.
Sometimes they turn me on hard.
Sometimes they don’t.