Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wrestling DVDs of 2005

As I 've said many times before, while WWE has been awful as far as the current product for years, at least they do an awesome job now of producing DVDs and to a lesser extent, books. That has resulted in an influx of great product about wrestling's history. Here is my listing of the best compilation DVDs of the year. I may do this for book's later, but first I have to get through some of the books in my stack (Dillon, Guerrero, Matysik), and that's going to take a while given my workload this semester. Here are my rankings, based on the major releases I watched:

1. Forever Hardcore. This documentary was better than the Rise and Fall of ECW. It was more honest, and had a comparable lineup of the most important players in the company's history. It also is more authentic to have someone outside of WWE telling the story, given the ECW narrative always standed in opposition to WWF and WCW. This is a great documentary that comes highly recommended.

2. Jake Roberts. Jake is such a fascinating character. Listening him to speak is mesmerizing, and it doesn't really matter how much of what he says is true, and how true it is. This set also includes lots of interviews, which were always a strength for Jake. I don't think it's possible to put Jake in front of a camera and have him talk and for it to not come out entertaining. His RF shoot was also great.

3. Rise and Fall of ECW. Also an excellent documentary, and definitely worth picking up as well. It also has the benefit of ECW matches and the ability to actually say ECW. But it doesn't tell the story quite as well as Forever Hardcore.

4. Bret Hart. The documentary here is fascinating, because you finally get to hear Bret and WWE telling the story at the same time. Bret also seems in better spirits than in some of his previous shoots, and he gives more of himself. The emotion at times is very touching. The negative at least for me is that I have seen most of the matches on this DVD many, many times.

5. Road Warriors. This is a really fun trip through memory lane, with classic Road Warrior matches and promos. Animal doesn't seem that astute, and his semi-kayfabe attitude is a minor turnoff, but they have other people telling the story well.

6. Greatest Stars of the 80s. The plus on this is lots of clips and perspectives on a variety of 80s stars. The minus is that there isn't much depth and you don't really get as much insight into who the wrestlers are as you do in other releases. It's a fun watch, but definitely not a must see.

7. Ultimate Warrior. I didn't find the comedy that amusing, and Warrior not being there hurt the DVD. They were too malicious at times, and it's weird to release a DVD presumably bought by fans, but designed just to bury. Still, I enjoyed watching it.

8. Undertaker. Bottom of the barrel. Just matches and promos, and no insight behind the scenes. Most of the matches aren't that good, and they are heavily skewed towards later stuff. This is recommended for Undertaker fans only. Other fans won't want to watch this much of him.

Other DVDs that come with a particularly strong endorsement: WrestleMania XXI, ROH Manhattan Mayhem, ROH Kobashi v. Joe, PWG Battle of Los Angeles.


Anonymous The Masterbater said...

On the Bret Hart DVD, on the tribute to wrestlers who have past away, I was wondering if you know when he said Rick Rude would always be a hero to him, did you know what he did for Bret to make him a hero? Bret said it and never gave an explanation of it.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight. Now I've got to spend some more money on wrestling DVD's, but o well. Bret Harts DVD was awesome.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Dave actually explained that at some point over the past 3 months, but I don't remember what context it was in (radio show, internet or newsletter), so I can't go grab the exact quote. I think it was essentially that Rude stuck by him after Montreal, saying that what Vince did was wrong, and of course, he was the first person to jump over to WCW over that. That was a sign of loyalty that Rude didn't need to show, and I think that's the deal there.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous steve khan said...

6:39 PM  
Blogger Swain said...

Gotta agree with you on the Jake DVD. His story is particularly compelling given Eddie's passing. What is perhaps the most haunting part of the story is the lack of resolution.
I know Jake has demons, I know Jake knows he has demons. But at the end, I get the feeling that the demons may still win.

9:39 PM  

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