Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: Jake Zane vs. Steve Tanner (Muscleboy Wrestling)


You might notice the above warning. I got the idea from a comic book message board that I frequent. If they post offensive content, they give you a "trigger warning" so that you can decide if you want to look. I debated between hate speech or homophobia, but I wanted something that doesn't connote intent by the producer or performer. Anti-gay language feels more like an objective fact. It's not debatable that the language is used, regardless of the intent.

If you've been a follower of this blog for a while, you know that I strongly dislike this. It has impacted my willingness to purchase from certain companies and my enjoyment of certain videos. I have been choosing not to review certain videos because of it. I know some of you agree with me and I know many of you don't.

This isn't a debate, it's how I feel about it. Feel however you like.

Certainly gay-oriented wrestling video producers continue to prominently feature this kind of language in their products, even though it demeans their primary audience. Guido Genatto can't stop calling everyone a queen. UCW guys have been loving the 'no homo' stuff. And in this particular video from Muscleboy WrestlingJake Zane takes it up a few levels at 13:39, insulting a helpless Steve Tanner by calling him a pussy f*****.

Jake tries to bash Steve verbally and physically.

Now, I have encountered wrestlers who say they actually get asked to use this kind of language in private matches. My response is that even if someone asked, I would not verbally or physically attack them based on their orientation (or race, ethnicity, disability, etc.). However, that's me. It's obviously not a big deal to others, but that's also in private settings where folks can do what they want.

This is about videos for sale to a gay audience. It's not just about being offended. It's simply the fastest way to turn me off. It takes me right out of the moment to a dark place, adding an unwanted and unappealing gay-bashing element to a pastime that I use for escape and release.

Jake Zane vs. Steve Tanner seemed like the perfect opportunity to start a trigger warning policy, because I wanted to review it, but this had to be mentioned. Rather than continue to not review certain videos and pretend this stuff doesn't exist, I've decided that I will simply call out this language in my reviews.

This place is not intended as an advertising site. It's my blog and I view my reviews as more informational than promotional. So love it or hate it, you will know that the video contains this language and you can make a more informed decision than I did.

So that's that. Now, what about the video, besides the language issue?

Jake Zane and Steve Tanner might be familiar to you. Both have made multiple videos elsewhere. My experience with them is primarily at BGEast. Jake has never really grabbed me, but I did like his match against Damien Rush. Steve, on the other hand, is a guy I raved about after watching him face Jonny Firestorm.

Steve is looking good, albeit less hairy than in previous appearances. He's a good looking muscleman and in this video, he knows it. He comes in with confidence and bravado as he looks down at the smaller Jake. Both guys are in trunks then get stripped down to butt-revealing underwear - a jock for Jake and a thong for Steve.

Steve is put on display for our enjoyment.

Jake gets spread open, too.

Just kiss already.

The physical contrast between the two is obvious and played up as Steve overpowers Jake, manhandling him from the start. He gets the first submission, but Jake isn't giving up after losing once. In fact, he promises to get Steve to submit 10 times just for that one. I didn't count, but that's pretty much what happens. The smaller stud bends and folds the muscleman at will for the last 2/3's of the video.

Muscleman Steve adds insult to injury.

It's Splitsville for Steve.

Jake cops a feel of Steve's awesome torso.

The holds are well done, but there's not a ton of flow here. Steve dominates with power for the first part then Jake gets a good counter to switch their roles. Once the smaller stud is in control, Steve stops fighting or even trying at all. While the sexy hunk talks tough, there's no apparent effort to counter or escape any of the humiliating holds Jake puts him in. In fact, he often seems more bored than suffering, like he's submitting to move things along. Jake even comments on the quick speed of the submissions and lack of fight, but it doesn't motivate Steve to try any harder.

So I give Jake credit for creativity, effort and skill, but this video fell flat for me. It's more a domination video than a wrestling match. Comparing it to the similarly-themed Jake vs. Damien, I prefer the BGEast version with more back-and-forth and more flow.

Ass up and helpless.

Steve ends up like this more than once.

A humpy finish.

