Saturday, September 21, 2013

Paul Orndorff [57Talk Shoot Interview]

The Good
Paul Orndorff is a great interview in that he really was great, he really got the shaft and he has really been tragically lost in history. It is not simply bitterness, delusions of grandeur or anything like that, it is all true. That makes you really get into the interview. You know the sad story and it's so different from those of Buddy Landell, Chris Benoit, David Von Erich, Owen Hart and on and on. Orndorff had worked hard and developed into perhaps the most complete package that pro-wrestling had ever seen. That seems to be the narrative that Cubeta is trying to get across that from breaking in down in Florida and developing in Memphis and Alabama to bringing his game to a new level in Mid-South, Georgia and Mid-Atlantic, Paul Orndorff was one of the very best in the world when he came into the WWF. He drew as a top heel opposite Hulk Hogan and was a cut above guys like Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy and the other giants they fed to Hogan. He looked better, worked better and when paired with Piper was undoubtedly a better promo. Then he hurt his neck, worked to keep himself at the top level, but ultimately his body failed him and he was never a top star again (although still a great worker as late as 1994). Cubeta really gets that tragic story across and it makes me think he'd be a wonderful candidate for WWE Documentary.

The Bad
The 57Talk interviews are typically very good, but they are not as open-ended or pessimistically-directed as many of the others. Gary Cubeta wanted to tell Paul Orndorff's story through the man himself. You could say this is too one-tracked, especially for those who like the storytellers who go off in all kinds of directions in the 2-hour plus formats that RF Video, Highspots, SmartMarkVideo, etc. use. You might also feel that this is too favorable to Orndorff as Cubeta certainly strokes his ego throughout this. I've seen his RF Video shoot called "Return to Bitterness," which is very telling of its content. Orndroff certainly can come across as a bitter character if you do not take into account where he was prior to his neck injury. I think some people like to hear the angry tirades of people like Ole Anderson, the Honky Tonk Man, Bruno Sammartino and others and simply dismiss them as bitter old men. This is not that interview.

The Rating: ****1/4