And the Nominees Are…

The first half of the BG East Besties ballot never seems to generate as much controversy as the second half. Turning our focus on individual wrestlers seems to incite even more fevered debates about tastes and types and loyalties. BGE has gone six deep for each category, so there’s bound to be someone for everyone to fight over. Definitely don’t just take my word for who you should vote for, but by all means, vote. And in case you aren’t sure who you want to rally behind, feel free to take some inspiration from how I see things.

8. Top Heel

Last year Jonny Firestorm brought home the title as Best Heel at BG East. Jonny has owned this category for quite a while. The only time he hasn’t won, he wasn’t nominated, in which case Kid Karisma stepped up at grabbed the ring. This year pits these two legendary heels against each other and an equally diverse field of styles, attitudes, and interpretations of the word “heel.”

  1. Cole Cassidy
  2. Jonny Firestorm
  3. Lane Hartley
  4. Kid Karisma
  5. Kayden Keller
  6. Kid Vicious

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What a field! I’m punching an enthusiastic button for the increasingly rare opportunity to vote for the legendary heel, Kid Vicious. Although he only appeared in one product this year, it was classic KV, through and through. No one else on this list takes nearly as much erotic pleasure making an opponent suffer. My second choice would see Kayden Keller jump the line ahead of both Jonny and Kid Karisma. Kayden has become one of the hardest working wrestlers in homoerotic wrestling, and like KV, he’s growing increasingly comfortable in the role of the erotic sadist.  I’m guessing that the popular vote may still break Jonny or Kid Karisma’s way, and obviously they deserve the heel-appreciation. But as for me, KV remains in a league of his own, with Kayden quickly filling the void left by KV’s sparser and sparser appearances in the ring.

9. Top Babyface

The field for top babyface highlights how these awards reflect so much more about the fans than the wrestlers. Some of these guys I wouldn’t classify as babyfaces.  Past winners like Biff Farrell and Jake Jenkins are as absent from the poll as they were scarce in new releases this year. So one of these guys is going to take the title for the first time:

  1. Gil Barrios
  2. Mitch Colby
  3. Kirk Donahue
  4. Richie Douglas
  5. Payton Meadows
  6. Zip Zarella

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As with the heel category, I’m picking a dark horse candidate for as much sentimental reasons as anything else. Mitch Colby epitomizes the erotic-forward babyface that can only inhabit the world of homoerotic wrestling. His epic dismantling of the legendary heel Cage Thunder demonstrates perfectly the distinction that I think so many fans struggle with in distinguishing between a hot jobber and a babyface. And as his opponent has acknowledged, Mitch was in the best shape of his life for that match. I do think it’s criminal that Christian Taylor did not make the ballot. If pressed for a second place, I’d probably go for Richie Douglas. I’m uncertain what character type Zip Zarella is growing into, but he could easily get my vote for top babyface or top heel with a couple more matches under his belt to signal his underlying moral compass. This category seems wide open for predicting a popular vote getter, but I’m thinking things could swing Richie or Mitch’s way.

10. Jobber of the Year

There’s some serious range in interpretations of a jobber among the field for Jobber of the Year. Last year’s winner Ty Alexander is back in the offing, despite his pretty decisive heel turn this year. In fact, I think at least of couple of the nominees this year lack that inevitability about them that I expect to see in a jobber. Take a look at what I’m talking about:

  1. Ty Alexander
  2. Trey Dixon
  3. Kirk Donahue
  4. Charlie Evans
  5. Drake Marcos
  6. Van Skyler

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On the one hand, I do love watching Kirk Donahue get his awardless ass beat again and again. But honestly, the perfect depiction of a jobber is Drake’s match trying to reinvent himself as El Favorito. El Favorito is Drake’s acknowledgment that he’s a jobber, that he’s destined to get plowed under, despite his impeccable skills. Perhaps with a new name, Drake muses that he can start over as something other than a jobber. And then Thrash thrashes him like the jobber he is, in or out of a mask, under any name.  If I were a betting man, I’d guess that Ty, despite openly acknowledging on tape that he is no longer a jobber, may take this again because… social media.

11. Debut of the Year

There was some insane, out of the blue drama a few months back with last year’s Debut of the Year winner, Beauxregard. The category is, by no means, a guarantee of success or respect. In some ways I think Ty Alexander may be the exception when it comes to parlaying the Debut of the Year award into a solid BGE career platform. Beaux, Kip Sorell, Eli Black… it may be possible that this is a “peaked too soon” award for most (though, of course, I’m always hoping to see Eli elevate his BGE game). So this year’s nominees should beware, take nothing for granted. Winning Debut of the Year is, at best, just the start of your hard work on the way to success. The newbies who should heed this warning include…

  1. Ace Aarons
  2. Ash DeLeon
  3. Bruno LaBestia
  4. Steve Mason
  5. Toney Rico
  6. Zip Zarella

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I’m a huge backer of most of these guys, so this is another tough call for me. When push comes to shove, I’m casting my vote for one of the classiest acts to jump over from indy pro success, Ace Aarons. Ace had the skills to turn the stink bomb of Luke Lonza into a relatively satisfying squash, because he took seriously what Luke apparently couldn’t. I’m particularly impressed with his most recent mat match, laced with tons of sweat and lust, with fellow nominee Ash DeLeon. An indy pro who successfully translates his skill set to the mat and to an erotic text is quite an impressive debut, indeed! A second place pic for me would be a close call between Ash (who suffered from having only one match published for his debut year) or Zip Zarella (who classes up the place like Ace, but without the erotic twist).

