A YouTube channel I follow has been posting hour-long episodes of British wrestling from the early 1970s and I am digging it. The action is slower than we’re used to, and the contests are more fair and sporting than the typical Heel-Jobber dynamic, but we see tons of nice holds and very sexy costumes. The video quality (for nearly 50-year-old footage) is excellent.
One recent video included a match between a fair-haired British lad — John Naylor in sexy long tights — against a beefy older Frenchman named Jacky Ricard.
Naylor with his long mop of tawny hair is the Home Town Boy, the vulnerable young Lad bravely agreeing to take on the larger, older Frenchman. Ricard in his black trunks is an enemy, a cheater, a dastardly French invader who is out to harm our blue-eyed boy.
Much of my fascination with this bout centered on those sexy long tights worn by Naylor to emphasize his legs, which he uses as two parallel weapons throughout the tussle. The commentator describes them as “dark red” to glue our eyes to them, but they look more brown or maroon to me.
A fellow wrestling lover once told me that he prefers seeing wrestlers in long tights instead of trunks because the wrestler appears to be more naked and exposed in a monochrome pair of tights. There is no break in color between his hip and thigh, so it’s easier to think of the tights as bare skin. I finally understand his point as I watch Naylor in these painted-on leggings that reveal every curve and bulge.
With his long mop of unruly hair and streamlined tights (which make him appear effeminate, graceful and fast), Naylor is portraying the British Lad — an archetype of youthful vigor, fool-hardiness, and vulnerability that is very common in British Literature and other works of art from England. He is Peter Pan eager to take on Captain Hook, or Harry Potter willing to fight Voldemort. Brits really seem to get off on the punishment of a Lad at the hands of an older villain, and this match from 1973 was an early example of this dichotomy playing out in the wrestling ring.
The advantage shifts back-and-forth throughout the match, with Monsieur Ricard periodically clamping on a nasty Wrist Choke (the commentator pointing out each time that his wrist is pressing dangerously into our poor lad’s throat).
Young Naylor then responds with some sort of leg attack, clamping his heroic tights around a neck, an arm, or any appendage that one can clamp legs around. The effect, to me, is sexually suggestive, fetishizing those long Robin Hood tights and Naylor’s powerful legs within them.
Nalor applies an intersting Armlock, levering Ricard’s arm between his thighs and pulling up repeatedly on the wrist.
To viewers watching from the front, the positioning of Richard’s trapped arm will resemble a large, stiff protrusion from between Naylor’s legs — a massive hard-on bursting out of those tights which Naylor repeatedly yanks and grinds.
The Frenchman’s outstretched arm stands in for Naylor’s own masculinity, similar to a strap-on dildo worn by a female to mimic a man. Given than many men in the crowd are probably just as stiff as that stiff arm symbolizes, this sexually suggestive depiction is probably very intoxicating to watch.
The sexual imagery continues with this Atomic Drop, as Naylor drops Ricard’s taint stiffly on his knee, followed by Ricard dramatically placing a hand over his backside as if he had been painfully penetrated by Naylor.
This time, Naylor’s hard knee stands in for his true masculinity, banging into the Frenchman’s private parts and defiling him. Ricard sells the shame of his predicament by placing an arm over his face — Oh woe is me!
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good long Headscissor, but I could watch John Naylor scissor dudes in those brown tights all day long.
Here is an interesting historical note that explains the psychology behind this match: Britain joined the European Union (which they’re now trying to Brexit from) on January 1, 1973. This match took place just two days later. All three matches on this special card celebrating the entry of Britain into the EU featured a Brit Lad against a foreigner from another EU country (a Frenchman, a Belgian, and an Italian). And — spoiler alert — the British wrestler lost in all three matches!
Why did the British promoters choose to degrade their nation by booking a loss in all three matches? In this match, for example, Naylor totally out-wrestled his French opponent, losing to a bullshit Count-Out after being tossed out of the ring,
Are the British people just really good hosts who want to make their guests feel welcome? Or did this wrestling card represent (and predict very accurately) the populist fears against foreign invasion that the British people still haven’t gotten over almost 50 years later? Does the frequent representation of the Lad gimmick in the Brit Pro ring — the young Brit always taking it on the chin — perhaps reveal a jobber mentality in the British psyche, a fear mixed with erotic fascination over being dominated by foreign powers?