Posted
Comments None

Where did all of this start? How did it all come to be like this? Those are questions a history buff like me asks about anything, so when I discovered this thing called sports entertainment, I wanted to know where it came from, how it came to be this modern day monopoly and I’d like to think I have some knowledge into where it’s going to go, but that’s just fantasy booking when you boil it down. A man can dream…

Today’s topic is a brief insight into the road that this industry went down, from it’s early beginnings, to it’s massive peaks and eventually I hope to ask the question of where it might go, if it will end, how will it end if it does…it’s a long road, but somebody has to walk down it.

Road to Wrestling: Part 1

Looking at the industry today, it’s perfectly normal for one to wonder how in the world wrestling got to be where it is today? Here is a global product that with the amount of trials, tribulations and tragedies that have fell upon it…it’s truly astonishing how it’s managed to shake it off each and every time and keep on making money. It wasn’t always this way though.

Early Beginnings

When people hear the word “wrestling” what do they think of? Whether you happen to be talking about it directly, or hear about it in a conversation. You expect to eventually hear those three letters we’ve all come to know…WWE. How many of you actually think of this when you talk about wrestling?

Even with all the showmanship that the business is now famous for, wrestling still is a legitimate sport, it’s a totally different world than what I’m familiar with though, so I’ll only cover it briefly because when you start at the very beginning? This is the modern day form of what wrestling started out as.

Wrestling has been around since the ancient times, it’s one of the oldest sports the world has seen and like any other combat sports, has multiple styles in which people can train. The sport itself carries a huge amount of history and tradition with it and that has caused quite a following, especially in the “purist” crowd. This is a sport that was in every single modern day Olympic games since the first one and was most likely featured in all of the ancient games as well, there’s a reason people got so upset when they heard the committee was going to get rid of it…it had a history, it had tradition and it commanded respect.

So who got the bright idea to turn this sport into a show?

Pinpointing exactly when the ideas started to form of pre-determined matches is a little shaky, so these early days carry a grey area with them when it comes to details. What I can say is the idea of wrestling as a show,albeit a legitimate one, from what I can find was popularized in Europe, throughout the middle ages tournaments were a regular thing for people of their nation to show their strengths and prove themselves and wrestling was a popular event, especially within the monarchy’s of the countries across Europe. Japan would also hold local tournaments, though obviously at that time not at the heights that they could be held in Europe but the travelling funfairs? That didn’t start until the 1800’s and that was started by Britain.

Catch wrestling was developed in 1870 and is a very legitimate hybrid style of wrestling, this was the style that was used by wrestlers who were part of these traveling funfairs and carnivals so they could incorporate more submission moves against their opponents. It gained popularity because it seemed tighter and smoother than the previous styles that people had come to know and good money would be paid to visit the fairs so they could see the wrestling match that was on show. As well as the carnivals were the regularly scheduled tournaments pitting the strongest, most athletic wrestlers against each other to crown a champion. As basic as things may have been back then they still followed the same principles we know today and the idea of things being staged still hadn’t developed yet as far as historians are concerned, though it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few staged matches here and there if there was enough money in it. The discovery of America only spread wrestling to the New World as the Native Americans took an interest to it, they were taught by the colonists and incorporated it into the culture.

Staged Matches

America would take the British concept and incorporate their own style, which today we know as “pro wrestling” this is where historians believe the idea of a staged match may have come into play. While the idea of this all being a legitimate competition was still very strong and even promoted as such, America had much more of an idea of turning it into an entertainment industry, even back then. While Britain stuck to the traditional, hard hitting nature of the sport, America was making drastic changes by adding flare and turning it into a spectacle. After the Civil war is when historians believe staged matches began as the carnivals and circuses would hit their peak in popularity. Instead of highlighting the competitive nature like their British counterparts, The carnies of America decided their wrestlers needed to have colorful costumes and alter egos to add to the entertainment of the match and start putting the actual competition to the side. The idea being that people would be attracted to the bright costumes and personalities and pay for that, with the promise of a wrestling match to make them feel like they had earned their money’s worth.

There was a lot of shady goings on behind the scenes back then guys, the fact the promoters of the carnivals were introducing this staged nature to the matches, they basically saw it as licence to print money and turn this into a booming business. Managers, carnies and stunt pilots of all people would band together on a regular basis to discuss the outcome of the matches, similar to that of a creative team or booking committee today. The reason stunt pilots had say in this? Most of the stunt pilots would also perform in the strong man competitions, arm wrestling and also the wrestling matches with the rest of the carnies. Managers chose who would win and create the characters people would have to play. The carnies, wanting to protect their bid in the take would use illegal and dangerous moves in order to look strong, especially if they were to be on the losing end and the stunt pilots wanted a slice of the action because they were performing and would often be the loser against the “legitimate” athlete. The wrestlers had a ladder of succession, the young guys who came and went, the shoot fighters (a shoot fighter is someone who can actually fight real matches) and the top guys were the ones who used illegal moves, as they came across the strongest and most dangerous to the crowds. All of them however kept the dirty little secret on the hush hush and thus wrestling terms were created so nobody knew what they were talking about. The most prominent being Kayfabe.

Kayfabe?

Kayfabe is all but dead today but back then it was a powerful, powerful tool for the wrestler, it was both a blessing and a curse as the years went on. To describe Kayfabe in it’s simplest form. It’s making something that is made up or staged, look completely real to the audience. It was a tool to help build up the excitement of matches and continue the illusion that what people were watching was real and to an extent it was obviously, people were getting hurt. However the characters, their hatred for each other, their relationships and their back stories were almost always made up and in order for people to believe what was being presented to them, performers were expected to stay in character whenever they were in the public eye. This was a good tool for the wrestler to have back then, this was a world that had a very secluded group working inside it, they didn’t want to expose the business, or themselves to the public. These characters helped them keep all those secrets they didn’t want people finding out, it made sense to do it. However as the years went on, Kayfabe would become more and more of a curse as popularity of the industry increased. Wrestlers had to do interviews in character, remain in character on their way and inside the arena, some promoters would even go to the extent of giving wrestlers separate flights and locker rooms so to keep up the Kayfabe and make the story as believable as possible to the audience.

The Rise of Frank Gotch

Frank Gotch was one of the first big superstars in America when it came to sports, wrestling had kept going the same route, the occasional legitimate tournament, the staged traveling carnivals. It wasn’t the big global force it would later become but it wasn’t exactly slim pickings. Then Frank Gotch came along…

A man trained by a wrestler called Martin Burns (a wrestler who APPARENTLY competed against 6,000 wrestlers during his time and only lost against 10…these however are stats from the early 1900’s, a time when their is no national platform and other than the carnival scene, there are really only competitive tournaments, so take that with a grain of salt) Gotch was the first American wrestler to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Frank from what I can tell was a legitimate athlete, he only wrestled in competitions across the nation up until his retirement, competitions which weren’t staged like the carnival scene was. Although they had their own shady dealings going on behind the scenes as well.

