Friday, June 1, 2018

Tommy Young [Highspots Shoot Interview]
The Good
I've caught a couple shoot interviews with referees, announcers and interviews and they tend to be very good. These people tend to have had multiple roles in companies, have experiences with almost everybody and have this half-outsider perspective that is quite different. Tommy Young might be remembered as the main referee during the glory days of Jim Crockett Promotions (i.e. the NWA of the 80s), but he worked Detroit, the IWA (Eddie Einhorn's group) and WCW. His voice cadence is oddly similar to Lanny Poffo and he is just a good a storyteller, although not as eccentric. I found him to have most of the key qualities you want in the subject of a shoot interview. He was honest and reflective. For example, he found Abdullah the Butcher difficult to ref because of the gimmicks and carelessness in using them, however as a young guy breaking in, Abby took care of him up in Detroit. He shares those thoughts and more often than not has positive things to say about people. He is insightful in that he understands a referee's role and explains it very well, he understands match psychology and he has some good thoughts about how the business has changed. This was so different, it really set it apart from others.
The Bad
Like many people, Tommy Young had his favorites (Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Gene Anderson, etc.) and he puts them over. He also has people he had issues with (Paul Jones, Tommy Rich, Tully Blanchard, etc.) and he tries to be straightforward about those issues without totally burying the person. I imagine some people would find that obnoxious (that has long been the biggest knock on the Dynamite Kid's autobiography) and they would not enjoy this as much. While Tommy does not bury people like others might, he has his own perspective and shares it. Sometimes, he seems a little to nice guy because he does not want to really tear into anyone. Paul Jones, often labelled as an office stooge, seems like that one guy and we get a "no comment" response. I'm sure many people simply don't care for shoot interviews with people who were not "stars" and Tommy Young, although a top referee, was not a top star in pro-wrestling.
The Rating: ****1/2