Friday, February 8, 2013

The Great Debate `08 - Bruno Sammartino vs. Harley Race [KayFabe Commentaries]

The Good
Two huge stars from the 1970s, Bruno favors the 1960s a little and Harley worked well into the late 1980s, but regardless, two true legends. I think if you like listening to either of these two you'll find this enjoyable. Bruno Sammartino had such an amazing career and he is as opinionated as he is experienced. Harley's career perhaps had more variety and scope to it and while he has his views, he's not really abrasive. Since this was billed as a "debate," I expected questions that would put them on opposite sides of a topic. Largely they saw eye-to-eye, so there was little disagreement between them. So, this turned into a tandem shoot of sorts. If you accept that reality, then you can probably see this as a very good one. Sean Oliver is excellent at organizing questions and making things flow well and these two have so much mutual respect that it makes for good back-and-forth. The structure and specific questions made this a little different and I'd certainly recommend a one time listen.

The Bad
If you wanted a heated argument about the supremacy of the NWA versus the WWWF, why a champion should be a heel versus a face or what makes a good promoter, you won't get it. Bruno and Harley are largely in agreement on the issues raised and other than a few slight differences of opinion (that are usually played down as being relative to a region). Those agreements aside, these two are very respectful of one another and seem unwilling to even try to steal the spotlight here. While the Great Debate concept is a neat one, it simply did not happen here. This needed to be like Jim Cornette and Vince Russo, Jerry Lawler and the Honky Tonk Man or Billy Jack Haynes and a sane person to have a real debate. A nice shoot, but not an out-of-the-park-homerun.

The Rating: ***3/4