After a series of mixed results, Gotch would gain the respect of Burns who he would get as his trainer, after defeating the American Heavyweight Champion in 1904, Gotch would start his chase for the World title. Gotch would wrestle the match for the titile in 1908 in a two hour long epic which was brutal and very hard fought on both sides before finally getting the victory by his opponent (Georg Hackenschmidt) surrendering after being worn down.

Frank would go on to have a reign that lasted nearly five years. a reign topped only by Bruno Sammartino, Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne, with their respective title reigns. During this time he helped bring the sport to a national level that it had never really been on before, he performed in plays which garnered him standing ovations, he was invited to the White House by Teddy Roosevelt and according to myth, the entire Chicago Cubs team went and asked him for an autograph after a baseball game. As impressive as all of this sounds for a wrestler in that day and age his reign does come with some controversy as Gotch was seen as a dirty wrestler by some of his peers and his rematch against Hackenschmidt is on that,, whether true or not, is a highlight of some of the shadiness that would plague the industry. Hackenschmidt entered his rematch against Gotch with an injured knee, Hackenschmidt’s explanation was that he injured it sparring with his training partner. However another wrestler, Ad Santel told Lou Thesz he was paid by some of Gotch’s backers to cripple Hackenschmidt before thee match. A lot of that “he said, she said” going on here and the truth will definitely not be found today but there’s lots of stories out there of wrestlers getting offered big money to injure somebody. Gotch eventually retired with the title, going on to do the carnival scene for a while in a series of shoot fights which he would never lose. Gotch passed away in 1917

Wrestling is Exposed

Without a national icon to keep the athleticism and competitive nature of the tournaments in the public eye like Frank Gotch did, the media decided to turn their eyes to the controversy and set their sights on exposing the industry, what they found caused a huge dip in popularity. Gotch was gone, wrestlers came out during the time who had a bone to pick or some money to make and said the whole thing was fake, the carnival scene was there as the perfect example as well as apparent ties to the mafia and the controversy surrounding Gotch’s rematch with Hackenschmdidt and nobody was able to stand on the pedestal to take all the attention away. This is one of the many instances in time where the industry really could have fallen flat on it’s face but somehow managed to pick itself back up. These series of events helped establish a couple things…one the industry now knew where it really stood with the media, the media was determined to rain on the parade and expose everything they did and second the industry had to recover, there were a bunch of small promotions at war with each other, shady dealings and mafia ties to be found, something needed to be done to re-establish the image wrestling once had as well as try to fix the cracks that had been formed. That was attempted to be done in the form of the NWA.

The National Wrestling Alliance.

Regional promotions were getting out of hand, talent raids, amongst other dirty tactics were being performed all around the country just so somebody could get some footing. In 1948, the NWA was born, the idea on paper sounded like a smart way to do business at the time after the blow that was dealt by the media. It was an attempt to bring some order back to all of this madness, unfortunately things got out of hand but we’ll get to that. In idea the NWA would be an alliance of all the small regional companies to make a national board that would discuss the direction of the business, it would be through this alliance that promoters would start to unify their titles to eventually create one undisputed, unified World Heavyweight Championship, the man that helped this vision come to life? Lou Thesz, the longest reigning World Heavyweight Champion in history, the man who created the Thesz Press and the STF and a man who has every right to be in the WWE Hall of Fame but isn’t, for whatever reason. Regardless Lou had a tough job doing this, because although the old guys in the board room thought this was a good idea, not everybody else did. Wrestlers and managers alike would fight this idea to the end and Lou would sometimes have to (unwillingly) participate in a shoot fight for the title, however Lou is one of those old school tough guys and never backed down if people were throwing a fight his way. It’s thanks to this long reign of seven plus years that the title was established as the prestigious trophy that it was and the image of the “Most prestigious title in wrestling” would only be repeated as the years went on.

NWA ruled the wrestling world, it was their starting up of the territory system that worked under the NWA banner that started to turn this good idea into a bad experience though. The idea of the territories being that areas in America were split up into their own areas or territories, provided with their own respective owners who would run the operation, being a representative of the NWA. However there were many restrictions and risks when it came to this system, if you owned a territory it meant you could not run a show in any other area unless special arrangements were made, you couldn’t even market or promote your show unless other territories agreed to it. It was even worse if you weren’t a part of the NWA, if you were a non NWA member and tried to promote your show in one of the areas run by an NWA territory? Other groups and members of the alliance were obliged and expected to intervene and force these “invaders” out. According to myth, threats of violence were also issued to anybody not willing to adhere to this system that the alliance was implementing and if anybody broke the rules they would be expelled from the alliance, blackballed from the industry and any and all working agreements would come to an end. In short? While murmurings and suspicions of mafia ties to the industry were around in the earlier years, it was the NWA that truly ran the business like a mafia, once it became the sole provider, with all those board members with money and power in their hands, they became too paranoid and too scared to let it go and enforced all these rules to try and ensure nobody broke away.

In terms of actual wrestling though? The NWA was an excellent source of wrestling, you can find some examples of it on the WWE Network (some of it sadly, during it’s dying days, I suggest mainly the product from the eighties) I’ll admit, the way the system worked was smart, whether that was by design or not is another thing. There was a system in place where wrestlers could travel across the country and gain national exposure, good guys and bad guys would be moved across the country to run a couple of stories with the other companies top guys, the idea being that all the wrestlers gain some exposure, thus gaining popularity. As well as that if somebody was getting stale, their time away in the different promotions gave the audience time to see other performers and then be excited for the return of the wrestler they were once getting bored of (As Jim Cornette says, people don’t miss you, if you don’t go away.) On top of the mountain though, was the champion.

The Heavyweight Champion was not stuck to one particular territory, instead they were obliged and expected to travel around the country and provide exposure to all the territories under the alliance’s umbrella. This would take place in multiple ways, usually from what I can tell, matches which involved the champion were ones that were aimed towards making the top guy of the company looking good while keeping the image of the title itself strong. The champion was advertised weeks or months in advance to make sure the arena got filled, because the champion only visited a couple times during the year and the television shows the territories had only showed in their local area, meaning people had to wait to see the champion in their area, which made it a big deal.

The travelling system, in my opinion at least had another advantage in that it gave the wrestlers experience, if you weren’t good at certain aspects of the business, you got shipped to areas where you could get some experience and hone your craft, that’s what it was treated as at least in the eyes of the performers themselves, a craft which they needed to work on and expand as best as they could, this was an art to them and it was one they had a passion for.

There are so many wrestlers I could suggest to you from this era of wrestling, the NWA had so many memorable stories, feuds and characters that have survived in spirit to this very day. Instead of giving you the massive list I could easily provide, albeit one that would take up far too much of your time. I’ll simply give you a couple of examples of people I believe you should look into and research, as well as people you’ll know as it’ll only open your eyes to even more wild and crazy characters and the stories they tell.

