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5 DVD REVIEWS W/ DEREK BURGAN~!

RF Video Shoot Interview with Al Snow - What a wonderful surprise this one turned out to be. I've always liked Al Snow, but I went into this shoot not expecting much and was totally blown away. So much so that I probably would put this up in my Top Ten of all time. Al Snow doesn't have the gimmicks, like an Iron Sheik or Honky Tonk Man, and doesn't make you laugh hysterical as he's going off on someone, like a Jim Cornette, but he is just a great guy at expressing himself. One thing Snow made sure to point out was that he was only doing this shoot to make up for an earlier shoot he did with RF Video ten years prior. Snow said he felt "embarrassed" by what he said on the previous interview and personally went up to Vince McMahon at a WrestleMania in California to apologize. Snow is pissed off that people still ask him about that shoot and felt that he needed to make amends because of it. All I could think about is how much I now wanted to see that earlier shoot. Snow also said he felt like a jackass for what he said in the movie Beyond the Mat, although to be fair, I don't even remember Snow being in that film so it couldn't have been that bad.

You're going to get just an awesome explanation of how the wrestling business works in this shoot, including the first ever description of why all wrestlers shake hands before the show that fully satisfied me. I used to think that was one of the weirdest things I've ever heard of, but Snow repeatedly tells how important it is, and why it's important in such a way that I now have no problem with it whatsoever. But what you are going to love the most, at least I did, is the interplay between Snow and interviewer Rob Feinstein. I'm sure after this shoot Rob might be hesitant to ever answer a question again because just about every time Snow asked Rob something about wrestling, Rob's answer was 180 degrees away from what Snow was looking for. If Snow was out to be a complete jerk, this would have been uncomfortable to watch, but Snow's great personality made this a lot of fun and I had some true laugh out moments, especially when Snow grilled Feinstein on what the term "highspot" really means.

The shoot covers everything in Snow's career from the time he left ECW as a main eventer to today, and includes discussion on his failed return to WWE, being part of Tough Enough, and training wrestlers with Jim Cornette in OVW. The broader look at the wrestling business as a whole is the draw though, and it's very interesting to compare how Al Snow looks at what a wrestling match needs to accomplish, and what other wrestlers say in their shoots. I'm not sure I agree with Al on everything, but he makes a strong case for all his arguments. Snow's humility on his career is very refreshing as he went back to the same theme that it was his fault that his career never went to the heights that it should of and that he ultimately failed in every opportunity he was given because he didn't see "the big picture," and this even includes his time in ECW. I especially enjoyed listening to Snow explained how he cut his own throat in his first match back with WWE as Snow let Grandmaster Sexay talk him into a finish that cut his own legs out from under him. A fantastic DVD that I couldn't recommend more and it leaves me salivating for a Face Off or Ultimate Insiders with Al Snow and Mick Foley. It also gives RF Video a shockingly good year for shoot DVDs as they quietly have been putting out solid interviews with guys like Chris Masters and Joey Matthews, two guys I never in a million years would believe I'd enjoy watching a shoot with. CLICK HERE to get your copy of RF Video's shoot interview with Al Snow.

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla SELLS OUT - This might be the no-brainer of all no-brainers. Three discs of very good to great wrestling featuring some of the best workers in the world for a dirt cheap price. How the hell can you beat that? The DVD also contains one of the coolest covers you going to see anywhere, which also gets bonus points from me as well. The only negative? There is no match listing on the cover or inside the box, which I found unfathomable. Can you imagine going to a CD store and buying a best of CD by any band and not having a track listing? That said, we're going to include the match list here so even that minor complaint can be erased. Here's what we got:

Disc One: 1. "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe (From The Musical), 2. "Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce vs. "The Future" Frankie Kazarian in a PWG World Championship Steel Cage Match (The Reason For The Season), 3. CM Punk vs. Super Dragon (The Reason For The Season), 4. "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs. Jack Evans (Free Admission, Just Kidding!), 5. Samoa Joe vs. Super Dragon ( All Nude Revue), 6. AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe ( All Star Weekend Night 1, 7. AJ Styles vs. James Gibson (Guitarmageddon)

Disc 2: 8. Arrogance ("Photogenic" Chris Bosh & Scott Lost) vs. Aerial Xpress (Quicksilver & Scorpio Sky) in a PWG Tag Team Title Match – Titles vs. Masks (2nd Anniversary Weekend Night 1), 9. El Generico, Jack Evans, Frankie Kazarian, & Super Dragon vs. Scott Lost, Ricky Reyes, Davey Richards, & Joey Ryan (2nd Anniversary Weekend Night 1), 10. Super Dragon vs. "Mr. Wrestling" Kevin Steen in a Guerrilla Warfare Match (Astonishing X-Mas), 11. Super Dragon & Davey Richards vs. Jack Evans & Roderick Strong in a PWG World Tag Team Title Match (Hollywood Globetrotters), 12. Joey Ryan vs. B-Boy in a PWG World Championship Steel Cage Match (Threemendous), 13. CIMA vs. El Generico (2006 Battle of Los Angeles Night 3), 14. El Generico vs. "The Man That Gravity Forgot" PAC (All Star Weekend 4 Night 2)

