Taking a Beating

If you want to be a pro wrestler, you have to be able to take a beating. You have to be able to take a certain amount of pain, and it helps if, as I am, you are flexible. The more flexible you are, the more pain you can take and the more punishing holds you can survive.

If you can’t handle any of that, you have business getting in the ring. Because even the biggest, the strongest, the most skilled and bloodthirsty heel will have to take some pain at some point. You’re cruising along, having your own way with your opponent, and then the next thing you know you make a mistake and WHAM! You’re going to be on the receiving end for a while.

And if it’s a skilled dude who knows what he’s doing, you might not get back in control of the match.

0120_lg

Jobe put me through the ringer.

0123_lg

And I have to respect how much he enjoyed it.

0131_lg

I mean, he really put me through it. He worked over my abs, my back, my neck, my head, and even my legs.

0133_lg

And like me, he sweats a lot. There were sweat puddles all over the ring.

0135_lg

But….you’ve always got to be on your guard, and never get overconfident–or things will flip back the other way.

0137_lg

(to be continued)

Flexibility

I am, as I said, freakishly flexible.

BRIDGE

I am not, of course, nearly as flexible as I was. When I wrestled for BGEast, I was still pretty flexible, but nothing like when I was younger.

0221_lg-1

I started stretching in high school, when I went out for football. I was always surprised at how much more flexible I was than the other boys. I could do back bends, the splits, and never pulled a muscle…never really needed to stretch much as anything other than a warm-up. I took a Gymnastics class in my Kansas high school, and that’s when I really developed my flexibility. I remember the teacher–who’d gone to college on a gymnastics scholarship–told me that had I started when I was young, I might have had a shot at the Olympics. And while I wasn’t a savant about gymnastics–a stunt had to make sense in my head before i could do it, but once the skill clicked, it was easy for me. I could do aerial cartwheels, back handsprings, back flips, back walk-overs…oddly enough, I never could really do anything forward. My back got so flexible, in fact, that I could do a back bend, then walk my hands in and grasp my ankles. I was a cheerleader in college, and I could jump really high–I could do toe touches easily, and I could also do a C jump; the idea is to leap into the air, throw your hands back and curl your legs into a C. I could touch my feet to my head doing that. I could do an arabesque; standing on one foot and bringing my left leg up behind until I could grasp the ankle with both hands and pull it up over my head (in figure skating, it’s called a spiral; if they also spin in that position, it’s called a Bielmann).

But because I was so naturally flexible, and worked at it for several years, I never really needed to stretch much the older I got. I am still more flexible than probably at least 90% of men my age; and I am so flexible that I often can’t get as good a stretch as I need by myself; pro wrestling was a godsend in that regard.

Because, of course, many holds and moves really are just your opponent stretching you. As you can see in the above picture, if put in an over-the-knee backbreaker, if I am positioned correctly, my back will hinge and arch and I can put my forehead on the mat while my feet are also flat on the floor.

It also feels really good.

mitch's over the knee

Obviously, I am not as flexible as I was; the older I’ve gotten the muscles have tightened up some and since I have never gotten into a routine of stretching, I haven’t been able to maintain it. That’s one of the things I miss about not having regular matches; they used to keep me stretched.

1114_lg

Heels loved to wrestle me because I could bend and stretch so much more than most wrestlers. I remember stretching before matches and watching the heel’s eyes get enormous, practically salivating as they realized the kinds of things they could do to me without worry of injuring me.

As a heel, one of my major disappointments has always been the lack of flexibility in most guys I’ve wrestled. When someone’s back just doesn’t bend and is incredibly stiff, you have to be a lot more careful when applying a Camel clutch or a backbreaker. I was often amazed at how rigid so many guys with otherwise amazing bodies were.

Flexibility is also a key component to fitness, and it’s one that most men ignore, to their own detriment. The three measures of fitness as strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility. The more you work on your flexibility, the more stretch your muscles can take, the long the muscle fibers are and the more easily blood and oxygen can flow through them…which means they will grow AND become stronger much more quickly than if they aren’t supple. Again, this is a genetic fluke, a gift from my DNA–if I weren’t naturally flexible, which had led to an interest in Gymnastics, I would be no different than anyone else. But that flexibility helped me with my muscle development, helped my body work my efficiently to burn fat and get lean, and helped, frankly, build my thighs so that I had a nice, round, tight hard ass.

I was always told my ass was my best feature.

corner split agony

I’ve always felt it was my flexibility, but I was always happy to take compliments on my ass.

0806_lg

What do you think?

Tagging

Growing up, tag teams matches were always fun to watch. I loved the idea of double-teaming a helpless opponent, the way some teams seemed to work together seamlessly, and it was always a fantasy of mine to do a tag match. I never had the chance to do so privately; finding a single opponent is hard enough without trying to coordinate a match involving three other people. Hell, even coordinating a tag match for the cameras isn’t easy; I did at least one planned tag match that devolved because someone didn’t show up–pity the poor opponent who took on me and my partner alone.

But that’s a tale for another time.

I flew down to Fort Lauderdale for a taping at the BGEast Southern compound the day after Thanksgiving. I wasn’t sure it was wise getting in front of the cameras after spending the previous day stuffing myself on my mother’s cooking, but you don’t say no when the Boss summons you. I was also a bit excited because this would be my first taping wearing the mask.

In other words, becoming the heel I was meant to be.

In all honesty, I never saw myself as a heel; but the Boss saw me in a picture wearing a mask as a joke and reinvented me on the spot. It was this picture, I believe:

DSCN0578

The whole outfit was meant to be just funny, really; another wrestler had given me the trunks and when I showed them to one of my buddies, he pulled out the mask and gloves and we took a set of pictures. I sent one to the Boss as a joke…and thus the masked heel was born.

I wasn’t sure who was on the roster for me to tape with that weekend, but I met my buddy Maxx Thunder at the airport.

I was pretty thrilled to find out I was going to meet–and wrestle–Alexi that weekend.

When I met him I was surprised. He was a lot bigger than I’d thought. For some reason, I thought he was maybe my height and weight, if not smaller. I was WRONG, by a long shot. He was 6’4 and was in a bulking phase, so was weighing in around 220. I am 5’11, and at the time was maybe 185 on a heavy day.

And his tag partner, Drew Russell, was about the same size.

I was the runt in the ring.

This match was a lot of fun, and I had been right about Alexi–he had mad ring skills, was tough, and JFC, was he ever strong. Maxx and I were having a great time beating them down when Alexi pulled the rug out from under me–literally–slamming to the mat back-first…and then kept working over my back.

0616_lg 2

Hey, I’m freakishly flexible, but even I have limits.

0619_lg 2

And for someone who got his ass kicked a lot, he sure liked to taunt and humiliate me.

0729_lg 2

I eventually submitted to the bastard. In the next go round, I had to go back and meet him in the ring again, and once again…it looked like I was a goner until my buddy Maxx, like a true partner, came to my rescue.

ab claw alexi

And all was right with the world again.

I’ve always regretted not having a one-on-one fight with Sexy Alexi.