Monday, September 22, 2008

The Life and Times of Mr. Perfect DVD

Well, the documentary is certainly not Perfect. It clocks in at just over an 1:10 and fails to touch on some major feuds like Larry Zbyszko, Hulk Hogan, and barely even mentions the West Texas Rednecks. They spend a lot of time covering his AWA run and how he was a prankster out of the ring. His Intercontinental title run is glossed over with generic comments like “he made that title” or “the best champion ever”. It seemed like a lot of time was also spent talking about the making of the original “Mr. Perfect” vingettes. It’s not to say that is was a bad documentary, it just lacked some meat. However, unlike most other DVDs, they kept the comments confined to people who actually had connections to Hennig like his dad, his widow, his son, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Bret Hart, Nick Bockwinkle, and Greg Gagne among others. Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter, the matches.

1) Curt Hennig vs. Eddie Gilbert (MSG – 11/21/82) – 4
2) Curt Hennig & Scott Hall vs. Jimmy Garvin & Steve Regal (AWA – 11/26/85) – 5
3) Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkle (AWA – 11/15/86) - 8
4) Curt Hennig vs. Terry Taylor (WWF Wrestlefest – 7/31/88) - 4
5) Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart (MSG – 4/24/89) - 5
6) Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan (MSG – 1/15/90) - 5
7) Mr. Perfect vs. Kerry Von Erich (Special ref: Roddy Piper) (MSG – 11/24/90) - 5
8) Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart (SummerSlam 91) - 7
9) Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels (SummerSlam 93) - 6
10) Curt Hennig vs. Bret Hart (Uncensored 98) - 5

The first bout showed Curt’s potential but he wasn’t really as polished as he would be years later. It was pure early-80s WWF as the match was more mat based without all the bells and whistles that would happen down the road. Hennig executed a nasty superplex on Gilbert and had a nice sequence right at the end and then the time expired. A solid undercard bout for the time. The tag team was fast paced and loads of fun. The heel team of Garvin and Regal worked the stalling tactic right out of the gate and had their valet Precious spray the ring with some Febreeze of some sort before the first lock-up took place. Hennig worked most of the match with Hall coming in when needed to let loose an array of power moves. Hennig got trapped as the heels took control for the remainder of the match up until the finish. Garvin accidentally sprayed Regal with the aforementioned Febreeze allowing Hennig and Hall to get the win.

Hennig and Bockwinkle was absolutely outstanding. They went to a one-hour draw in one of the finest displays of wrestling I’ve ever seen. The first half was basically mat wrestling. Bockwinkle controlled first after starting hot with a dropkick to the back of Hennig’s head. He worked over Hennig using mainly headlocks. After ten minutes, Hennig gained the advantage and began to work over Bockwinkle’s left shoulder using armbars and hammerlocks. Hennig turned up the pace after Bockwinkle went shoulder first into the post by using short-arm scissors and hard armbar. Bockwinkle managed to regain by reversing into an ankle lock submission and working over the left knee for a good ten minutes, while still selling the arm that Hennig worked over. After thirty minutes, they turned up the pace a bit by doing some stand up exchanges. Hennig threw some hard chops, including one that made me cringe, as the last quarter of the match began. Near the fifty minute mark, Hennig was busted open after going head first into the ringpost. Hennig held a figure-four for the last 90 seconds and then the bell rang. Truly a fantastic match that I was toying with giving a “9” to but in the end, it came out as an “8” which is still a very high mark with a definite recommendation to check out.

The commentary on the match with Terry Taylor pissed me off something awful. Cole and Foley kept rambling on about stuff that had nothing to with the match and I found it very distracting. The actual match wasn’t too special as the crowd wasn’t into it at all. Taylor did break out a neat backslide but Hennig scored the win after about six minutes with a stiff forearm. The MSG match with Hart was full of stalling that Hennig was either doing himself or setting up by rolling Hart our of the ring constantly Hart slapped on some nice armbars and a pretty sick hammerlock slam towards the end of the bout after Hennig nailed the ringpost. The selling for Hogan was nuts. Perfect was bouncing around like the little rubber balls you get for a quarter out of the vending machine. Hogan brawled some with the Genius, who was Perfect’s manager, went back to Perfect, and then brawled some more with both of them. The match was pretty wild, as you would expect from a Hogan match of this era, and it was pretty fun too.

Piper really took the enjoyment out of the Von Erich match. It seemed like he got in the way of the action a lot and emplored some questionable tactics that seemed to assist Kerry. The finish was odd, too. Perfect clearly had the pin and it seemed as if he had won the title until they did a bullshit thing where Piper declared Kerry the winner and the announcers had to cover by saying that Kerry’s “shoulder was up”. Afterwards, Perfect and Piper had a pretty heated brawl. I’ve seen the SummerSlam ’91 match so many times I should know it move for move, but I don’t. The pace was brisk, like one of those cheap Lipton teas in the vending machines, and Perfect was bouncing from pillar to post again. That’s one thing I have noticed, Perfect was exceptional at selling even the simplest of offensive moves, be it an elbow from Bret or a clothesline from Hogan. Also, Perfect worked the match with a really bad back but didn’t show it. Hart slapped on a back-wrenching Sharpshooter to win the title in a fantastic and timeless match.

The final two bouts were pretty disappointing. Perfect and Michaels worked a good pace but it ultimately only came out to be a twelve minute match. They did botch a spot in the beginning but it didn’t really have an effect on the match as a whole. The finish was Diesel pulling Perfect off a pin and nailing him on the outside. Michaels followed suit and smacked Perfect with a superkick and crawled back to get the win by count out. The fans hated the finish and I did too. Had the match gone longer and had a finish with a pin or submission, I would’ve scored it higher. The Bret match from WCW was pretty sad. Rude was working interference and they tried to keep a good pace but it just came off flat. They also tried a few spots from their SummerSlam ’91 match but those didn’t work either. Hart got the win again and Rude nailed him with an ultra-hard clothesline and a sickening Rude Awakening while assisting in the post match beat-down.

Overall, this was a fun, but not perfect, DVD for Mr. Perfect. The MSG matches, while rare, didn’t really add anything but filler it seemed. I would’ve preferred more pay-per-view or TV matches. The AWA stuff was fun, especially the 60-minute draw with Bockwinkle. All in all, this is a good DVD that gives a basic chronicle or the man known as Mr. Perfect.


Brian said...

nobody gives the Gilbert match enough love.. - Gorilla was great on commentary, calling both guys "crackerjacks" several times..

Brian said...

i liked the Uncensored '98 match more than you, too.. - it did move at a slower pace, but, i thought was effective in doing so.. - again, you can't put it up beside their earlier, top-shelf stuff.. but on its own i thought it was a pretty good story-based match which was rare for WCW at that time..