In my archives of old wrestling DVDs stashed under my stairs, I came across a 1986 match between “Cowboy” Bob Orton and “Leapin'” Lanny Poffo that I’ve always found very exciting. You can view it for yourself on my YouTube channel.
I’d like to break down the match today to try to explain why I find this match so enticing even though the competitors themselves may not be considered the most beautiful or physically perfect specimens.
From the moment they enter the ring, I get the sense that their costumes are meant to excite wrestling fans like me. Orton wears a butch Cowboy costume — a gay archetype — complete with sexy red briefs and Village People fringe vest.
And Lanny Poffo portrays a poof, prancing around in his shiny white speedo and gogo boots, his ring jacket bejeweled with rhinestones. He then reads off some ridiculous poem and the cringing Real Men in the audience can’t wait for this pretty-boy to take a beating.
But a strange thing happens not long into the match. We see the Cowboy — the very archetype of gritty American toughness and masculine self-reliance — on his knees, gripping his lower back in pain and begging for mercy from the satin-clad sissy! And the sissy gained the upper-hand over this butch Real Man, not through trickery and deceit, but using solid rasslin talent and graceful offense.
There is something very campy and playful about Orton’s play acting (“Oh woe is me! Please I beg of you, don’t hurt me!“) that makes it arousing to me. It’s as if Orton is role-playing, willingly degrading himself before this less-manly peacock because it’s fun for him — acting submissive even though we all know he isn’t THAT badly hurt.
It’s as if Orton is enjoying the kinky role-play exercise, and presumably so is Poffo. We get the sense that they perhaps play Master And Slave often and might continue the game later in the privacy of their hotel room if it turns them on — Orton giving his demanding Boss a back rub when ordered or performing little chores on Poffo’s command and enjoying the feeling of subservience.
Many of the classic Heels gave me the impression that they kind of enjoyed the Beaten Jobber role, moaning and begging melodramatically as if they were fully over-whelmed by the Baby-Face. And to me, this role-playing always seemed sexy and made me hard.
Now they switch roles. Orton plays the Big Swinging Dick for a while, manhandling Poffo, who has suddenly gone limp and helpless. Orton flexes his muscles and points his big bulge in our direction to signal his hyper-masculine potency. Meanwhile, Poffo is sprawled out deliciously on the mat like a submissive Bottom in a porn video, waiting for the aggressive Top to crawl on him and make his moves.
The role-play continues as they take turns humiliating each other. Orton, for example, soon has taint on display in the very insultingly-named “Small Package.” And later still, Orton is pushed off the top turnbuckle and crotched on the ropes, his manhood destroyed…
This back-and-forth trade-off of the submissive role reminds me of a typical pro fantasy “match” between two guys who both get off on pro wrestling. One guy will assume the role of the jobber, moaning in pain and begging for mercy to get himself and his wresting buddy all worked up. Then, he inflicts a soft punch to the gut (or further South) and suddenly their positions are reversed — the erstwhile Dom is suddenly acting as if he were hit with an elephant tranquilizer dart. And so on, back and forth.
The reason so many dudes role-play in this manner when they rassle in private is because they are acting out the sort of scripts they’ve seen (and been aroused by) a thousand times in matches just like this one. And the reason pro wrestlers perform so many of these back-and-forth “please don’t hurt me, Sir” matches is because they know it’s arousing AF to watch and it therefore drives ratings.
After this emasculating rope-ride, Orton again assumes a submissive demeanor, like a eunuch trying to appease the Emperor. Check out bitch-boy Orton in the following image as Poffo easily dominates him and throws him around by his long curly hair:
The above animation is in sharp contrast to Poffo’s submissive performance earlier in the match when he was playing the Whipping Boy…
But eventually the more-masculine Male over-powers the prancing gazelle in the snow-white gear and crushes him under a painful Splash off the ropes. We’re then treated to a provocative money-shot (much like the Small Package we saw earlier) as the cameraman emasculates bitch-boy Orton one last time:
These mid-card role-play matches were usually more exciting to me than the Main Event. I never got tired of seeing the actors sell for each other, playing helpless and hurt one moment and utterly dominant the next.
And the wrestlers themselves never seemed to mind performing in these provocative public humiliation scenes either. Who wouldn’t want to play such an exciting, mutually-arousing and intimate game with another man who is equally into pro fantasy?