Tuesday, April 19, 2016

REVIEW: Greg Valentine/Tito Santana...My Side of the Story (Kayfabe Commentaries, 2007)

"He didn't care if I hit him hard - that's the way I work. There's no pulling punches because I learned from my dad. That was my style and Tito respected my style. And Tito wasn't that loose either!"

"Every night I wrestled Greg, I told my wife, 'I've had easier street fights.' Greg and I wouldn't hold back. The people believed us. We didn't mind hurting each other."

BEFORE these guys became loyal company mid-carders and slowed their workrate down to a slug-like speed, Tito Santana and Greg Valentine were two of the best workers in the old WWF.
And their feud over the Intercontinental Title in 1984-85 - with Tito seeking revenge after Greg "broke his leg" - was pretty damn good for its time (although to be honest, I missed most of this as I only got into the WWF in 1986 and only saw a few of their bouts on video many years later).
This 100-minute tape goes into detail (a LOT of detail, possibly TOO MUCH DETAIL) about the machinations of the feud: how it came together, how the pair worked with each other in the ring and the backstage politics that threatened to occasionally derail this money-making feud.
Tito comes across as fairly honest, while Greg is more in working mode and the bullshit quotient is much higher, particularly when he tries to put their matches and their feud in context with wrestling history.
One of the top ten feuds of all time, Greg? Mmmmmm.....probably not.
You guys wrestled 30+ minutes every night? In the modern WWF? I say highly unlikely, buddy.
And you mixed things up in the ring opposed to more repetitive wrestlers (in your mind) like Ric Flair? I don't think so, Greg. I always found you a solid-but-slow guy who just did the same old shit in practically every match I saw you in. And you did less and less of it the older you got.
Overall, I feel this DVD is okay but about 40 minutes too long. It really drags at times.
Tito vs Greg was a good feud (probably great by WWF standards in 1985), but does it merit THIS much attention? I say NO. Maybe it's because both guys went on to become mid-card (and even opening card) scrubs over the next eight years. Maybe if they'd remained superstars, then I could look back on their feud (and their subsequent recollections) and think, "Yeah, this is really cool inside info."
But as it is, I just think, "OK, fellas. Shut your yapping - you're boring me - and go sell your 10x8s at that scrub indie show in Florida."

CONCLUSION: Hammered into submission by too much talking. Arriba! and fuck off.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

SHOOT VIDEO REVIEW: Guest Booker...Kevin Sullivan (2007, Kayfabe Commentaries)

[On Superstar Billy Graham's drug issues and reliability in 1984] "If we're going back and being honest, in 1984...what am I gonna do? Fire the whole crew? There'd be nobody there...including myself!"

SEAN OLIVER is without a doubt the best shoot DVD interviewer in the biz today and he ALWAYS bring out the best in his guests, as is the case with legendary wrestler and booker Kevin Sullivan.
The  premise of this fascinating tape? It's January 1984 and Hulk Hogan just rang Vince McMahon to tell him he's NOT coming into the WWF.
Vince turns to Kevin to book him out of a dilemma as he makes his national expansion during the year. THIS is what he would've done (in an ideal world, of course) if given the book.
Paul Orndorff as world champion (beating Ricky Steamboat, who'd previously taken the title from the Iron Sheik).
"Superstar" Billy Graham as IC champ challenging Orndorff in a title-vs-title super-bout on a Xmas Day super-card at MSG.
The Freebirds blinding JYD, who then seeks revenge with tag team partner Butch Reed.
Curt Hennig doing a racial undercard angle with Chavo Guerrero.
Barry Windham and Rick Rude feuding over who is the most handsome wrestler in the WWF.
It sounds crazy but Sullivan makes the angles and the month-by-month progression during 1984 sound plausible.
In particular, Kev's idea of using Orndorff as a hard-working heel champ feuding with a range of people in different parts of the US (Samoan wrestlers and Chavo on the west coast, Dusty and Barry Windham in Florida, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Dr Death Steve Williams in Mid-South and the likes of Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka in New York.
It's an entertaining 100 minutes of "what ifs" with one of the most knowledgeable and switched-on guys in the business.

CONCLUSION: The Devil and Mr McMahon.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars