The Rookie Years
Mr. JKW | Honolulu, Hawai'i | 04/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Before They Were Famous" collects matches from the Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion of the mid-1990s of today's top wrestlers (including Y2J Chris Jericho, Lance Storm, Kane and Mick Foley) as rookies. At a run-time of 2 hours with 16 matches and the DVD special feature INSIDER commentary by Dave Meltzer (noted wrestling journalist) and Jim Cornette (SMW promoter and noted manager), this DVD is a bargain for the hardcore or even casual wrestling fan.DVD host: Jim Cornette Here's a rundown of the contents of the DVD:THE MATCHES:1. The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) vs. Flash Flanagan and Chris Michaels: The Headbangers were WWF tag champions in the late 90's. Decent action. 14 minutes. 3 stars2. "Hollywood" Bob Holly (Hardcore Holly) vs. Paul Miller: From 1992. Holly of course later went to the WWF as Sparky Plugg before evolving into Hardcore Holly. Decent action. 4 minutes. 3 stars.3. Jerry Lynn vs. Killer Kyle: From 1992. Lynn went on to great fame in ECW. Squash match but some sweet moves courtesy of Lynn. 4 minutes. 3 stars.4. Dark Secret (Road Dogg) vs. Dixie Dy-No-Mite! (Scott Armstrong): Road Dogg went on to fame in the WWF as part of D-X and the New Age Outlaws. Both men were from the famous Armstrong wrestling family (Bullet Bob, Brad, Scott, Steve and Brian "Jesse James"). Decent action. 4 minutes. 3 stars.5. Crash the Terminator (Hugh Morrus) vs. Miguel Perez: Hugh Morrus made his name in WCW. Miguel Perez, a top star in Puerto Rico, made a name stateside in the late 90s WWF as a member of "Los Boricuas." GREAT action from two agile big guys. 5 minutes. 3 3/4 stars.6. Kevin Sullivan and Nightstalker (Adam Bomb/Wrath/Brian Clarke) vs. "White Lightning" Tim Horner and "Primetime" Brian Lee: Nightstalker went on to greater fame in both the WWF and WCW. Lee had a great stint in ECW and short stints in the WWF as the "UnderFaker" and as Chainz of D.O.A. Horner was a star throughout the South. Decent action. 8 minutes. 3 stars.7. Tazmaniac vs. Robert Gibson: From 1993. Taz became a legend in ECW and is a current WWF star. Gibson was a member of the legendary Rock N' Roll Express tag team of the 1980s. Good action. 4 minutes. 3 stars.8. Tammy Fytch Interview. From 1993. Fytch later went on to become Sunny, the original WWF Diva.9. The Heavenly Bodies (Dr. Tom Pritchard and "Jiggalo" Jimmy Del Rey) vs. the Bruise Brothers (Blu Brothers/D.O.A./Creative Control/"Big Ron" and "Heavy D" Harris): Cornette promo to start things off. Arena-spanning brawl between the two groups.10. Chris Kanyon vs. Brian Lee: From 1993. Kanyon is of course the former WCW/current WWF star known as the "Innovator of Offense." 2-minute squash match. 2 stars.11. Louie Spicolli promo/match vs. Chris Candido. The late Spicolli was an upcoming star with stints in the WWF, ECW and WCW. Great match. 9 minutes. 3 ½ stars.12. The Thrillseekers (Chris Jericho and Lance Storm) vs. the Infernos: From 1994. This is Jericho and Storm's first match in the U.S. Jericho and Storm are of course two of the biggest stars in the world working in Japan, Mexico and Europe who made big names for themselves domestically in ECW, WCW and now the WWF. Great match exhibiting their immense skills. 9 minutes. 4 stars.13. The Gangstas (Mustafa Saed and New Jack) vs. the Rock N' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson): From 1994. The Gangstas went on to notoriety in ECW. Good old school battle. 10 minutes. 3 stars.14. Gangstas Interview.15. D'Lo Brown vs. Steve Armstrong: From 1994. D'Lo is of course of WWF fame. Steve is a member of the famous Armstrong wrestling clan. Decent action. 8 minutes. 3 stars.16. Cactus Jack vs. Boo Bradley: Cactus Jack is of course the Hardcore Legend/Best-selling Author/former champion Mick Foley. Boo Bradley went on to fame as the Hardcore Chair-Swinging Freak Balls Mahoney of ECW fame. Decent brawl. 5 minutes. 