Ox Baker: In a somewhat classless angle that was forced on him, Ox Baker had a finishing move that made him the most hated man in America. Ox had the devastating Heart Punch, the name should leave little to the imagination and it was perceived and sold as a deadly move to the audience. Unfortunately during a tag team match in 1971, one of the opponents Ox faces (Alberto Torres) gets severely injured and dies three days later, a tragic accident which wasn’t really anybody’s fault, although apparently Ox took it to heart and was distraught by the whole thing. The story that people decided to run was that the Heart Punch was to blame. If one time wasn’t enough to get people to hate him, the second unfortunate event certainly would as in 1972, Ox is set to face Ray Gunkel, a popular wrestler in Georgia. Ray unfortunately suffers a heart attack in the locker room after winning his match, the real life reason being he over-indulged just a little too much at a restaurant. The kayfabe, story reason? Ox Baker was to blame!

Setting: It’s 1974 in Cleveland, Ernie Ladd, popular wrestler at the time who is breaking color barriers along with many others and is wrestling Johnny Powers when who should interfere? Ox Baker! Ernie gets laid out and Ox proceeds to deliver multiple Heart Punches to the fallen hero which causes the fans to go absolutely livid and actually start to riot!

Other than this incident, Ox Baker was a brilliant bad guy, he played a brute really well and had an unforgettable look to him with an unforgettable finisher. Sadly no longer with us and at one point even a Price is Right contender, Ox still lives on in the memories of those who saw him as one of the best bad guys in the business.

Lou Thesz: Finding Lou Thesz material wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, seriously just look up “Lou Thesz” on youtube, you’ll find material. While his style of wrestling hasn’t aged well, for those that like old school wrestling I say give it a watch, for all I heard about the man actually seeing a match was totally a different experience that I’m glad I went through. I suggest the two out of three falls match between him and Buddy Rogers, it’s totally legal and on youtube as it’s provided to us by the Chicago Film Archives.

Dusty Rhodes: The American Dream Dusty Rhodes! I needn’t say any more than that really, his rivalry with Ric Flair is famous and helped create some of the most memorable moments in wrestling history. What I remember Dusty for most, is his ability on the microphone, he oozed charisma and even today, knowing the words off by heart and knowing full well the money the man has earned. When he talks about Hard Times? He connects with me.

Ric Flair: Without a doubt, for what felt like the longest time, I’m sure…he just seemed to be the face of the NWA and when people think of the championship, they think of none other, than the kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, limousine ridin’, jet flyin’ son of a gun! Woo! It’s Ric Flair, if you don’t know who Ric Flair is…how do you not know who Ric Flair is?!

What happened to the NWA?

The NWA is still around today, but what happened to the powerhouse? Cable happened, the board felt too nice and snug in the safety net that they had created and were too afraid of change, their regular arguing of who should be champion and backstage politics were finally catching up with them as promotions were breaking away and when a young man named Vince McMahon Jr. buys his father’s promotion? The NWA and it’s antics would lead to it’s own downfall, but that’s an article for another time. Right now I’ve been sitting here wondering what if? What if they put their heads together and actually did what was best? On paper this seemed like such a good idea, this governing body to give some legitimacy, create some competition but stop a monopoly from forming and in the end they themselves became the monopoly. Honestly leaving all the backstage shenanigans aside for a moment, a system like the territories, I believe is desperately needed in this day and age.

Small companies come and go, they all come in with this idea they’re going to take on the big dog some day and when the one that got the closest to doing it after WCW was TNA? That shows you what the level of competition is today. WWE took the competition, it owns it. What the NWA did, while it’s methods were downright horrible and questionable was create an environment that was profitable, competitive, it gave wrestlers experience and national exposure and most importantly of all, in theory at least, it stopped a monopoly from forming. We’ve seen what monopolies do in other forms, it isn’t fun, there’s little enjoyment to be had of having one avenue to go down and while I’m happy to hear New Japan is taking up the reigns in trying to be a competitor? My heart still yearns for that old system to come back to the mainstream. A small group of companies, willing to band together to create a healthy, competitive working environment, in today’s world? With all the avenues you could go down to get exposure and to have people watch your product? Like the alliance before it, on paper that sounds good to me, you just need the right people to do it and if the NWA teaches us anything? A bunch of old men in suits have no idea how to do that, as we’ll learn in my next article.

Image Source: Google Images
Video Source: Youtube

Author
Categories

Posted
Comments None

Aside from an ensemble of dishes to make your mouth water for Christmas, my mom would contribute one dish: Cabbage Rolls. They are absolutely delicious. The recipe is also very inexact, so you’ll have to measure this one by eye, touch, and taste.

What we’re doing here is, essentially, making a really cheap version of a meatball and stuffing it into a cabbage leaf.

Ingredients

  • Heads of Cabbage (one head can make about 24 rolls)
  • Ground Beef (try not to get the super-lean variety as it dries out too fast)
  • Ragu sauce (enough sauce to moisten the meat)
  • Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cooked white rice

Directions

I know that the recipe doesn’t have exact measurements. This is the exact recipe handed down to me by my mom. Her explanation for the lack of measurements? “I never bothered with details.”

Yeah, thanks.

First,s tart by boiling your cabbage in a large pot until you can pierce it with a knife. You’ll know it’s done when the layers of cabbage leaves are easily pulled off.

Next, cook your rice. How much rice do you need? According to mom: “enough to make the recipe.” Helpful that woman is, no?

After listening to her try to explain her reasoning, I just gave up and came up with this formula: make about as much rice (in volume) as you have in meat. You’ll have leftovers which can be turned into rice pudding, and that’s not a bad thing for Christmas dinner.

Let the rice cool until it is room temperature.

In a large bowl combine meat and rice into (quoting mom here) “a mixture you’re happy with” then add “enough eggs to keep it all together, and Ragu to taste.”

This roughly translates to 1 egg per pound of meat, and enough Ragu pasta sauce to keep the mixture from being too dry in your hands (but not a soupy mess). You’ll need about 1/4 cup of Ragu per 1 pound of meat, possibly more if you’re using really lean meat, less if you were psychotic and used too many eggs.

Note: if the mixture becomes too wet or loose you can add more rice (or meat) to help form it into a solid ball again.

After mixing your meat together mom says it “should be firm enough to form into a ball, but loose enough to leave a residue on your hands. You’ll need lots of soap.”

Take a cabbage leaf, place a handful of the meat-rice mixture in the middle, and roll the cabbage up. If you want to be fancy, stick a toothpick through the ends to keep the roll from falling apart in the oven (or stuff enough of them together in a baking pan so they have no room to open up).

Place your cabbage rolls in a baking pan and cook in a 350F/122C oven until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160F/72C. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour per rack of cabbage rolls.

