Friday, January 28, 2011

Brutus Beefcake [RF Video Shoot Interview]

The Good
The Honky Tonk Man has convinced me to think a little differently about Brutus Beefcake. The man who's often dismissed because of his limitations in the ring and lifelong friendship with Hulk Hogan is no different than a number of other pro-wrestling personalities. No one craps on Arn Anderson as being Ric Flair's "Beefcake" (as HTM put it) because he was a great worker, but the idea is the same. This shoot interview made it quite apparent that although Ed Leslie got his biggest breaks due to his friendship with Hulk Hogan, he worked hard himself for many years on the territories often without Hogan around or with Hogan being a midcarder as well. He was not particularly negative about people and had some unique perspectives to share. I would have liked to here him talk more about Hogan, but in trying to avoid the stigma of being Hogan's lackey, he seems to only say just enough. Many of his thoughts on the success of the WWF, the changes within the business and the declining WCW (which he accurately predicted would be dead in 2 years time) are astonishing for someone who is derided as a hanger-on with no real talent. I really enjoyed this.

The Bad
When you are the best friend of one of pro-wrestling's biggest stars and that person is not a major focal point of the interview, something is wrong. Yes, Brutus Beefcake was his own man. Yes, Brutus Beefcake had a career worth detailing. Yes, Hulk Hogan has done interviews, autobiographies and the like over the years. However, Brutus Beefcake has this first-hand perspective that is totally different than many other people. Hogan is one of the most notorious fabricators when talking about himself, so we need people who were with him to share the true details. Brutus does not do that. He gives a few things, but he does not really give that perspective that I hoped he might. Regardless, I nominate Brutus Beefcake for a Timeline of the WWF by Kayfabe Commentaries, perhaps 1988 or 1989?

The Rating: ***3/4

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wrestling Universe - Virgil

The Good
If you've ever seen the picture of Virgil waiting at an autography session with "WWF Superstar Virgil" above his head and not a soul in sight…this shoot is the audio equivalent of that. If you like shoot interview that are serious, informative and straightforward, you might want to avoid this. Now I do not want to totally mock the accomplishments and career of Mike Jones, but I have to scratch my head at a great number of things he says here. Perhaps I should be writing about these things as negatives, but they made this interview hilarious. Comments like "why are you massaging his feet like a prick?," "I hate the hell out of snakes" and "you ain't jackshit unless you sellout that Garden" are just a few morsels of this buffet of ridiculousness. Jones, who alludes to a past as a collegiate standout at the University of Virginia as well as a past as a Golden Gloves boxer, which probably explains why he did not back down from Dan Severn when the two alleged went at it and it goes on from there. He was, at best, a peripheral talent, who got hooked up with Ted Dibiase, the nWo and such and was able to reach a level of success that he never could have achieved on his pure talents alone. It is interesting (and that is an understatement) to hear him talk about his career, but take everything with a grain of salt.

The Bad
I could easily pull out a few statements that Mike Jones made and quickly refute them. I could easily point out some erroneous facts and figures. I could easily paint Mike Jones as a self-important asshole. But none of those things need to be done by me. The interview does it all simply in listening to it. He makes so many lofty claims that anyone with a little knowledge about his tenure in the WWF could see the BS. There are a number of things he mentions that jump out as false. He dresses the interviewer down on camera for lacking ability and confidence and although he's no Sean Oliver, the Wrestling Universe do a good job by my estimation.

The Rating: ***