12. Best Abs

2017 provided a feast for six-pack lovers.  Last year’s winner Chace LaChance failed to make the cut, and personally I think it’s largely because the competition was so spectacular this year. Also absent were previous award winners Z-Man and Eli Black. So this is another category where someone new is guaranteed to take home the trophy this year. The possible breakout abdominal stars are…

  1. Carter Alexander
  2. Devon Britt-Darby
  3. Mitch Colby
  4. Richie Douglas
  5. Kid Karisma
  6. Payton Meadows

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Everyone’s a winner in this category, but when I cast my ballot, I’m going to vote for Payton Meadows. Every inch of Payton is dazzlingly gorgeous, but his abs are exceptionally ripped, balanced, and abs-olutely beautiful. Please, please, please let us see more of him (in every sense of the word) next year. His releases are far too far in between. Second place for me this year is, astonishingly, not Kid K. It was Carter Alexander’s superhuman core that was the standout star of his squash against Kayden, and as I said earlier, his side tat screams for worshiping his sweaty eight-pack. Playing the odds, I’d guess that Richie Douglas could take the title in the popular voting this year, though I never count out Kid K.

13. Best Bulge

After years of there being one standout each season for best bulge, this is suddenly one of the most competitive categories. Last year’s winner, Kirk Donahue, is back to defend his title. Mr. Joshua, who wasn’t nominated last year but has owned the title more often than not, is back in contention. Cage Thunder’s throbbing rod not only blazed to full glory, but got used and abused by his babyface nemesis. And then there was the collective gasp throughout the homoerotic wrestling world when Steve Mason’s debut revealed one of the biggest power tools I’ve ever seen. The full slate looks like this…

  1. Ace Aarons
  2. Kirk Donahue
  3. Joshua Goodman
  4. Steve Mason
  5. Cage Thunder
  6. Jobe Zander

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I’m sticking with Mr. J in this year’s vote. His bulge continues to be so huge that it gets in the way of his wrestling. He continually has to adjust the packing. It walks into a room about 5 seconds before Mr. J does. And Cole Cassidy managed to display Mr. J’s legendary bulge from entirely new angles this year. I’ve got my eye on Steve Mason’s leviathan, though. I think there’s a chance I might be in the middle of the normal curve this time, and the popular vote might also swing to Mr. Joshua, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve knock the competition out of his way with that billy club of his.

14. Best Butt

This is always one of the most hotly debated categories. I’ve already seen a certain nominee launch a full scale social media campaign to finally take home this trophy after coming in second place last year. Here’s who you get to pick from…

  1. Ty Alexander
  2. Gil Barrios
  3. Kirk Donahue
  4. Kid Karisma
  5. Noah Samson
  6. Van Skyler

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I’m more ambivalent about my vote than in past years, but honestly, who am I kidding? I’m voting for Kid Karisma’s phenomenal glutes again. They’re perfect. Magnificent, functional muscles resting atop those massive upper legs. Damn. A second place for me would be either Ty or the epic last minute debut of Noah Samson. Holy fuck, Noah’s ass is unbelievable. Not as tightly muscled and powerful, but aesthetically a work of art. I keep expecting Ty’s social media campaign to pull the rug out from beneath Kid K’s long ownership of this title. Perhaps this will be year Ty can sway a majority of voters to take their eyes off of Kid K’s glorious ass.

15. Best Body

I was so thrilled last year, after years of promoting the obvious physical perfection of Kid Karisma, that I was finally joined by a majority of voters. This year’s field is, as always, hot competition to try to wrest this oft-traded title away:

  1. Carter Alexander
  2. Mitch Colby
  3. Richie Douglas
  4. Kid Karisma
  5. Payton Meadows
  6. Van Skyler

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For my vote, this is a horse race between Kid Karisma and Peyton Meadows. I’d give Payton the edge for his pecs and abs, and Kid K the advantage for arms and shoulders. But the balance of power tilts on Kid K’s full, muscular leg development (including the often overlooked calves). So I’m inclined to, once again, worship at the feet of Kid K as the Best Body at BG East in 2017. Just to confirm my evaluation, I’d love to see these two physical specimens side by side… and then on top of each other, pounding into each other, squeezing, shoving, and grinding each other. As for who the popular vote will tilt toward, I most frequently guess this one wrong. But my (probably wrong) guess this year is that it will go to Kid K or, perhaps, Van, though I do think Payton is slowly accumulating an audience of gasping fans (in addition to me), with the slow trickle of his new releases over time.

