Saturday, April 8, 2017

DotTeeVee: X ARM - Rick Vardell vs Bond Laupua

If you unironically enjoyed the movie "Over the Top," think that metal cage in the corner of your gym is the "curl rack," derive pleasure from human misery and enjoy people at a table punching each other have I got the exciting new (from 2014, sorry) pseudo-sport to satisfy all your gun show and blood lust needs. It's X Arm, created by "The Godfather of the UFC" who wisely got out of that business by selling it for some glass beads at a point in time when that probably seemed like a good deal for him. One can't mourn over lost millions forever, instead we've got a new sport that's even better (not a truthful statement)! It might sound like a generic underarm product, but it's much, much more.

  I'll take the guy not currently being throat-punched.

The man that guided the Ultimate Fighting Championship when it had about a dozen loyal fans (I would know, I was one of them) at least seems cheerful and upbeat about his new, doomed venture. He tells "Gary" that we're going to see a combination of "hardcore arm-wrestling, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. Well, that or two anthropological curiosities happy slapping each other while a table gets in the way, but let's take our time and allow this video to unfold like the beautiful flower that it is.

Also there's a ten thousand dollar first prize, or as the UFC would call it "The amount of money we spent on doors during the Rampage Jackson season of our television show."

Let's meet the fighters! Rick Vardell is highly decorated in arm wrestling! He's big! Unfortunately, we're doing the "hardcore" version, so I'm not sure if the skills will translate. Meanwhile his opponent Bond Laupua has a kickboxing background and a bit of an attitude. He calls his hulking opponent a "marshmallow" and promises to "melt him." Meanwhile the man running the risk of being the central ingredient in a S'more isn't afraid of being hit and feels being strong might give an edge in a test of strength. 

We also introduce an aspiring actress, but she promptly goes away, further adding to the already surreal and dreamlike qualities of the proceedings.

The defending champion.

Now the formal introductions, full of useful information like the fact that Bond is actually the heavier man, despite what was implied earlier. Yeah, the introduction video was somewhat misleading. Next you'll tell me those early UFC tomato cans weren't really 88-0 in bare knuckle challenge matches. Also, Vardell is 46 years old. Never has the phrase "Too old for this shit" been more appropriate.

Both competitors are wearing colorful outfits that call to mind a re-imagining of the Power Rangers as giant, doughy middle-agers with attitude. We run down some rules and I'm glad the tradition of endless talk while waiting for fights is still alive and well here. Pin the arm, knock the guy out, decision, the usual stuff. Time to make "becoming an X Arm judge" my new and best life ambition.

 Please approach this comedy club table and prepare for glory.

Art Davie thinks Vardell has the edge, what with his "big arm." This quality analysis wisely ignores the fact our prohibitive favorite is doing a goofy dance during the interminable preparation phase for some reason. The modern gladiators are harnessed together and this is starting to look more like something the NEA would fund than the death fight we were promised. Unconventional desires notwithstanding, it's time to tape the hands together with duct tape, which we are told can hold together anything. Airplanes, for example. Talk about a missed sponsorship opportunity. Maybe this guy isn't as good at business as his impressive track record would suggest.

Also the referee is Cal Worsham, one of the competitors in an extreme no-rules cage fighting match that was described as "all I saw was swingin'." 

The bell is gone and the human game of chess quickly breaks down into awkward brawling. It's nothing but big hands as they're feeding each other the meat candy! I don't know about this, we're forgetting it's supposed to be about the Sport of Cheaters, not table boxing. Vardell gets the worst of it and is "almost defenseless!" leaning away where he can't be reached to survive. Yes, adding harnesses and a table makes the "kickboxing" better, of course it would.

"He's thrown his game plan out!" Everyone has a plan for pinning the back of your hand against a flat surface while taped and harnessed together, until they get hit.

Youth might give you an advantage in Stockton Slap competitions, but don't underestimate the experience and cunning of age, as Vardell jumps up on the table and attempts to put Lapua in a straight arm-lock. Unfortunately, a red flag is thrown, because you're not a real sport unless officials are throwing snot rags or whatever. That's the end of that bit of excitement, thank goodness. Let's get back to the awkward striking.

Despite the penalty, it's another arm-bar attempt, immediately. I mean, they can't call it illegal every time you do it, can they? Time is now the enemy, however, as only ten seconds remain. Sure enough, Bond is saved by the bell.

 Welcome to a Brazilian nightclub.

The announcers heap praise on the "underdog," who despite being younger and heavier was somehow able to lay heavy leather on his grizzled opponent. Vardell's face is starting to look like uncooked meat, so we're clearly not playin' up in hee-ah. It may have been a 10-8 round, but no explanation on the flag from Art, sadly. I created this sport and I don't know what the rules are. 

Round Two! More unanswered punches from Lapua! And it's already over! Call me crazy, but that round seemed much, much shorter. Oh well, probably time compression caused by the Maslowian peak experience I'm having viewing this incredible "sport." 

Vardell is starting to look like he went through the windshield in a car crash, but there's one round left and anything can still happen!

Final round! Our heroes play to the crowd and then we get a scene reminiscent of "Rocky" (why not bring in another Stallone film, right?) as the older and more badly hurt contender mounts a valorous comeback in the eleventh hour. He's coming on strong with looping punches! This is the most inspiring thing I've ever witnessed! He's gonna do it! 

Then it ends and the other guy wins.

After the match the loser vows to "come back some day," maybe when he's in his fifties, and X Arm is an international billion dollar property. This is clearly the sport of the future and you've still got a big part to play in it. I can't wait!

Komment Korner  

this is the dumbest shit ive ever seen.

Most cringe-tastic thing I've ever seen in my life. Thank you, now I'll need a truck or two of mind bleach.

OMG, I am literally blown away, and in another way...offended, at how dumb this is. This is offensively dumb. It's so dumb, that it hurts my feelings.

even if you win, your still a loser

Here I was, thinking chess-boxing was the most idiotic thing mankind could possibly come up with.

...??!!!..Organised BARfights...  Rounds...???.... nice...!!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

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