Serving

Cabbage rolls are terrible cold. Serve hot or re-heat before serving. Sour cream is an absolute must-have for this dish (and this is the dish that turns most people on to sour cream’s flavor).

Author
Categories

Posted
Comments None

Welcome to the Wrestling World, it’s a crazy world filled with mad stories both real and fiction and it’s one I have found myself sucked into over the years as a fan. In these articles I plan to explore everything I can about wrestling, from the actual industry itself and how it works, to reviewing the products that have been produced about it. There are endless topics to be covered and I hope to talk about them all and maybe, have everybody else join me in what I hope to be a wild ride.

Today’s topic, for me at least is a way for somebody to get introduced into the wrestling industry. It’s a review and insight into one of the most beloved documentaries ever made and in my personal opinion, the perfect way to take a dive into the deep pool that is wrestling.

Beyond The Mat: A Wrestling Review

“I don’t know why I like it, I just always have.”

Those are the first words uttered in Beyond the Mat, in my personal opinion one of the best wrestling documentaries to ever grace our screens and it’s a statement that almost every wrestling fan out there can understand and has probably said or thought that very thing themselves at one point or another.

Wrestling fandom has always had a stigma attached to it, one that you don’t get with any other industry or business out there, we all know it, it’s that sarcastic smirk that somebody will shine at you once they think they’ve bested you in a game of wits and tell you “Wrestling is fake, you know!” Sadly it’s an argument that will probably last as long as the industry itself, regardless how much we sigh and roll our eyes, letting them know with great disappointment that standing there before us is another person who just doesn’t understand. We are fully aware of what wrestling is and to those out there who think we aren’t? If you gave it a chance, you would be fully aware of it too. How do you start though? How do you really get introduced to this strange little thing called sports entertainment? For me, I don’t suggest a match, I don’t suggest an event, no, that’ll come later. For a proper introduction, I always point to Beyond the Mat.

Beyond the Mat, where do I start with this piece of wrestling gold? It’s a documentary near and dear to many of our hearts in the wrestling community and I’ve known a couple detractors of the industry walking out from it with a little more respect after viewing it. For me, this was the first big insight I ever had into what went on behind the scenes into this industry that I had grown fond for and while I grew a larger understanding because of it? Boy oh boy it made sure to take me on a roller coaster ride while doing it!

Directed by Barry Blaustein, a writer best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, Nutty Professor, Coming to America and many other comedic endeavors. This was his first and pretty much his last project that dealt with the world of wrestling and while it later became quite a controversial film upon it’s release (we’ll get into that later.) It started out looking like Barry had stumbled upon a gold mine. While WCW refused to take part in the documentary Barry managed to get full access to what went on behind the scenes in the WWE (WWF at the time), ECW and some independent promotions around at the time. Filmed over the span of three to five years and released in 2000, what we were left with was far more than any of the official products of the big three had offered at the time.

Introduction

The film starts with that brilliant opening line, one that still rings true to this day. I don’t know about the rest of the community but I really can’t explain my love for this industry myself, I just like it, that’s really all there is to it and for those that don’t understand? This little opening monologue gives a great insight into the mind of a fan. Barry knows what wrestling is and he says it himself, it’s pageantry, it’s theater, like so many of us he knows what’s going on in that ring and he loves every minute of it anyway. Also like many of us, Barry can’t help but ask the question of who these people behind the characters we see on television really are and starts right at the top of the mountain with the WWF.

“So I got out of my chair and decided to find out. I figured, why not start at the top? The World Wrestling Federation!”

Seeing this scene still astounds me as Barry walks around the halls of the then WWF, looking lost and confused and I really can’t blame him for it. The WWF was huge even back then, why wouldn’t it be? This was filmed in the late nineties, the business is at a peak like no other and we’re right in the midst of the Attitude Era, it was rolling in money. So much so that according to this documentary, back then it was worth more than the New York Knicks, Rangers and Mets combined! Which only leads to my mind being blown when I try to imagine how much it’s worth today, even taking the drops in stock and economy into consideration.

You really get a feel and sense of the scale and heights this company has reached and just how much it takes to run these shows the way they do.Think of it like a movie studio, a team of writers to come up with all the ideas (A lot less writers than what they have now mind you) A costume department that has tonnes of concept art written up for all the wrestlers and of course, the music department led by the great Jim Johnston. Wrestling really wouldn’t be what it is without the great entrance music we know and love and a lot of it is thanks to Jim Johnston, who we only see for a brief period on screen, explaining the thought process he had into making Vader’s theme. As good as this documentary is at giving us an insight and as much as I realize Barry wants to get to the meat and potatoes of the industry, in my own personal opinion you really could make a documentary on Jim Johnston alone. (Somebody should really get on that WWE, just a hint.) I could sit all day and listen to how that man formulated all of that memorable music.

We also get a brief insight into the merchandising aspect of the business before getting introduced to the cast of characters we’ll be meeting along the way and at this time? The two top products in the market were South Park and the WWF, which just speaks volumes of the mentality of people in the nineties. Gone were the days of the family friendly fun in the eighties, this was a world that loved the craved for the lewd, crude and rude vices that the media world could provide. I don’t need to go into the extent their merchandising was, if you go to their store today, that really isn’t far off from the levels of merchandise you could get back then, albeit with a bit more of an edgier attitude to the marketing of it all.

Droz

“They’re always creating new stars, the day I was there? They were creating a push, for Droz”

This documentary isn’t about how the industry’s fancy gadgets and impressive numbers though, it’s about the wrestlers who help make it the spectacle that it is and the first one we come across is Droz. Brief background on Darrin Drozdov, he had a brief stint in the NFL as a Denver Bronco before going into wrestling and the one particular talent that seemed to get him noticed by the WWF? Droz could make himself vomit on command (Although he did have trouble doing it on camera it seems from what we see here.)

Ladies and gentlemen, what follows needs to be seen, because this right here shows just how strange of a man Vince McMahon really is. Vince is a complicated guy and will probably get an article dedicated to him entirely in the future but for now let’s just focus on this scene. Vince has called Droz into his office, who at the time was just starting to get a push under the name of Puke (very subtle Vince, very subtle). Vince’s reasoning for this, other than the clear and obvious fact that the guy had this strange talent, was that they planned to have him join as a member of the Legion of Doom and Puke, in Vince’s mind at least sounded like a rough and tough, Legion of Doom type name. Now Vince calling a new worker into his office today is very unlikely, especially with Triple H running things in NXT but even more so is the real reason Vince called Droz into his office. You could tell before Droz even has a chance to get comfy in that nice leather chair, that Vince is there to see one thing and one thing only, so what does he do? He grabs a nearby bin and places it on the table and what follows?

This happens
Source: Youtube

“Well I’ve got one thing I want you to do for me…and that’s right back over here (Vince grabs his bin and places it on his desk) You want a little coffee or what huh? Try not to get it on the rest of my table here, huh?! Can you do that, huh?! You gonna’ get sick, huh?! Huh?! Oh My- He’s gonna’- He’s gonna’- He’s gonna’- He’s gonna’ puke! He’s gonna’ puke! He’s gonna’ puke!”

