Thursday, 12 July 2007

Catch: The Hold Not Taken - DVD Review

When you watch Raw & Smackdown every week, how many of you wonder just where it all began? I’m not talking about when Vince McMahon senior broke away from the NWA about forty years ago, I’m talking about going back further than that.
Directed and produced by Mike Todd and Ian Bennett, Catch - The Hold Not Taken takes a look at the history of Lancashire Catch as Catch Can wrestling, a style of competition that has influenced many all over the world. It’s the basis for the style of amateur wrestling that appears in the Olympics, it’s influenced Japanese professional wrestling for decades,and is now influencing the growing mixed martial arts scene around the world.

Focusing on Billy Riley’s infamous Snake Pit gym in Wigan, the film looks at the relationship between a sport that began in Lancashire’s industrial heartland, which grew and mutated into the variety of sports entertainment that Vince McMahon promotes today.

There’s some great insight and interviews in this film, from amateur great Roy Wood, to American Olympic gold medallist Dan Gable, Japanese legend Tatsumi Fujinami, and UFC star Dan “The Beast” Severn.

While this film may not appeal to those who are only interested in the professional wrestling industry, the historians out there will love this. It’s well put together, well directed, and extremely well researched. This month it’s being show at the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs film festival in Milan, the world’s top international sports film festival.