In the end, the video felt to me like a collection of holds featuring a smaller guy dominating a very submissive bigger hunk. On those terms, it could work for you. Based on my previous experience with these guys, which involved two really good videos, I might've just been expecting something with a little more flow and fight to it. And there's the language, which definitely impacted me, but you'll make your own call on that.

So that's my take. What's yours?



  1. I agree with you regarding the language being a turn-off, but I find it very strange coming from Jake. He is gay and his boyfriend runs MuscleBoy wrestling.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Maybe it's something he uses with his friends? I've met folks like that. I still don't like it, but I won't act like gay guys don't use the term. Personally, I'd recommend it stay in private, but to each his own.

  2. Thank you for your comments. I read your comments sometime back about the BG East incident with demeaning language, and I'm glad you've called it out again. There is more than enough of that kind of demeaning behaviour in the mainstream pro wrestling venues...we don't need to tolerate or accept in in the underground/gay oriented wrestling venues. Again, thanks for speaking out.

    1. You're welcome and thanks for the support.

  3. So far I've purchased 28 matches from their 3 catalogs. The only one I've noticed using gay slurs has been Jake Zane in several matches. It really does pull me out of the moment, especially in the midst of some really hot scenes. What makes use of this language by Jake, Guido, UCW guys, and others even more frustrating for me is that it almost always comes out unnaturally and doesn't feel like trash talk the performers would organically be using (whatever their orientations).

    Jake's matches at MBW are generally incredibly sexy, as are all of the matches I've purchased so far. Most of the matches I have seen include a great mix of wrestling, erotic/sensual, and eye candy. Even the few that have had lower-than-average action/skill have made up for it with eye candy.

    Here are 5 favorites from each catalog, you may enjoy them too (with a warning that Jake uses that slur in some of these):
    Catalog 1-- Aryx Quinn vs Ryan Donovan (m1), Taylor Reign vs Logan Cross (m2), Connor O'Reilly vs Jake Zane (m3), Bruno the Beast vs Ryan Donovan (m11), Luke Maxwell vs Connor O'Reilly (m13).
    Catalog 2-- Justin Powers vs Dante (m2), Taylor Reign vs Logan Cross (m3), Justin Powers vs JJ Allen (m6), Nick Flex vs Connor O'Reilly (m8), Bruno the Beast vs Taylor Reign (m10).
    Catalog 3: Justin Powers vs Ethan Slade (m1), Logan Cross vs Jake Zane (m2), Ethan Slade vs Taylor Reign (m3), JJ Allen vs Jake Zane (m6), Parker Flynn vs Connor O'Reilly (m8).
    If I had to recommend just one wrestler to check out, it would be Justin Powers.

    1. Wow, Chris. Awesome comment. I really appreciate your take. I did buy Jake vs Chris Cannon because of Cannon, but will likely just avoid Jake otherwise. Seems like the easiest option.

      Justin Powers is on my radar, so you've just decided my next purchase. Thanks!

  4. There is plenty of demeaning language directed at the LGBT community without producers of underground wrestling videos piling on the insults. I don't know if a collective boycott (reviewers and fans) would work. Personally, I avoid wrestling that incorporates insulting language or behavior that is demeaning toward guys like me. I'm reluctant to shun 88Wrestling, but the owner has expressed disgust for anything remotely gay, erotic, or sensual. Of course, non-erotic wrestling is enjoyable, too. However, I object to being marginalized and made to feel unwelcome by companies who disapprove of my sexual orientation. Since even BG East, which produces gay-oriented wrestling, maligns in this way...what can folks like me do other than complain directly to the offending companies or a petition.I can't understand why any member of my community would abide homophobic language or gestures.

    1. I agree with you. All we can do is vote with our dollars.

      I haven't bought a Jake Zane match since, based on hearing he does it more than just here. I avoided the 'no homo' stuff from UCW. I wasn't aware of anything said by the owner of 88W. Seems like a weird business to get into, selling jack-off material, if that's your perspective.

      I will say that I haven't seen anything like this from BGEast outside of the Guido/Ty match that I reviewed. BGEast actually changed the audio based on my review, so I appreciate that.