Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mike Modest [Wrestle Warehouse Shoot Interview]

The Good
Mike Modest had a very unusual career and it is amazing that it has all accumulated into the possibility of doing an interview like this. He broke in working indies and doing jobs, so there are some good anecdotes there. He became very involved with Roland Alexander's APW and since this is conducted by someone who knows that product they spend a fair amount of time going over the roster there. He has interesting thoughts on the company, Roland and its fall of sorts in the early 2000s. Modest had a key role in the Barry Blaustein documentary "Beyond the Mat" and while I've heard Mick Foley, Terry Funk and Jake Roberts talk about it with varying opinions, Mike Modest perspective is even more interesting and he has some stories to share about how that film was crafted. He also had a part in the infamous NBC Kayfabe-breaking exposé - "Exposed: Pro-Wrestling's Greatest Secrets." He reveals how he was tricked into going, blackmailed into staying and finally felt fine with doing it. Again, he gets into the nitty-gritty about how this was put together and shares a different viewpoint. He talks some about road trips and some crazy experiences he's had, but the highlight of this is his rant about NOAH. I had heard him on WOL while he was under contract, but he never shot on the company and culture. Modest explains how he was treated poorly as a gaijin, how Japanese business culture is impossible to deal with unless the Japanese half is reasonable, how NOAH's inability to get over gaijin has killed their business and other thoughts that I've never heard. They all seem logical to me, having traveled to Japan and worked with Japanese businessmen. Since there are few shoots that talk about Japanese pro-wrestling extensively and even fewer that have much critical to say, I think the inclusion of those details here sets this shoot interview apart from many I've heard with "independent wrestlers."

The Bad
I've said this many times, but a big turn-off for some with a shoot interview is if they don't really know the individual being interviewed. Mike Modest's roles in "Beyond the Mat" and "Exposed" might not be enough to entice the average fan. Certainly his years as a jobber, time in APW and run in NOAH would probably not interest that many people. Although he is a funny guy and has had some unique experiences in the business, his limited success hinders this shoot in terms of its scope. He does not seem as bitter as some, but clearly his best years are past him and he never "made it," which anyone of his ability would be upset about. I found this to be very good, but I think many people would see this as just a lengthy interview with a nobody.

The Rating: ****

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