Derek Burgan reviews
Extremely Crazy Wrestling Fans
Produced by www.ExtremeFanz.com
On June 12, 2005 I traveled down to New York City to enjoy what would
later be referred to as The Greatest Day of Wrestling in My Life. The day started early my friends, as I had to make a four
and a half hour drive from White Trash, New Hampshire all the way into the big city. I had to be there early in order to meet
Purosesu Power Hour's own Keith Lipinski (himself flying in from Chicago on no sleep himself after working at a bar all night)
and catch the Ring of Honor show the Future is Now. That is one DVD I highly recommend to check out with a sweet Roderick Strong vs. CM Punk match
up as well as an INTENSE battle between Austin Aries and Low Ki.. After ROH, it was a brisk walk over a couple blocks to the
Hammerstein ballroom, home of the final ECW PPVs as well as the very early years of Monday Night Raw. We got straight in line
for ECW One Night Stand. This was not just an ordinary wrestling line though, this was an epic line. A line that seemed
to stretch forever and quite possibly never end. Well, it did end, I know that because we were at the back of it.
The line itself was like a museum of old ECW t-shirts worn by fans, workers, writers and everyone else who came to pay their final respects to ECW. Luckily, halfway through the wait to get in, Keith figured out our tickets allowed us to skip the line and get right into the building. Yes, to say we were idiots would be a massive understatement, but once inside the Hammerstein everything changed. From the moment I stepped into the arena it was like no place I had been to on Earth. There was an overwhelming feeling of electricity and emotion that I had never encountered before at a wrestling show, or any type of event for that matter. For God's sake the fans were starting huge chants before the cameras were even turned on! Why? Because as history has show time and again, ECW fans are crazy.
And what a group of fans they were. How could this small wrestling company survive without these loyal 18-45 men with huge amounts of disposable income? ECW was all about the fans! These mofo's are what kept the going as long as it did and, by the way, notice there really isn't that type of company loyalty since ECW folded. Well, ROH has a little, but even that's nowhere close. I use the term crazy in the best possible use of the word, as watching a wrestling show with ECW fans is like nothing else you can imagine. I've almost worn through my VHS copy of WWE's Canadian Stampede PPV and each time I watch that show I am amazed at the crowd heat. Little did I know that at One Night Stand I would be part of a crowd that would make the Canadian Stampede fans look like that Tacoma crowd that had to watch Buff Bagwell versus Booker T to start the debacle known as the WCW InVasion. These ECW fans were passionate, and vocal, throughout the entire show. I was caught up in the atmosphere to the point where I couldn't talk for a full day after the show as I had lost my voice.
The new DVD Extremely Crazy Wrestling Fans takes a documentary-style look at these people who stand in line for hours before a wrestling show, who bring weapons to the show for the wrestlers to use, and who come up the most insane chants you will ever hear. Taped the very same weekend I was at One Night Stand, this documentary takes place the day of Hardcore Homecoming, an ECW reunion promoted by Jeremy Borash and Shane Douglas. Outside of the famous ECW Arena (now ridiculously called the New Alhambra, which to me is no different from the world champion Chicago White Sox now playing in US Celluar Field instead of Comisky Park), this documentary talks to many fans in line for the show.
There's actually several fans on this DVD that I clearly remember seeing at One Night Stand, one in particular. This one girl sat directly in front of me at One Night Stand. She reminded me of that girl Lollipop from TNA and was wearing a tight fitting, and strategically cut, ECW T-shirt. I remember thinking that she had to be a paid escort for the goof ball she was with as there is no way a girl like that would be with a wrestling fan. A wrestling fan that brought his own belt to the show, natch!
Well, I was wrong.
Not only was that blonde with the goof ball, she's MARRIED TO HIM! This girl gets a lot of time in front of the camera during the DVD and explained how she became a wrestling fan as well as how she met her boyfriend. Obviously the camera man was infatuated with this woman, and I for one don't blame him. In fact, this whole DVD should have just been following this blonde around for the entire weekend.
The DVD instead asks many fans in line how they became ECW fans, who their favorite wrestlers were, what their favorite ECW moment was, and questions of that nature. I need to put the following delicately as there undoubtedly will be many of these same fans reading this review. Some of these fans were, well, how do I say this?
I think I got it.
Yes, I definitely have got.
Have you ever heard of the famous short film Heavy Metal Parking Lot? Well, this DVD is the wrestling version of that film. No, I'm not kidding. You will see just about every type of wrestling stereotype played out in front of your eyes by real people. These are not professional actors. These are fans who obviously aren't concerned about trivial things like physical appearance or proper grooming. The type of fans who think it is perfectly normal to wear more than one replica wrestling belt to a show. The sort of individual who sees nothing out of the ordinary with a line make-up of 200 men to every
You will encounter all sorts of personalities throughout the DVD, but by far and away my favorite are the fans who desperately try to come across as elitist pricks. As if they are lowering themselves by standing in line with the unwashed matches. These are they type of guys who have a full wardrobe of wrestling t-shirts, undoubtedly have wrestling action figures and a wall of wrestling DVDs sitting at home, have no girlfriend, yet feel the need to look down on others within the line. This is the type of fan I mocked with my Kobashi vs. Joe guest editorial a while back.
