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.

Comic Review: Pro Wrestling’s True Facts

Published: 1993
Written by: Tom Burke, Dan Pettiglio
Art by: Dan Pettiglio

36 Pages

Review:

I kind of just came across this randomly on eBay. I’m always looking for unique comics, as well as wrestling memorabilia. This actually checks both boxes and I thought it was a neat concept worth checking out.

This is about the history of professional wrestling told in comic book form. It puts a lot of emphasis on the old school era of the wrestling business and it’s just cool as hell for those who love that stuff, as well as history in general.

The likenesses of the wrestlers are fantastic and every page is incredible to look at and a lot of fun to read.

From what I can tell, this is a pretty rare comic as I couldn’t finds much outside info on it but it’s certainly worth adding to your collection if you’re into this sort of stuff or if you just like picking up odd and unknown comics.

The seller may still throw them on eBay every now and again but I’m assuming it had a really low print run and it won’t be the easiest comic to find as more time passes.

Rating: 7.5/10

Film Review: Lucas (1986)

Release Date: March 28th, 1986
Directed by: David Seltzer
Written by: David Seltzer
Music by: Dave Grusin
Cast: Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, Kerri Green, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Winona Ryder, Tom Hodges, Guy Boyd, Jeremy Piven, Garrett M. Brown

Twentieth Century Fox, 100 Minutes

Review:

“You can’t ever make me quit, ever!” – Lucas

In the ’80s, coming of age teen movies, whether they be drama, comedy or both, were a dime a dozen. And while I can’t consider Lucas to be one of the better ones, it still has real heart and it’s damn near impossible to not feel for the kid, as he experiences his first heartbreak when the girl he loves, also his best friend, falls for the cool guy that is like a big brother to him.

I think that the story is something everyone can relate to regardless of gender or situation. At some point, we’ve all had to deal with heartbreak for the first time. And since this movie actually tells that story pretty well, it’s a pretty worthwhile picture.

Corey Haim was really young in this and it was only his second starring role. He showed great promise as a young actor, as did the rest of the cast, who also made this sort of hokey picture into a real human, emotional drama.

This is a strange film in that it does sort of get buried by its outdated ’80s cheese but the important stuff still gets through to the audience in an effective way.

There are certainly a dozen or more ’80s teen movies I’d recommend over this one but if you’ve seen the cream of the crop and never watched this one, it’s definitely worth your 100 minutes.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: other coming of age high school movies of the ’80s.

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.

Comic Review: Cobra Kai: Johnny’s Story

Published: July 8th, 2020
Written by: Denton J. Tipton
Art by: Kagan McLeod
Based on: characters by Robert Mark Kamen

IDW Publishing, 100 Pages

Review:

I’ve gotta say, this was better than I expected it to be. However, the fourth and final issue was a bit underwhelming.

This basically tells the story of the first Karate Kid movie from the perspective of Johnny. It shows scenes we all know but with Johnny as the main character, filling in the plot with new scenes that show how he feels about Daniel swooping in and winning over Alli, as well as his home life and a bit of his childhood drama.

We also get to see more of how John Kreese came into Johnny’s life and how his toxic influence led to Johnny making some bad decisions.

In the end, we also see Kreese walking off in disgust after Johnny loses to Daniel.

The problem with this is that it can’t stand on its own and it relies on you having seen The Karate Kid. Being that it also features Johnny talking to his students from Cobra Kai, you probably need to watch that show in order to get the full context of events.

I wasn’t a fan of the art and it felt sort of rushed and half-assed. But the story more than makes up for it and once you’re reading it, the art doesn’t matter as much. It’s not bad art, it’s just not great.

I’m not sure if there are more Cobra Kai comics planned but I’d probably read them.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: the Cobra Kai television series, as well as the original Karate Kid trilogy of films.