Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Most Powerful Families in Wrestling - Disc 1

1. "Chief" Jay Strongbow and Peter Maivia vs. Ali Baba and Baron Mikel Scicula - 2
2. Curt Hennig vs. Greg Gagne - 3
3. The Bushwhackers vs. The Rougeaus - 4
4. Barry and Kendall Windham vs. Lex Luger and Michael Hayes - 1

The documentary portion of this DVD leaves me a bit discontented. Fellow writer Adam reviewed this set almost a year ago, so occasionally I’m going to reference his analysis, as after looking at it we definitely saw some things differently and I think comparisons can be beneficial when done correctly. Back to my problems with the documentary, when Adam looked at it, he summed it up in one sentence, followed by saying, “What … you’re expecting me to talk more about it? Well, there is really much else left to tell.” I disagree, sir. First, the good news, mainly at topping out at almost two-and-a half hours this is a decent-sized documentary. I have tremendous respect for all of these families and felt obligated to watch each and every second of footage, even though a lot of the documentary seems too familiar, especially if you’ve seen some of the other WWE releases. But, hearing regurgitated stories about The Rock isn’t my biggest complaint. My major concern is there’s one important family completely ignored… the Armstrong’s. Yes, I would have liked to seen the Poffo’s and Jarrett’s honored, mention of The Sheik and Sabu, more than a passing reference to Dustin Rhodes, and Jake Roberts and his father Grizzly Smith shown the proper respect. But ultimately, there’s no excuse for not even mentioning the Armstrong’s, especially when arguably less influential families like the Putski’s get their due, and there’s even a joke segment on “questionable families” like the Moondogs, Holly’s, Smoking Gunns, etc.

There’s not a lot of wrestling on the first disc, but what is featured is mostly entertaining if nothing else. The first match is from WWWF TV, which I’ve always enjoyed, but I’m assuming Adam doesn’t feel the same, or in the least doesn’t respect some of its lesser known featured talent, as his description of wrestler Ali Baba is as follows, “Ali Baba looked like he took a break from sucking camels in the desert to sucking in the ring.” Ouch! Well, Adam’s disrespectful stab aside, I’ll give you my take on Ali, while he’s announced as being from Turkey it’s apparent he resides in a southern trailer park, but as far as his work goes, I’m digging the barefoot look and he busts out one of the nicer nerve pinches I’ve ever seen, plus bumps good to Maivia’s unorthodox uppercuts. Strongbow is all Three Stooges gags in this one, and it’s clear the good guys are in a fun mood, including Maivia’s ukulele performance pre-match. The heels are constantly cheating, Baba with a rope used for choking and Scicluna a foreign object he jabs with, which gets redundant and annoying, especially since they get lazy and don’t even try to hide it from the ref.

Hennig and Gagne is fun to watch, but its clipped, so we only get the last seven minutes or so. Hennig is mostly in control, working over Gagne aggressively, probably taking liberties with the boss’ son. There’s a couple nice strike exchanges, including a decent throwdown outside the ring at one point. The ref gets distracted and Verne leaves his crypt to do a run-in, popping Curt in the face leading to a Gagne victory.

The next match Adam really hated, but I think it’s the best off the first disc. Adam made a few interesting comments on his review, so I’ll refer to a couple, starting with, “I haven’t seen this much stalling since the last time I took a piss in the bathroom at work.” That sounds like a personal problem, dude. All joking aside, I didn’t see the match laid out in a way where what was happening was stalling, or at least it never dragged in that manner, as for a twelve-minute match this told a pretty straightforward story. Next, Adam says, “I never liked the Bushwhackers and I never will. I’m not sure exactly how they’re supposed to entertain me but they’re not.” At first glance, I can almost see where Adam’s going here, but I challenged my preexisting assumptions and checked them at the door when watching this. When I first saw The Bushwhackers, I thought, “oh, there’s The Bushwhackers”, just liked I’d think, oh, that’s just a car, a tree, a dilapidated building, etc. But then I decided, instead of resting on my unclear and disputably accurate past memories, I’d actually watch their work closely for the first time, as during their run I was a child and not at all knowledgeable or even aware of “workrate.” The result? They’re not that bad! Yes, they’re full of shtick, especially when on TV, but this is from an arena show, so they’ve got a little more artistic freedom. Butch’s selling of some kicks to the abdomen were questionable, like he was stepping on bees, but Luke was a million, billion stars here. Hell, ROH should bring back their Pure Title, put that motherfucker on Bushwhacker Luke and run youngsters like Tyler Black, Rhett Titus, and Mitch Franklin at him for the rest of the year. Lastly, Adam adds, “Typical Bushwhackers match which means there is nothing to see.” Again, to counterpoint, I’d argue to give this match a fair shot and take a look at it for yourself—you may just enjoy it.

Lastly is a real quick NWA TV match, it only lasts about two minutes, as it was a set-up for Hayes to turn heel on his partner Luger. Strangely, Adam gave this match a 4, albeit admitting, “To be honest, I can't really remember anything that happened.” Could that be because you didn’t watch it? Tell me you didn’t leave the room to go make some macaroni and cheese and left the DVD on, man? Again, all ribbing aside, this is a throwaway bout, but I can’t hand over, per this project’s title, and can only give it the lowest available score. To watch Luger for only ninety-seconds is still interesting, some wrestlers do a lot with their fingers, indicate pain (Rey Mysterio) or reprimand (Hogan), and Luger’s the same, his fingers flicking like a drug addict before he locks up, but in reality its his eagerness to compete, a very tiny detail that I applaud. I’m not sure yet if I’ll tackle the second disc of this set, but if not, from what’s presented here I’d say you can safely avoid this release without feeling you’ve missed out on too much.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Comment time!!

I really didn't think that the documentary portion was all that great. Yeah, they talked about the Funks and the Harts and so on, but it just seemed pretty simplistic. The Bushwhackers match was just plain dull and that's because I still grimace a bit when I see the Bushwhackers. Every match of theirs I've seen is the same old stalling tactics and basic moves. And no ... I didn't let the disc run while making some mac and cheese.