Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


Film Review : Damage starring Stone Cold Steve Austin

October 14, 2009


Film / DVD Review : Damage starring Stone Cold Steve Austin

Reviewed by Steven Wilson of

This past April, Stone Cold Steve Austin was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, capping off a career that left a huge imprint on the world of professional wrestling. Now with his wrestling career behind him, Austin is attempting to launch a new full time career in the acting world.

Austin’s first foray into the movie business was with the WWE when they produced The Condemned in 2007. The film received a mixed reaction and it did not fare well in the box office,  Personally I think the film should of done a bit better than it did, but then again I’m a self admitted Austin mark, Although I have heard others say that about every WWE Film which was released in theaters,so  perhaps it’s a stigma, people see the name WWE Films and they think to themselves this is going to be  some cheesy film made by a bunch of wrestlers. Whether you think The Condemned was a good movie or not, Steve Austin has never been one to quit that easily, so Austin worked out his departure from WWE Films and has set off on his own path, and the first film to be released on that new path is an action flick entitled Damage which wont open in theaters in North America until January, however it has been released on DVD in the United Kingdom.

The film stars Austin as John Brickner, a prison inmate serving  7 years for manslaughter. Brickner apparently choked a man to death and plead guilty.  No, this isn’t The Condemned all over again as 4 and a half years later Austin is granted parole and a new leash on life where he plans to seek redemption for his past acts, This is where The Condemned comparison’s end.

Once out of prison, Brickner stats to put his life back together. Finding a job at the local construction site, he gets little respect and little money.  Soon enough he falls into a second job as a bouncer at the local bar when he stands up for the lead female character Frankie, who is a smoking hot waitress who gets little respect from the patrons of the bar. Brickner’s imposing physique and obvious skill for fighting catches the eye of Frankie (played by Laura Vandervoort)  Soon enough Frankie and friend Reno (played by Walton Goggins) attempt to recruit Brickner into a underground fighting league with promise of major money making potential. Initally Austin’s character shrugs it off as he is attempting to turn over a new leaf. However when the widow of the man Brickner killed contacts him with a way for him to pay his debt to her and her family he quickly finds himself in a situation where he needs money and fast, so  into the underground Brickner heads and allows Austin to do what he does best… Whup some butt!

The film itself is not a blockbuster but plays into Austin’s strengths of being a serious / strong character who can fight. Throughout the movie however you do get a sprinkle of other shades of Austin, the actor. Some moments are comedic, others dramatic. Austin does not come off as a superstar, but shows some potential considering this is only his second film.

The movie could of gone down the road of just being all about the fights but it does not sell itself out completely to that theme, instead It opens up just enough to have a story around the actual fight scenes and makes for an enjoyable film.

In regards to the fight scenes they are action packed and action film fans get their dose so to speak as the blood does spill in a variety of different fight scenarios as Austin climbs the ladder of the underground fight scene.

Overall I enjoyed this film for what it is, An independent action film that attempts to tell a story while also giving the action marks what they came for. I think it is slightly better then The Condemned movie because of the fact that it provides more depth around the main subject than the condemned did. I am somewhat surprised that the film has been released on DVD in one part of the world months before it is slated to hit theaters in another. In this day and age that can and will hurt box office business whether it be because of downloads or those paying for duty and shipping fees to have it right away. I think the film is worthy of checking out on DVD but might be a pass when it comes to theatrical viewing but im not a movie industry expert so ill leave that up to them.

Austin is scheduled for a role in The Expendables next summer which stars Sylvester Stallone, he also has a role in a action thriller entitled The Stranger in which an FBI agent is on the chase for a important material witness in a ongoing investigation. Both these roles could be huge steps for Austin’s film career, meanwhile Damage is film that should be regarded as a learning step for Austin as he begins to expand his acting abilities


DVD Review : Timeline – The history of the WWE : 2000

August 13, 2009


Reviewed by Steven Wilson of

The year 2000 was quite the busy one for the WWE. It would turn out to be the final full year of the Monday Night Wars, and the company was in the midst of an expansion that would see the opening of its own restaurant, the launch of its very own radio show, and even an announcement of plans for what would turn out to be a short lived football league.

