Saturday, 15 September 2007

Forever Hardcore - DVD Review

While The Rise & Fall of ECW may have gone on to become one of the WWE’s biggest selling DVDs, several major players were missing from that release, as the likes of Joey Styles, Todd Gordon, Shane Douglas, Raven and more never got the chance to tell their side of the stories, mainly because they weren’t under contract to Vince McMahon.
So step forward Jeremy Borash. Known these days for his work with TNA, Borash gathered together those who didn’t appear on the WWE DVD for his own project, Forever Hardcore, in which he acted as interviewer, director, and executive producer.

Although lacking the overly slick values of the WWE, and, of course, actual ECW footage, Borash has produced a documentary that doesn’t cover over the gloss, and is a lot grittier than it’s WWE counterpart, as those taking part seem more relaxed and open when talking about their time in ECW. For instance, New Jack will never be known as a reserved person, he calls it like it is, and never minces his words, and it would have been hard to seem him in a WWE studio being interviewed by Jim Ross for a project like this.

Despite the lack of any actual match footage, and of the other major players who were then under contract to WWE, you can still get the feel for what ECW was really about by watching this piece, and there are several incidents that are touched upon here that WWE wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

For instance, New Jack talks openly about the Mass Transit incident, when a youngster lied his way into the locker room and ended up getting seriously injured when New Jack slicked him open with a scalpel.

Then there’s the incident where Pitbull Gary Wolfe suffered a broken neck during an angle with Shane Douglas. Wolfe still blames Douglas for the injury, and is clearly still bitter about the incident, while Douglas claims that Wolfe failed to follow his advice.

There’s also the story of the deteriorating relationship between Douglas and Francine, two people who were close but who clashed after an incident outside the ring. At the time of filming they hadn’t spoken to each other for six years.

We also get to see something that not many people had seen before - Sabu speaking. Having remained silent for all these years, it was good to see the man talk and give his views on things.

We also get to hear from the likes of Bill Apter and Terry Taylor, who viewed what was happening from the outside, Apter as a journalist, and Taylor while working for WCW and WWE.

But perhaps the most emotional segment comes near the end, and involves Terry Funk. With the contract he was offered by the WWE to appear at One Night Stand, Funk tells how, against the advice of his wife, he’d rather work at the Hardcore Homecoming show, so he can pay his respects to the people who really put ECW on the map.

In conclusion - while this can’t compare to the WWE’s release production-wise, it still makes for great viewing, and Jeremy Borash did a great job getting the best out of his subjects. Forever Hardcore is a great alternative to The Rise & Fall of ECW, and certainly an invaluable point of reference for the legions of ECW fans out there.