(Droz manages to get the tiniest bit of phlegm out into the bin and Vince immediately busts a gut laughing)

Now according to Mick Foley who had a large part in the documentary and promoting it upon release, Vince did this on purpose because he likes people to believe that he is legitimately the crazy old man everybody thinks he is. Whether it was an act or not, I think Vince is the crazy old man we all think he is and if anything, it’s the perfect time capsule of the man we all think Vince McMahon to be. Well done Vince, what a maneuver!

Tony Jones and Mike Modest

“How do you become a wrestler? The same way you become a doctor, you go to school!”

OK, we come to the point in the documentary that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, as we venture into what’s known in the wrestling world as a feeder promotion. That’s a small, independent level of the industry that raises talent to a level that makes them ready for the major leagues. This particular promotion is All Pro Wrestling, which is still around today and at the time was ran by Roland Alexander who is sadly no longer with us. Now I don’t want to be disrespectful towards Alexander here for obvious reasons, here’s a guy who promotes a small company and is an accountant, which in the wrestling industry means one thing; He’s very careful with his money and rightfully so, he’s not rolling in the moolah like the big companies and he hasn’t got a TV deal for his promotion, but this documentary does him no favors in portraying him in a favorable manner.

We get a brief introduction into his company and how he runs it, giving the applicants the run down of how it’s going to work, the diet they need to have in order to get in shape, things of that nature. He does require his trainees to pay a deposit of five hundred though, which back then I don’t know if that’s a good, decent or bad price, wrestling schools can get a reputation for running you dry of your money even in today’s industry let alone the more shadier times that have been and gone. I can understand him warning them though, he does run a wrestling school as well as the promotion after all. However, we soon hear from one of Roland’s top prospects, Tony Jones, who tells us he gets twenty five dollars for working at one of Roland’s shows and sometimes doesn’t even get paid at all. We then immediately cut back to Roland who tells us they get paid after every show! Back to Tony who rightfully so, says there’s no excuse for not paying your guys and then Roland tells us you have to be a tough guy in this business.

OK…there’s a modicum of truth to that, there are wrestlers who are not afraid to take advantage of a weak willed promoter and there are many stories out there of the promoter getting the bad end of the stick. You have to be a tough guy as a promoter, no doubt…but you still have to be fair and pay your workers regardless what level they are on. So I see both sides of the story and for all we know, Tony might be a little bitter for one reason or another and is making this up, but either way Roland does come off really badly because of it.

We see another prospect, Mike Modest, who is the top dog of the promotion which earns him a room above the gym and makes ends meet part time as a funeral home worker. I have to remind myself every time I see these guys having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet while chasing their dream that the independent scene at this time was not that diverse, all the well known independent companies around today were either non existent, under the radar or didn’t pay as well as they do today. There was still Japan, but a guy like Mike Modest who’s making ends meet isn’t getting the funds for Japan any time soon. The sad part about Mike is that he’s a good worker from what we can see in the footage anyway. The problem is, he’s in a class that is not accepted at this time in the wrestling industry. As Roland himself puts it:

“He’s too big to be a high flier and he’s too small to be a heavyweight and for him not to have a contract is a travesty.”

If Mike was at that age now, he would be a definite contender for NXT or possibly making money off the independent circuit like Colt Cabana does, sadly that’s not the case here in the late nineties.

Opportunity knocks however as Barry shows footage of Tony and Mike to Jim Ross (The first example of Barry breaking one of the “rules” of the documentary, not to interfere with the subjects that you are filming. However every time he does this, I personally believe it to be right.) This gets them a try out at the WWF to see what they are made of and if they are worth signing to a contract.

“Tony and Mike’s big day had come, they were about to get their try out, with the WWF!”

Once again we get a glimpse of the massive amounts of work that goes into putting this show together as we see a quick montage of the set and the ring getting put together and we see the backstage area brimming with stars of the day getting ready for the show. The boys from All Pro Wrestling are absolutely astounded by it just the way I am by it all. One little fact that I wonder if it has any truth to it or not today is that if someone like Mike Modest or Tony Jones get signed by the WWE, the people they pick them up from get twenty percent of the contract money.

The boys get a pep talk from Jim Cornette and Jim Ross before their match and things go underway as the two get their trial in front of the WWF crowd. Cornette and Ross are watching with their eyes glued to the screens, critiquing here and there but overall they’re impressed from what I can tell. Vince only appears briefly to ask how they’re doing before going off and doing more work, asking for the tape. At the end of the day regardless who sees what and what they think of guys like these two, the final choice is Vince, which with him not being there to actually see people’s reactions backstage to the match, as well as the fans reaction has probably lead to a couple signing mistakes here and there over the years. The boys get a well done and a pat on the back and Jim Ross just comes across as a class act in this scene, totally happy with their performance but giving them some much needed advice in order to become possible big league players.

Terry Funk

“While Tony and Mike were beginning their career, a wrestling legend was nearing the end of his…”

They leave with high hopes and we fade to join a man who has a huge amount of respect from me, none other than Terry Funk. Terry is known as one of the pioneers of the hardcore style of wrestling alongside Mick Foley, but people forget just how good he really was before he got into the hardcore wrestling. terry was fifty three when this was filmed and for anybody who knows Terry Funk, knows he’s still going to this very day here and there. We’re greeted with a sad sight of Terry as he struggles to get out of bed, cutting to images of the battles he went through, the hardcore brawls, the death matches and of course, that unforgettable night in Japan (FOREVER!) You really feel for his family here, they do not want to see Terry keep putting himself through this and say he should have stopped doing it a good ten or fifteen years ago but so many wrestlers have fallen into the trap that Terry has fallen into.

He gets some unfortunate news from the doctor telling him he’s basically going to live the rest of his life in absolute agony and that he needs new knees (whether he ever got his new knees or not I’m not sure, but that pain wasn’t going to be alleviated much because of how badly they had been beaten). This was the moment where it really hit me what the reality of this thing I loved really was, yes it was scripted, yes it was predetermined but these people put their bodies through hell and every single one of them has the chances to end up in agony like Terry Funk. That deserves a lot of respect, regardless of your opinion on wrestling.

Even with his doctor’s prognosis, Terry wasn’t going to retire because he had made a promise to ECW, this is around about the time of Barely Legal, it’s ECW’s first pay-per-view and Terry has helped put this company on the map. I don’t know whether he did it because of the love for wrestling or that he felt he had a promise to fulfill, but Terry went anyway, even after receiving that terrible news.

