Documentary Review: Jim Crockett Promotions: The Good Old Days (2013)

Release Date: 2013
Cast: various

EllBow Productions, 134 Minutes

Review:

This is the last of the large lot of wrestling documentary DVDs that I ordered from Highspots when COVID kicked off and I needed stuff to watch while living that quarantine life.

Like the others, this one is comprised of a lot of talking head interviews, edited and cut together to tell the narrative. Almost all of the interviews are taken from previously released shoot interviews that were filmed and released over the years.

I felt like I was saving the best documentary for last, as the history of Jim Crockett Promotions seemed like a fantastic story that I wanted to delve into.

The problem with this (and really, it’s just my problem) is that I already knew just about everything that was discussed and recounted here, as I’ve watched countless shoot interviews and read a lot of books on wrestling history, especially regarding the territories in the ’70s and ’80s.

That’s not to say that this isn’t informative and comprehensive, it’s just to say that none of this isn’t information found elsewhere. I had kind of hoped for some new or deeper insight.

Still, this is solid, well edited, well constructed and pretty educational and interesting to those who have a love of the subject matter.

My only regret is that I didn’t buy this back in the day when they released a three disc versions with lots of matches and extras.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other wrestling documentaries by EllBow Productions or released through Highspots.

Book Review: ‘Don’t Call Me Fake: The Real Story of “Dr. D” David Schultz’ by David Schultz, John Cosper

To say that “Dr. D” David Schultz is one of the most interesting guys that ever worked in the wrestling business might be an understatement. He’s most famous for being infamous but he also got pushed out of the career he loved and became one of the most famous bounty hunters in the United States.

His most famous act, still to this day, was slapping 20/20‘s John Stossel back in December of 1984 at Madison Square Garden. It’s the incident that changed his life and set him on a different career path outside of professional wrestling.

Schultz is much more complex and a lot more interesting than just being the cantankerous heel that hit a reporter, though. He’s actually a pretty badass dude, legitimately.

He was known as one of the toughest wrestlers in the locker room and he would go on to have a great career as a bounty hunter where he actually used that job to try and help those on the wrong side of the law. Despite his legendary reputation as a heel, David Schultz has actually helped people turn their lives around, whether just checking up on them or helping them escape very bad people.

This book tells Schultz’s story in his own words and man, it’s compelling stuff and, hands down, one of the best wrestler biographies I have ever read.

The first half of the book covers Schultz’s youth and wrestling career while the second half takes you through his bounty hunting career. Even though I bought this for the wrestling stories, I found the bounty hunting stories to be much more intriguing and captivating. The guy has lived one hell of a life.

Don’t Call Me Fake is incredible and I don’t know why this hasn’t been made into a movie yet.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: other biographies and historical books written about old school wrestling from the territory era.

Documentary Review: Two Falls To A Finish – Sixty Years Of British Pro Wrestling (2015)

Release Date: 2015
Directed by: Adam Gill
Cast: Robbie Brookside, Marty Jones, Brian Dixon, various

Figure Four Films, 60 Minutes

Review:

When I saw that there was a documentary on the history of British wrestling, I had to get my hands on it. Especially, since most of the stuff I’ve gotten recently from Highspots has been pretty good.

This was a giant fucking bag of meh, though.

It’s just under an hour and while it talks about the history of professional wrestling in the United Kingdom, it barely puts any real emphasis on the past and focuses much more on the recent past, covering stuff from the late ’90s and into the ’00s.

Honestly, after it moved past the old school stuff, I lost interest.

It’s not that this was bad, it’s just that the title implies that it is about the long and storied history of British wrestling. This just glances over that shit really quickly and then just wants to show a bunch of modern stars talking about more recent stuff.

Well, hopefully someone out there can make the documentary that I had hoped this was.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: other more modern documentaries on wrestling history.

Book Review: ‘The Solie Chronicles: The Life and Times of Gordon Solie’ by Robert Allyn, Pamela S. Allyn & Scott Teal

I grew up in Florida with the men in my family being big professional wrestling fans. So the territory that I was exposed to the most was Florida’s. Because of that, Gordon Solie really was the voice of my childhood, as far as being the guy who was the host of every single episode of the television program I liked the most after G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.

Sadly, I never got to meet the man even though I saw him at wrestling events all over the state, as well as being front and center at the few studio tapings I went to with my dad and my uncles.

As a kid, I took Gordon Solie for granted. He was just always there and I guess I never realized how great he was and how much he meant to me until he wasn’t with us anymore and other than Jim Ross and Lance Russell, who I could only see when I had access to Memphis wrestling, I was typically disappointed with the wrestling commentary that came after Solie.

