I love watching documentary’s about Professional Wrestling. I find it fascinating to see all the things that go on behind the scenes. I love hearing about how certain guys don’t want to work with one another, how some plan out matches in advance, who was difficult, road story’s, everything. One of my favorite features on the Highspots Network is the massive amount of shoot interviews they have up regarding this topic. They also have a good line of Documentary’s about various territory’s (wrestling promotions), and have recently added a new one the did about Frank Donald Goodish aka Bruiser Brody entitled Wrestling’s Last Rebel: Bruiser Brody!
For a quick background Bruiser Brody is considered an “Outlaw Wrestler” he wasn’t someone you would see on the same wrestling television show for long periods of time. He would stay with companies for a short time, although his Texas run did last longer than all the others. He would be brought in by local promoters for shows as he had a large enough fan base that they would draw a big house (lots of people, more gate money) with him on the card. He worked everywhere, even having matches in WWWE (now know as WWE) He had a brawling style that was second to none. Playing the role of the madman he would beat his opponents senseless in the ring. It was a hardcore style before hardcore was cool so to speak. He was even voted Brawler of the year 3 years running by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. From USA to Japan he caver a niche out for himself and became a major star, which considering he was not featured on national tv on a weekly basis is an amazing accomplishment.
Brody however was hard to deal with. He had a bad reputation with promoters. He would hold them up for money, i.e. refusing to go do his match unless he was paid more. He was loved by lots of other wrestlers, but hated by many as well. He would not “Sell” (make the other wrestlers moves look good) for opponents if he didn’t like them, he would refuse to do jobs (lose), he was even know to be a bully/abusive in the ring with wrestlers he did not like. This last particular one played a role out in his untimely death in 1988 when he was stabbed in a shower in San Juan Puerto Rico and eventually bleed to death.
A man was in mentioned in almost all wrestling shoot interviews in one way or another has never really had a dvd or biography devoted to him. I assume its because of all the massive library’s of footage from various promotions you would need to go through to piece it together. Well after all these years Highspots Wrestling, the only place you need for your wrestling collecting needs in my opinion have managed to do just that. Narrated by his widow Barba Smith, this massive documentary covers everything from Brody’s High School and College Football aspirations to his work all over the world, and even his death. Tons of wrestlers and promoters are interviewed and spliced in commenting on each and every chapter of the mans life as we basically go on a journey through the life of Bruiser Brody, seeing not ony Brody the wrestler, but Frank Goodish the man as well.
I cannot begin to imagine how many painstaking hours were put into the editing of this documentary. The amount of interviews and clips are almost mind blowing. I cannot praise the editor enough for going through and making this. I also cant praise Highspots enough. Sure I like the documentary’s that WWE puts out, but there basically a one sided or worked story. Highspots is a third party so they are able to be as open and as objective as possible. And it shows. Not every interview you see will praise Brody, as I stated there were many out there who hated him. You get to see all of this. Nothing is sugar coated, which always makes for a more compelling story.
Even if your not a fan of Bruser Brody, or if your new to the crazy world of Professional Wrestling this is definitely something you should watch. You will get to see how the territory promotions were all ran, and the hundreds of areas to make a living of off pro wrestling was around before the days of WWE becoming the conglomerate that it is today. Compelling and facintating, this is a fantastic documentary and a great addition to any wrestling collection. You can watch it on the Highspots Streaming Network, or you can purchase the DVD through there website. The DVD does contain bonus discs of matches.
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Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
Saturday afternoon I got the itch to watch wrestling, at the same time however I got the itch to watch a Grindhouse movie. But something with a cool DIY punk rock feel. Sort of like Dead End Drive In. I logged into my Highspots Network account and came across Rockstar Pro. I am familiar with the company as my friend Aarron Williams, The Baddest Man On The Planet works for them, however I have never really sat down to watch a big show. I chose "Smoke Em If Ya Got Em" and sat back to see what looked like a fun show.
The show opens with a cool little video package. Then cuts right to the arena and I have to say this is truly a punk rock arena. The building is all curtained off in black, and I mean everything. Rails, ring, back drop, you name it. A lone celling light right above the curtains is the only real source of light that I could see. The crowd was hyped to say the least and they enjoyed every minute of the show.
And what a show it was. I have to say, I loved the To Sick For This World Match. It was a great beginning and an amazing way to kick things off. Zachary Wentz and Clayton Jackson worked their asses off. The dastardly Wentz even ran over and kissed Jackson's mom when he was down. Now that is the mark of a real bad guy.
The pace slowed down a bit so we could enjoy matches featuring comedy, high flying and even some really great chain Wrestling. Still having fun I was able to catch my breath before The Dayton Street Fight that saw "Legendary" Larry D vs "the Pitbull" Ganger. These two absolutely destroyed each other. And in true classic street fight form a hacksaw was even used. Yes a real hacksaw.
After a while we settled in for the main event. A passing of the torch so to speak as two former ECW Icons came to help out a Rockstar Member. The match consisted of The Franchise Shane Douglas, The Sandman & "Pro Athlete" Jon Murray vs the Foundation ("True Grit" Bruce Grey, "Street Rat" Sid Fabulous & "Bruiser" Patrick)! To say the match was great is an understatement. The sandman's entrance alone was enough to make me feel nostalgic for old school ECW.
I will be watching more Rockstar shows in the future. They actually run weekly shows at the home in Dayton Ohio. They run a regular weekly show every Wednesday night, they stream on the own network as well as YouTube. Highspots Network is where I watched this big show. They even have there own training center. Heavily active on social media they do a great job of putting themselves out there.
