Wrestling Gold – Blood, Brawls and Grudges (DVD Review)
Rated: UR/Region: 0/1:33/Number of disc: 1 (DVD-r)
Available from VCI Home Entertainment
We’re back with some Smokey Mountain Wrestling from the mid-90’s! Jim Cornette guides us through a series of matches here that are mostly here for the spectacle of it, so don’t expect a lot of big star matches here with this, but you will still be entertained and get to see some legends, which is always fun. Also, like with all of these “Wrestling Gold” release, the best part of them might just be the alternative insider commentary with Cornette and Dave Meltzer! If you love wrestling, then you’ll enjoy this regardless of in-ring work rate, so it overall makes for a solid watch anyway you want to look at it. Really the only down-side to this release is some of the matches are a bit too clipped for their own good, but what can ya do?
Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Sweet Stan Lane (NWA’s Midnight Express) & Dr. Tom Prichard, The Heavenly Bodies w/Jim Cornette vs. The Rock & Roll Express & Arn Anderson
This one has all the people it would have needed to be great, but perhaps the slower southern style is what held things back just a bit. Arn must have been on loan from WCW here, as well as Bobby Eaton. It is cool to see if for nothing else it brought back together the version of The Midnight Express I enjoyed as a kid. The match is fine, great team work is used, but not great.
Rock & Roll Express & Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. Brian Lee, Chris Candido & Bruiser Bedlam w/Jim Cornette &Tammy Fytch (WWF’s Sunny)
Macho Man is not only on loan from WWF, but he must have been itching for some in-ring action as he really seems to be bringing it here, even when some others seem to be sand-bagging the match a bit. The Rock & Roll at this point wasn’t the version people loved, as they had slowed down and gotten lazy. They do the usual, but their lack of movement a bit brings down what everyone else here is trying hard to do.
Rick and Scott Steiner vs. The Heavenly Bodies
The Steiner Brothers bring their pit bull with them, who doesn’t realize this is a work and legit wants to bite into the bad guys for hurting its owners. Outside the dog stillness, the match is still about as solid as you’d want, as both teams always did seem to blend together well, no matter if it was in a WWF ring or a lower-end show like we see here. We also get a good look at what made those Steiners so awesome.
Cactus Jack (WWF’s Mick Foley) & Tracy Smothers vs. Chris Candido & Boo Bradley (ECW’s Balls Mahony)
This is just a brawl around the arena, as it is a “Falls Count Anywhere Match”. A lot of these folks would go on to do this sorta thing better in ECW, as Cactus had already been doing it better in other areas. Still, it has its moments, even if the actual match isn’t that solid. Of course a lot of that could have to do with the fact we have one hard-camera filming the match and it makes it hard to keep up with the action.
Cage Match: Al Snow with Unabome (WWF’s Kane) vs. Ricky Morton
Remember at the start of this when I said some matches are too clipped for their own good? This was probably a good match, but we don’t see enough of it to really tell. The story at the end of it was still cool to see and what we do see of the match is solid, just not enough of it.
Tracy Smothers & Dirty White Boy vs. The Heavenly Bodies
This is billed as one of the bloodiest matches in SMW history, and it is up there, but the bloody Jericho on the last SMW DVD might top it. Still, we have a good old-school tag match that is made even better by the fact that the crowd seems to legit care about it. The crowd can make or break a match and this is proof. As a matter of fact, when you watch pay attention to how torn up about things the people in the crowd can be.
Tommy “Wildfire” Rich & Freebird Terry Gordy vs. Mongolian Stomper & Boo Bradley
Nobody here is what they were, but a 60-year-old Stomper is in better shape than anyone else you’ll see in this match. A lot of punches and kicks here, but everyone makes it work to their advantage. Had this match taken place with a in health Terry Gordy, I can only imagine how much better it could have been.
Jim Cornette vs. Butch Cassidy (midget)
Yes, Cornette is trying to work a full match with a midget wrestler here and it isn’t much of a match, but it is at least funny and that can go a long way. Hearing Jim talk about the match on the alternative commentary makes the match as well. While it is fun, I’m sorry to say the in-ring action isn’t great.
Dory Funk, Jr. & Terry Funk vs. Scott & Steve Armstrong
We saw a lot of this match on the highlight video from the last release and you probably can’t have a bad match with these four regardless of what you do, because everyone seems to click so well. Also, who doesn’t like to see crazy old Terry Funk doing what he does best? Another old school tag match here, made enjoyable because of the chemistry of the teams.
While not a real match, the disc closes out with a wild brawl between Da Gangstaz and The Rock & Roll Express! Can’t rate it because it never gets going, but it is fun for what it is, especially when other wrestlers try to break the whole dark thing up.
– Full insider commentary by Jim Cornette and Dave Meltzer
– Biographies by Bryan Alvarez
– Match Selection Menu