This was a spectacular slate of nominees, and I’m not just saying that because I was on the nominating committee. In fact, several of my top choices changed as a result of seeing the official ballot and being reminded by other nominators of choice contenders that deserved a second look. In the coming days, I’ll keep reflecting on categories that aren’t reflected on the official ballots, but matter a lot to me. In the mean time, give your best argument (respectfully) for your votes in the comments below.

Homoerotic Wrestler of the Month

Like I said, I was underwhelmed by the October new releases, so I’ve foregone naming a Homoerotic Wrestler of the Month for that month and am doubling down on November. The first winner was my running favorite homoerotic wrestler who can’t stop winning my infatuated fanaticism even if he tried, Kid Karisma. My other HWOTM is also a long time infatuation and a perennial friend of this blog. Kid K’s co-HWOTM is none other than…

 

 

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…an unmasked Cage Thunder.

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Mitch Colby took the fight to his longtime detractor, Cage Thunder.

Motel Madness 14 represents the culmination of what has to be one of the longest, hottest, most misdirecting sell in homoerotic wrestling history. It’s got to be close to a decade since Cage started harassing me about my fawning adoration of Mitch Colby. As soon as I’ve said a complimentary word about Mitch over the past 10 years, like clockwork Cage has popped up in the comments section to tell me that my fawning over Mitch is misplaced fanaticism. “Bitch Colby,” Cage has persistently misidentified him, tauntingly calling him a pretty boy whose victories only come when he’s picking on a wrestler much smaller than he is. All flash and no substance. Couldn’t handle a real man. “The bloggers waxed euphoric about his physical perfection, his skills, how he filled his trunks,” Cage commented in a recent post on his blog, clearly rehearsing his eye rolling contempt for this blogger’s Mitch-lust. On and on, Cage has been calling Mitch out with a pointed fervor that I don’t think I’ve seen from one wrestler to another in social media, and certainly never sustained for such a long time.

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Cage is one of the most successful heel’s in BGE history for a reason.

I’d actually heard this match was in the vaults for some time, and I was perplexed by the odd juxtaposition of Cage’s raging trash talk and what appeared to have been embargoed evidence as to whether Cage has what it takes to back up all of his withering insults to Mitch’s magnificence. I actually heard through the grapevine that part of the problem was that Cage “forgot” to wear his mask for this match, and once unmasked, it’s hard to sell a masked heel in future matches. Whatever the extensive behind-the-scenes drama was, I tucked in with relish to watch all of that salivating, snarling contempt from this heel dig its claws deep into one of the prettiest, most babyfaced babyfaces in the business.

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Cage shows Mitch what he thinks of all of those gorgeous muscles.

As I’d expected, when Cage is on offense, he’s fierce as fuck. He writes in another recent blog post about the curiosity of wrestling unmasked, and I have to say, it’s oddly disconcerting/provocative for me to watch as well. He’s more handsome than I’d have guessed. Almost pretty, in fact. I almost forget at times that this is Cage Thunder. And then he knees Mitch in the balls, punches his pecs beet red, and folds the muscleboy up and makes him choke on his bulge, and there’s no mistaking it. This is Cage Thunder. “What do you say, muscleboy,” he taunts, quite literally spanking Mitch’s gorgeous ass. Sitting on his face and driving his fists into Mitch’s meaty pecs, he asks rhetorically, “So, Mr. Bodybeautiful, how does that feel?”  Yep, that’s Cage Thunder. It’s delightful watching his look of ecstasy when he’s working over his dazzlingly pretty nemesis. We don’t quite get to enjoy that side of the equation when he’s masked.

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Twisted Cage

But even more provocatively, Motel Madness 14 gives us a glimpse at Cage caged. Agony twisting his face. The clear look of panic as he realizes that Mitch’s “prettyboy” muscles very well might just crack one of his ribs. We’ve seen Cage hurt before. It’s relatively rare, because he’s such a dominant heel, but it’s happened often enough to remember. But unmasked and undone by the fitness model he has been deriding for a decade, I can’t imagine how much less satisfying it would have been if he’d endured this muscleboy reckoning from behind his mask.

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Mitch demonstrates that his gorgeous muscles are not just for show.

Read Cage’s blog and you’ll see that he’s suddenly soft pedaling his extremely well-documented taunting dismissal of Mitch, and now that this climactic end to a decade-long feud is available for public consumption, it’s clear why.  Mitch Colby fucking owns Cage Thunder! A suddenly philosophical and contemplative Cage reflects in the pages of his blog about his undoing.  It may have been that he was outmuscled.  It may have been that he was just too turned on by the “overhyped prettyboy.” It may have been because he felt oddly out of  step without his mask on. I’m sure all of the above excuses that Cage offers are true enough. But whatever may have been behind it, I can tell you one thing for sure: Mitch makes Cage his bitch!

