HOT TAG #2, $3, 5½” x 8½”, 24 pgs.

This issue of Dan Nelson’s wrestling zine covers his ill-fated attempt to make the leap from wrestling fan to aspiring pro wrestler. The succinct version of the story is that Nelson’s attempt to prove himself to pro wrestler and coach DJ Hyde at the CZW Wrestling Academy results in a hospital stay for rhabdomyolysis, a.k.a. working out so hardcore that you start shutting down your kidneys with broken-down muscle tissue. That’s a condition I did not even know existed, and am somewhat disappointed to have never been informed about by workout shirts with super-competitive, bro- slogans in all my trips to the gym (perhaps “Push it to the RHAB-zone” would be a good one?). Luckily, Nelson came out of the ordeal okay physically and only slightly worse for the wear financially due to his luck at having health insurance. Still, the experience leaves him pondering how he ends up repeating cycles of over-exertion and comfortable stagnation without ever seeming to quite hit the golden balance, especially in the face of realizing that as a man in his thirties, he may quickly be aging out of his chance to get in the ring as something more than a fan. As someone who likes working out, but always feels a little put to shame by all the ultra-athletic muscle-gods in the crossfit videos who sneak into to my Facebook feed with alarming regularity nowadays, I can quite appreciate the struggle Nelson talks about with figuring out how to keep persistently motivated in a way that doesn’t burn one out in an initial fury of big intentions. –Adrian Salas (Dan Nelson, hottag.bigcartel.com, [email protected])