Additionally, I never knew much about the man. I had heard and read things over the years but even then, a lot of the information was scant and kind of unreliable. Wrestlers love telling stories but if you’ve listened to enough, you know that those stories often times comes with a lot of bullshit.

So reading this was really great. It’s written by Solie’s son-in-law and daughter and they were able to give a lot of insight into the man’s personal life, going all the way back to his childhood, his military service and how he eventually broke into sportscasting in the State of Florida.

I know that this book might not appeal to many people, as it’s about a guy from just one territory in a bygone era for a business that has completely changed but I enjoyed it and I think that those who know of Gordon Solie, might enjoy it too.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other books on the history of the old school territory wrestling business, as well as biographies on the personalities who lived it.

Talking Pulp: “Outdated Cultural Depictions” and The New Censorship

2020 has been the weirdest and most ass backwards year of my life. But I’m not here to talk about COVID-19, civil unrest, the extreme political divide or presidential elections. I’m here to talk about how there are people who want to destroy art and erase history.

Many of these people actually own the rights to the art and the history, which is even more unsettling.

Recently, I watched the original Dumbo on Disney+ because I’m working my way through all the animated Disney classics and I noticed a disclaimer that popped up before the film that stated, “This program is presented as created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.” M’kay… I never needed that pointed out to me before but… thanks?

Truth is, I don’t really have a problem with a disclaimer like that being placed before a film. As long as the art remains untouched, I’m okay with warnings about it, even if I feel that these things don’t need to be pointed out because decent human beings know right from wrong and also understand that things that are taboo and unacceptable today, weren’t necessarily taboo and unacceptable decades ago.

The argument about it being there to inform younger viewers is also bullshit, as even when I was a kid, I knew what was and wasn’t okay. But maybe my parents taught me well or I was just aware of the world around me. And regardless of that, some three year-old can’t read anyway. Well, unless he’s some sort of future prodigy.

My problem with The New Censorship, as I’m calling it, is where these companies are now going back and editing films, either because they want to erase their own racist history or because there are a bunch of spineless jellyfish crying on Twitter. I guess the world has gotten so easy now and there isn’t much else to complain about. At least, that’s how I see it because banning Gone With the Wind is a bigger issue than trying to stop the human sex trafficking of minors, apparently.

You know, it’s kind of funny when you think about Twitter mobs trying to ban an ancient, four hour movie when they don’t even have the attention span to read a news article before retweeting it with their own raging, baseless commentary attached. But I digress.

The thing about art, which is what movies are, is that the best of it will outlive us all. Well, that is unless it’s meddled with and stripped of all the unique qualities that make each and every piece of art special and in some cases iconic and legendary.

Art is the creation of the artist and it certainly isn’t something that should be meddled with and altered after it’s already been presented to the world in the form that the original artist intended. To use a term from the social media crybabies, that seems kind of “rapey”.

And if I’m being honest, I didn’t like it when George Lucas and Steven Spielberg went back and changed their own films. So why would I be okay with some stranger doing it?

But now, too many busybodies think that it’s okay to take a piece of art and change it because it might upset someone or because the past couldn’t live up to the ever-changing standards of the weird modern world. A world that won’t be happy until the past is destroyed, apparently. And also a world that will continue to evolve in unforeseen ways where the “politically correct” edits that are done in 2020 will probably be outdated and still offensive to some people years later. Eventually we won’t be left with art at all, we’ll be left with warning labels, CGI blobs covering beautiful, sexy asses and credits.

You see, the past is the past. Old art doesn’t reflect the norms of today and that’s sort of the point. It’s a reflection of the people who made it in the time that they created it. It represents a world we could never know, except through history books or art itself and frankly, art is a better peek into history. Especially, since history books have changed and been edited because why would these madmen stop at just censoring one avenue to the past.

There’s that old quote from Spanish philosopher and writer George Santayana where in 1905 he said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Yet, modern piss midgets want to erase the “offensive” past because worrying about some pussy’s feelings is more important than knowing what came before us and what could lie ahead if we just ignore humanity’s missteps from previous generations.

Human existence, like everyone’s personal lives, is full of trial and error, as we all should be striving to end our time on this planet as the best versions of ourselves possible. But if we never learn anything from our mistakes or the pain we may have caused in the past, we can’t really evolve and get better.

I mean, what’s next? Erasing our memories?

Art is more important than feelings, just as science and fact are more important than feelings. But then again, the same types of people have been putting feelings over science and even logic. I’d say that we’re on a slippery slope but we’ve already started barreling down the mountainside.

