17 December 2015

Reviews of some shite I've enjoyed/hated over the last few months #4 Kayfabe Commentaries

I've been watching a lot of these lately. They're presented by Sean Oliver and they've done quite a number of them over the last few years. I have really enjoyed reading all the 'behind the scenes' stuff mentioned on TV Tropes and then I started watching clips on YouTube and I was hooked. It depends a lot on the charisma of the guest but a lot of the clips are gold. The full things are often between 2 and 3 hours and are well worth checking out. I was definitely a mark when I was younger watching 2001-2004 but I'm enjoying becoming smarter to that era and especially the 1990's when most of the guys listed below were active and mainstream.

Jim Cornette.com I encountered a lot watching Botchamania (the face) and reading TV Tropes so I had to check out his stuff and it's excellent. He's very articulate and fun to listen to; he has a gift for expressions (the gold tooth/ice floe reference) and he loves wrestling - but he's also really passionate about it and all the problems of the last few decades. Kevin Nash and Vince Russo are often brought up in relation to WCW and its fall so I had to check them out while Scott Hall is infamous for his personal problems but I'm a huge fan of the nWo so I wasn't going in hostile to him I really like him as a performer and a person.

1. Jim Cornette

He has done 2 interviews that I have watched and all of them were good. The first one done sometime in the early 2000's by a different group, RF Video (not KC) was the last one of his I watched and his stories about the territories in the South were absolutely fascinating, it was truly a different time for wrestling with the heels getting massive heat from crowds while the babyfaces were heroes. He was free to praise the territories and criticise wherever he liked and the interview was done in his house so he was at his most candid and energetic despite it being a three hour talk! He was in OVW at the time which was affiliated with the WWE so he couldn't attack them but still the depth of the content he provided on the territories was immense.

The second interview was KC; after his tenure in TNA and ROH. It's great because it's unfiltered, he's not contracted to any organisation so he just full on rants. His entire summary of his time in ROH in particular is excellent, full of tensions and just constant disappointment as he promised the boys doing the work and the suits that it would be good yet certain individuals and general mishaps keep kicking progress in the head. He's such a good storyteller you can't help but sit down and watch/listen to this the whole way through. I have re-watched clips of this and gone on to watch other shows with different people (or more Cornette) based on the strength of this video.

2. Kevin Nash History of 1995

I love this; he was the first person I checked out after Jim Cornette and I was not disappointed. The clips on YouTube alone are excellent but the whole thing is even better. It's a chronological history of 1995 when he was champion for the year and all his buddies in the Kliq are active in WWF (though Scott Hall is about to leave for WCW) and there's nothing like it. Very focused on 1995 but he would bring up events prior to that and offer fascinating insight, being one of the boys who had come in with a blown knee and making it to the top. I really respect his 'it's business' attitude to wrestling and it's fascinating hearing how the boys made their money and how they lived day to day. It was also insightful regarding the drug problem of the time; lots of guys being tested while there were lots of other drugs they were taking just to get through the day. He's passionate about the wrestling but he knows his limitations and is not afraid to put himself down in places or tell it how it is. He also values his friends and while they are reviled/envied by many they made it together and continue to be good friends so it's nice to see. I am currently re-watching this video as it is that good. As always tales wrestling stories and shoots on other guys make the video so much more interesting.

EDIT: There was another video of him done by another crowd and it's all on YouTube and it features Kevin Nash slowly eating a salad in some backroom while being interviewed; he speaks about a variety of topics but I can't remember it, must re-watch.

3. Scott Hall (YouShoot)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this but it was really cool to see Scott Hall doing well and reflecting on his past in the wrestling business. He tells us how he got into the business and how he managed to make it through as successfully as he did. As it is a YouShoot by KC there are video and comment questions posed to Scott and he answers them; I found some of the videos a bit cringe to watch so just skipped them and listened to Scott speak or Sean interpret the question to get context! He is not as articulate as Kevin Nash or Jim Cornette but he is passionate about his friends and like Nash he never really goes out of the way to bury people, perhaps less so than Nash who was on top and got the most heat; Hall made it up very high in WWF and WCW and was generally respected more as a solid worker but never really got that final push to the top. The hard partying of the time and after into the 2000's combined with some personal tragedies made life very difficult for Hall who escaped through the bottle BUT has been shown to be doing well and I'm happy to see; he seems like a great person judging from his appearance on the Jerry Springer Show as Razor Ramon.

4. Kevin Nash (2014-15)

This was very recent (2014) and mainly chronicled the last year or two since the last interview. He's a great guest but much of the talking was dominated by incident between him and his son that happened at Christmas and he seemed a little less spot on than he was in the earlier video.

5. Vince Russo

I watched this and I wanted it to be good; I'm not anti-Russo I just want to find out why Cornette hates him from their time writing/booking together in WWF/E and why so may blame him for the demise of WCW. Sean Oliver was firm but fair in his line of questioning and never let him off the hook while Vinnie Ru was so... nice? He seemed like an OK guy even if he is a born-again Christian. Perhaps that was it, he couldn't even swear on account of his faith while he was candid in some areas I felt like he was holding back still in a lot of others; it would have been nice to see him straight up bury lots of people and call time but he was insistent this was his last interview AND he never liked to bury people. He did find his writing decisions funny or spot on, including silly gimmicks and diva matches. I'm not overly critical of the video I just wished there was more content. Very few names were named and a lot of what they were talking about happened in 2001 while the video was made in 2014 so memory is always an issue. I walked in neutral and walked out indifferent after this.

I have the Sean Waltman and Bret Hart videos on the way so will definitely refer to them at some other point.

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