Friday, March 29, 2013

Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen

Director: Kevin Dunn
Distributor: WWE Home Video
Released: 4/07

Featured Talent
Arn Anderson, Steve Austin, Chris Benoit, Eric Bischoff, Tully Blanchard, J.J. Dillon, Paul Ellering, Ric Flair, Michael Hayes, Jerry Lawler, Theodore Long, Dean Malenko, Shawn Michels, Gene Okerland, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Roma, Jim Ross, Ricky Steamboat, Triple H, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham

The Good
When you look at the original Four Horsemen stable (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard and J.J. Dillon) you see five of the best promos in pro-wrestling and this pair of DVD is packed with top notch promos. I remember Meltzer discribing his mixed feelings about this release because it is an age of promos that will seemingly never return and how sad that is because that is such a magical part of pro-wrestling. Past that bittersweet realization, this documentary is one of the better WWE products that tells its story in a frank way that is not overly romanticized. They were a groundbreaking stable and this documentary captures their accomplishments, their legacy as well as their inability to recapture their fame in the 1990s. I felt the discussion of the personality conflicts really took this to another level. Flair was unafraid of ripping on a number of people, which made for some interesting parts. The discussion of Paul Roma though takes the cake in that department though. The explaination of several key events: the sale of WCW from Crockett to Turner, the feud between Flair and Eric Bischoff and the decline of Tully Blanchard's career were all well done.

The Bad
The biggest problem with WWE's documentaries is typically their skewing of history, where events and personalities are either romanticized or buried. Often people turn down projects or are left out projects and find themselves on the bad end of WWE's version of pro-wrestling history. Ole Anderson turned them down and he was marginalized, Sid turned them down and was buried and a number of key people were not included. Sting is obviously part of a rival company, Lex Luger has been blackballed and a number of others were simply left out and that always deters from the quality of the story. Arn Anderson kayfabed a bit and the story of the double-stabbing between he and Sid was at least mentioned, but definitely its impact was not discussed. This has several issues, but on the whole is a fair documentary as far as the WWE products go.

The Extras
The interviews and discussion of interviews is a real gem on these two discs. There are seven matches and a couple are excellent, but they are not the selection many people may have selected. There are bits and pieces after 1988, which are good in and of themselves, but the focus was really placed on the correct time period.

The Rating: ****