Well, Steve, it's another rainy weekend here on the Island. Been watching some wrestling disks. I used to be a huge wrestling fan back in the day. I started watching back when I was in college, and watched for about twenty years before I started to lose interest - in the new product, at least. One of the few good things that came out of Vince McMahon running WCW and ECW out of business and buying up their tape libraries was that the possibility arose for the WWE to release compilations of lots of great old stuff that could include matches from several different phases of wrestling history, even when they had originally been broadcast under the aegises of several different companies.
One I've gotten a look at was The Rise and Fall of WCW. As with many of these compilations, the set includes a documentary with input from as many of the folks who were there as possible, with a collection of matches from the era or individual in question and maybe some other extras - interviews, videos and so on.So far, I've watched the documentary - I haven't had a chance to look at the matches yet.
The documentary is interesting - there's input from Jim Crockett, Jr., Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, David Crockett, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, Magnum T.A., Road Warrior Animal, Michael "P.S." Hayes, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham (who seems to be morphing into Robert Troll), "Cowboy" Bill Watts (who resembles a pudgy version of the White Guardian from "The Ribos Operation"), "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Ron Simmons, The Big Show, Kevin Sullivan, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Rey Misterio, Jr., Bill Goldberg, "Hurricane" Helms and a couple others, and archival stuff from Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page, and Booker T.
It's interesting - I'm a New Englander, and, as a consequence, had my introduction to wrestling from the then-WWF- it was only after I'd been watching wrestling for several years that I realized that guys like Greg Valentine, Roddy Piper and even Harley Race had done anything before they worked for Vince. Thus, much of what is discussed here is news to me.
The problem - and this is a problem common to all retrpspective of this sort - is, well, there's the saying "Winners write history", but I feel that it is often as true that "Survivors write history". Just watch the extras on 1980's Doctor Who DVDs and note the difference made by the fact that the fact that Eric Saward is still alive and John Nathan-Turner is not.
Anyway, watching the WCW DVD, I kept in mind the fact that all of these guys - and it was all guys - might well be concerned more with defining their places in wrestling history than in conveying the truth. The only one of the above who seems to be willing to consider the possibility that they messsed up somehow was Jim Crockett, Jr., who allowed as how he may not have been the world's greatest businessman.
Following another tradition known to Doctor Who fandom - that of dumping on whoever isn't there - the folks who take the most heat are Kevin Nash, Vince Russo, and Jeff Jarrett (perhaps it's a non-coincidence that they're all associated with TNA).
Jericho and Show particularly dump on Nash and somebody - Harvey Schiller, or one of the Crocketts maybe - says of Jarrett: "He thought - with his little Tennessee brain - that he was as big of a draw as Hulk Hogan." Heh-heh... "Little Tennessee brain" - now that's the kind of sparkling repartee that I buy these disks for.
Another one I've gotten a look at is Allied Powers: The World's Greatest Tag Teams, which I only looked at a little of but which appears to be hosted by people called "The Miz" and John Morrison, who are a tag team that has apparently risen to prominence after I stopped watching the new stuff.. They are mildly annoying. I can't really review the disk set yet, so, intead I will list ten of my favorite tag teams.
In no particular order:
1)Demolition: yes, I know they're Road Warriors knock-offs, but I liked them better than the originals - at least, until they added in Crush and destroyed the whole thing. Demolition's original entrance music was the best entrance music, ever. My favorite Demoliton moment: Ax and Smash draw numbers one and two at the Royal Rumble. They look at each other, shrug, and start pummeling away at each other until the third guy comes in.
2)The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff: My favorite of the "evil foreigner" teams. Much hated in their day, and now much loved in their old age.
3)Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson: I first saw them as "The Brain Busters" in the WWF, and only later learned of their greatness as Horsemen.
4)The Dudley Boys: D-Von and Bubba Ray - the best tag team to come out of ECW.
5)The Outsiders: You know, before the NWO gimmick was allowed to go out of control, Hal and Nash were a pretty good heel tag team.
6)The Hollywood Blonds: I liked Austin way better as "Stunning Steve" than as "Stone Cold". He and Pillman worked real well together.
7)The Rock and Sock Connection: My favorite of the "stunt casting" tag teams. Two great mike men who played well off of each other.
8)The Natural Disasters: They were essentially two big fat guys, but they worked well together.
9)Money, Inc.: Ah, Ted DiBiase, Sr., was one of the greatest heels ever, and he worked well with Rotundo.
10)The Hart Foundation: I never thought that Bret Hart was as good as he thinks he was - but he and Neidhart were pretty good.
Hmm...I haven't even gottten to the Starrcade set, yet. Looking forward to finally seeing that Piper/Valentine "dog collar" match, though.