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Who’s the bitch now?

I mean, Cage Thunder gets buried under!  This would have been a humiliating loss even if Cage hadn’t been talking shit about Mitch for years. As it is, it’s shockingly debasing. Cage chokes on Mitch’s bulge repeatedly. He’s “forced” to kiss Mitch’s mountainous biceps in complete subjugation. It’s less that Mitch beats him, and more than Mitch herds him like a sheep to the slaughter, patiently grinding Cage down to raw nerves and shattered illusions.

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Cage succumbs to Mitch’s beauty.

I guess, honestly, I am surprised that Cage was so handily manhandled, even by the likes of by longtime babyface hero Mitch. But I’m downright shocked that a conquered Cage is so completely played by his own unmistakable lust for this man of muscle crushing him. All of Cage’s snide comments about how pretty and without substance Mitch is echo through my mind as I watch Cage’s eye’s lustfully soak in the sight of Mitch’s mighty muscles pinning him to the mattress. I’d honestly have thought Cage would have been hating himself right around the time he was lapping like a dog at the deep crevice between Mitch’s pecs, burying Cage’s face. By the look on his face, he’s not hating anything right around that time, though.

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Cage Thunder can’t disguise what Mitch’s muscles do to him.

This is definitely not the first time we’ve seen Cage get ramrod hard by the heat of battle, but this is the first time I can think of when you can watch his cock visibly stiffen in his trunks the more brutally he is being dominated. I’ve long known that Cage Thunder is erotically stimulated by beating another man into submission, but I honestly had no idea that he’d rise to the occasion of having a babyface muscleman put him in his place.

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Cage doesn’t exactly seem disappointed to lose to Mitch.

I think it’s entirely possible that Cage Thunder’s well-known inside track with The Boss could have been what kept Motel Madness 14 under wraps all these many years. If that were the case, I can only guess at what it may signal that his complete undoing at the hands (and pecs and legs) of Mitch Colby has been released anyway, and Cage’s epic downfall publicly documented. But I also think it’s entirely possible that Cage Thunder just played the longest running fan con in the history of homoerotic wrestling. I’m certain that well after this match was taped, Cage was still trashing Mitch in the comments section of this blog. He was still selling that heel contempt, that total trashing dismissal of one of the prettiest boys in the business, well after he and Mitch knew full well that he got owned by the gorgeous muscleman. And in the end, the dramatic reveal is just that much tastier for the real audience of Cage’s relentless call outs of Mitch over the years: you and me.

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Cage adores Mitch’s muscles every bit as much as I do!

This would have been a crowd pleaser of a match, even if Cage had not been selling the hype for ages. But because he has been selling the hype, because he had built up the expectation of a classic muscleman destruction at the hands of a dominant, erotic heel, this match became downright legendary the moment I set eyes on it. At the end of the day, it’s clearly evident that Mitch is deeply satisfied by the results of this motel match. And there’s no mistaking the enraptured pleasure playing out across Cage’s unmasked face (and naked cock) as he settles into to that supremely rare feeling of being crushed into complete submission. And for everything on camera and off, for one of the hardest working heels in homoerotic wrestling, this match gets a standing ovation and a shower of my euphoric adoration, not to mention earning Cage Thunder a well deserved second title as Homoerotic Wrestler of the Month.

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Cage Thunder Unmasked – November 2017 (co-) Homoerotic Wrestler of the Month

Pint-Sized

 

I went to college at a very, very small liberal arts school with a very, very unsuccessful Division III football team. They sucked. A lot. Literally, years went by without a single victory. Not that I was involved in the program, but it was no secret that recruiting for the football team was a major bitch. No scholarships. No pro career prospects. Very little hope of ever tasting victory before they graduated or, even more likely, they’d burn through eligibility while hanging on by the skin of their teeth to skimming by in their academics and finally just walking away to dig ditches. Our football team literally shrunk while I was enrolled in college, each year’s freshmen getting smaller, while bigger players went elsewhere. My junior year, the football team recruited a wide receiver who was, I kid you not, 5’2″ tall. Thing is, though, he was fucking fast, with big, powerful thighs, an exceptionally stellar muscled ass, and gorgeous, Tom Cruise-ish good looks. Despite their abysmal record, I suddenly took an interest in football that year.

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5’5″, 140 lbs Drake Wild bears down on 5’11”, 200 lbs Derek Fox in Pro Sex Fight 13

This pint-sized wide receiver with big league glutes and a baby face starred in many a homoerotic wrestling fantasy in my imagination. Just writing about him now is making me hard. There was just so much fabulous potential wrapped up in his tight, taut, petite jock body. In the never ending erotic wrestling tournament in my head, the little wide receiver inevitably got muscle bullied around the ring by bigger guys. I always pictured him getting picked up and thrown from corner to corner. Tall, ripped, cocky hunks (typically from our extremely successful and wildly popular basketball team) would, in the no holds barred wrestling matches in my collegiate imagination, deliver a barrage of high impact, high altitude power moves on him, gorilla presses, scoop slams, one-handed choke slams, spine-tingling suplexes that catapulted his magnificent, muscled ass from corner to corner.