Thus, we’re introduced to ECW, the renegade promotion of the big three ran on a shoestring budget, out of Paul Heyman’s basement. It’s strange that a guy like Paul Heyman can have his studio in his basement and still come across as an absolute genius of the business the way he does, this was his baby and the absolute passion he has for this company, the people who work in it and the industry itself just pours itself over the camera. We even get to hear one of Paul’s legendary pre-show speeches that still send shivers along my spine today, these speeches would have been needed desperately by the guys in the locker room because of what they were doing out there and Paul doesn’t disappoint. See this particular night is the night Terry Funk wins the title and man, even seeing this match in an edited fashion, cutting to the reactions from his family and the guys backstage this match has a hell of a lot of meaning to it. This night was for Terry because of everything he had done and everybody was watching to see him succeed, which is exactly what he does and when he wins? You can’t get that image of that crimson masked face with so much emotion in his eyes out of your head. Everybody seems pleased with the result except Terry’s family who are obviously concerned as he gets stitched up by the doctors before we fade to black.

Mick Foley

“He burned me mommy! He burned me bad!”

Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love or Mrs. Foley’s baby boy. He’s without a doubt the greatest and most lovable part of this documentary, while he’s a hardcore legend in the ring, this insight into Mick Foley’s life at home? I’d like to think it helped solidify that connection he had with the fans and them being able to put themselves in his shoes. He’s a down to earth, polite and honest family man who wants to do the best he can as a father and as a wrestler and out of everybody highlighted in this entire documentary, Mick really comes across as the most normal person out of all of them. We’re greeted to a great look into his family life as well as some analysis from Jim Ross and even David Meltzer into the mindset that Mick has as a wrestler, all this, along with the famous crazy bumps Mick has taken over the years is mixed in with scenes of Mick at home.

The reason Mick did everything he did is because he had a love for the business that we can all understand and he felt if he didn’t give everything he had within him, that he’d be ripping off the fans who paid money to come and see him in the ring, sadly making him come to the conclusion that he doesn’t want to be remembered as the guy who pulls a sock out of his pants. The idea that funny doesn’t equal money was still very much alive at this time and I guess the idea of being this comedic character put fear in Mick back then. Personally I loved the goofy fun he had as Mankind far more than when he put his body on the line but that’s just me and as far as I’m aware, Mick’s mindset has changed since then.

We go over that match, you know the match, if you know who Mick Foley is, you know the match I’m talking about…the Hell in a Cell match and boy oh boy you can just see how much that match affected Micks mindset at this point in time because of the way it affected his family. Apparently the night of the match his wife called the company in tears because she thought Mick was dead at one point in the match (I believe it was after the second fall he took through the Cell) Mick just looks so torn what to do at this point, he hasn’t delved into his writing career yet and all he knows how to do at this point is wrestle but he’s quickly reaching a point in his career where he’s going to have to stop and you can see he knows that here as they ask him what he would do after finishing wrestling and all he can respond with is:

“See, that’s the problem, right there.”

Jake Roberts

“I’m going to make you beg! You are going to get down on your hands and knees!”

Okay, now comes the most awkward pill to swallow in this whole endeavor. Jake The Snake Roberts…thank god Jake is where he is now, because I can breathe a sigh of relief watching this now because I know it ends well for him but man, this whole segment on Jake? It’s not an easy sitting, not one bit.

For those who have no idea who this man is? Jake is arguably the greatest mind the wrestling business has ever seen, as DDP said when he inducted Jake to the Hall of Fame, he wrote the book when it comes to wrestling psychology and everybody who weighs in here agrees with that. Paul Heyman, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon they all agree he’s a great mind for the business, but there was that one nagging issue. The demons that constantly dragged him down into deep and dark places, we will sadly have to delve into those later and be thankful he finally managed to beat them.

For now we see an independent promotion in Nebraska getting ready for the arrival of Jake and all the fans seem to be excited to see him, they want to meet him and see him do his thing which is cool but there’s some negativity to be found here as Jake has to walk in with a towel over his head so nobody can see his face and hound him. There’s negativity to every fandom and bad wrestling fans? They’re some of the worst with how insane they can get. Another thing is that this is pretty much the only place Jake could work without starting over, low key, mostly unknown, just a sad, depressing scene to see him stuck in, especially in the shape that he’s in (knowing he gets in even worse shape as the years go on doesn’t help either).

The one thing that amazes me about this whole scene with Jake though is when he explains ring psychology to us and he just gets it in a way that a lot of fans and wrestlers just don’t understand, instead of trying to explain it myself…I’ll give you the words straight from the snake’s mouth.

“The character is there, the coldness is there, the walk is there, everything that I do helps create that character. My breathing, the way I get into the ring, the way I get out of the ring, the way I look at people, the way I use my hair, my hands…everything. Ring psychology is so beautiful man, such a joy to be a part of…but by having ring psychology, you’ve got to be able to look people in the eye and convince them you believe what you’re doing.”

Wow Jake, goosebumps, really, even the state he was in, he still had that brilliant mind that he was known for and if there’s one thing Jake knew how to do, it was to give the people in those buildings an experience they would never forget and that is what ring psychology is all about.

Then begins the deep and dark dive into Jake the Snake’s past and it is just so depressing to hear it and watch it on the screen. I found myself skipping these parts in the past due to the sheer awkwardness and chills it would make me feel watching it. He really lets it all out here, I’m not going to go into full detail because there’s some real dark material here, but if you are curious you can hear it all in the documentary and find it on the web. The least I’ll say is this, what’s true and what’s exaggerated I’m not sure, but Jake has a very difficult relationship with his father who, if any of the stories about him is true, is a disgusting human being. Then there’s the story of what happened to his sister. Due to the things going on at home, Jake’s sister was affected terribly and ended up getting with a fifty year old man, leading her to get kidnapped and murdered a year later by this man’s ex wife, with no signs of her body. It’s just one thing after another and, I can only imagine how hard it was for Jake, boy is it hard…not a lot of people would be able to even go on doing anything at all, let alone try to stay in this wild and crazy business that is wrestling. Wrestling has messed up a lot of people’s minds over the years, so it certainly didn’t help Jake who already had a very difficult past and as he talks about the life on the road, just a lot of pain, suffering and regret just pours out of him as he lets it all out. Rough stuff guys and there’s more of it to come.

Interlude

We get a montage of all the different wrestlers that were interviewed between the main featured stars, Chyna, Spike Dudley, Koko B Ware, Jesse Ventura and of all people New Jack from ECW tell us about themselves, their pasts and why it is they do what they do in the ring. Examples of people being addicted to the business, like Koko who at this time was still trying to recapture his times from the eighties and guys who managed to move on like Jesse who went on and became a governor.

New Jack is without a doubt the strangest and most complex out of all these people, I certainly don’t like him as a person for the things that he’s infamous for, but as a wrestler he entertained me and that’s all I can ask for. The thing with New Jack is you don’t know where the stories end and the truth begins, apparently even though he can be a very violent person, New Jack likes to tell a few tall tales to over exaggerate his character as well. We even see him going down the acting avenue which is weird, whether he was successful or not in ever getting an acting gig I don’t know. I certainly don’t think he got this one though, it seems the people he’s auditioning with think he’s good enough to be “Denzel’s pal” and I have never seen a movie with New Jack and Denzel Washington…although that would be interesting to say the least.