But now for the review as if it were a movie. The show was paced great just like a standard action film. The crowd was definitely into everything. They actually gave the show a Rocky Horror Picture Show type vibe which added to my enjoyment. The wrestlers all performed great. I dig the whole blacked out gritty look as well as the simple lighting elements. This is a company that truely has a Grindhouse feel. My only real issue is the same I've had with other shows. The announcing volume level is too high. It needs to drop just a bit to bring up the crowd. I dug the show and I'll definitely watch more. The Highspots Network has lots of there shows up, and for my money that's the wrestling network to have.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars
Before I start this review, I want to say how much I actually hate typical wrestling reviews. The "star" system is, if you really look at it a very unfair way to rate matches. Sure I could give Ricochet vs Will Osprey the ever sought after 5 star rating, but that's because I'm a Lucha fan. I enjoy lucha style matches that consist of mostly high spots, or flippy moves if you will. But what if you hate that type of wrestling? Would you give it 5 Stars? No you would give it none. The Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart Iron Man match is regarded as one of the best of all times. I find it boring as all hell.
Now another thing I dislike about the current review style is the criticism of the athletes. I'm not a trained pro wrestler and let's be honest neither are 99% of the other arm chair critics out there. How can any of us say that "AJ Styles wasn't laying his forearm shots in stiff enough"? I'm not trained to that so who am I to judge.
Now when it comes to pro wrestling what makes for any enjoyable show? For me it's not only the matches, but let's be honest. They storylines, the production values, the announcing, the crowd, all of that plays a factor. You could be at home watching an amazing fight but if the announcing and crowd is bad the experience you can have watching at home can really be bad. What if the match is great but the lighting is so poor you can see? Worse yet the camera angles are bad causing you to miss action. All of that can play a part.
Now when I go to a show or watch on TV I suspend all disbelief and watch it like I would a movie. And as I have been reviewing movies for a long time I figured I would transition the movie style reviews into wrestling. I picked a good show to start with it's from an indy company known as Pro Wrestling Revolver. It's their Halloween themed show entitled, Tales From The Ring.
Pro Wrestling Revolver is the brainchild of wrestler Sami Callighan. It's marketed as "For our Generation by our Generation" which breaks down to a more hard hitting death defying style than you would see on say a WWE program. The shows feature big names on the Indy circut to say the least. The events are held in the Midwest, in fact most are just a few hours away from me. Now I can tell you Midwest fans are serious about their Pro Wrestling. Crowds are always hot live no matter what's going on. This particular show has an entire Tales From The Crypt vibe, as you can tell from the promo real above. Here is the line up of the card
1. Brian Cage vs Shigehiro Irie
2. BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Jessicka Havok vs MJF
3. OPEN INVITE SCRAMBLE CHAMPIONSHIP:
Palmer vs Tessa Blanchard, Manscout Jake Manning, Gary Jay, Jordan LenX, Johnny Ruckus, Myron Reed, Cole Radrick, Curt Stallion, Paco Gonzales, Dave Crist, Clayton Gainz, Ace Austin
4. Ricochet vs Jason Cade
5. IOWA DEATHMATCH: RSP vs Alex Colon
6. AR Fox vsDAGA
7. Matt Riddle vs Jeff Cobb
8. FKA Jack Swagger vsSami Callihan
9. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP LADDER MATCH: BESTies in the World vs Worlds Cutest Tag Team, Chimera, Zero Gravity, & Alienated Youth
As you can see it's pretty diverse which is something a lot of shows are lacking. High flying, hardcore violence, chain Wrestling, comedy, drama, everything you need.
Cage vs Irie is a great big man vs big man opener as these big guys can really move. To see Cage do standing flips is pretty amazing as he has to be closing in on 300lbs. I really enjoyed watching Jessicka Havok. If you follow her on Twitter you can see she is a really fun loving young lady who enjoys superheroes and playing video games, something she broadcasts on twitch tv. But when she beomes the Havok Death Machine decked out in steampunk gear she shows why, in my opinion, that she is the top woman's wrestler in the world today. Graceful yet brutal, enchanting yet horrifying. The fact she is not on national television is truely a crime.
The scramble match offers high flying comedy. With countless flips, and twists and turns, to even the use of the Force from Star wars you will definitely ooh and ahh while laughing. The Ricochet and AR Fox matches will leave you breathless when you see the high flying and fast chain Wrestling that is a sight to marvel. I can't wait for the two of them to match up against each other down the road on one of these shows. The Deathmatch is a brutal spectacle to say the least. An orgy of blood and gore that any horror fan would love to watch.
Callighan and Swagger put on an amazing spectacle blending 80s wrestling action but adding violence of the new millennium into the mix. A giant brawl through the crowd and in the ring will certainly leave you hoping for a rematch, as will Cobb vs Riddle, as they combine Olympic wrestling and mma. Then we settle in for the big ladder match which is the equivalent of watching a human stunt show that ends with broken bodies.
This show is paced like a Hong Kong action film. Slowing down at spots for you to catch your breath but almost immediately bringing you back to the edge of your seats. The announcing team works great together and the crowd is into everything. I wish the audio of the announcing team was a bit lower so you could hear the crowd more but it won't bring the level of excitement down at all.
I watched it on the Highspots Streaming network, a service wrestling fans should really get it. The Highspots Wrestling Network allows you to stream Full events featuring PWG, NEW, PWX, WSU, CZW, $5 Wrestling & more, shoot interviews and series featuring The Kevin Steen Show, Old School w/ Steve Corino, Best Friends w/ Chuck and Trent?, documentaries, matches, women's wrestling & more, for only 9.99 a month. The show is also up for pre order on DVD from Highspots as well.
Great action, great comedy, great production values, this is definitely a company to watch, and this is a great show to watch. So if this were a movie I would rate it as a 4 out of 5. Go check it out today. You will feel like your in the crowd watching
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