Disc 3: 15. Joey Ryan vs. Human Tornado in a PWG orld Championship Title Guerrilla Warfare Match (Based on a True Story), 16. PAC vs. Kevin Steen (Holy Diver Down), 17. Kaz Hayashi vs. PAC (All Star Weekend 5 Night 2), 18. CIMA vs. Bryan Danielson (DDT4 Night 1), 19. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. PAC & Roderick Strong in a PWG World Tag Team Title Match (DDT4 Night 2), 20. PAC & Roderick Strong vs. El Generico & Kevin Steen in a PWG World Tag Team Title Match (Giant-Size Annual #4), 21. El Generico vs. Bryan Danielson in a PWG World Championship Title Match (Giant-Size Annual #4)

Where are you going to find that many good matches in one collection? AJ Styles! Samoa Joe! James Gibson! Super Dragon! Jack Evans! El Generico & Kevin Steen! Bryan Danielson! Human Tornado! The list just goes on and on and it's sick. The match quality rivals Ring of Honor (in fact many people think of PWG as ROH's west coast equivalent) and this release even keeps the theme of self-mocking that PWG is known for. Sometimes I think the company is too cute by half with their show names (and that's being generous) but when they are on, there is no one better. Their production on DVDs blow away anyone outside of WWE/TNA and, teamed with Big Vision Entertainment, this is no exception. I loved the little snippets of action you could watch just on the menu screens. Great wrestlers. Great matches. NINE HOURS OF CONTENT. Run out and get this one as soon as you can. CLICK HERE to get your copy.

TNA: Best of 2007 - This was a good release from TNA that probably borders on great if you are a huge fan of the company. It alternates between seven of the company's biggest matches of '07 and handing out awards, such as "Best Finisher" or "Best TNA Knockout." The DVD is hosted by The Voice (Barry Scott), and we actually get about one thousand close-ups of Scott's mouth. It looked like all of Scott's stuff was shot at Guantanamo Bay, in a dingy cell with a light bulb constantly swinging behind him. Yes, swinging. The way the awards were handed out was okay, as Scott would announce the Top Five and each one would get a soundbyte from a TNA personality putting it over, such as Christian Cage talking about the effectiveness of Kurt Angle's Olympic Slam. The matches include: 1. Kurt Angle vs. Sting (Bound for Glory)
2. LAX vs. XXX (Elix Skipper & Senshi) in an Ultimate X match (Bound For Glory)
3. Kaz vs. Christian Cage (Genesis)
4. James Storm vs. Chris Harris (Sacrifice)
5. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christian Cage vs. Chris Harris in a King of the Mountain match (Slammiversary)
6. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe (Hard Justice)
7. Rhino vs. AJ Styles in an Elevation X match (Destination X)

Some decent matches there, although for every one that I really enjoyed, such as LAX against XXX, we got a goofy scaffold match featuring AJ Styles vs. Rhino. To be fair, TNA's scaffold match is a thousand times better than any other scaffold match. I'm not a big fan of Kaz at all, but his ladder match with Christian was pretty damn good. The reaction Sting got at Bound for Glory was pretty damn shocking to experience again. If you have all the TNA DVDs you can skip this one, but on it's own it's not that bad of a watch all things considered. CLICK HERE to get your copy of Best of TNA 2007.

TNA fans might also want to check out the latest edition of the Spin Cycle, the FANTASTIC new TNA on IGN video, and my own TNA Impact video game preview. While not perfect, there certainly are a lot of things to look forward to concerning TNA right now.

So Cal Pro Wrestling: MARCH MADNESS - I'm always on the look out for new stuff, and I was recently sent this DVD by F4W's Kid Zombie, host of the Rubber Guard Radio program. The company is called So Cal Pro Wrestling and they operate out of Oceanside, California. I actually used to live in So Cal as a kid and got a chance to go back for a week's vacation a couple of years ago to check out the world famous San Diego Comic Con. Other than maybe Hawaii, there is no better place in America to live. The weather is just fantastic, especially compared to Florida (where I live now) in which the same 90 degrees somehow feels like Africa Hot. The DVD I was sent, March Madness, doesn't have many stars (outside of Adam Pearce and the Ballard Brothers), but it is a fun indy show, not unlike the shows that The Emperor Bryan Alvarez wrestles on all around the country.

