A Running Blog Documenting My First Viewing of an Awesome (Maybe) WWE DVD
First a little history. I have a love hate relationship with the world of professional wrestling. The love is simple, I love WWF wrestling from 1984-2000. I never jumped ship to other companies, never cared to watch Rick Flair or Dusty Rhodes on TBS. I turned off ESPN when they were showing Verne Gagne's AWA. But, if the WWF was on, I was watching. It could be the third time I seen an episode of the great Superstars show, and I was fully invested for the third time. The hate; Well I hate anything that any wrestling promoter has done since they split Raw and Smackdown into two separate brands with that first televised draft on Raw. That was it, I was out. I havent been back since.
I loved the WWF when I was a kid. When I was seven-years-old my Dad took me to Buffalo's War Memorial Auditorium to see the first television taping in Buffalo after the historic events of Wrestlemania III. My favorite wrestler, Rickey "The Dragon" Steamboat would defend his title against some ugly Elvis want to be and I was %100 certain that Steamboat would do some crazy shit off the top rope and he would be able to leave buffalo with the gold around his waist. It was the most glorious belt my eyes had ever seen. The Intercontinental belt was not only visually stunning, but it was competitive, it changed hands occasionally. Sure, I loved Hulk, but Hulk was a given. The IC title was different. I found out just how different on that June night in Buffalo. The Mouth of the South Jimmy Heart cheated for his man and Steamboat was cheated out of his title by Terry Buchwald. I balled on my dad's lap as if he had just told me that he and my mother didn't love me anymore. It was a total miscarriage of justice. I digress.
Anyway, Here I am at age 30. I am more excited than Gus Johnson calling a buzzer beater, to do a live blog as I view for the first time, the newest DVD in my growing collection of DVDs put forth by a company that hasn't convinced me to pay attention to their current programming in more than ten years. Wrestling is over for me the same way Our Lady Peace is over for me in music. Any music that OLP puts out in the forthcoming years will surely fall upon deaf ears at 1420 Walxk Road (I dont live in a tent, we built a house on that grass, update your shit google maps). However, on my shelf their older catalog remains waiting to be put into the Panasonic SC-HC40 for a spin down memory lane. That is exactly what the WWE has done for me. They understand that the show they air now will never include me as a viewer, and inconceivably they have figured out how to keep me as a customer. They keep releasing slick-packaged, well put together 3-disc sets of my youth. WWE DVD is making sure that I am a customer for life. One release at a time...
(I also have a cooler with all the SummerSlams not pictured)
Finally, we are up to date. You have an understanding when it comes to my love/hate relationship with the company that Vince and Hulk built. So now, we can move onto the job for tonight. I am going to attempt to keep my emotions in check and write a live blog as I watch the new DVD (pictured all the way at the top) for the first time. Here we go...
The True Story of WrestleMania
The first cool thing of the night is that this is the first WWF Blu-Ray I have ever bought. The picture on the front cover of Vince in the ring with the WM banner hanging behind him is perfect. The blow case opens to reveal a disc on both sides of the case. There is no insert related to the disc-set however they were kind enough to include a miniature movie poster of Triple H's new blockbuster, The Chaperone.
1:15 AM: I inserted Disc 1 into the PS3 and sat through a trailer for a Bobby Heenen DVD I already have, and another trailer for a set that proclaims to count down the Top 50 Superstars of All-Time. They do such a bad job with the ordering that I wish that I didn't own that set as well. The menu for the DVD gives you the option to PLAY, scroll through CHAPTERS, skip to the MATCHES, or prompt you to take a SURVEY. I clicked on this option first hoping to be able to take the survey right on the television. The bummer is that clicking on SURVEY only pops up a menu that alerts you of a website where a survey could be taken when you're not busy. Cool WM highlights loop as you decide to make a selection. I picked PLAY.
1:21 AM: Sean Michaels is the first wrestler to comment on the documentary. The first few minutes of the documentary are used to try and explain how big WrestleMania is. I am pleased to hear Hogan's voice. I know Hogan and Vince have their battles but this story could not be told without Hulk Hogan being involved.
1:26 AM: Vince and a few others explain the ancient practice of territorial wrestling and how Vince McMahon Jr ignored over 100 years of tradition to kill the territories. Rock and Wrestling and the WWF becoming a part of pop culture could be one of the biggest upsets of the 80's. Of course, Danielson scoring with Ali with an I will always be the ultimate upset in the 1980's. Andy Warhol, Cindi Lauper, Danny DeVito, and MR T. (amongst others) were the key clogs in the Rock n Wrestling project becoming a success and forcing Hulk Hogan and the WWF an accepted part of pop culture.