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5’6″, 160 lbs Denny Cartier breaks big 6’2″, 240 lbs Joe Robbins down to size in Catch Weight 2

Rereading my interview with Charlie Evans and perusing several of the comments to that interview remind me of that hot, gorgeous little wide receiver firecraker with a supremely fuckable ass. As I’ve mentioned several times lately, the difference in size itself became erotically charged for me. But far beyond just visuals, I crushed hard on the little stud because of the drama of a vastly undersized hottie audaciously running out onto the field and climbing into the pro wrestling ring in my imagination (through the bottom two ropes, of course) and staring fearlessly up at the overwhelming odds towering above.

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5’7″, 150 lbs Bolt stares way up at 6’2″, 265 lbs Brute in Custom Series 33 from Thunder’s Arena

 

I was relatively agnostic about my all-time favorite wide receiver’s win-loss record in his homoerotic wrestling career in my mind. Like the very best babyfaces, he was always dangerous and perpetually vulnerable at the same time. I distinctly remember him getting his jock strap ripped to shreds and having his rock hard muscle cheeks plowed hard by a particular, hot, muscled black power forward. I also have clear memories of him turning the tide on a certain aloof, blond, aristocratic shooting guard who was schoolboy pinned and force fed the beer can cock of the smirking, flexing wide receiver. Win or lose, he was a favorite object of my homoerotic wrestling imagination not despite his stature, but because of it.  And not just because of his stature, but because of the inherent drama of an ambitious, earnest, hard working little stud throwing himself headlong at the big boys.

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5’9″, 165 lbs Cody  Cummings is jerked around by 6’4″, 220 lbs Zeke West in Mat Muscle Match 1

 

As I told Charlie, I continue to nurture a crush for David vs. Goliath homoerotic wrestling matches. I like big vs. little matches where the differential is massive, the odds are long, and the action is brutal. I love seeing audacious little studs hoisted over head and pounded into the mat. I love seeing them take every ounce as brutal an assault as any heavyweight and then keep peeling their battered, petite, bite-sized bodies off the mats and defying the big boys demanding that they submit in body and soul.

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Fearless 5’10”, 132 lbs Billy Lodi is just barely bested by 6’2″, 206 lbs Mitch Colby in Catch Weight 6

While I don’t care for many matches in which one competitor is just furniture, getting moved and manipulated and owned effortlessly, a match in which a seriously undersized wrestler is defiantly sucking down a mountain of abuse is in a squash-class of its own for me. If the little guy walks in with his head up, clenches his jaw in the face of fate, and demands respect by just surviving a magnificent beating, I will so get off on that just like I did when I staged wide receiver getting his sensational ass tagged in the middle of the ring by that power forward.

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5’7″, 150 lb Bolt momentarily schools 6′, 255 lbs Brian Cage in Ring Wars 21

However, I think my hardest David vs. Goliath fantasies flip that script with a vengeance. When the audacious little underdog battles back against the barrage of muscle and mass, now that is fucking hot. When he starts accumulating riding time on a thoroughbred 50 pounds bigger, my adrenaline pumps into overdrive. And when I pictured my pretty little wide receiver slapping down a big, cocky all-American who’s never tasted defeat before, when he wears the big boy the fuck out, slapping that beer can in Goliath’s shocked, humiliated face, then little David is fucking king of my world.

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5’7″, 120 lbs Charlie Evans shoved into the ceiling by 5’8″, 175 lbs Morgan Cruise in Gorilla Press 1 by MDW

 

I hold heartedly agree with the implication of Charlie’s argument that every homoerotic wrestling roster needs the little guys. Ever roster needs the underwear models and the bodybuilders. Ever roster should have raw edged street punks and square jawed All-American heroes.  They should all have daddy’s little rich boys and ripped, raging, beautifully endowed sex brawlers. The industry should invest in recruiting hard edged pros and hot, inexperienced nerds. It should put up flat footed pornboys and fierce, lanky, long-distance runners. Personally I’m longing for a snarling radical fairy doing battle with a white collar stock broker on the homoerotic wresting down low.

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5’10”, 150 lbs Skrapper is crushed by 5’11”, 240 lbs Brook Stetson in Catch Weight 2

The homoerotic pro wrestling industry is as susceptible to the tyranny of the capitalist market place as anything else, of course, so I certainly understand when, occasionally, it seems like everyone climbing through those ropes looks and moves and suffers alike. But as someone who has watched a TON of homoerotic wrestling (not even counting that running channel in my imagination of round the clock homopro), I’m always longing for producers to fill those niches Charlie and I talked about. Tickle those erotic fantasies we didn’t even know we loved. Populate our screens and imaginations with the great diversity of dramas, bodies, races, ages, etc., that makes oppressively straight real life bearable.

