The scrappy new underground wrestling video producer — Weekend Wrestling — gave us another hot bout this past Saturday featuring two icons from the world of Wrestle-Porn — Zach Reno vs. Zack Johnathan. Immediately when the bell sounds, I’m torn over which wrestler has the sexier gear — Zach Reno in his bulging rainbow speedo or Zack Johnathon in a shiny fishscale bikini. I think Zack’s gear wins the day, sorry Zach!
Johnathan goes by the nickname “Z-Man” in honor of one of the hottest pretty-boy Baby-Faces in wrestling history, Tom Zenk. I wonder if he defeated Zenk in a classic “winner gets the name” bout in order to take over the rights to the Z-Man brand? Whether or not Johnathan earned the Z-Man name fair and square in the ring, Zach Reno is now eager to take the “Z-Man” title for himself, repeatedly claiming that he (Reno) is the “REAL Z-Man” every time he gains the upper hand for a minute.
Weekend Wrestling is impressing me the more I see it. They clearly earn an A Plus Plus in the gear category, zooming right in there with the camera to give us some good views of both guys’ dicks. They are able to book the biggest stars in the Underground universe — Reno vs. Johnathan, are you freakin kiddin me?!
And best of all, the Weekend Wrestling brand, so far, seems to be fiercely loyal to the style of classic pro wrestling I grew up obsessed with. The fact that they’re playing around with this Winner-Gets-To-Keep-The-Name gimmick, which was pioneered over 40 years ago, demonstrates a healthy commitment to dusting off and re-enacting the provocative tropes and sleazy scenarios from the Good Old Days of rasslin.
In the Golden Age of wrestling, if some Wanna-Be punk dared to steal your nickname or copy your look too closely, well you didn’t settle that in a copyright lawsuit — instead, you just had to beat him down physically to force him to stop it. Sometimes a stipulation would be made forcing the loser of a match to change his name so the winner could be the only Mr. Cocky or whatever in the federation. This forced re-branding seemed so humiliating for the loser, having to surrender his whole identity and re-create himself! It’s like being unmasked and then having to go by the name Mario Villalobo or something instead of El Spectacularo or whatever.
This gimmick was especially popular in the wild, wild 1970s when the most outrageous stipulations were used to raise the stakes in pro wrestling, to make a match seem more critical to win and more treacherous to lose. Back then, they’d make the loser of a wrestling match agree take a belt whipping, or cut off his hair, or put on a lady’s dress and lipstick, or serve as his opponent’s slave — all sorts of kinky and degrading stakes that made pro wrestling in those days seem twisted, pornographic, and more like an S&M session than an athletic competition. How I miss those days!
In a legendary passing of the torch, Ric Flair defeated “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers in 1979 to strip him of the title “Nature Boy.” In another epic re-branding, “King Kong” Brody was originally known as “Bruiser” Brody, but had to surrender the “Bruiser’ name in 1978 or 9 when he got his ass kicked by Dick the Bruiser. It’s a good thing for Brody that he was murdered before “King Kong” Bundy came along and stripped him of that title as well!
Then there is the famous story-line from 1992 when the WWF was forced to surrender their third initial, the letter “F”, and become WWE instead. This was because the tree-huggers from the World Wildlife Fund laid the legal smack-down on Mr. McMahon and told him to go find a new gimmick — WWF was already taken, thank you very much.
Logically, this scenario is nonsense. Just because you out-wrestle some guy with the same name, why would that require him to totally rename himself? A company is allowed to employ more than one “Nate-Dog” or “T-Bone” or “Bri-Guy” — why would there need to be only be one person in the world using the “Z-Man” handle?
But to a young viewer obsessed with wrestling in the 1970’s, the situation made perfect sense and was immensely arousing: Law of the Jungle, might makes right, of course if you out-wrestle another man, you should totally get to take whatever you want from the loser (total boner material!)
So I dig it that Weekend Wrestling is reviving this sexy old Who-Gets-to-Own-The-Name? gimmick in this Zach vs. Z-Man match. I also dig that Reno is in a show-offy mood in those colorful briefs, constantly parting his thighs and contorting his body to practically shine the camera lens with his massive bulge.
Just like the territories of competing federations back in the 1970’s, each of our beloved Underground promotions in this era brings us a little different style and tone. Some are more violent and realistic, some are more campy and playful. Some are explicitly sexual, some are not. Some deliver excellent production quality, some deliver excellent in-ring talent.
It may be too soon to name the unique features of Weekend Wrestling’s brand — to define what sets them apart. But so far, I’m sensing a brand focus on good ring psychology, well-trained and experienced performers, and stories that put a modern twist on the classic tales of suffering, retribution, and rivalry. It will be fun to watch this promotion as they mature and begin to differentiate themselves and define their own unique brand identity — I have a feeling I’m going to love it!