Meanwhile on the wrestling side of things, Triple H, The Rock, Steve Austin and The McMahon’s were ruling the top spots, but one midcarder who was on the rise and would see himself involved with some of those big names by year’s end was none other than Rikishi.  So who better to host the latest installment of the Timeline DVD series from Kayfabe Commentaries than the big samoan himself as he and Sean Oliver take you on a ride of the history of the WWE in the year 2000.

Rikishi is quite the laid back character who is openly honest with his opinions throughout the DVD while not coming off as someone who is bitter because they find themselves on the outside looking in. When tackling subjects such as his run as the IC champion that year, or his questionable heel turn, the ever changing hardcore championship, or Triple H’s spot in the company, Kishi comes off as genuine as opposed to kayfabey or crybaby. This is always a welcome breath of fresh air on DVD shoot interviews.

The big samoan also touches on Too Cool, the origin of the stinkface, what he thinks of Johnny Ace, jokes about Pat Patterson, and shares his thoughts and memories on the death of fellow samoan family member Yokozuna. He also shares a very interesting story on how he helped former WWE Diva Victoria get her start in the business.

Topics that don’t directly involve Rikishi that are discussed include : The Radicals jumping ship to WWE, Taz winning the ECW title while under WWE contract,  the XFL, and even Goldberg / Gillberg!

It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since the events discussed in this DVD. The Timeline series is a welcome walk down memory lane and Rikishi turned out to be a great host. If you haven’t picked up the first installment with the Honky Tonk Man covering 1987, Id recommend getting both as this series will eventually be a very cool collection to have.

Timeline – The history of the WWE : 2000 is available now from Kayfabe Commentaries. For more information or to order your own copy head on over to


DVD Review : Andy Kaufman’s My Breakfast with Blassie / Im From Hollywood Special Commemorative Edition

April 25, 2009



Reviewed by Steven Wilson of

It has been 25 years since the passing of comedy legend Andy Kaufman, but to this day some question whether or not he faked his own death. While some have refused to accept this unfortunate fact, it was at the far too early age of 35 that Kaufman passed away following a battle with lung cancer. One of his dying wishes was for friend and film director Lynne Margulies to complete and release the I’m From Hollywood documentary that chronicled his time in the wrestling world feuding with women from across the world as well as WWE hall of famer Jerry Legend. Kaufman was proud of his time in the wrestling world and according to Margulies, he considered it one of his greatest accomplishments in his career. Now more than two decades later both of Kaufman’s wrestling classic films are being released on DVD, completely uncut, and packed with bonus features.

It all begins with My Breakfast with Blassie, originally released in 1983. The one hour film see’s Kaufman hop a Hollywood bus en route to a rendez vous with the one and only “King of Men” Freddie Blassie. The two sit down for breakfast in a real life restaurant and discuss life in what is often described as a classic piece of performance art. The footage which was shot over a quarter century ago does show some signs of aging but holds up well enough to be featured on DVD, while the audio is still well intact.

The driving force behind this DVD is the strength of it’s bonus features. For My Breakfast with Blassie, we begin with lost and deleted footage from the film. Director Johnny Legend introduces the 50 plus minutes of footage, which includes alternate takes, outtakes, and raw footage of the shoot. You get to see actual interaction between Kaufman and the crew, and you get a feel  for just how much Kaufman cared about the film.

This is followed up by a feature called “Blassie Graffiti“, It begins with some classic 1960’s black and white footage of Blassie from something called Wrestling Workouts. A interview and short match is shown, which is then followed by director Johnny Legend introducing the footage of Blassie’s match with Ricky Dozan where he lost the world title. Legend then introduces highlights of the Blassie Cage match with Jon Voulis from Los Angeles. The featurette completes with footage of Freddie Blassie shortly before his death, he is at a independent wrestling show, mid ring, singing his infamous pencil neck geek theme song.

A featurette on the director Johnny Legend is next which begins with an appearance on the Art Reiner TV show talking about his relationhip with Andy Kaufman. This is followed by some 1960’s footage of Freddie Blassie hanging out on the beach with some wrestling friends and Johnny Legend. This featurette wraps up with a look in at Legend’s wrestling career as a manager as he lays down a challenge live on the Jon Stewart show, and highlights of the resulting match is then shown.