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Little 5’8″, 140 lbs Richie Douglas makes all the little guys proud against 6’1″, 170 lbs Goren Ford in Sunshine Shooters 8

And most definitely, gives us pint-sized baby face heroes audacious enough to climb into the ring with beasts a foot taller and 80 pounds heavier, and to tell us a compelling, seat of our pants, crotch-tugging homoerotic wrestling drama that reflects real life writ larger, more erotic, and completely improbable, but yet, speaking to our real lives.

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5’10”, 156 lbs TAK is dwarfed by 6’3″, 240 lbs Freak in Mat Rats 63 by Thunder’s Arena

And now, excuse me. I need to go dig out an old college yearbook.

Face the Music

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Joshua Goodman up close and personal with Troy Baker’s bulges in Mat Hunks 4

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.

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Chip Slater has a love/hate relationship with his face in Patrick Donovan’s crotch in Undagear 5

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.

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Mitch Colby is about to pop with Cole Cassidy trapped between his thighs in Ringwars 15

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.

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Rick the Prick looks like he’s struck gold with Joshua Goodman’s legendary bulge in his face in Ringwars 12

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.

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Charlie Evans makes the most of the rare standing face-to-crotch headscissors at the mercy of Steel Muscle God in Oil Hunks 8 (MDW)

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.

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Rio Garza cannot handle Aryx Quinn in BG’s Bad Boys

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.

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So much erotic passion led up to this moment of Mitch Colby smothered by Brook Stetson’s sweaty pouch in Sunshine Shooters 4.

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.

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Kid Brock’s face swallowed whole between Blazes gargantuan thighs in Rainbow Restlers 2

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 much sexual gratification when Logan Vaughn milks Trey Dixon into whimpering obedience in Florida Fights 5

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.

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Kid Vicious puts his swelling cock where Niku Samir’s face is in Motel Madness UK 5

The Heat Is On

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.

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Mitch Colby & Tyrell Tomsen in Wet & Wild 3

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.

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Jersey & Frey in Water Wars 4

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.

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Kid Karisma & Christian Taylor in Wet & Wild 5

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.

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Kid Vicious demonstrates how standing headscissors take on a whole new significance in the pool in Wet & Wild 4

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.

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Bodybuilders Jeff Renshaw & Brad Sargeant show of their physiques in Canadian Built Wrestle Club 3
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Mason Brooks makes an OTK (and ball claw) work on Trey Dixon in Wet & Wild 7: Pool Tournament
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Cole Cassidy & Rob Berlin’s muscles glisten in Wet & Wild 1
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Soaking wet horseplay between Marco Guerra & Cole Cassidy in Wet & Wild 2
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Billy Lodi grabs hold of Rafe Sanchez (mmmm, Rafe!) with everything in Catch Weight 3
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Cam Hudson & Shane McCall check-in to post match muscle play in Motel Madness 3
Everyone’s a winner after Wet & Wild 7: Pool Tournament
Trey Dixon & Ty Alexander heat up the pool post Wet & Wild 7: Pool Tournament
Kid Karisma & Christian Taylor heat back up post pool match in Wet & Wild 5

 

In Catchweight 3, the brutal wrestling was heading just one direction: into the pool.

Stay Hard, Ready and Real

A very special bonus to prattling on and on about homoerotic wrestling the way I do is that occasionally, like a gift from the homoerotic wrestling gods, some magnificent hunk who has inspired my wrestling musings contacts me. Truth be told, it happens more than you know, because about 50% of the time those wrestlers decline my invitation to say something on the record, in their own words. But the other half of such cases are open to letting me toss some questions their way and to share their answers with the readers of this blog.  Happily for you and me, bruising beefcake heel daddy Brook Stetson is in that second half.

Brook stumbled across neverland and found my adoring mentions of him, including when I named him one of my homoerotic wrestlers of the month five years ago for his work working over my long-time wrestling crush, Mitch Colby. We chatted a bit before we went “on the record” for the following interview. Amid so many pretty boys and twinks that get acknowledged on these pages, Brook wasn’t sure he was likely to rank high for neverland readers. Honestly, I found this completely confounding, because… well, fuck, LOOK at him!!?! And if you’ve ever seen Brook wrestle, you know that his brand of raw, rough, powerful, dominating, lustful grappling is precisely what this blog is all about. In any case, what follows is the delightful conversation that unfolded.

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Brook Stetson (aka Brad Michaels, Vinny Reno, Clark Kent, Blockhead, The Tick, & American Dad)

Bard: Brook, thanks so much for agreeing to take some questions! I think you have one of the most distinctive looks in all of homoerotic wrestling. Sort of classic cowboy meets comic book superhero (or villain). What heritage produces that phenomenal physique and hypermasculine jawline?