But hey, blindly and stubbornly hating another political party, politician, ideology or actual facts is more important when it gets you likes and shares on social media. These psychotics and narcissists don’t have a soul though, so trying to reason with their “logic” is pretty pointless. They can’t create, so they choose to destroy. These people are losers. Sadly, the world is letting the losers dictate the rules of the game.

This is a bigger issue than just tweaking a movie with a small edit or a CGI cover-up of something snowflakes find “unacceptable”. This shit has spread everywhere like a disease and it’s not going to stop without some sort of societal collapse and a philosophical awakening. I had hoped that decades of fairly mundane and bad art would lead us towards another artistic renaissance but modern rheeetards would rather kill everything and remake the world in their bizarre, pathetic image.

So what legacy will we leave behind when we erase the past? What’s left to outlast us other than a barren wasteland of dried up bitch tears and faded fee-fees?

Retro Relapse: In A Perfect World: The NFL With the EPL’s Structure

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

The English Premier League and most of European soccer has been around longer than the National Football League in its modern form (post AFL). Being a long time soccer fan, I have always been a big fan of the way the Premier League and most European leagues handle their shit. The structure of the EPL is awesome.

The NFL could benefit greatly by adopting a similar system. I know this is a pipe dream and probably too big of a feat to accomplish at this point but imagine a league of twenty teams, the bottom three each year get relegated to a lower league while the top three in the lower league get promoted to the big time NFL.

There would then be multiple lower leagues, like in English soccer, where teams would move up and down depending upon where they finish. This would open the floodgates for expansion and allow a lot more markets the accessibility of having a professional football team. Even if your local team didn’t fare well and get into the top level NFL league, they could still fight for championships in lower levels. It’d be like the pandemonium we have with all the bowl games in college. Multiple playoffs in multiple levels of the sport would be pretty fucking awesome. And yes, I said playoffs but I’ll get more into that further down.

In the Premier League, schedule strength isn’t even an issue and the playing field is level and fair. The reason being, every team in the twenty team structure plays each other once at home and once on the road. Again, everyone plays everyone on home ground and enemy ground once.

Now could the NFL have a 38 game season? No, even though from a fan’s perspective, that’d be awesome. They could however, have a 19 game season and just play each team once. Who gets home game advantage can be determined in some diplomatic fair way by some dudes in suits making a lot more money than me. Additionally, you could make the season 21 weeks and give these guys two bye weeks to rest because honestly, I don’t think one bye week is enough now. I’d even be in favor of expanding it to three bye weeks in a 22 week season. Think of all the football!

Now in the Premier League, there are no playoffs. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the champion. I’d change that however and make a 6 team playoff. The top two ranked teams get a first round bye while teams ranked third through sixth meet in the first week of a three week playoff; the winners going on to play the two top teams in a final four situation and those winners of those games playing for the championship. It’s fair, it’s easy and it’s badass! I would actually implore the Premier League to adopt this same playoff system even if it gets the traditionalists in an uproar. Playoffs mean more games, more money and more excitement!

I’d say that the NFL should go to three leagues of twenty teams, making a total of sixty teams. That nearly doubles the professional squads that we have now and increases the amount of local tribalism. All these states and large cities that don’t have teams can now have them. And hell, maybe the teams that continually flounder in the NFL, like the Cleveland Browns, can go on to win championships and have success once being relegated to a lower league. I’m not saying that to be disrespectful to Cleveland because in college basketball for example, no one ever complained after winning the NIT. In fact, those teams rejoiced and felt accomplished. This also doesn’t mean that teams like the Browns can’t fight for their spot to stay in the top tier NFL. In fact, this might improve competition between all the teams.

I know that from an economics standpoint, that it might not seem feasible for smaller markets to have a professional football team but if British soccer can have stadiums for dozens upon dozens of teams in their much smaller nation, America can get this done. Besides, not every stadium has to be Cowboys Stadium. Smaller markets can have smaller venues but it’d still be awesome. Hell, rent out some college fields.

This may all seem like a crazy idea and it probably is but I think that it’d improve the sport, breed more competition, create a lot more revenue, give more opportunity to players and give the fans so much more than what they have now. I wish I had a time machine and a shit ton of money so I could go back to the 1920s, buy a team and pressure the league into taking shape like this at its early stage.

Vids I Dig 391: The 6:05 Superpodcast: Bruno Sammartino Special

Taken from Arcadian Vanguard’s YouTube description: The 6:05 Superpodcast takes a special look at the life and career of the legendary Bruno Sammartino! The Great Brian Last is joined by John McAdam, for this tribute to Bruno, with many voices lending their thoughts and memories!