Wrestling Gold Volumes 1 - 5
Kit Parker Films/VCI Home Video
Retail: $29.99 at www.wrestlinggold.com
Suitable for Most Viewers
Getting tired of everybody "breaking kayfabe"? Want to go back in time and see some of your favorite wrestlers that you grew up with? Want to know what the industry was like before the Monday Night Wars? Well, now you can with this 5-disc 10-hour collection, highlighting some of the best regional promotions from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
Wrestling Observerís Dave Meltzer and former WWE manager Jim Cornette introduce each match and provide alternate commentary on each disc, starting with disc 1-"Busted Open". This disc is made up of matches from the San Antonio-based Southwest Championship Wrestling and the HemisFare Arena. The 11 matches feature some familiar faces like Sherrie Martel, a teenage Shawn Michaels, Gino Hernandez, Bob Orton Jr., Terry Funk, Ivan Putski and the late Bruiser Brody. Also making appearances are various stars from outside Texas, like former AWA champ Nick Bockwinkle, Bobby Heenan, former AWA champ Jerry "The King" Lawler, Lou Thesz and Abdullah The Butcher. Cornette also fills you in on some of the history of Texas' regional promotions of the time and pay attention in match ten to the size of the cage used.
Disc 2-"The Main Event" moves back and forth from Texas to Indiana to Tennessee as Memphis' Mid-South Wrestling makes its first appearance, featuring match ups between "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Lawler, "Leaping Lanny" Poffo, The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane), The Rock 'n Roll Express, the late David and Kerry Von Erich, Baron Von Raschke and Rick Rude. Some of the Mid-South matches feature some of the best action you will see, including the Lawler/Rude feud and the Road Warrior/Lawler and Austin Idol match. The Original Sheik also makes his first appearance here against Mark Lewin in Detroit.
Indianapolis, Toronto and Memphis dominate the action on disc 3-"We Like To Hurt People." Dory Funk Jr., Pepper Gomez, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, King Kong Bundy, The Crusher, the late Junkyard Dog, Tiger Jeet Singh, "Wildfire" Tommy Rich and the late "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert are among the stars appearing in the 15 matches on this disc. Each match shows the differences in the regions and the styles of wrestlers common to the day as noted by the Toronto-based mud match between Tiger Jeet Singh and The Original Sheik. In its day, this match would have been comparable to any main event match that the then-WWWF could offer up and, had pay-per-views existed then, been the main event people would have talked about for days.
Twelve matches fill the card of disc 4-"No More Mr. Nice Guys," as you bounce around from Memphis to Toronto to Detroit to San Antonio and back again. Pay attention to match six as Chief Jay Strongbow takes on "Bulldog" Don Kent (one of the Fabulous Kangaroos) in a Shark Cage Match. Having a regular cage match is difficult enough, so control yourself, as these two stars battle each other in a space barely big enough to hold them! And a bigger blast from the past comes when Terrible Ted, the wrestling bear (yes, I said wrestling bear) takes on his trainer Gene DuBois in Buffalo, N.Y. This kind of match was common back in the carnie days of wrestling's history. If you're a big Bobby Heenan fan, get set to have a big laugh as "The Brain" takes on Cowboy Bob Ellis in a grudge match.
The final disc of this collection - "Beat Me If You Can" - offers up a look early in the careers of some of the biggest wrestling talent of the 80's. A young Terry Allen (later to be known as Magnum T.A.) takes on Nick Bockwinkle, Tito Santana, Kelly Kiniski, Tully Blanchard, Terry Taylor, Marty Janetty, "Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony and Gino Hernandez get over with the crowds big time. Plus, Chief Wahoo McDaniel, Cowboy Scott Casey, Masao Ito, Bobo Brazil, Ivan Putski and Eddie Gilbert also appear in some of the best matches on this disc.
Do yourself a favor and watch each of these discs twice; once with the original audio and again with the Cornett/Meltzer commentaries. The stories this duo share are funnier than anything else you'll hear in a long time as they talk about everything from fans to wrestlers and everything in between.
While some of the talent here has passed on and others have faded away into obscurity, this collection will have you laughing and reminiscing about the good old days and the classic superstars of wrestling.