Terry Funk Part 2

“I will not be wrestling any more after the end of this year, it’s over…”

Back to Terry Funk who is announcing his retirement…oh Terry, will you ever learn? Terry is sadly one of those wrestlers who just can’t stay out of the business, some do it for the money, some for the fame. I genuinely believe Terry does it because he loves it so much and although he knows he’s no longer in the state to do it well any more, it’s just too hard for him to let go, it’s a sad state for a wrestler to be in and it’s one a lot of them can end up in once they leave because they either don’t have any other avenues to go down, or they just can’t let go of that feeling they had in the ring. Terry loves that feeling and it’s caused him to have all these “retirements”

This one was special though and it would have been the perfect retirement, it was the only show where wrestlers from the big three got together to put on a retirement show for Terry. His last match? It would have been him against Bret Hart, not a bad opponent to have your last match against.

Then we’re introduced to Dennis Stamp, I can already hear what you’re saying. “WHO?!” Dennis Stamp is a former wrestler and a friend of the Funk brothers who never managed to get the recognition he believed he deserves and he comes off very bitter because of it, a lot of people know Dennis Stamp for his appearance in this documentary and the way he just outright refuses to even show up for Terry’s retirement show.

Dennis Being Bitter

Terry even goes out of his way to offer Dennis the referee position for his match against Bret, telling him he wants Dennis to be there and he still throws his bottle out of the pram. Comparing himself to one of the old dogs you see in the locker rooms, hoping somebody throws him a bone. I’m not going to say it isn’t incorrect the way he acts here.

Dennis obviously comes around and is the referee for the match between him and Bret. Terry loses the match, following the old school idea of when a wrestler leaves, he should lose his last match, he also didn’t think it would be believable for a man his age to beat the champion (which Bret was at the time). He gives his post match speech and heads off into the horizon, receiving the applause and the admiration of the crowd.

Jake Roberts Part 2

“So where are you going next?” “My daughter’s”

Oh boy this scene, Jake had a lot of troubles with his own children, he admits it himself he wasn’t the best father during this period in his life and you really just feel sorry for all parties involved here as we meet Jake’s daughter who he hadn’t seen in four years before this point. She herself has been affected immensely by Jake not being able to be there for her during his years in wrestling and by the way he’s let these demons get to him. Hardly seeing him, the only thing she has as a memento is a book filled with all the letters and cards he sent her while he was away. They had arranged a meeting with each other and you could cut the tension in that room with a knife. Jake just has no idea where to go from this hole he’s in, he doesn’t want to hurt his family but he doesn’t know where to start and what to do, he’s completely lost and he just breaks down in tears because of it, meanwhile his daughter’s sitting there, hoping she can actually start over with her father and form some sort of a bond. It’s rough, but it looks like Jake at least tried before leaving. What follows is the worst part of it all as Jake, being hit so hard by that meeting, goes to his hotel room and has cocaine, delving into his drug use on camera.

Jake isn’t the only one who turned to drugs, sadly that stigma has been attached to the business for the longest time and it’s something I’ll discuss in detail in the future, but it’s just so heartbreaking to see this broken man laying on his bed with crack cocaine, trying to make his pain go away.

Mick Foley Part 2

“It had been six months since I last saw Mick…”

Oh thank god Mick Foley is back, you really need a pick me up after that raw scene of emotion from Jake, right now in the timeline Mick is the champion and he’s getting ready to face The Rock in a title match. Any unsuspecting person watching this man playing with his kids at home has no idea just what match it’s going to be. The I Quit match…another one of Foley’s famous matches and boy is it a violent one, in some ways even more so than the Hell in a Cell.

Barry’s really good at building up the tension here as we see the preparation and build up for the match, interviewing fans, people backstage, Vince briefing the commentators about what to say during the match and getting a glimpse of the promo The Rock cut live that night, with tense music slowly building up just giving you the feel of how big this match is going to be. Anybody who knows the I Quit match, knows exactly how big it was and how it lead to Mick’s change in mindset.

For those that don’t know, the I Quit match has a moment where Mick Foley is handcuffed by the Rock, face down in the ring and takes about twenty unprotected chair shots straight to the head, knocking him unconscious. Well sadly his family is here to watch this match and while this beating is being handed to Mick, Barry cuts to Mick’s wife and children who have to turn away from the action, fading back to images of him playing with his kids, playing stand by me while this happens (How dare you play my heart like a violin Barry Blaustein!) His daughter is even carried away in tears at the end of the match because of how afraid she is of what she is seeing her father go through. Even after the match they are there watching him get stitched up and trying to lead him out of the arena as he obviously seems dazed and confused, probably suffering from a concussion. Honestly I don’t know why they didn’t ask his family to wait while they worked on him, it’s one thing to see him get beaten to a bloody mess, they don’t need to see him get stitched up as well. Needless to say it was a long night for the Foley family, Mick has no idea what his family has gone through, worried the fans didn’t get their money’s worth, trying to tell his children he’s OK and getting people’s reaction of the match. It shows how much he cares about what he does but he soon gets a wake up call about all this.

Barry rightfully decided that Mick needs to see the footage of what happened that night and guilt just overwhelms him, that’s the moment where it really hits him that he needs to change his ways so that he can live a comfortable life with his family, saying that maybe it’s a good idea to be that guy who pulls the sock out of his tights after all.

The documentary ends with a wrap up of where everybody ended up, released in 2000, the film garnered a lot of praise and a lot of controversy. On one hand it was praised by a lot of wrestlers including Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan, as well as Mick who helped promote it, on the other there’s what happened with the WWF and Jake.

Vince tried to pull out of the deal towards the end of the shooting and stopped promoting it altogether, the reasoning being that it promoted other wrestling companies, although it was more likely the negative light that Linda McMahon saw the company portrayed in, saying the documentary didn’t show much of the “fun” side of wrestling, which I disagree with. I think the whole point of this documentary is to show you what these people go through on a daily basis and the fact they still do it is because they love it and have fun. Jake wants nothing to do with the film even to this day, saying he was talked into it under false pretenses that it would be an anti-drug film that would use his experiences as an example. Barry Blaustein denies that is the case.

So where are they now?

Tony Jones and Mike Modest: Tony Jones and Mike Modest didn’t really go far in the wrestling industry, neither of them got their big break but have done some work in the independent scene. Mike Modest though did get to go to Japan in the end He now works in a Las Vegas promotion where he’s also the trainer.

Roland Alexander: His shows got shut down due to building code violations although the company stayed around. Unfortunately Roland is no longer with us, he passed away in 2013

Terry Funk: Still occasionally wrestling, still trying to retire. Hall of Famer Terry Funk remains one of the prime examples of what happens to the wrestlers that just can’t let go.

