Saturday, October 23, 2010

Triple H: King of Kings - There is Only One

Distributor: WWE Home Video
Release Date: 3/08

The Good
It seems like this familiar “best of” series is going to continue after the successes of DVD sets by Ric Flair, The Undertaker and Steve Austin. Instead of putting together a time-consuming documentary, a handful of excellent matches can be paired up with an interview or two by the featured superstar to produce something that can sell. Triple H talks about his career, highlighted by explaining his relationship with Shawn Michaels, the success of Evolution and Batista and lastly his rivalry with John Cena and Edge.

The Bad
Triple H, complete with his lame leather jacket, is the only one talking here and that provides a perspective that is not without baggage. Much of Triple H's career is filled with great angles and great matches, but it is not perfect. Although Evolution was mostly successful with getting Batista over, the same angle done with Randy Orton earlier was rushed and unsuccessful. Triple H talks about putting Batista over for months, which seems like his way of saying how generous he is. Next is his feud with Ric Flair, which was not as great as Triple H would make it seem like. There is also the discussion whether or not Triple H is past his prime and whether or not he will pass the torch gracefully.

The Rating: ***

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bill DeMott [RF Video Shoot Interview]

The Good
Bill DeMott had an unusual career as a long-time overseas foreigner turned WCW midcarder who worked his way up that ladder, failed to do so in the WWF, but found a niche as a trainer. His journey is a great little story in a way. I found his reflections on working Puerto Rico and Japan to be interesting as they were largely positive, despite the infamy associated with both (in Japan, he worked for the tiny, short-lived W*ings garbage group). He was pretty matter of fact about his less-than-stellar years as Hugh Morrus is WCW. Although he achieved remarkable success later on, DeMott's rollercoaster career seems to largely be on the mid-level of the card. When he eventually gets to the Invasion angle, he grows more upset. While he seems to understand and is able to explain the shortcomings of the feud, he clearly lost a chance to get a good slot in the WWF. Instead, his career pattered off and ended. Then came Tough Enough 3. Bill DeMott is clearly passionate about working with youngsters, developing talent and creating a learning environment for aspiring WWF/WWE superstars. As a key trainer in Deep South Wrestling, WWE's short-lived secondary development territory, DeMott was able to help people like The Miz, MVP and a handful of other young talent that are climbing the WWE ladder now. He still seems embittered by the sudden closing of DSW and wants to be involved in the business, but has few options now.

The Bad
When I original got my hands on this, I thought it was the Highspots shoot that looked like (according to the trailer) the raging promo of a bitter cast-off. It was not that. Although, that Highspots shoot wasn't necessarily that either. Bill DeMott is clearly angry, or at the least disappointed, in a number of people. He seems frustrated that as he was peaking in WCW, he was dealt a tough hand with the company dying and his role did not work out in the WWF. Bill DeMott seems at peace with some of the unfortunate events of his career and even admits that he was a bit over-the-top in the aforementioned shoot interview. While those bitter and angry shoot interviews are not always the most palpable, they can be pretty bland if you expect that and do not get it.

The Rating: ***1/4

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pat Tanaka [SmartMarkVideo Shoot Interview]

The Good
Sometimes you just get the feeling that shoot interview is going to be excellent with no real reason. Pat Tanaka had a somewhat uneventful career and I had no real reason to believe that he'd have some keen insight or hilarious road stories because I'd never heard him in a shoot or really mentioned for that matter. However, he did tour around a lot, he was the son of the legendary Duke Keomuka, he broke in over in New Japan and he and partner Paul Diamond were pretty successful for a time as Badd Company. What I did not expect was that Pat Tanaka was almost a carbon copy of his one-time best friend Marty Jannetty. He was a hellion who was more into wine, women and song than working out, developing mic skills or trying to get over with the office. Pat Tanaka was by his own admission, a "f**k up." He was the son of a legend, the nephew of a legend and in one of the hottest territories in the world, but screwed around too much to gain much from those advantages. He was a fun-loving guy who spent much of his time in Japan getting in trouble for excessive partying. He was a big ribber who tried to stay even with Curt Hennig and the Nasty Boys. He was a small guy in a big man's business, who was a great natural worker, but let poor choices stop him again and again. This was an excellent look into Tanaka's career and he seemed frank about himself and loved to put people over. Although brief, his recollections of his time in Japan are priceless. Obviously, there are not many gaijin who got as entrenched as he did with the native talent, so getting some perspective on them is unique. I found this to be a really positive and interesting shoot interview and it did not disappoint me.

The Bad
How many "what a fantastic guy," "he was a great worker" and "no comments" can you sit through. Although this did not reach Jimmy Snuka levels of vagueness, Tanaka certainly spent plenty of time dishing out these generic statements. The "no comment" crew was obviously intriguing: Scott Hall, Tojo Yamamoto and a few others. Obviously, the juicy details behind those were such that he just did not want to share them. This was not free of burials though. He knocked Konnan as a "nobody," Shinya Hashimoto as a "piece of sh*t" who took dangerous liberties in the ring and even his partner Paul Diamond as an endless complainer who enjoyed making moves on other guy's girlfriends/wives/etc. If Tanaka would go on about those people and not others, you have to wonder what the story is behind his "no comment" statements. The biggest question mark in this is the almost complete absence of discussing his Orient Express run in the WWF. He talks about getting the call, teaming with Akio Sato (mostly beforehand) and his departure (due to Diamond stabbing him in the back), but that is about it. No Mr. Fuji, no Rockers feud, no Sato being replaced by Kato (Diamond), it was just missing here.

The Rating: ****