Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Skandor Akbar [RF Video Shoot Interview]

The Good
Sometimes these old-timers have had such full careers that when they have the opportunity to reflect upon them, they can be much more fascinating and multi-dimensional than you might original think. Skandor Akbar is just such a person. He is so closely identified with the glory days of World Class (which is a debatable point because he came in after Gary Hart's booking run) that he's become known as World Class survivor who is well-spoken and legitimate. Skandor Akbar's time in World Class is realistically one of a series of great runs as a manager and he had time in various promotions as a wrestler and a booker that is just as noteworthy. If you enjoyed his appearances in the two World Class documentaries, you'll dig this. He covers Tri-State in the years before Bill Watts, Australia in its glory years, Tennessee, Atlanta and many others from the 1960s and 1970s that are often left unexplored by the shoot interview world. Skandor has a laid back approach and he's very enjoyable to listen to without being particularly venomous. Past the historical career, Skandor Akbar became a key figure in the early careers of Steve Austin, The Undertaker and JBL/Bradshaw and has run a training camp for years, so he has a respectable perspective on the modern sport of pro-wrestling.

The Bad
Sometimes it seems like shoot interviews are really great, but they are just missing that something special. Skandor Akbar led a fascinating career and he is a great storyteller, but this interview was just not on the same entertainment level that I would have hoped. He is perhaps a little too low-key and little too affable to get over like a Honky Tonk Man or even a Ricky Morton, but for many I'm sure they'd thoroughly enjoy this.

The Rating: ****1/2

Monday, June 21, 2010

Inside the Office - Rene Goulet

The Good
There are only a handful of people who have worked in the capacity that Rene Goulet has in the WWF and few of them have had extensive shoot interviews. Many of the company's more recent road agents have only had short runs, little authority or limited varieties of experience. Goulet had a strong run with the Fed from the mid-80s until the mid-90s and has great experiences to draw upon. The main focus seems to be on running things during house shows, reporting back to the office and gauging good shows from bad ones. This has a lot of inside info that you may never hear otherwise.

The Bad
For the uniqueness and longevity, I expected so much more here. Sean Oliver is great at pulling a quality interview out of almost anyone, but this just did not click for some reason. Goulet hinted at some things and seemed fairly honest, but was unwilling to say anything too juicy, controversial or of great interest really. This had a few good stories and some worthwhile information, but was pretty dull and that probably explains why it clocked in at under two hours.

The Rating: **3/4