One aspect that I really enjoyed on this DVD was the play-by-play announcers, and I'm not sure he ever gave his name. He had a latino flavor and balanced humor and calling the action perfectly. This is horrible out of context, and isn't a good representation of him, but I was dying when he said, "we were told that only gays have long hair." The matches themselves are your fan friendly indy variety that mix standard "independent wrestling" with a lucha touch. You know what you are getting into right away when babyface Johnny Goodtime came to the ring for the first match with a Twister game mat. Both Goodtime and his opponent Brandon Cutler looked very good in their match. The second match had the Ballard Brothers, who I last saw in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, in tag team action against El Bandido & Matt Twisted. Match three was "Lucha Libre Tag Team Match" with Pandillero II & Maverick facing off against Mr. Tempest and Eragon. That was followed by a regular tag match with Chimaera & Conde Jr. versus Huracan Negro & Locura. Match five was for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, featuring title holder Adam Pearce against Ricky Landel. The main event was a Falls Count Anywhere match between fan favorite SoCal Crazy vs. Jason Redondo. This was pretty crazy as the two men brought the battle into the crowd, into a bathroom, and even outside the arena. My favorite spot included Redondo being shoved into a garbage can and SoCal Crazy doing a splash onto him.

The matches were certainly acceptable. There was a bare minimum of non-wrestling skits. The announcing was top notch. And there were one or two guys that really stood out (the opening match guys and SoCal Crazy). If I were living in the San Diego area I think I would definitely be checking these guys out as it seems like a really fun time.CLICK HERE to find out more info on the DVD or head to SoCalProWrestling.com for information on live events.

Guest Booker with Gary Hart: Booking the Dallas territory - Does anyone have a better track record for quality product than KayfabeCommentaries.com? A newcomer to the shoot DVD scene, they've already had some very good to great releases with both their Guest Booker and YouShoot series. The latest release features Gary Hart (who shockingly passed away just two days after filming this DVD) and the Big Concept has him booking the World Class promotion in 1986. Host Sean Oliver also added the following points: for this exercise, World Class did not leave the NWA, Kerry Von Erich did not have the motorcycle accident that took him out of wrestling, and the company would have been able to talk the wrestlers and staff out of going to Bill Watts' promotion.

I think this particular edition of Guest Booker is going to appeal to the hardcore wrestling historian fan more than any of the previous releases. Kevin Sullivan booking the WWF expansion, Gabe Sapolsky booking the ECW re-launch, and Raven booking Kevin Nash & Scott Hall coming to ECW all had their strengths and weaknesses, but none of them had the historical context laid out in the way that Gary Hart explains it. Before doing any booking, Hart explains how all the Texas territories worked, and how Dallas was really the key to them all as Houston and San Antonio really had work with Dallas hand in hand. All of this is covering exhaustively in a section titled "The Territory," and even has a ton of little small details, such as it being cheaper to fly than drive at the time because of the small company Southwest Airlines that was offering cheap flights. Hart explained how the NWA worked with the various booking offices, what it took to get the NWA champion to a particular territory as well as what happened to that territory if their wrestler became the NWA champion. The Keith Lipinski and Linden Walker-type of wrestling fans are going to treasure this DVD.

We are then shown the roster that Hart has chosen to work with, and the various titles he needs to keep in mind when booking. This includes the six man championship (which I remember thinking was bigger than any singles title when I was a kid rushing home to watch World Class on ESPN) and the "brass knuckles" championship. Hart and Oliver are meticulous with their notes and the on-screen graphics make it easy to follow along as Hart booked six months of World Class leading up to a big "Star Wars" supercard. Describing it here wouldn't do it justice, but it's safe to say that everything Hart did made complete sense and you could see the big picture come together one step at a time. All the big names of the era are used, including the Von Erichs, Bruiser Brody, Iceman Parsons, Chris Adams, and Kabuki, not to mention the various people that Hart would bring in from other promotions such as the Road Warriors.

A nice touch on this Guest Booker were several "behind the scenes" bits in which Hart would tell stories that had nothing to do with World Class. There is a great Don Jardine story, along with a long explanation of why Hart wasn't a fan of Paul Heyman's ECW at all (ECW made it seem like anyone could be a wrestler, filled with highspots for no reason, etc). One of the most reasonable men talking about wrestling, it's a shame that the world lost Gary Hart, but we were lucky that there has been a small tribute to World Class over the past few years or I definitely wouldn't have appreciated him to the level he has earned. Both the incredible Heroes of World Class DVD and WWE's Triumph and Tragedy of World ClassDVD had Hart as the highlight. He's open, honest, and, more than anyone, is able to get across how heartbreaking it is to have outlived so many men who were in that company. Hart also makes this DVD a pleasure to watch and it's highly recommended. CLICK HERE to get your copy of KayfabeCommentaries.com's Guest Booker with Gary Hart.