The plentiful extras continue on with footage from the film’s Hollywood premiere, a photo gallery, and as if that wasn’t enough, it wraps up with a half hour  discussion between co creators Johnny Legend and Linda Lautrec which was filmed shortly before the release of the man on the moon film. The pair discuss the making of the Breakfast with Blassie.

Moving onto Disc 2, Lynne Margulies who is the writer and director of Im From Hollywood provides an introduction to the documentary explaining how the video came about, why Kaufman wanted to make it, and just how much it meant to him.

Celebrities getting involved in wrestling has been seen numerous times over the years but none that I recall got to the level than that of Andy Kaufman.  The feud he had with Jerry Lawler came at a time where kayfabe was still alive and well, people thought it was real. This documentary gives you some prime examples of that as news footage reporting he had been sent to the hospital as a result of a Lawler’s piledriver leads it off and the next hour not only chronicles a legendary feud but also a remarkable career that Kaufman led.  Andy wasn’t politically correct nor did he care to be, his challenges and insults toward women pushed the limits at a time where the idea of being politically correct was only starting to be accepted. Jerry Lawler would eventually poke his nose into Kaufman’s business defending the women Lawler was insulting and assaulting, and this would lead to the feud between the big Hollywood star and the Memphis wrestling legend. It’s wrestling gold from there on, and in my opinion something every wrestling fan should see. Much like breakfast with Blassie the video footage shows its age at times but the audio is still clear.

There is also a plethora of DVD Extras for Im From Hollywood. A feature length commentary from the afformentioned Lynne Margulies kicks it off.  Margulies, who acquired much of Kaufman’s possessions following his passing is also able to offer up some very intriguing pieces for the rest of the extras, including scans of actual letters and photos Kaufman received during his open challenge to women from across the country. Also two full length matchups between Lawler is Kaufman with boxing stipulations are offered both with original audio and alternate commentary.

We then wrap up with a 35 minute Q & A session with Jerry Lawler and Lynne Margulies following a screening of Im from Hollywood at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian theater on November 6th 2007. It is moderated by See No Evil writer Dan Madigan. Lawler gives a lot of insight into exactly how the feud came about and how and why Vince McMahon turned it down at the time.

For the wealth of extras alone this DVD is well worth the 24.98 suggested price tag. Add to that the chance to put these Kaufman classics into your wrestling DVD collection allowing you to relive them time and time again, to me it makes this DVD an absolute must buy. Thank you very much! (for reading)

Andy Kaufman’s My Breakfast with Blassie / Im From Hollywood Special Commemorative Edition will be available on DVD on May 12th. For more information check out or pre order your copy from Amazon, Highspots or wherever you buy your wrestling DVD’s.


DVD Review : The Territory presents … iDOLS DONT EXiST

April 21, 2009


Reviewed by Steven Wilson of

 iDOLS DONT EXiST is the first DVD release from The Territory, which is a weekly California based internet television series that focuses on independent federations in NoCal. In their press materials, The Territory calls itself a “smart show aimed at the smart fan” with the goal of “capturing the impact of being inside the ring by bringing it to the home viewer” via the utilization of the world class apron angle and placement of as many cameras in as many spots as possible. The materials go as far as to say it is comparable to that of Vince McMahon’s presentation minus the 64 man production crew, It then says the product is being presented documentary style, which started to confuse me. Ultimately once I sat down and watched the DVD it would turn out that like many press releases the fluff PR doesn’t always explain exactly what the actual product is. 

The Territory does live up it’s claim of presenting their matches unlike other indy feds in that they offer many more camera angles. The majority of indy fed dvd’s I have seen offer the hard cam and one ringside handheld camera. Does this make The Territory a better presentation than those of the typical indy fed? Well in some ways yes and in some ways no. At times it will offer an excellent angle on something that most others would not of got, while other times it can make you nauseous with the constant movement. Lighting can at times leave something to be desired but to be expected with the Indy scene, however to even try and mention any Indy fed and its filming in the same breath as the WWE and its filming is silly, let’s not go there and instead look at the actual product. 

A 2 Disc set running over 3 hours in length, iDOLS DONT EXiST offers up a slew of violent hardcore blow off matches to various feuds from across the territory. Whether it be a street fight, or something much more insane like a barefoot thumbtack match or Double Hell Cage match, the theme to this DVD is bloodshed and plenty of it. This is a best of release but if you were to watch the show on a regular basis you would get the chance to see the characters in question play heel one week and face another as they tour through various indy feds in the state. 

