Vids I Dig 287: Arn Anderson: Ask Arn Anything

From Arn Anderson’s YouTube description: This week’s episode of ARN, Arn and Conrad go over a plethora of listener questions! Hear Arn answer queries about who could’ve replaced Ric Flair in the Four Horsemen, the present condition of his neck, what was Tully Blanchard Enterprises, the most violent locker room fights he’s ever seen, his favorite places to live, his favorite matches he’s agented, The Revival, the Television Championship, breaking and keeping kayfabe, the best Spinebuster today, the most prolific drinkers in wrestling, Daniel Tosh, the Flair/Bischoff fight, Jim Cornette, The Great Muta and Gary Hart, and so much more!

Documentary Review: The Rise and Fall of WCW (2009)

Release Date: August 25th, 2009
Directed by: Kevin Dunn
Cast: Magnum T.A., Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Lady Blossom, Jim Crockett Jr., David Crockett, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg, Mike Graham, Shane Helms, Chris Jericho, John Kap, Joe Laurinaitis, Dean Malenko, Tyler Mane, Vince McMahon, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross, Dr. Harvey Schiller, Michael P.S. Hayes, Kevin Sullivan, Bill Watts, Paul Wight, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan

WWE, 105 Minutes

Review:

I recently revisited and reviewed The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary and I really enjoyed seeing it again. So, I thought that going back and watching the WCW version of their rise and fall would also be a good experience.

It was and it was neat going back down memory lane, as I lived through just about everything covered in the film, going way back to the National Wrestling Alliance and Jim Crockett eras up through Vince McMahon buying WCW and absorbing them into the WWE.

My only real complaints about this are the same complaints I have for a lot of WWE produced documentaries.

Firstly, it’s told from the WWE’s perspective and isn’t always 100 percent accurate and without bias. I mean, that’s fine and understandable, as long as the gist of the story told is pretty close to what happened and in this case, I feel that it is.

Secondly, this would have benefited from more interviews with more of the people that lived through these experiences. WWE tends to leave out the opinions and insight of wrestlers and executives that they have beefs with and thus, these things are typically only presented by talent that is on good terms with Vince McMahon.

Additionally, this, like many WWE documentaries, features a lot of archive interviews clipped and edited into the larger tapestry. While that’s fine, it’d be nicer hearing more direct answers and insight from guys like Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, as opposed to just using material from old interviews.

Needless to say, this is well edited, well presented and it goes through the timeline quite superbly. While not on the same level as the ECW documentary, this still gives you a pretty solid history on World Championship Wrestling and a clear understanding of how it was mismanaged into oblivion.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other WWE documentaries on the legacies of past wrestling promotions.

Retro Relapse: 25 MORE Reasons Why the Great Sasuke is the Ultimate Badass

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

*Written in 2015.

I once listed twenty-five reasons as to why the Great Sasuke is the ultimate badass. I wrote that originally in 2006 for my then popular MySpace blog. I also reposted it here, about a year ago.

The thing is, the Great Sasuke <*pronounced = saw – su – kay> is THE ultimate badass in the universe. While many Americans might not be familiar with him, that is probably for the best because believing in gods can lead to very bad things like Al Qaeda and Rick Santorum.

Anyway, one should never doubt the Great Sasuke’s greatness and therefore should not believe that he is just limited to the twenty-five badass things I listed long ago. The number of badass things he does is pretty much infinite. These are just twenty-five more random items out of his catalog of ultimate badassery.

1. While on one of his many Mexican wrestling tours, he ripped open a piñata with a simple hand gesture from across the room.

2. He once punched through a gorilla’s chest, holding its heart out of a hole in its back and then replaced it – no harm done – in a matter of milliseconds. That gorilla was King Kong.

3. At a party, he crushed every level in every Guitar Hero game with nothing more than a spatula.

4. He often times water skis on the back of dolphins without a boat.

5. The one time he got crabs, he politely asked them to jump into pots and he then fed a village.

6. Every loss in his career was done in an effort to build up the confidence and spirit of his opponents.

7. He once climbed Mount Everest for better cellphone reception.

8. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” is actually about a wall adjacent to the front door in the foyer of Great Sasuke’s Tōhoku home.

9. As a boy, he dreamed of being a fisherman but his method of punching the water for fish killed the entire sea within a three-hundred and fifty mile radius. Most of the fish rotted before his friends and neighbors could eat them all. It took months for the ecosystem to recover.

10. He wrote the original screenplay for Dirty Dancing but cursed Jennifer Grey into obscurity due to her poor portrayal of Baby. He rewarded Patrick Swayze with the scripts to Road House and Point Break.

11. The women of the British Royal Family routinely try to woo Sasuke in an effort to get him into their bloodline.

12. Kaiju were once real but the Great Sasuke ate them all one afternoon when they interrupted his sunbathing.

13. He once rounded up and returned all the souls Aborigines lost to photographs.

14. Mosquitos turn into fireworks if they bite him.

15. He once entered a supermassive black hole because he thought it could literally turn him into spaghetti. He walked away hungry and disappointed.

16. Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land was actually written as a science fiction retelling of Sasuke’s years in primary school after being raised in the wild by dragon spirits.