"If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." – Friedrich Nietzsche
I liked listening to the stories of people saying how far they had traveled to ECW shows and reliving their favorite memories, such as The Night the Line was Crossed. The passion of these fans came through loud and clear. I've told the story in my of my ROH DVD reviews that when I made my first trip to Philadelphia to see an ROH show, there was no way in hell I was going back to New Hampshire without getting a glimpse of the ECW Arena. It would be like going to France and not seeing the Eiffel Tower or watching a porn film without a money shot. The biggest problem of the DVD is that there isn't enough of that passion and instead there are too many fans trying to get themselves over by shooting promos. There is one couple in the DVD, on their honeymoon no less, and they display everything that is right about the DVD. I'm not even sure the husband was actually a wrestling fan, but when the woman talked she spoke about what drew her to wrestling, why she became a fan of ECW and things that every person could relate to. Unfortunately, right after her would be some jackass screaming into the camera about how they are going to be a wrestler one day.
There is one actual ECW worker interviewed on this disc and that is the incomparable Bill Alfonso. Fonzie doesn't have a ton of screen time, but he will always be The Man in my book as the all time greatest heel manager in wrestling. The only person even close to being "in the business" is a kid who works for Ringside Collectibles. Now that's a company I can behind thanks to their never ending supply of wrestling figures, such as this great Kamala one. They also did the surreal Ultimate Warrior shoot interview DVD I reviewed a while back.
In between the interviews, the DVD is full of wrestling clips using ECW wrestlers from matches in various independent promotions. Sandman, Raven, Shane Douglas and Sabu are the wrestlers mostly used in these clips, although I marked out to see clips from a three way match between Tracey Smothers, CM Punk and Chris Candido as well as a battle between Punk and Raven.
The DVD must have been shot with full approval of Hardcore Homecoming, because near the end there is an extended clip of the main event match with Terry Funk vs. Sabu vs. Shane Douglas in a no rope barbed wire match. In fact, I am CONVINCED that this match also has the original Don Callis commentary, something that was cut from the retail DVD release because Callis couldn't re-record his commentary after the show when they realized they would have to mute all those "ECW" chants thanks to the petty and insecure 800 pound gorilla known as WWE Legal.
After the airing of the Hardcore Homecoming main event, we then got to go outside the ECW Arena after the show to see what the fans thought. This was actually more entertaining as most were completely BOMBED by this point. One kid, trashed out of his mind, began repeatedly himself over the head with his commemorative chair. Although guy, and you're gonna love this, was PISSED OFF that the people in front of him would keep standing up during the show as well as chanting. So get this, the guy was throwing stuff at people to get them to sit down. One of the things he threw ended up hitting Terry Funk, causing security to kick the kid out of the building. Well, this kid and his friends COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED. A true outrage! Truly hysterical, especially when he kept yelling about how much he paid for his seat. For the most part though, everyone interviewed came out saying it was the greatest show they had ever been to in their life. I know everyone I talked to who went to the show said it was a truly amazing experience, with many saying it was better than One Night Stand.
Bonus: There are two full length matches included in the bonus features. The first is Raven vs. The Franchise Shane Douglas and the second is New Jack vs. Balls Mahoney.
Overall Thoughts: I'm not sure if the average wrestling fan will enjoy this DVD, but I think that psychotically obsessed ECW fans like myself can, at the very least, show this DVD to our girlfriends and say, "look how good you got it!." I think the comparison to Heavy Metal Parking Lot is an appropriate one, as it is a unique look at a subculture of obviously devoted fans who don't give one damn what the world thinks about them or the sport they love. One negative is the sometimes bizarre-editing, in which you see almost the exact same interview played just minutes after you first saw it with just a few added seconds put onto it. The DVD's main feature also runs less than an hour, although I'm not sure how many people would be begging for a Peter Jackson-like extended cut of more interviews. It is hard to beat the price though, I mean c'mon, under 10 bucks? And did I mention the amount of screen time the blonde gets?
If you would like to check out this DVD CLICK HERE! or head on over to www.Highspots.com and check out all the other DVDs they have to offer. In the area of ECW documentaries, may I suggest Forever Hardcore: Directors Cut? Still the only rasslin' DVD with none other than DEREK BURGAN~!'s name on the back of the box.
Special Thanks to Keith Lipinski for his help with this review.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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.).