Disc 1 begins with a interesting intro video giving you the feel that you are entering some sort of war zone, this is probably where the claim of the footage being presented documentary style comes from. The action begins with a 2008 Double Hell Cage Match featuring 7 wrestlers inside 2 rings, 1 surrounded by barbed wire and the other inside a steel cage. It’s safe to say you haven’t seen many matchups like this as it combines a death match with a cage match and ladder match, and in order to win one must get the title down which is hanging in side the caged ring, and then use a ladder in the other ring to hang it up.Vinnie Massaro, Lester The Legend, Timothy Thatcher, Virgil Flynn, Sir Samurai, Double B Double Badd, and Mr Frost compete and To say the least this match sets the tone for the action to come on the DVD. This match is apparently the 2008 match of the year for the territory and is very well done, especially for something that could of ended up as a big mess. 

A Reno city street fight is up next, as bad guy Adam Thornstowe lays down an open challenge which is answered by Mr Prime Time. These two brawl all over the building, nothing overly violent but a decent street fight nonetheless. 

It’s with the next match that violence level gets turned way up as The Honour Society take on Kassy Summers and Timothy Thatcher in a Barefoot Tumbtack match. A pile of thumbtacks begin in the middle of the ring, while plates of hot sauce and rubbing alcohol await on the outside. More thumbtacks are added throughout the match as is lego which leads to a great heel spot where a broom is used to sweep most of this crap out of the ring at one point, but the faces bring out more tacks and quite frankly I can’t imagine enduring the pain that these guys and girl put themselves through, and here I thought only Necro Butcher was that screwed up to do matches like this barefoot. 

A Table match between Rik Luxury and Adam Thornstowe is next, which was part of a best of 7 series between the pair. Fairly straightforward table match in a venue that had some very poor lighting. One of the highlights of disc 1 is a tapei death match between Timothy Thatcher and the Big Ugly. Beyond the glass taped to their fists, lightubes come into play in this match and is a hard fought bloodfest. Disc 1 then wraps up with a 6 man tag match between The Reno Scum and the Cartel which is another match that ends up as a big street fight. 

Disc 2 shows you more of Luxury/Thornstowe’s best of 7 series starting with a Falls count anywhere matchup, and followed up by a steel cage match. The second dvd is headlined by the 7th match between the pair in a 1 hour hardcore iron man match to determine who is the best man in California. It is joined a few minutes in progress but you don’t miss much and is an great send off to what seems to have been a very violent feud, It was voted 2007 match of the year and for the matchups from the series alone this DVD justifies the 14.95 price tag if your into hardcore. 

Extras are limited to a couple of big spot featurettes including a crowd toss and a double foot stomp onto a ref from the top rope. Also included is a complete match between Rik Luxury and Mr Prime Time. 

Looking beyond the initial PR and taking into consideration that your watching an indy wrestling DVD, the bottom line is this is a strong hardcore wrestling dvd release. If you’re a fan of the style then you’ll enjoy this DVD immensely as the action is intense and extremely satisfying for any death match mark out there including myself. If you consider hardcore “garbage wrestling” then steer clear cause you wont be able to handle the brutality of the territory’s most violent matchups.

 iDOLS DON’T EXiST is now available on DVD from The Territory’s official website at 


DVD Review : Ringside With Vader

March 27, 2009


Reviewed by Steven Wilson of

Before Kayfabe Commentaries blew up in 2007 with its innovative line of DVD’s, it was initially known for its audio commentary tracks which featured wrestling legends recording their thoughts and memories from some of their career’s milestone matchups. These commentaries were meant to be listened to while watching the matchups in question. The only problem with that is Vince McMahon wont give up the rights to any footage for independent DVD’s and thus you’d need to find the match in question yourself and then play the tracks over it to get the full effect. Always trying to figure out a way to deliver a innovative new product, the KC crew now offer up the new “Ringside” series which enables you to go into the ring with the wrestling legends. The first participant in the series is the man they call Vader.

