Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wrestling Gold Collection
Director: n/a
Distributor: Kit Parker Films
Released: ?/01
Featured Talent
Jim Cornette & Dave Meltzer

The Good
This five disc collection features approximately sixty matches from various territories with material that is predominately from the 1980s. There are matches from Memphis, Detroit, San Antonio and several companies. Without the commentary a lot of this action would be boring, however the insight from Cornette and Meltzer make this material more meaningful. Rather than calling the matches in kayfabe (which Cornette could do brilliantly), they use the matches as talking points as two of pro-wrestling's greatest minds explain the history and psychology of the sport. Cornette's humor and personality adds greatly as Meltzer is a journalist, not an entertainer. I purchased these tapes at a good price and really enjoy their content. Although you can turn off the commentary, most of the announcers (except for Lance Russell) add little to the quality of the matches. There really are some gems in here: Randy Savage, Jerry Lawler, Bobby Heenan, Rock-N-Roll Express and the Dynamic Duo (Gino Hernandez & Tully Blanchard) are all in their primes. There are also appearances by stars like Shawn Michaels, The Road Warriors, Rick Rude, Magnum TA and the Von Erichs before their primes. Finally, there is a long list of legends featured: The Sheik, Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel, Dick the Bruiser, The Crusher, Bruno Sammartino, Ernie Ladd, Bruiser Brody and the Funks, amongst others. This is a nice hodge-podge of pro-wrestling.

The Bad
Due to the WWE owning the rights to most major pro-wrestling company's libraries, there was limited footage from which to pull matches. Furthermore, many matches were clearly chosen for the names involved, rather than the quality of the action. If you have never seen the likes of Bob Sweetan, Ox Baker, Tiger Jeet Singh and Ivan Putski - this is a chance to see them (like it or not!). There are plenty of ugly-looking moves, matches and men, but there is enough humor and quality to keep Wrestling Gold from being Wrestling Garbage.

The Rating: ****

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Godfather (RF Video Shoot Interview) 

The Good
Someone who has worked off and on for the WWF/WWE for over a decade has to have some great perspective to share and Charles Wright certainly has that to share.  The biker bartender turned pro-wrestler, quickly found success in the business and was able to get several big pushes over the years despite a lack of great talent.  He admits to those limitations as well as never having taken pro-wrestling too seriously.  The Godfather character certainly reveals that fact.  "Big Silly" as he was nicknamed by some of his peers, enjoyed himself and viewed pro-wrestling more like the circus than like a sport.  This was a relaxed shoot that had a few funny moments, a few interesting comments and some opinions only The Godfather could have.  

The Bad
People who were not lifelong fans who were serious about the sport, their craft and their persona can sometimes be enjoyable shoots.  They don't put themselves over too much, they don't bury others and don't seem to bitter.  The downside is there usually is not much depth to their commentary.  The career of wacky gimmicks, unbelievable personalities and all the rest of it seems to get a tad mixed up in this.  RF's timelines, attention to detail and ability to conduct a "good" interview are all aspects in making this just another mediocre RF Video shoot.  Clearly the man himself was not the best interviewee, but he was alright and could probably deliver a much better interview with a better interviewer.

The Rating: ***1/2