One of the YouTube channels I follow recently posted an episode of NWA World Wide Wrestling from 1985 that included a squash match performed by Buddy Landel. What a cocky, dominant prick — I get off on watching this “Nature Boy” hurt straight guys. His victim in this match is the eager, young, and always submissive Baby-Face known as Sam Houston.
After bursting out of his fancy silken robe, Landel struts his stuff in shiny skin-tight trunks. His flashy arrogance contrasts sharply with young Houson’s earnest good-sportsman vibe. This ass-kicking is gonna be delightful, but first Houston gets to shine with some long-held Headlocks.
It’s no secret that Landel’s finishing hold is the bone-crushing Figure Four Leglock. If you know your rasslin, you know that every “nature boy” uses this hold obsessively like it’s some kind of sexual fetish for him. So the majority of the match depicts Landel working on Houston’s long legs, weakening and damaging his knees so that the inevitable Figure Four will be even more tortuous.
This cat-and-mouse performance, with the powerful Heel wearing down the young victim to exert control and achieve submission, is loaded with homo-erotic undertones. Houston can’t escape his fate — their legs being tied in a knot as he cries out in surrender. Speaking of Houston, he cringes and moans orgasmically throughout his punishment as if he’s being violently drilled.
Things get even sexier when the flamboyantly-dressed queen, James J. Dillon, assaults young Houston to help his man maintain control.
Just before applying his Figure Four, Landel always treats us to his trademark Flyin’ Elbow Smash. BAM, right to the victim’s throat! I dig the height he achieves, and how he twists his body in mid-air for maximum impact.
Here is another great example of Landel’s rib-crushing Corkscrew Elbow (with his pretty blond hair streaming gorgeously behind him) from a different video on YouTube where he beats down Sam Houston:
Landel wrestled and defeated Sam Houston a couple dozen times in the mid-1980’s, presumably implementing the Corkscrew Elbow followed by the Figure Four each time. In classic pro wrestling parlance, when two guys would pair up like this and travel around to meet in the ring repeatedly, they were described as being “married” (a rather queer way to refer to this partnership.)
Logistically, it makes sense to wrestle the same guy over and over. It’s safer and easier to just learn one dance and keep swinging the same partner until you can both do the steps in your sleep.
Landel sexualizes his Figure Four Leglock by bumping and grinding away on Houston’s leg. It sort of makes me wonder if they share a room together, and perhaps even a bed, when they’re traveling around to the same cities.
It’s very clear which partner wore the pants in this relationship. According to a wrestling match database, Landel defeated Houston 22 times in a row in 1985: on March 9th, March 10th, March 14th, March 20th, March 26th, April 5th, April 6th, April 27th, May 8th, May 21st (tag team), May 26th, May 30th, June 10th, June 18th, July 1st, July 3rd, July 9th, August 7th, August 15th, August 29th, September 15th, and November 21st. Whew, I’m jealous!
And in 1986, Landel wrestled, and of course defeated, Sam Houston on August 11th, August 13th, August 15th, August 17th, August 18th. Houston was like a well-trained dog, rolling over and playing dead on command. I would do the same thing if I could wrestle this sexy bad boy several times per week for a month! They finally wrestled to a draw on September 26th and their marriage was over.
Here is another example of Landel’s relentless Figure Fuck Leglock from a third Landel-vs-Houston match available on YouTube.
This was a very tight and well-performed jobber beat-down. That’s another advantage of pairing up in a long-standing relationship: both wrestlers learn their roles and perfect their performances, each night trying to increase their skills and improve the drama. The fans are treated to a very crisp, clean match.
Of course, these marriages were only possible pre-Internet, when most house shows were not filmed or broadcast so the fans really didn’t know that these same two guys had performed the same series of moves with the same outcome (just in different cities) multiple times that week.
The sheer repetition of it, the exclusivity of being “married” — and the fact that they’re rolling around in their underwear together three or four nights per week — really makes this situation ripe for a bromance. How could you strip down and playfully rassle the same guy twenty or thirty times without catching some feelings for him?!