As mentioned off the top, Vince McMahon enjoys the monopoly he has on the wrestling footage of the world and thus this DVD is not a best of Vader DVD with alternate commentary, instead we have a specialized shoot interview where Vader sits down with host Sean Oliver and discuss the build, execution and backstage happenings surrounding some of Vader’s biggest matchups. The footage of these matches do play in the background serving as a memory aid for Vader to recall and discuss certain aspects of the matchups.  This fact may draw some criticism from those who are drawn to the title with the idea of acquiring the classic footage, instead your acquiring a solid shoot interview.

The matchups in question spans a decade of Vader’s career touching on his time in Japan, the AWA, WCW, and the WWF. We begin in 1986 in the AWA where Vader was known as Baby Bull and was taking on Bruiser Brody. Vader discusses how he got into the business and his time workingin the AWA and how this time there played a major influence on his career. He also gives an insight on what the AWA-WWE competition was like at the time.

 Big Van Vader debuts in Japan next and takes on Japanese legend Antonio Inoki in 1987. He discusses the origins of the Vader gimmick and the reactions of the Japanese fans.

Third match on the card is Big Van Vader against Hashimoto from 1989 in Tokyo, Japan where he would capture the IWGP title in  a tournament final. Vader discusses about the heat between he and Hashimoto at the time, and the stiff Japanese wrestling style he had to endure to win the tournament.

Fourth match pits Vader against Stan Hansen at the 1990 AJPW/NJPW Super Fight in the Tokyo Dome. Vader discusses how this match cost him more money they he made because of surgeries as a result of it including the one to put his eyeball back in his socket!, He also reveals how and why he got out of the WWF at the time to head back over to Japan for this match.

Fifth match is the clash between Vader and Sting from WCW’s Great American Bash in 1992. Vader discusses how he got into WCW , how well he worked with Sting, what it meant to win the WCW title and also compares the US crowds to the Japanese crowds.

The sixth bout is a handicap affair as Vader takes on Joe Thurman and TA Macoy on a episode of WCW worldwide in 1992. This is the match where Vader broke Thurman’s back while working way to stiff on the kid. Vader discusses the incident in depth, expresses sorrow and is informed by Oliver that not only is Thurman ok now but is also a police office in Georgia.

Seventh match on the card is one of the most infamous matches of Vader’s career, that being the battle between he and Cactus Jack from Munich, Germany in 1994. This match is known for being the match where Mick Foley lost his ear. Vader discusses this incident and also discusses the long drawn European tours and the effect it had on the boys, including how it let to the fight between Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson where Anderson ended up stabbed with a pair of scissors.

Eight match is probably amongst the most widely seen matches of Vader’s career, that being his Summerslam 1996 matchup with Shawn Michaels. Vader discusses the creative differences and incidents that caused him to leave WCW and how it led to him being brought into the WWF. He also offers insight onto Shawn Michaels frame of mind at the time, as it is widely known that Michaels was quite full of himself at the time. Vader also discusses whether or not he was supposed to win the title that night and what would eventually lead to his departure from the WWF.

The match lineup rounds out with a 1994 shoot style fight between Vader and Nobuhiko Takada from Budokan Hall in Japan. Vader discusses how this match came about as he was under contract to WCW at the time, he also gives insight into how much of this fight was a shoot and how much was a work, and much like many wrestlers nowadays Vader discusses whether he could have been a successful MMA fighter.

Sean Oliver’s strength as a host has always been his visible interest in the questions he asks, and the research that was put into them, but the obvious question that I need to address is beyond the shoot interview is the fact that they are watching and at times referencing a match that you can’t see overly distracting? The overall answer is no. The more specific answer would be that at times for 5 to 10 seconds when something specific is referenced that you cant see you may be left saying to yourself man I wish I could see the footage, a prime example of this is when Vader performs a drop kick against Hashimoto, but luckily the flow of the interview is maintained well enough that every time you start to think that, you also begin to forget it because your listening to a new story from Vader. Therefore I’d recommend giving the title a spin and seeing for yourself if it’s your cup of tea, chances are you’ll enjoy it as almost everything put out by Kayfabe Commentaries nowadays is praised by wrestling fans across the board.