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The chin that hits back

Brook: I’m a full on mutt, I have a little bit of everything in the family tree if you shake it out hard enough. I guess on the plus side there is the old adage amongst breeders that mutts are stronger than pure breeds. I used to be teased in the military, being called Clark Kent, when I wore standard issue glasses. I was Blockhead in high school, university, and the Tick and American Dad, since. 

Bard: I could see all of those. I was guessing a mix. Maybe a bit of Greek god, Roman god, Norse god, something like that. You’ve definitely got a face for stopping traffic.

Brook: Well, it is a very hard chin. It has been known to hurt those who land a punch on it.

Bard: I bet! So when you contacted me, you shared what I think may be the best compliment ever. After reading some of my blog you said that I “get it” when it comes to writing about your kink. Can you talk more about what “it” is?

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Bull in a China Shop

Brook: That my wrestling, even when just “straight” wrestling, has a combat subtext of primal control, domination, and assertion of sexual superiority. I get off on the emotional, intellectual, and physical struggle of it all. I’m one twisted fuck [laughing].

Bard: Call me “Pretzel,” then, because that makes two of us twisted fucks. I’ve seen a lot of your matches, and I’ve often found myself thinking of you like a force of nature, like the pounding tide or a gale force wind: irresistible and irrepressible. How would you describe your wrestling style?

Brook: Equal parts bull in a china shop, technician, and amateur sadist.

Bard: I can see all of those ingredients. I’ve seen you wrestle big, bruising opponents like Mitch Colby as well as guys much smaller than you, like Skrapper. Is the experience any different for you in a catch weight contest?

Brook: Absolutely, I have a tendency to break my toys so I need to employ more finesse and skill with a catch weight than I do a similar sized victim. Both are a lot of fun but in different ways.

Bard: Are there any matches that stand out for you? Opponents that uniquely tested you, took you by surprise or particularly turned you on? 

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Brook vs. Chance Caldwell in Fantasy Fight 11

Brook: Chance Caldwell for BG Enterprise, he had been an Olympic contender in Greco Roman for Czechoslovakia. He really made me use my amateur skills. Mike Adams for NHB Battle and I started to battle often off camera and was some of the most rough fun I have had with a straight boy. Skrapper was a blast because he took a lot of punishment and kept coming back for more; he is lucky I didn’t rape the fuck out of him. Tony Vencini and I had some good combat foreplay that needed more exploring and then one of my favorite jobber toys was Mitch Colby. Let’s just say that what’s played on camera doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s off camera.

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Just scratching the surface

Bard: I haven’t seen the Chance Caldwell match but I love him! I have to look that one up. I greatly enjoyed your matches with Skrapper, Tony and your Mitch match was award winning on my blog. How does your wrestling in private compare with what we see that gets published?

Brook: It’s more primal privately. For the camera you have to leave space and time for the camera to follow and capture the shots. I rarely allow that much airspace privately [laughing]. Shooting a match for video is difficult for me because I tend to let my instinct take over and can forget to stay on script. I’m not naturally submissive or tame so I have to really try to capture those traits when needed.

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Suffering for long is not something that comes naturally to Brook

Bard: How much direction do you get when you’re taping a match for public consumption?

Brook: Surprisingly, not a lot. I’m pretty lucky in that most of the companies recognize a certain level of skill and chemistry I have with my opponents and let it play out mostly. Usually the direction is slow it down or cheat the shot more towards the camera. I just completed a couple for Naked Kombat where they literally said, you guys just go for it and we’ll try to keep up. Now that was fun!

Bard: You wrestled for NK? Damn, now I’ll definitely have to resubscribe. As an avid consumer, the experience for me is intensely intimate, just me watching anonymously as you and your lucky opponent tear into each other in the illusion of privacy. But it’s obviously not that private on your side of the camera. Is the crew behind the scenes distracting?

Brook: Those two matches were done with the minimum crew to get a great shot, but they had a lot more than I’ve had in the past to allow the match to really proceed as naturally as possible, the only reason I agreed. That and the fact that they offered me some choice beef and I was a hungry mutt [laughing].

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Brook loved a heaping serving of Tony Vencini in Mat Brats 2

Bard: Sounds fantastic! I can’t wait. When you have your pick of choice cuts, what sort of beef do you like sinking your teeth into?

Brook: I’m pretty omnivorous. It’s just got to have a lot of fight in it or I sate to fast and lose interest.

Bard: Clearly you like to play with your food. Fuck, I’m getting hungry. I’ve always wanted to tell you that I think your ink is sensational. The color is stunning and the artwork looks amazing. And I love where it travels around your gorgeous body. Is there any special story about it?

Brook: I knew I wanted it and the placement to be where I could show it or hide it depending on the shorts I chose, etc. I found an amazing artist in NYC shortly after the ban on tattoo parlors had been lifted, since WWII. He had a place in the Hotel Chelsea, I used to go there and hang out and soak up the local color and history of it and we met. He was able realize in ink what I had in my head and 49 hours later (after several sittings), voila.