"F&%$ it! We're going live!" SNEAK PREVIEWS of upcoming DVDS~!

Ultimate Hardys Collection - Here's a new one coming out from Big Vision Entertainment that takes an idea that is used regularly by mainstream DVD companies. This new four disc set collects the three disc Ultimate Insiders with the Hardy Boys (hosted by Wade Keller) and adds in a fourth disc previewing the upcoming OMEGA: Uncommon Passion DVD being released by BVE. You know how much I love covers, and this is a great one. If you haven't already seen the original UI DVDs, then this collection is a must have. Keller, which his PWTorch pedigree, is hands down the most prepared host on any shoot interview and – thanks to his radio background – keeps the flow going well. The three discs are separated with one interview solely with Matt, one with Jeff, and one with them together. This was originally shot right after the whole situation went down with Edge and Lita, so you'll get more information on this than you ever believe existed during Wade's one on one with Matt. You get a taste of just how eccentric Jeff is during his solo disc, including the chance to listen to some of Jeff's music. Hardy also says with a straight face that he's never had a drug problem. That's just part of the experience though as Wade guides both of them through their entire careers. During the interview where both Hardys are together, you can really see how much Matt probably controlled their early career paths as he's certainly a "type A" personality who likes to be on top of every situation where Jeff is more of the "play it as it goes" type.

The Life and Times of Mr. Perfect - Man, I can remember those vignettes before Mr. Perfect made his WWF debut like they were yesterday and I can't wait for this one, especially to see more of Hennig's AWA days. Here's what is on both discs: # Disc 1: Documentary: * Perfection * Twin City Origins * Building a Path * AWA * Mr. Perfect * Living up to His Name * Intercontinental Champion * The Prankster * Commentator * WCW * Return to the WWE * A Sudden Tragedy * Hall of Fame * The Perfect Legacy Lives On * "Rap is Crap" Music Video - Matches: * Curt Hennig vs. Eddie Gilbert Madison Square Garden (21/11/82) * Curt Hennig & Scott Hall vs. Steve Regal & Jimmy Garvin AWA Championship Wrestling (26/11/85) * Mr. Perfect Hall of Fame Induction WWE Hall of Fame (31/03/07) - Vignettes * Billiards October 1, 1988 * Golf - Perfect Putt October 1, 1988 * Darts October 8, 1988 * Bowling October 8, 1988 * Chess October 15, 1988 * Basketball October 15, 1988 * Ping Pong October 28, 1989 * Diving November 4, 1989 * Golf - Perfect Drive November 4, 1989 * Horseshoes November 24, 1989 * Baseball with Wade Boggs December 26, 1992 * Football - Perfect Passer with Steve Jordan February 13, 1993 * Basketball with Felton Spencer February 27, 1993 * Hockey with Mike Modano March 13, 1993 * Stories * Curt Loved Karaoke * Lifestyles of Mr. Perfect

# Disc 2 * 60-Minute Time Limit AWA World Heavyweight Championship Match Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkel AWA Championship Wrestling (15/11/86) * Curt Hennig vs. Terry Taylor Commentary By: Michael Cole & Mick Foley WrestleFest (31/07/88 ) * Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart Madison Square Garden (24/04/89) * WWE Championship Match Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan Madison Square Garden (15/01/90) * WWE Intercontinental Championship Match with Special Referee Roddy Piper Mr. Perfect vs. The Texas Tornado Madison Square Garden (24/11/90) * WWE Intercontinental Championship Match Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect SummerSlam (26/08/91) * WWE Intercontinental Championship Match Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels SummerSlam (30/08/93) * Curt Hennig vs. Bret Hart Uncensored (15/03/98). I CAN'T WAIT!! CLICK HERE to pre-order this one.

RF Video shoot interview with Jerry Jarrett - Talk about a doozy, as far as I know this is Jarrett's first shoot and this is a guy who has been EVERYWHERE and knows where a lot of the bodies are buried. After reviewing the History of TNA: Year One DVD, which all but erases Jerry's involvement with the company, andJerry's book detailing the first year of TNA (which gives a wildly different account), I'll be interested to hear his thoughts on TNA in general and his son Jeff in specific. Jarrett was McMahon's right hand man for a period, has held high positions in WCW, and ran of one of the most successful territories of all in Memphis with Jerry Lawler. This is probably the number one shoot on my list of who I've been waiting for outside of guys who will probably never do one like Paul Heyman and Jim Ross. CLICK HERE to get your pre-order in.

Derek Burgan has been reviewing wrestling DVDs, comics, books, and other miscellaneous crap for the Observer/F4Wonline Empire since October 2005. He also writes the wrestling editorial comic strip Drawing Heat and the Gimmick Table for WrestleCrap.com along with being a contributing editor to Number1contender.net. He even has a MySpace page and an archive available! He can be reached at: Derek@gumgod.com

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).