Snooty Foxx vs Arik Royal
taped 03/10/2018, aired 03/21/2018
Hargraves Community Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
(reviewed 11/27/2018) I remember this old pickup truck my grandpa used to have. Hard body F-150, ‘81 or thereabouts, big block V8 under the hood. Burnt orange paint job. In my head the thing’s pristine but seeing as how it was a fair bit older than I was I reckon some of that orange was just rust by the time I can recall riding around in it. Did that a lot back when. Rode to church in that truck every Sunday for a good ten years. Rode it between the dozens of houses my family lived in back then, sitting in the bed with my hands around a couch or a couple of cabinets or a stack of mattresses. Rode it just to ride, when the man needed an excuse to get out of the house for a while.
I loved my papaw’s truck. Even in my youth it was a relic of a bygone time, when machines were built of tougher stuff. I remember him telling me it was only his second vehicle ever, after the International Harvester A-line he bought the day he turned 18. My prevailing memory of that F-150 is its sturdy steel frame, cool in the shade of the tree my grandpa parked under. Inside the seat was soft and worn, the leather fraying at the ends after years of denim jeans scootching and sliding around. It was a thing of power and protection, both a source of comfort and utility. That truck did whatever needed gettin’ done. It got you through the day.
In an offhand remark on commentary for this street fight, my man Smith Garrett describes a similar pickup as “the heartbeat of America”. That sentiment resounds in me not only in terms of that sort of truck but also in terms of this match. This ain’t the sleekest match around, being that Snooty Foxx remains pretty green and it don’t seem like Arik Royal has had much to motivate him in 2018. They spend the considerable run time of this match stalling or stomping their way through a walk n’ brawl that’s unlikely to blow anyone’s socks off. So much of it doesn’t land quite right and when it does it’s only the simplest punches and slams.
Still, this match gives me so much in the way of heart and grit that I can’t help but overlook these negative qualities. Snooty might look like he’s three weeks out of wrestling school sometimes and Arik ain’t always all that better than him but they both put their weight behind everything they do and I love that. Often sloppiness can detract from a match’s impact but every once in a while it can make it feel all the more ruthless and desperate, as it does here. Occasionally it results in some mean, mean wrestling, especially when these guys are playing with a variety of toys or the environment of the Hargraves Community Center. Whenever it doesn’t the character of these men is instead what shines through, with Snooty being shockingly charismatic despite his quiet demeanor and Arik being the biggest shit-talker in the world. What’s more the good people of Chapel Hill boo and cheer them appropriately, often chasing after these two men as they brawl around the facilities. It might read like such a minor thing on paper but it does wonders for this match to hear people screaming—literally screaming—at Royal when he’s swinging this nasty-lookin’ shovel at their hometown hero.
That’s what I mean by the heartbeat of America. This match don’t have all the newfangled gadgets available. There ain’t no Bluetooth in this thing, no keyless ignition. Hell, it ain’t even all that well put-together. But people are still head over heels about this match because it gives them what they want. It gives them a couple of dickheads to yell at and a big, strong hero to send them packing with their tails between their legs. It gives them what they need to get through the day. Maybe something flashier or more complicated might make them happier, but I listen to this crowd at the end of this match and I’ll be damned if they aren’t the happiest people I’ve heard chanting a man’s name in 2018. Hard not to get lost in that feeling and how it reminds me of loping through the countryside in my papaw’s F-150.