Ringside with Vader is now available on DVD from Kayfabe Commentaries. For more information or to order your own copy check out


DVD Review : You Shoot with Kevin Sullivan

March 9, 2009

DVD Review : You Shoot with Kevin Sullivan

Reviewed by Steven Wilson of

The You Shoot DVD series has become so wildly popular that not only has it become apparent that the producers have trouble getting in all the submissions in the allotted time, but even wrestling stars are stepping in to submit questions. This time around the bookerman Kevin Sullivan is in the hot seat facing the barrage of questions, many out of this world, others more obvious, and of course the Benoit tragedy.

This is the third DVD produced by KC featuring Sullivan, the previous 2 covering the end of WCW and fantasy booking the WWF in 1984. This is also the 5th entry in the You Shoot series which has seen a lot of wackiness, and coming off of insane editions with the likes of Sandman and Jamie Dundee, Sullivan is a welcome toning down.

As with previous editions of You Shoot the submissions come from a wide array of characters. The problem here being that as the series continues to grow in popularity, so does some of the poor submissions. Numerous times in this DVD there are questions that are unintelligible and thus have to be skipped over wasting a minute of time as Sullivan either doesn’t know what the hell the individual is talking about or just cant understand a word they are saying. A tip for those out there submitting videos, speak up and at least try to make some sense! Making a joke is one thing, throwing a character into it is another, but saying things that make absolutely no sense is counterproductive. That being said, this edition of You Shoot still contains some entertaining topics and answers. It’s the first that features submissions from other wrestlers, as Missy Hyatt, Nikolai Volkoff, and the Iron Sheik all submit questions.

It was quite obvious that when Sullivan was announced as the featured participant in this edition of You Shoot that a million questions about the Benoit tragedy were going to be submitted. Host Sean Oliver smartly rolls all the questions up into one big ugly ball and allows Sullivan to speak his piece, and for the most part he like many others have, criticizes how the situation was handled by the media and shares some insight on how it affected the rest of the families. Other topics covered include the dungeon of doom and everything WCW, including of course the infamous “feud” between Sullivan and Brian Pillman who coined the phrase bookerman while working the boys in the back leading up to the memorable “shoot” on PPV between the pair.

Also You Shoot’s trademark games return as Sullivan ranks the best bookers of all time, play’s what in the bag and assumes the role of rumour killer as he distinguishes between what infamous wrestling rumours he believes and thinks is total BS. Overall another strong entry from Kayfabe Commentaries who are promising to continue to revolutionize the wrestling dvd market this year with new series featuring big name wrestling stars heading back to ringside to watch and relive some of their biggest matches of their careers, as well as starting a lengthy year by year review of the history of the WWE hosted by a big name star of the time.

You Shoot with Kevin Sullivan is now available on DVD. For more information or to order your own copy check out


DVD Review : The Great Debate 08 – Race vs Sammartino

November 19, 2008


Coming off of the historical presidential race, Kayfabe Commentaries treats us to pro wrestlings version of the presidential debates with The Great Debate 08 Harley Race vs Bruno Sammartino. During which these two legends of the ring sit down to discuss and debate a variety of topics and luckily for the viewer, host / moderator Sean Oliver does not pull a Tom Brokaw as the rules are relaxed with no constraining time limits, allowing for real answers as opposed to rushed or pre written ones, men can take opposing sides or agree on the topics, and no winner is needed, instead the hope is to have the fans be the winner by being entertained witnessing these two men express their ideas on some of the longest standing questions in the pro wrestling world.

The 85 minute debate covers a lot of ground and amongst the questions asked are : Qualities of a great pro wrestling champion?, Can you consider the WWWF championship a real championship at the time compared to the NWA title? Can Ric Flair even be considered as the greatest champion of all time? Who is the greatest champion of all time? Great Heel/Babyface qualities? Harder to become successful heel or face? What does paying your dues mean? Why was Vince Sr. a great wrestling promoter? Great Referees in the business? Greatest Announcers in the business? Do you like the idea of Boxer vs Wrestler matchups?

Certainly for those who grew up and watched these two legends in their heyday your going to want to see this DVD, However if youve seen and heard these men discuss such topics in numerous interviews over the years then this is nothing groundbreaking. For the newer generation of fans this is an interesting watch as it provides for a look in at the territorial days of the NWA and WWWF and serves as a prime example of the differences between today and yesteryear.

The Great Debate 08 Race / Sammartino is available now from Kayfabe Commentaries, For more information or to get your own copy check out, and to read my previous DVD reviews check out