Saturday, July 20, 2013

"The Patriot" Del Wilkes [One-on-One Shoot Series]

The Good
Japanese promotions brought in anyone who was anyone up through the 1990s, but very few had extended runs and even fewer of those people have done shoot interviews and talked extensively about their experiences in Japan.  Del Wilkes, in this nearly three hour shoot, talks about his career in an engrossing way.  An accomplished collegiate football player who broke in with the Great Moolah and had a few unique chances before hooking up with All Japan, this is a guy who can really pull listeners in.  He was a man with a dream and he worked hard to accomplish that dream.  That is one of the charming aspects of this shoot.  However, Wilkes is honest about the people he liked, disliked and worked with over the years.  Without coming across as bitter, he goes into his thoughts on people like Jeff Jarrett, Eric Bischoff, Bret Hart and Giant Baba and his justifiable issues with those people.  He talks about how Tom Brandi "stole" his Patriot persona and gives some very candid thoughts on the matter, which are among the more noteworthy parts of this.  While some of his anecdotes about WCW, the WWF and other American companies are interesting, the meat of this is his reflections on his time in All Japan.  From the workrate and workers to the hierarchy and cultural differences, Wilkes goes into all of it.  What is unfortunate, to an extent, is there is not a lot of specific questions and there is not much chronology.  Luckily, Wilkes is a good storyteller and does not need much direction, even better, they periodically stop so he can collect his thoughts.  Actual editing in shoot interview?

The Bad
I sometimes listen to interviews and realize that while I enjoy it, others might not.  The Patriot obviously had a more significant career in All Japan than in the States.  If you have little knowledge or interest in 90s All Japan, you might not think much of this.  There is also the issue that hearing about him breaking in through Moolah's camp, starving in Memphis, working as The Trooper in the AWA and becoming The Patriot in Global and some of those might be irrelevant to some folks.  If you were a Monday Night Wars fan, he has a some stuff about his WWF run, but it is limited.  Overall, this is great shoot, but it probably only has interest to a smallish group of hardcore fans.

The Rating: ****1/4

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