Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adrian Street [57Talk Shoot Interview]

The Good
I am fascinated by British wrestling and unfortunately there is not a lot of media coverage (that I've seen) given to those men who were such big stars years ago. Adrian Street was probably the amongst the hottest acts in Britain that became a hot act in the States, whereas many like Billy Robinson, Tony Charles, Al Hayes and such found mixed results. He, however, had this totally different life in the US while in his forties and kind of established himself in a way few others have been able to. Not one to downplay his legacy, Adrian Street explains how rough things were when he broke in, he spends a lot of time talking about Wigan's Snake Pit (which he did not attend) and just how accomplished he became during his time in Europe. In fact, his unpublished autobiography is 600 pages of just his life before coming to the US in the late 1970s. He admittedly blows his own horn and I came away knowing much more about this downplayed gimmick wrestler from the 1980s. Gary Cubeta does not have great knowledge of Adrian's career and practically none of his pre-US tenure, but he is able to get the ball rolling and how it rolls!

The Bad
Although this was excellent, 80 minutes was just not long enough. Adrian Street's career realistically spanned 30 years, but he's been active since his final run in Continental. Gary Cubeta mainly focuses on his years in the US and the development of his "Exotic" character, but Adrian clearly has much, much more to offer. They talk about the standard things, what it was like here, what was it like to work so-and-so and general reflections on Adrian's career. This was great, but it seemed to only be a scratching of the surface. Adrian Street is a braggart, no question about it. I've never thought he was a great draw, but to hear him, you'd think he was the great thing around. I tend to believe his act was a bit of a hotshot act that worked to pop houses, but he never had very long runs anywhere. I certainly rethought his contributions to pro-wrestling, but I still question just how huge he was.

The Rating: ****

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2 Cold Scorpio [Straight Shootin' Shoot Interview]

The Good
A shockingly great shoot interview that has all the honesty, humor and dirt that many people want without the bitter rage, mental instability and delusions of grandeur that you don't want. Whether you liked him and his work or not, 2 Cold Scorpio was something special. He was perhaps premier highflyer in the States throughout the 1990s (I think Rey Mysterio or Juventud Guerrera would be the only two who could touch him) and was almost ahead of his time to the point that maybe it was detrimental. Scorpio also was able to get into the New Japan Dojo alongside Chris Benoit and many of the greats of the future, so he could work. The other upside of his extensive Japanese experience, is his ability to share his perspectives as he worked not only for New Japan, but later All Japan and NOAH with varying levels of success. His opinions on those companies, the politics, the talent and everything else is hard to come by in shoot interviews. Scorpio has so much personality and I don't think that ever fully came out. He has a million little turn-of-phrase comments, he has hilarious gaffes (Ricky "The Steamboat" Dragon is something out of the Iron Sheik's lexicon) and his wacky vocabulary (he frequently mentions having "hellified" matches). What I found particularly strange was his personalized messages to everyone from Arn Anderson and Missy Hyatt to Tommy Dreamer and Mr. Hughes, where he would address them directly in a jovial manner and close it with a "peace out." I don't know that I've ever seen that in a shoot before. Scorpio was very upfront about his chronic use of, well, chronic as he constantly referred to himself as "Big Smoke" and went into a hilarious tirade about the rampant drug use in ECW. He also talked about his crack-cocaine problems that probably ruined his WWF run. Scorpio also talks about his infidelities on the road, but didn't name any names and was pretty matter-of-fact about that part of the business. As for the juiciest parts, everybody loves to hear fight stories and burials of people and 2 Cold Scorpio delivers on both. He goes into detail about his altercations with Road Warrior Hawk and Mr. Hughes, which are pretty wild, but it is his detailed description of the scissorfight between Arn Anderson and Sid Vicious that is beyond belief. He talks about people like his former partner Marcus Alexander Bagwell and why their team did not quite reach their full potential, he talks about having heat with Brian Pillman, Sting, Shawn Michaels and his long-time friendship with Vader (who got him into every company he worked except ECW). This is an awesome shoot that delivers most everything you could want.

The Bad
I cannot see that anyone would have really high expectations going into this shoot and be grossly disappointed. Although he had his strengths, 2 Cold Scorpio was not known for being a charismatic talker. He did have his moments, his departure from ECW being a highlight, but Scorpio mainly let his work and his dancing tell the tale. I can imagine some people would see Scorpio as a never-was, who had a few shots, but never lived up to his potential. I can imagine some people would want him to talk more in-depth about Japan and his experiences over there. I'm sure others would have other parts of his career that they would prefer to hear much more about, but there seemed to be a decent balance here. While I really liked and would highly recommend this, it does not quite stack up to the best shoots with people like Bill Watts, Jim Cornette, Gary Hart and so on.

The Rating: ****1/2