Mick Foley: Mick went on to be a best selling author, a Hall of Famer and is currently working on a comedy tour that from the last I heard is working in association with the WWE Network.

Jake Roberts: Jake finally beat those demons with the help of DDP he’s in shape and in the Hall of Fame where he deserves to be, glad to see those dark days are finally over.

The WWE: Dropping the F and going on to be the big powerhouse we know it to be today, it’s still as strong as it ever was. Just less attitude.

Darrin Drozdov: Sadly got paralyzed during one of his matches, he went through physical conditioning in the hopes to walk again but unfortunately that never happened.

In the end it’s a roller coaster ride of emotion but for me Beyond the Mat is a go to documentary for me when it comes to introducing people to wrestling. It shows the good, it shows the bad, it shows even in the bad times these guys still do what they do because they love it and they have fun doing it. It shows us what goes into making these shows that we love and the reality of what wrestling really is, it takes a toll on these athletes bodies and minds and you see all the different ways it can do that unfolding right on camera. It deserves a lot more respect then it gets. Whether you’re a fan of wrestling or not, you should check it out if you’ve never seen it before, you may walk out with a totally new mindset on wrestling. What did I walk out from this with? A lot more respect for the people who put their bodies on the line and even more love for the industry that I was already obsessed with, when it comes to wrestling, Barry Blaustein put it best:

“They’re showmen, they’re carnies, they’re fathers, they’re sons, they’re artists, they’re toys. They’re people with families, with the same concerns and fears we all share. They’re just like you and me…except they’re really different.”

Author
Categories

Posted
Comments None

If you’ve visited my patreon campaign recently, you’ll notice that we surpassed the $1,500 level, which means I’m now beholden to developing a streaming appliance – but what exactly is that? What should you expect?

What is a Streaming Appliance?

In my mind a streaming appliance is just that: a magic box that makes streaming to a variety of services possible without a whole lot of user intervention – maybe just a username and password for each service. This magic box has to do several things:

  1. It must be stupid – current streaming technologies are either lacking (taking up too much CPU power on consoles) or too complicated for the average user. On the hardware end, this must be simply plug and play: user plugs in power, Internet, HDMI in, and HDMI out. On the software end of things, all you should have to do is simply enter in which service you want to use, your username and password, and off you go.
  1. It must be small – something the size of an Xbox One is a unacceptable, in the end. This box has to be something that will fit on a shelf next to the home console or computer. It must be something that we can dump into a backpack and use at a hotel or on the road.
  1. It must be cheap – for the demo unit I’m not worried about price too much. If this just ends up being a dead end project, then so be it, but I’d like to pitch this idea to investors down the line. In the event that happens, this unit must be able to be built cheaply – either from manufacturing the parts ourselves, or from bulk ordering retail parts. In my mind “cheap” means this unit, if mass produced, would cost $99.

What does the streaming appliance look like today?

As of right now, the streaming appliance is just a mythical list of parts that I’ve just ordered from NewEgg.

Click here to view the NewEgg wishlist with the parts for the streaming appliance.

But that’s not all

The hardware is just the start of it all. The real kicker is going to be the software. Well, that will have to be developed over the course of time =)

That’s the update on the streaming appliance as of right now. I’ll post more updates as the project takes shape.

Author

Posted
Comments None

Hello and welcome back to About Gaming with redscores (that’s me).

In About Gaming we will talk about all things gaming-related, topics can be anything from “Multiplayer” to “Psychology in Gaming” everything can happen.

About Gaming will probably appear once a week, and I hope you have a great time… now onto our great Topic for today:

A GAME REVIEW: Pokemon Omega Ruby

A little recap on my experience and legacy with Pokemon. I played nearly every single Edition of Pokemon (yes, I am a maniac and crazy…)

I played Blue, Red, Yellow, Silver, Gold, Crystal, etc etc.

So I have a legacy with this Franchise and I love it for what it is: A JRPG with a collecting factor.

But now to the Review

Pokemon Omega Ruby is a “remake” of an old Edition of this Franchise, Ruby which was published at 21. of November 2002 by Gamefreak.

I put “” around the remake because this game is much more as a remake in my eyes, it was vastly improved in almost every aspect.

Story

The Game starts in Littleroot Town, you just moved in with your Mother. You get your first pokemon by helping Professor Birch.

Sounds kinda standard for the Pokemon Franchise, so I won’t bore you with many details but jump to the awesome additions to the story, which is for the most part after the standard story of Pokemon Ruby is done.

One of the things that happens while you follow the main story is that you will get to catch a legendary at a pretty early stage, which is pretty unusual. I won’t spoil which pokemon that is but it is pretty awesome.

Another addition is the improvement of the Arc about the main pokemon of Ruby, Groudon which is pretty epic, you get to follow the Lord of the Land into the depths of the Ancient Cave and get to know more about the Mega Evolutions which first appeared in Pokemon X and Y.

After the main story is done, which results in you beating the Pokemon League you think this is it, right? Maybe a few secret areas or stuff like that? Well, I won’t spoil much, but there is so much more… I play the aftergame now for about 15 hours and I still didn’t find everything.

Sound

The sound is typical pokemon music for the most part, which is not a bad thing I like the soothing sounds and happy soundtracks.

But some new soundtracks are really really good, for example the soundtrack while in the Ancient Cave or the Pokemon League Theme.

For the most part they do an good job, nothing outstanding but solid.

Graphics

The graphics are pretty much the same as Pokemon X/Y, they are outstandingly beautiful for the 3DS. The Hoenn Region was completely remade into the same style as X/Y and it just feels right.

A little sample: Groudon doing his new Special Attack (Source: pokemon.com)

Most environments are seriously beautiful, lush forests, great underwater caves, cave crystals which shine bright and all of it just feels right.

Features

But what is most important for a Pokemon Game? Right, the features.

And here lies the greatness of this remake, it does everything right:

  • The Beauty Contests return, improved and remade from X/Y
  • The Cosplay Pikachu, which can change clothes and gain different special attacks by changing
  • Many, many, many Legendaries to catch, even one that was not catchable in a normal fashion before.
  • Free Flight, rush over the Hoenn Region in completely free flight and find interesting places and fight air battles
  • A completely new story after beating the Pokemon League, resulting with flying into the universe
  • A sneak mechanic to catch rare pokemon
  • Improved pokemon radar with indepth information of pokemon in the area
  • You can create your secret base and form it into your own small arena with traps and more
  • Incredibly long aftergame with lots of exploration and things to do, the longest aftergame I have played so far in a Pokemon Game

and many many more.

Conclusion

Pokemon Omega Ruby is an awesome remake of Pokemon Ruby, it adds a boat load of features, improves graphics, keeps sound quality and has a vast aftergame. It is round about a awesome experience and I can just recommend getting it.

My Rating: 8.5/10

Author
Categories

← Older Newer →