Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nick Bockwinkel [RF Video Shoot Interview]

The Good
One of the best on the microphone, Nick Bockwinkel's trademark cadence and use of "50 and 75 cent words" plays so well in a format of this nature. While he's teased as being too long-winded, in this arena, that is what you often want. Despite his age, Bockwinkel is sharp as a tack and his memory and ability to work a story as good as he could work a match. Some of his stories are rehashed, some of his opinions are brought up again and some of his credentials are reexamined, but he manages to keep it fresh. Tales of Yukon Eric, thoughts on Verne Gagne, insight into how the WWF expansion differed from the AWA's show some of the variety that this interview brings out. The randomness of questions in RF Video shoots that drives me crazy provides some neat little bits of information that might not have been brought out otherwise.

The Bad
Compared to many other interviews that Nick Bockwinkel has done, this one was extremely disorganized. Other than the beginning and end concentrating on the beginning and end of his his career, this was all over the place. Smart Mark Video did such a stellar interview with him a few years back that anything else seems like it could not help but fall short.

The Rating: ****1/4

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CM Punk [RF Video Shoot Interview]

The Good
This is not CM Punk, WWE super-heel. This is not CM Punk, emerging top babyface. This isn't even CM Punk, ECW, OVW or even ROH top dog. This is CM Punk shortly after his program with Raven in Ring of Honor. What this shoot interview lacks in 2004-to-now commentary, it almost makes up for in depth leading up to that time period. They explore how he broke in, how he worked his way up the ladder on the independents, how he tried to break into that next level and how the feud with Raven made him something special. If you've never heard much Punker before or especially if you never read his Livejournal (, you have no idea how hilarious and entertaining this guy can be. While he only had been working a handful of years and only at meaningful level for a couple years, CM Punk is able to squeeze so many stories out into a really enjoyable shoot. The anecdotes of being on the road with Colt Cabana, his dead-on Raven impression, his wacky Zero-One experiences and his traumatic skull fracture all stand out in a real excellent shoot with an indy talent. I personally have been following him since his early IWA Mid-South days and as a "former" Straight Edger myself, I instantly found him to be a standout personality, talent and someone whose rise to the top of the WWE was amazing to watch. This was a really delightful shoot.

The Bad
The obvious criticism here is "why interview an indy guy before he's really 'made it?'" CM Punk was actually riding high following his series with Raven in ROH that was something that promotion had never quite done before. It seems funny that within 5 years, he would have reached the peak of his success in ROH and become a champion of the WWE's ECW and Raw brands! Obviously, a CM Punk shoot five years later would be decidedly more interesting and controversial, but this is good for what it is. If you enjoy the man and his humor, I can guarantee you will dig this. If you think he's an overrated blowhard with a huge ego, then you'll probably see all that shining through here.

The Rating: ****