Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sid x2 [RF Video Shoot Interviews]

The Good
Sid Eudy did a pair of interviews with RF video with a decade between them and so I listened to them back-to-back for a different effect. The first looks at his early days in Memphis through his second (and final) WWF run, so it's about 10 years in 80 minutes. The second looks at his stint in ECW through his WCW run and untimely injury in 2001, so around 3 years in roughly 140 minutes. At both points, he was at a low point in his career, but optimistic about his future. He was very open and honest about the circumstances surrounding the scissorfight with Arn Anderson, his use of steroids, his failing of drug tests and his views on most everyone in the business. Sid is admittedly both peculiar and emotional and he understands that others in the business are similarly odd and get caught up in the business, in understanding that, he seems to be able to keep things into some perspective. He has great confidence in his character and drawing power, so much so that he holds himself above Steve Austin, The Rock, Ric Flair and others. Sid is able to touch at aspects of his psychology, but never as much as I'd like, especially considering how much he proclaims himself a "genius."

The Bad
Sid really pushes himself as having one of the best minds in pro-wrestling. Certainly, he has mind for crafting his character and getting himself over, but he does not reveal his genius here nor in his matches by my account. He uses the example that he created the Colonial Robert Parker (Robert Fuller) character in WCW, which was a wildly entertaining personality as Fuller's Foghorn Leghorn was really good that is fine, although Parker was not exactly a top or money-drawing interview during his time in WCW. Sid also explains that he pushed to bring Harlem Heat in although he wanted to give them a gimmick as former death row inmates whose services Col. Parker won in a bet with the Governor of Louisiana, he also thought the two should use shackles and chains on opponents. Although very outside-the-box, such a racially charged and violent sounding gimmick never got approval with Dusty Rhodes. Sid definitely has some unique ideas, but I'm not sure if he had money-drawing ideas based on those two examples. Sid puts himself over as being the pivotal character in the shift to the "Attitude Era" as he was the first major tweener. Certainly, he was over and was a major tweener, but I couldn't say he was "the man" as there were others around him that did the same thing at about the same time. I'm not going to come out and say, as others have, that Sid seems as high as he is delusional, but I cannot say I entirely buy into opinions of himself and his legacy. Sid says all kinds of wacky things. He puts over ECW because it allowed "spitting" (didn't realize that was so key to his act and that it was so controversial). He puts over Bam Bam Bigelow as the "greatest ring general" that he was ever in with. He puts over Sting as the "greatest pure babyface" of all-time. I cannot say that Sid's thoughts and opinions were useless, but there is a lot of unusual items mixed in there and definitely some unbelievable ones.

The Rating: ****

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Sunny" Tammy Sytch [RF Video Shoot 2006]

The Good
Never one to mince words or hold back on her opinions, Tammy Sytch delivers a stunning performance here as she reflects on the passing of her longtime partner in and out of the ring, Chris Candido, her relationship with Shawn Michaels and her adventures of the Independent circuit. Rob Feinstein clearly has a good relationship with Tammy and, as with others he has a friendship with, he is able to ask questions more directly and has some actual knowledge to share. They spend quite a bit of time talking about Puerto Rico (where RF has gone) and the pro-wrestling scene down there as well as the human depravity that both witnessed. Her deal with wrestlingvixxxens is addressed, which led to her friendship with Missy Hyatt ending (that and apparently Missy smoked crack, which Sytch despised). Her weight issues and health issues are addressed. Her issues with table bumps in XPW, fights over chairs with Low-Ki and all the other indy wackiness are peppered throughout. She goes into some interesting anecdotes about Triple H, Sable… that seem to allude to the fact that those people are not (or were not) very nice people. The real meat here though is two parts. One is the death of Chris Candido. They talk about his run in TNA, his leg breaking, his sudden and shocking death as well as how it and its aftermath effected Tammy. Although you'd expect it to be moving (and it is at times), her anger about his parents' dealings with her, TNA's failure to pay her (and instead sending her a ham!?) and how all of this might have been prevented if his caretakers had filed his discharge papers properly really takes the emotional sting out of this. The other notable part of this is the juicy tidbit of her actual 9-month romance with Shawn Michaels, which has never been put out their before. Her run as the "Kliq Chiq" (if that's the correct spelling) included a honeymoon-like vacation to Jamaica, an invitation to move into Michaels' new multi-million-dollar San Antonio home and the apparent blessing of Vince McMahon. She talks over it quickly and it is shocking because it take the rumors and pushes them to a new level. Her cheating on Chris with the WWF Champion is sudden transformed into her failing in love with and almost becoming the wife of Shawn Michaels! But alas, she worked things out with Chris and they came back together.

The Bad
I remember Tammy Sytch doing an interview on Live Audio Wrestling and seeming kind of nonchalant about Chris Candido's death and I would not go that far here, but one could certainly make a case that she was more angry than mournful. That could be up to your perception of the situation and her reaction, but this certainly is not the response that I expected. Since I've heard her interviews before and many comments about her from peers, I can understand why she could be perceived so negatively. The big question I have however is to the truth of the Shawn Michaels love story. While it seems hard to believe that she would have cooked up this story otherwise, it just seems odd that Kevin Nash, Scott Hall or even Shawn Michaels himself have never corroborated on this story. I suppose in Shawn's case, he was married and a father shortly after, so a fling like this, even though it was with another big star in the industry, just wouldn't be great marriage-building material for a book or a documentary or whatever. He doesn't put the story over, so his buddies don't either. They just reduce Tammy to a sh*t-sandwich-eating
floozy who slept around because, perhaps, she broke their buddy's heart.

The Rating: ****1/4

Sunday, March 6, 2011

WWE 24/7 - Legends of Wrestling - "Heatseekers"

The Good
An early "Legends of Wrestling" sees Jim Ross hosting and panel of Michael Hayes, Mick Foley, Eric Bischoff and Jerry Lawler. The topic is "heatseekers" - folks who stir sh*t in the lockerroom, have heat with almost everyone and yet find success. The discussion is decidedly limited to WWF and Crockett/WCW with the time period being about the mid-80s through the mid-00s. Most of the names are understandable and most of them are people that panelist legitimately had heat with for one reason or another. Mick Foley loves to play good guy here as he likes or sees redeeming qualities in most people mentioned. They talk about people who got big heads due to quick success despite not really liking or being particularly good at pro-wrestling (Lex Luger and Goldberg). They talk about people who rub people the wrong way (Scott Hall & "Buff" Bagwell). As well as people who are obnoxious and slimy (Vince Russo, Ed Ferrera and Paul Heyman). I think most of the names raised were fair and most of the complaints were understandable.

The Bad
I felt okay with panelist, until they went into McMahon defense mode at the end. Yes, many people are bitter about the success of Vince McMahon and the WWF. Yes, many people blew opportunities with the company. Yes, many of those people have drug and alcohol problems. But, Vince McMahon surely made some poor decisions, mistreated some people and did some things that rightly gained him some heat with a great many people. I wished that they had reflected on some of the people of the past who were heatseekers, perhaps in introducing the topic. Buddy Rogers and his clique (Johnny Valentine, Johnny Barend, Magnificent Maurice, etc.) spring to my mind. I think you could come up with a variety of people that all those people worked with whether it's Austin Idol (who Jerry Lawler actually liked…), Mr. Fuji (whose over-the-top ribs were dubbed as cancerous by some) or any number of promoters who were crooked carnival folk (Toots Mondt, Jack Pfefer and other mid-century promoters), bad on pay-offs (Gulas and Jarrett) or nasty in demeanor (Watts, Shire or Ole Anderson). Certainly the scope of this was grossly limited.

The Rating: ***