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Voila!

Bard: It’s incredible. The way it curls around your thigh and up your back brings wrestling to my mind.

Brook: Thank you, that’s very kind.

Bard: So you possess such a distinctive look- do you ever get stopped by guys who recognize you from your wrestling?

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Outstandingly good, but  not too good to be true

Brook: I haven’t ever be recognized on the street. I have been recognized on some of the wrestling match up sites. It usually works against me though and it’s assumed I am a fake profile. So it works against me more than for me, lol.

Bard: I could understand guys thinking you have to be too good to be true. But oh, the cruel irony if they pass you up! Have you ever done any pro style ring wrestling?

Brook: I have, I really enjoy it. It’s fun bouncing boys and myself off the ropes.

Bard: I could easily see you in the ring! There’s something about a pro ring that makes everything larger than life. I hope we see you in the ring for public consumption sometime. So what’s a typical gym workout for you?

1402_lgBrook: I try to do a split work out, four days on, one day off. I’ve really been concentrating on my cardio lately so it’s five days a week. Now cardio can of course be various things from running to throwing down on the mat, I try to keep it creative.

Bard: Yeah, I can think of a lot of fans, including me, who’d love to be part of that cardio! What does a typical date with Brook Stetson look like?

Brook: Old School. Something where we can actually speak and get to know one another. A meal is good, walk on the beach, a fun activity like go-carting, hiking. Never shy away from some sort of physical activity. I want to get to know the person, test chemistry, and compatibility. A kiss or several is a must, everything is built from there. If it’s sub par, it’s never going to happen. It’s something that is ingrained and instinctual, it cannot be taught.

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Kissing featured in Brook’s early career Sex Wrestling 3 match for Zeus with Dane Tarson.

Bard: Even though it can’t be taught, I feel like taking notes and studying diligently. I definitely feel like the kiss is make or break. And guys not into kissing need not apply. Have you ever dated someone you’ve wrestled?

Brook: Yes, both on camera matches and off.

Bard: That sounds like a ton of sensational chemistry, if things are firing on the mats and on one of those dates you described! Are there any wrestlers you haven’t had a crack at that you’d like to meet on the mats?

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Mason Brooks makes the short list

Brook: Gareth Thomas, Kayden Keller, Mason Brooks, Kid Karisma, Matt Thrasher, Chance LaChance, Blue Rage, Cal Bennett, Ace Hanson, Van Skyler, Vasily Volkov……. It’s starting to become a long list, and don’t even start me on past roster wrestlers. WOOF!

Bard: Woof, WOOF! That’s a damn fine list! A little something for everyone. I’ve had a hard spot lately for some heel on heel match ups, so so many of those would scratch that itch so good! And don’t even get me started on how hot I’m getting thinking about you digging in deep on some of those pretty boys. Yum! I’d pay double for pretty much everyone of those match ups. In addition to the upcoming NK shoots, are we going to see you hit the mats on camera more in the future?

Brook: If the right cuts of meat are dangled and I’m hungry, yes!!!

Bard: Well, I just happen to have a couple hunks from your top pick list on speed dial, so I’ll be letting them know immediately that they are on the menu! For all of us twisted fucks with a Clark Kent erotic wrestling fantasy who have keyed into your brand of brutal physical domination, anything else you’d like to say to your avid fans?

Brook: On the mats, in the ring, or in life. Stay hard, ready, and real. And don’t forget…..I’m also just a guy, standing in front of a man, asking him to wrestle him [laughing].

Bard: [Laughing] I can guarantee that as long as you keep wrestling like you do, there are a whole lot of us who will stay incredibly hard. And if you keep paraphrasing Knotting Hill to such perfection, you’ve got a lock on another Homoerotic Wrestler of the Month title as far as I’m concerned. Thanks for being open to doing an interview!

Brook: I still think you are overestimating my appeal, but you’ve been incredibly kind and flattering. It’s been a lot of fun and very thought provoking. Thanks a lot, Stud.

Bard: My pleasure!

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Stay hard, stay ready, stay real.

 

Turning the Tables on Bard

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.

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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?

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Frank Zane turned me gay (not really)

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

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An OTK backbreaker ALWAYS turns me on.

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.

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Pass AH the lube

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”?

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Billy Jack Haynes was one of my earliest pro wrestling infatuations.

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!

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Just one of the hundreds of ass shots Ty Alexander shares on social media.

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].

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What do we have to do to get Drake to update his fucking blog!?

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?

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Man of Mystery

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?

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Masks are hot!

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.

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My nominees for the Mt. Rushore of Homoerotic Wrestling: Kid Leopard (L), Ron Sexton (not pictured), Steve Sterling (C) and Scott Williams (R)

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

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I paid for my own custom fantasy match: Lon Dumont vs. Jonny Firestorm.

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!