Thursday, April 6, 2017

Review: Lane Hartley vs. Brad Barnes (BGEast)

It's been about a month since I finished with the only two matches from BGEast's catalog 117.2 that I was both able to buy and felt were worth reviewing. There hasn't been anything new since then, even in the Arena, so I decided to look back at one of my favorites.

Lane Hartley vs. Brad Barnes is a modern classic. It's from late 2013, but I think it's very re-watchable. If you haven't watched this squash, I would definitely take the plunge. I will give one note on the visuals ... I get why other bloggers use the official Arena images. It's tough for me to get great looking BGEast screen grabs, because of their customer-unfriendly VOD system. Anyway, the graininess is my technology, not the video itself.

It's big pro vs. tiny bodybuilder

This is Lane Hartley's debut. BGEast must have known they had something, giving him the big box on the home page. In his red speedos, the pro wrestler is a spectacular sight and wowed me immediately. I just love his look. Clean cut. Muscles. Tiny, pulled-high trunks that wedge up his amazing butt. Not too sculpted. A great butt. What's amazing is that he only looks better in motion. He sweats up a storm, flexes a ton and has incredible attitude.

Obviously Lane has not stayed looking like this, but that's the joy of video. He'll always be this Lane in this match. And let me repeat myself on the sweat. It's kind of crazy how soaked he is by the end. It's like he took a shower midway during the match.

Lane's got muscles, too

Look at that chewing gum walk.
Very Wrigley.

Brad Barnes hasn't received any press on this blog, outside of being a generic victim in images for posts like my stump puller and USA trunks content. Here, Brad works as an over-matched wrestling dummy. He's solid and strong, but pliable and capable of taking a beating from a powerful pro wrestler. In small trunks, the tiny bodybuilder is sculpted and nice to look at as his body is battered and broken for 28 minutes.

Brad has one job in this match and he does it well.

Brad looks great hung out to dry.

The video has a great, albeit curious, dynamic. Lane positions this as pro wrestler vs. bodybuilder, but he's so much bigger than Brad that it rings little hollow. However, from there on out, Lane dishes out an awesome beating and any notion of a wrestler vs. bodybuilder test is forgotten.

What's really engaging is the calm cruelty Lane exudes. He looks country club, like a preppy rich boy. He talks casually, like a buddy. And he wrestles viciously, like a brutal heel. In his post about this match, Joe at Ringside alluded to American Psycho and it's a good analog. I can't think of another heel like him and uniqueness is always interesting to me.

A one-armed camel?

A backbreaker on the top turnbuckle.

See, now that's just plain mean.

There is so much abuse here, but what elevates this is that a lot of the moves are variants on the classic holds. Just as Lane is unique among heels, his wrestling feels unique, too. He seems creative and clever, perhaps inspired by the opportunity to play with a lump of sculpted muscle like Brad.

Most fan favorite holds are here - crab, OTK backbreaker, camels, ab stretch, rack, etc. - along with more obscure personal favorites of mine like the stump puller and tear drop (check out my posts on these holds here: Stump Puller and Teardrop).

Ah, the old flex and flip.

And anyone who uses a rare stump puller
gets bonus points from me.

In the end, I really think this is a classic. Lane never wrestles or looks better, in my opinion. Brad plays his role, but this is really the heel's story and it's a great one. The wide array of creative holds is like a master class. And the cruel punishment is a squash fan's dream.

What did other bloggers say?

So that's my take. What's yours? A lot of you must have watched it. What did you think? And some of you must have passed on it. Why?



  1. I love love LOVE this match. I admit, any match with Brad Barnes is a winner for me. But even given that, this is a good one. :)

    I do differ from you in your saying that "Brad plays his role, but this is really the heel's story." For me, it's all about Brad. ANYONE could be beating him up--that said, Lane is a GREAT heel, wonderfully calmly vicious, and even with a great jobber, you need a great heel to REALLY make the match.

    Also, this was my first Brad Barnes match.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It's a good sign that I'm all about the heel and you're all about the jobber. This match works for everyone. :)