1:31 AM The Fink says that he came up with the name after thinking about how The Beatles referred to their explosion as BeatleMania so he suggested the explosion of the WWF should be called WrestleMania.
1:33 AM: WM1 was considered a huge risk. Many people thought that if the event failed the WWF would go out of business. The event was available only on Closed-Circuit TV. They show a cool behind the scenes shot of Vince explaining to Hulk and Mean Gene how the broadcast would work.
1:36 AM: Over 1 million viewers watched WM 1 on Closed-Circuit TV and was considered a grand success,
1:38 AM: The documentary explains how WM2 would take place in 3 separate venues. 1 hour in New York, 1 hour in Chicago, and 1 hour in Las Angelas. The main event in Chicago was a battle royal that featured WWF wrestlers and NFL players.
1:40 AM: WM2 was also a Closed-Circuit TV event. It didn't work in Pittsburgh.
1:43 AM: Time to talk about the greatest wrestling event of all time. WM3 WM3 took place in the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan. The Silverdome was sold for $583.000 in 2009.
1:47 AM: According to the documentary over 90,000 tickets were sold a week before the event and it was declared a sell out. The ring was elevated 1.5 to help people in the upper levels see the ring.
1:51 AM: 93, 173 was the announced attendance.
1:55 AM: "Hogan and Andre sold the event. Two individuals, Steamboat and Savage stole the event." -WWF Executive
1:58 AM: I am a little surprised they didn't spend much time discussing the Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware match at WM3.
2:00 AM: They skip ahead to WM23, also held in Detroit, also with record breaking attendance (for Ford Field), and also with celebrities. This time instead of the celebrities were in the matches. Instead of Steamboat vs Savage or Hogan vs. Andre, WM23 had Trump vs Vince???? I am really disappointed I missed that.
2:05 AM: The documentary smoothly transitions back to the 80's by discussing the business relationship that Trump and Vince have can be traced back to Trump bringing WM4 to Atlantic City. This was the first WM to be available exclusively on PPV. The skip over the action in WM4 because it sucked. I still want to choke whoever booked that tournament. It is maybe for another column, but if I would have booked WM4, it would have been the greatest event of all time.
2:08 AM: I am not sure what happened to WM5, but we are in Canada and Jesse is raving about the Ultimate Challenge. Edge mentions he was in the building and the documentary finds him in the stands. Patt Patterson says he witnessed the Warrior weeping after winning both titles.
2:10 AM: For the second time the documentary skips to a later WM at the same venue. The first time in Toronto the building was split between Hogan and Warrior. In WM 17 the crowd was split between Hogan and Rock.
2:11 AM: Someone says, "I think Hulk built WM." Really, you think? This same executive probably thinks Tiger Woods made golf more popular. The DVD is doing a good job highlighting the face that Hulk Hogan is such an important part of Wretlemania's past and present.
2:13 AM: Slaughter says that hogan told Vince he wouldn't work WM7 unless he worked with SGT. Slaughter. Really? I don't buy it.
2:15 AM: They will never say on this documentary, but was the venue changed for WM7 because of security or poor ticket sales?
2:17 AM: Seems like a good time for me to list my top 5 WM matches. My list only includes matches in WM1-WM14
- Steamboat vs Savage WM3
- Brett Hart vs Owen Hart WM10
- Brett Hart vs, Stone Cold WM13
- Bulldogs vs. Dream Team WM2
2:20 AM: A few talking heads are discussing how the WWF dropped the ball by not having a Hogan vs. Flair main event at WM8. Mean Gene called it a "so-so" WM.
2:21 AM: There is some really cool behind the scens footage documenting the setup for WM9 outside of Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bret Hart asks, "Where are the girls? There was supposed to be girls here.
2:23 AM: I would love it if anyone just blurted out, "Look WM9 sucked harder than any WM before and any WM after."
2:24 AM: Instead, we quickly move to WM10. The documentary points out that WM 1, 10, and 20 all took place in the famed Madison Square Garden.
2:28 AM: Fan Fest talk has me zoning out and thinking it is time for another list. How about the worst 5 matches between WM1-WM14
- Lawrence Taylor over Bam Bam Bigelow, WM11
- The Undertaker over Giant Gonzalez, WM9
- Doink the Clown over Crush, WM9
- King Kong Bundy over Special Delivery Jones WM1
- Butch Reed over Koko b. Ware, WM3
2:28 AM: Moving very fast now, the doc talks about including The Hall of Fame into the WM week. This Hall of Fame is a joke since Pete Rose is a member but Savage isn't.