17. The Dos Equis guy collects Great Sasuke autographs.

18. Hitler mysteriously disappeared when the Great Sasuke used him as a water balloon.

19. The Great Sasuke shrugged before Atlas was born.

20. He invented swashbuckling but Hollywood has never made it as exciting.

21. He once tried to power a steam engine with one bead of sweat: it exploded.

22. One time he picked up and moved Thor’s hammer because it was jamming a door.

23. Sasuke once parted the Red Sea for Moses with his billowing laughter.

24. Gary Busey is an insane person because he once high-fived the Great Sasuke.

25. He used to mount and ride velociraptors like horses but found their temperament displeasing.

Vids I Dig 282: Chris Van Vliet: Billy Corgan Interview

From Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube description: Billy Corgan chats with Chris Van Vliet at the NWA Powerrr tapings in Atlanta, GA. He talks about why he bought the NWA, the decision to make Powerrr look at feel the way it does, his fallout and lawsuit with TNA, what Smashing Pumpkins fans think of his love for wrestling, the future plans for NWA, why he says the NWA is in the same conversation as WWE and AEW and more.

TV Review: WWE Ruthless Aggression (2020)

Original Run: February 16th, 2020 – current
Cast: John Cena, Dave Bautista, Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Vince McMahon, Jim Cornette

WWE, 4 Episodes (so far), 41-65 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

After the Attitude Era, WWE gave us the Ruthless Aggression Era. It’s never been considered as popular but it seems like some people have gotten nostalgic about it in recent years. Maybe that’s because the WWE has evolved into a pretty shitty product since the advent of the PG Era and has never really recovered. I’d say that has more to do with lack of real competition and Vince McMahon losing touch with pop culture, as he gets older, but still won’t give some control to other people who might steer the ship better.

That being said, I’m honestly not a big fan of the Ruthless Aggression Era, as it really started to be where my interest in WWE began its decline. That’s not a knock against guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar or Dave Bautista, it just is what it is because even if these guys are great, they just didn’t have the same sort of electricity as The Rock, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho or even Triple H.

I still wanted to check out this weekly documentary series, however, because I typically dig stuff like this regardless of the era it features. Mainly, I like the wrestling business and industry, which is why I can actually stomach things like Total Divas in small doses.

For the most part, this is entertaining television but it does the same crap that most WWE produced pieces about WWE do: it tells a revisionist history because McMahon is always trying to control whatever narrative comes out of his company and he underestimates the intelligence of his longtime viewers and thinks that they don’t remember certain details.

I guess for modern fans who didn’t live through this era, this might come across as compelling, solid, documentary television. It’s certainly well produced, well edited and presented like a top notch production on par with some of the stuff ESPN puts out but it feels like WWE is trying to write a more colorful and interesting history than what reality actually is.

The Ruthless Aggression Era was a step down from the Attitude Era but it appears as if WWE wants to convince its modern audience that it saved a company in decline.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: other WWE documentary television series.

Documentary Review: Beyond the Mat (1999)

Release Date: October 22nd, 1999 (Los Angeles premiere)
Directed by: Barry W. Blaustein
Written by: Barry W. Blaustein
Music by: Nathan Barr
Cast: Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, New Jack, Paul Heyman, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Darren Drozdov, Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, Dennis Stamp, Tony Jones, Mike Modest, Roland Alexander, Dave Meltzer, Chyna, Spike Dudley, Koko B. Ware, Jesse Ventura

Universal Family and Home Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, Lions Gate Films, 102 Minutes, 108 Minutes (Director’s Cut)

Review:

“I could never get over the fact that guys could beat the crap out of each other in the ring, and be friendly outside of it. Some of Terry’s most famous matches were against a man twenty years his junior: Mick Foley. Over the years, Mick and Terry had traveled the world, setting each other on fire, tossing each other into barbed wire. Yet outside the ring, they were truly at peace with one another.” – Barry W. Blaustein

Considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest wrestling documentary of all-time, it’s almost a crime that this wasn’t, at the very least, nominated for an Academy Award. Watching this all these years later, it still holds up and is damn compelling, top to bottom.

Beyond the Mat is intriguing on just about every level and every story featured in this documentary is well told, well presented and edited into the larger tapestry so neatly that I feel as if this would be a great watch even for those who aren’t all that interested in professional wrestling.

One of the most engaging things about it is that it really shows you the behind the scenes stuff from the WWF corporate offices, as well as what goes down backstage during a massive, flagship pay-per-view event. In this case, the film features the main event of the 1999 Royal Rumble, a brutal “I Quit” match between Mick Foley and The Rock.

That being said, it does feel like some parts of this documentary are heavily sensationalized, like the reactions of Foley’s wife and small kids during the Royal Rumble match. Of course the kids are going to cry when the mother is freaking out in an over the top way when she knows the cameras are on her. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a legitimate reaction but it was definitely captured and then sold to the audience as something much worse than it needed to be.

While it is obvious that this wanted to pull the wool over Vince McMahon’s eyes, initially, it’s fine in that it wanted to expose the darker sides of the business. Those darker sides exist, especially back then, and showing the underbelly beyond the lights and pageantry is why this probably did a lot more good than bad in how the business has evolved and tried to improve over the years since this came out.

Ultimately, this isn’t perfect but it’s damn entertaining.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: other professional wrestling documentaries, most notably Wrestling With Shadows.