Saturday, January 23, 2016

Review: Frey vs. Travis (Thunders Arena)

Full disclosure: This video was provided to me by Thunders Arena.

This is a bonus post. I originally planned three reviews for the end of January, but Thunders Arena sent out another video to a bunch of bloggers, including me. I try not to do the same company twice in a row, but I moved Cage/Bravo up a day and slotted this one in. So now there's four reviews (plus the Who's Who) to end the month.

Here's the email we received from Mr. Mike ...

"We had so many reviews of travis come back into us that he doesn’t know how to wrestle so we made a video of him learning how to wrestle. I thought you might enjoy watching this and share it with your readers. I think it would be interesting to do an article on a bodybuilder trying to learn how to wrestle. Got some interesting stuff for you to talk about with your fans. This is Travis vs Frey"

Okay, I'm not doing an article on a bodybuilder trying to learn how to wrestle. I think that'd be interesting if this was an interview with Travis, but it's just a video and we don't get any insight into Travis' feelings on the matter. If anything, he doesn't seem particularly troubled by his lack of knowledge or skill.

Still, this whole situation is really interesting to me. Interesting enough that I adjusted my schedule to fit this in as an extra post. It's like they're trying to hit the reset on Travis. Perhaps they feel that they botched the debut of a potential superstar. Travis is a cute 18-year old phenom with an impossible bodybuilder physique. He should be a bestseller for a long time, except for this 'doesn't know how to wrestle' issue.

Travis is a big boy

Now there's clearly a segment of the Thunders Arena fanbase that buys for the bodies and doesn't give a crap about the wrestling. I say 'clearly' based on my own interpretation of their comment section and some of the videos and wrestlers that sell really well.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm not in that group, but that doesn't make it wrong. And it's not a better or worse perspective. It's just different than mine. Bodily perfection is never my primary interest. Frankly, I think it's easy to find for free, if I was so inclined.

Travis is clearly a stud who can appeal to the "body > wrestling" segment just by flexing. However, he would struggle to win over the folks like me if he can't wrestle. In fact, I read a review of Eagle vs. Travis that gave it five stars for the wrestlers and one star for the wrestling. That review isn't on the site currently, but I feel confident that I didn't imagine it. I didn't buy the video for that reason, despite liking Eagle.

Obvious appeal

"Über-hot stud, but a dud on the mat" isn't a new issue for Thunders, nor is it exclusive to Travis (e.g., Wolf). When I gave them the 2015 Cavey Leaders Award, I actually commented that I would love to see more consistency in terms of the wrestling action.

So who is this Travis guy? Well, personality-wise, Travis comes across as a nervous narcissist in this video (the only one with him that I've seen). He loves to flex and clearly that is what he is most comfortable doing. Whenever wrestling comes into play, he gets red-faced and can't help smiling and giggling.

Of course, Travis is young. If he's really completely new to this, I can understand why he'd react this way. I mean, anyone might feel self-conscious in a new situation, especially one that involves stripping down to briefs and play wrestling with another guy in briefs in front of a camera. I'm sure it seems odd and I can't imagine I would've been any cooler or more composed at 18.

On the plus side, he keeps adjusting the front of his bulging trunks throughout the entire video. That's a nervous tic I fully support him keeping.

Travis just can't keep his hands off his bulge

Frey gets in the act, fluffing Travis before a press attempt

Even the cameraperson loves his bulge, as the focus constantly shifts to it and zooms in as often as possible.

Travis is ready for his close-up

Where are my 3-D glasses?

Physically, I'm most impressed by his V-shaped torso. It's just huge, with broad shoulders, bulging biceps and heaving pecs. He's one of those guys that will have to really learn body control if he's going to convincingly sell pain. Even against a guy like Frey, it'll take some work to believe he could ever be hurt or trapped. As an aside, he could watch Kid Brock, who managed to overcome the same situation and become a semi-legend for his ability to sell against anyone.

Just a massive man

Now that's power ... guys don't do this to Frey

Or, Travis could be an unstoppable force who never suffers if he learns not to smile all the time. Vinny was like that, except when he was against a guy like Johnny Bravo. He never sold his opponents' moves, flexing while they struggled to control him and that worked out pretty well.

No matter where they go with him, Travis needs to relax, learn some moves, know how to react and define himself as more than a body. So it's nice to see Thunders listening to the feedback and trying to address it before they lose any goodwill Travis might have. Based on appearance and initial sales, he is worth the time and investment. Let's face it, I think most of us will forgive some rough first videos for a stud like this. I mean, he could be a real-life Xaq or Corey. :)

With regards to Travis vs. Frey specifically, it isn't a video I would have bought nor will I re-watch it. Probably not the desired reaction, but what can you do? Travis doesn't learn that much in the 19-minute affair, as Frey gets through the body slam, a few lifts and an ab stretch. I will say that the end is hot and uses a favorite hold of mine that is actually featured prominently in my two of my next three reviews.

Smiling in the ab stretch

Still smiling

I shouldn't ignore the other stud in this video. I will say that I think that this is the best gear of any Frey video I own. He looks great in Tak-style thin posers with the neon green front and purple back. He comes across as the perfect teacher for Travis, so hopefully he taught him more behind the scenes.

Frey is looking good

Nice gear in front

And back

Wrapping up, it's nice that Thunders is being transparent about this and hopefully they do that in the future. I think it's better to say "look at this hot stud pose" than to pretend you're going to get great action. They did this with Dozer vs. Casey More where they warned buyers it's worship, not wrestling.

It would be great if this was a lesson to everyone that if your business is wrestling videos then you probably shouldn't produce or sell any video that doesn't meet a minimum standard for the wrestling action. Test the guys. Train the guys. Don't sell anything you're not proud of.

So after all that, I say good luck to Thunders and Travis, I hope you get it together. If and when you do, I'll be ready with credit card in hand.

What are other bloggers saying? Six of us got the same email and download link. I'll update with other posts when (or if) they come out:



  1. I always had this problem with Thunder´s Arena: the more I was into a wrestler, the worst the video was.

    For example, I had (and still have) this huge crush on Python, but, maaaan, he can´t wrestle. But that´s ok, what if they put him in a squash match? Oh, good, let´s see... and he can´t sell.

    And I´m a very toleranting guy, there are even some NRW videos that I like, lol.

    1. Oh Python. Yes, I remember him. A lot of potential.

      I'm hoping that this is a sign that they've learned that wrestling matters and will think about this in the future.