2:30 AM: Vince refuses to admit that booking Lawrence Taylor into the main event of WM11 was the biggest joke of all time. He says instead that the athleticism of Mr. Taylor helped make the gamble pay off.
2:31 AM: I like the Iron Man Match, but it is overrates. 60 Minutes, 0 falls. Gorilla making up rules, sloppy finish.
2:33 AM: They take a minute to acknowledge just how important the Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold WM13 match was.
2:34 AM: Tripple H makes an astute statement, "Hogan built WM, Austin saved WM."
2:35 AM: Mike Tyson being a part of WM14 was debated heavily by the WWF executives. Tyson brought the mainstream media back to the WWF. Not since Hulk Hogan donned the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1985.
2:36 AM; I never want to see anyone hurt, but Tyson did a terrible job with the jab to Michaels jaw. He is also a very awkward counter.
2:44 AM: Almost an hour and a half into the documentary one of the most important people in the history of WM, Jesse Ventura, makes his first appearance to talk about how celebrities have been to the event.
2:47 AM: The triangular ladder match? It seems pretty awesome. JR sells it like a champion. Edge and Christian are underrated. I might get a set featuring their matches and check some out. I like the way they work.
2;49 AM: Astrodome record for WM X-Seven
2:50 AM: When was the last time WM was in an arena. They do an amazing job filling these huge stadiums.Will they humble themselves and have WM30 at the Garden or will they have it in Giant Stadium.
2:52 AM: This documentary is dragging. Time to wrap it up boys.
2:53 AM: Time to stroke the ego of HBK. My favorite HBK moment at a WM was at WM5 when he got squished by Akeem.
2:56 AM: WM20- NY, WM21 LA, WM22 Chicago - Very cool. Vince says after Chicago- Stadiums only.
2:57 AM: The wrestlers debate stadium vs arena for the ultimate WM venue. Some say stadium and some say Arena.
3:00 AM: This is still going?
3:01 AM: WrestleMania goes Hollywood. Tickets sold out in 1:15 seconds?
3:03 AM: John Cena is being compared to Hulk Hogan. Talk to me when Cena makes a film as good as No Holds Barred.
3:04 AM: Vince says, "America the Beautiful is majestic and so is Wrestlemania."
3:06 AM: Saliva performed at a WM and this documentary would have been a sham if they didn't take the time to recognize that. I would like to thank the producers for fitting it in.
3:08 AM: In Orlando, the WWF had to decide between a 14,000 seat arena or the Citrus Bowl. They went for the Cirus Bowl and dumped millions and millions (their words) to make the venue presentable for the event.
3;10 AM: Floyd Mayweather beat The Big Show by Knockout in a NO DQ match? I am sorry I missed that.
3:12 AM: When are they going to talk about when Chris Benoit won the WWF Championship at a WM?
3:13 AM: WM25, I could be wrong but I think I watched this. If not, I need to check out the HBK vs. Undertaker match. It seems bad ass. I wonder if it's on one of the HBK DVD's I own.
3:16 AM: I just checked and Undertaker vs. HBK at WM25 is on the My Journey DVD that I have. Sweet.
3:17 AM: The WWF equivalent to the 56 game hit streak is Undertaker's undefeated streak at WM. Great debate, should it end or should it go on forever? Personally, I hope it goes on forever. Unless they bring back Steve Keirn to resurrect the Skinner character, I can't think of anyone worthy of breaking it.
3:20 AM: It seems like they are winding this down. I missed whatever they said about WM26 but I'm sure it was as good as round, firm. real, tits.
3:21 AM: Triple H didn't get as much airtime as I thought he might.
3:22 AM: Narrator: "Wrestlemania is a showcase of the immortals." The picture fades to black.
- Overall I give the Documentary a B-. They could have focussed way more of the information on tidbits we didnt know and less of what we already know (like who won the Jake the Snake v Honkey Tonk match at WM3).
- Not enough Jesse Ventura. The story suffers. He was in the booth for the first 8 of these. It didn't make sense to not use him at all until quote 2/3 in about celebrities.
- Where was Hulk Hogan? He didn't say much either.
- Donald Trump should have got his head shaved bald.
- Imagine how awful it would have been if the internet was around to spoil the winner of Steamboat v. Savage.
- The next time I write about Wrestling, I will be re-booking WM4, and you will be amazed how great it could have been.
- I am too tired to edit this. Take the typos as they are and I will fix them when I wake up tomorrow.
- Say goodnight Brees