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  Austin Cooper vs. Vasily Volkov

Austin Cooper: 5'9, 170 lbs

An immovable force meets an immovable object; or Coop goes 0-3 against Volkov.

With a handful of muscled glutes, Coop carries Volk for an over-the-knee backbreaker.

The bubble-butted Russian lies prostrate on the mat in a pool of sweat under a flexing Coop.

With a knee to the spine, Cooper cranks Vasily's big arms up with an armbar variation.

Vasily gazes at the ring mat as Cooper preps to put him way with a piledriver.

The Real Power

Vasily Volkov and Austin Cooper are not just swole. They are solid as boulders. Austin proposes they arm-wrestle as a test of strength, convinced his are "the most powerful guns in town." When Vasily wins three out of three tries, Austin is beside himself, charging at Volkov, swearing, "I will kick your ass." Vasily picks him up by the neck and flings him to the mat. Let's repeat that: "by the neck"! Cooper crawls out of the ring with his proverbial tail between his proverbial legs, but fuming mad. Vasily approaches the ropes, and Austin reaches up and pulls the wrestler's head down, choking him against the top rope, dropping to his knees to put his full weight into the unsporting attack.

"That's the real power!" Austin proclaims as the Russian staggers back and falls to the mat: not raw strength, but the power to use one's strength to get the desired result. He gets behind Vasily and chokes him. It's a fast hold, reinforced by Coop's bulging biceps and shoulder muscles. Then with knee planted against Vasily's spine, he wrenches back the big man's arms. Volkov's in pain, but it's hard to tell how much pain because, well, he's Russian. Hidden, controlled anguish is just the way Eastern Europeans roll. So, if Austin wants to submit this guy, he has his work cut out for him. When he tries to get the Russian in a full nelson, the wrestler reaches back and pries Austin's hands apart with no more effort than most people put into opening a jar of maraschino cherries.

Getting Volkov flat on his back and knee-dropping his biceps seems to work. Austin makes his stoic opponent emit a guttural moan. It's not tears, but it's something. Coop throws everything he's got at the guy â?? kicks, punches, stretches, yanks, wrenches. The effort he puts into hurting his opponent is almost heroic in a vile sort of way. Vasily gets his first hope spot only about midway through the match, itself a testimonial to Austin Cooper's ring know-how. But Volkov catches the American off guard and uses his big muscle to knock Austin down a peg or two. But when his head drops a little too close to Austin's legs, a head scissors appears all but inevitable.

Truth be told, some guys just can't be submitted. You can pin them. You can knock them out. You can beat them on a technicality. Or they beat you. But no matter how much hurt you pile on them, they just won't give. Whether Volkov is one of those guys is impossible to predict, but if Coop was the type to do his homework, he might have at least checked in with Damien Rush, another strongman, whose earlier match against Volkov was voted one of the year's best. Like Cooper, Rush threw everything he had at the guy, and the Russian seemed to take it all in stride, despite the pains inflicted one right after the other. If "real power" is defined by its results, perhaps Vasily holds the key to it through his almost super-human resilience. At BG East almost anything can happen in the final minutes. We all know Cooper is capable of amazing feats. He's been a babyface. He's been a heel. He's fought in nearly every type of match in more places than probably even he can remember. But can he make the big Russian submit? Or can he survive the Russian's unleashed fury? And if so, how?

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Austin Cooper vs. Vasily Volkov
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Ringwars 31 Arena Galleries

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Cooper loads his shoulders up with the carcass of the broken Russian as he does squats.

Vasily writhes and rolls on the mats, holding his back in pain as Coop admires his handiwork.

Austin's broken body droops beaten across Vasily's shoulders as he's carried around the ring.

Cooper looks to cut the big Russian down to size with a turnbuckle-bound boot choke.

Coop uses the ropes for leverage as he works Volkov's skull with a headscissors.

The boulder-like shoulders of a flattened Volkov are stretched and twisted torturously.

Vasily Volkov: 6'1, 200 lbs

The big, bad Russian wrestler throws up an impressive flex for his storied opponent.

Cooper takes the big Russian giant into a neck-cranking ab stretch submission hold.

Cooper's powerful biceps suck the fight (and the breath) out of the big stud with a rear choke.

Vasily uses Cooper to display his brand of foreign power with a suspended choke.

Volkov wants to proves he has what it takes, as he flexes after submitting the Coop.

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