3 stars.17. Unabomb (Kane/Isaac Yankem/Fake Diesel)/"Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert vs. the Rock N' Roll Express: Unabomb became famous as Kane in the WWF. The late "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert was a legend in the business for both his ability as a wrestler as well as a booker. This was actually his last match in the U.S. before his death. The referee for this was the late Brian "Mark Curtis" Hildebrand. Decent match, notable for its historical significance. 8 minutes. 3 stars.18. Al Snow w/Unabomb vs. Ricky Morton: From 1994. Snow of course went on to fame in the WWF, ECW and MTV's Tough Enough. AWESOME match with tons of great moves, counter wrestling, etc. 10 minutes. 5 stars.THE DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:This is an awesome DVD. The features are limited in number but high in quality.1. Bios for Chris Kanyon, Chris Jericho, and Lance Storm. Great rundown of the careers of each man. Good information2. "OPTIONAL INSIDER COMMENTARY" by Dave Meltzer and Jim Cornette. Unlike the VHS version, the DVD has a special audio track with commentary by these two well-respected men in the wrestling industry that the viewer can listen to in lieu of the original audio tracks of each match. It's a fascinating listen/insight into the business. You'll learn a GREAT deal about the history of the business and the stories behind the wrestlers. Also, many of the anecdotes that Cornette shares are PRICELESS.THE VERDICT:Overall, this is a GREAT DVD if you are into old-school wrestling. The actions and matches on this are decent to great. You'll get to see many of the today's stars back in their rookie days as well as some of the older stars from yesterday. If you are a wrestling nostalgist THIS IS FOR YOU. Plus, you'll learn a great deal about wrestling history through the "Insider Commentary." It's a fascinating listen.Highly Recommended"
Another "must have" DVD for wrestling fans
The Gooch | Temecula, CA United States | 06/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Before They Were Famous" is a lot of fun to watch. The premise is simple - the DVD is a collection of matches from the now defunct Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion of the early-mid 90s, featuring wrestlers who went on to greater fame working for the WWF, WCW and/or ECW. It's funny, even though these matches aren't from all that long ago (the oldest match on the collection is about 10 years old) it is amazing how many of these wrestlers are practically unrecognizable in comparison to their current persona. You get to see Hardcore Holly in his "Hollywood" Bob Holly gimmick, with long hair and a much smaller body, Tazz in his original "Tazmaniac" gimmick, where he wrestled as a wild jungle boy, and Balls Mahoney as the dim-witted "Boo Bradley". Also funny was seeing Lance Storm, who has become so great in a heel role, playing a pretty boy, sincere babyface. Glen Jacobs, who went on to huge fame as Kane in the WWF is shown unmasked as "Unabom". I had forgotten what an uncanny resemblance to Sid Vicious (the wrestler, not the Sex Pistol) he has. New Jack, the Headbangers, Chris Jericho, Tammy Sytch (pre-Sunny), Hugh Morrus as Crash The Terminator, Chris Kanyon as a jobber, D. Lo Brown about 100 pounds heavier than he is now, Road Dogg under a mask as the Dark Secret, pre-"Head" Al Snow, the late Louie Spicolli and several others are also featured on the DVD. Really, the only downside to the collection is that a lot of the matches are more or less squash matches, since the focus of the DVD is highlighting wrestlers who went on to become big names in the industry, not on showing the best possible matches (though I understand that a Best of Smoky Mountain Wrestling DVD is the next wrestling DVD to be released from Kit Parker Films).Similar to the previous Kit Parker DVD collection, "Wrestling Gold", this DVD also features insider commentary from Dave Meltzer and Jim Cornette. Since Cornette ran Smoky Mountain Wrestling, there is nobody better to provide behinds the scenes stories from the territory. One of the funniest stories he told was how Bob Holly actually quit Smoky Mountain Wrestling because he was making better money as a welder. I'm actually very surprised there hasn't been more of a buzz about this DVD amongst wrestling fans. It is definitely worth buying."
Glory years Smoky Mountain Wrestling
Bertrand Hebert | Beauharnois, Quebec Canada | 05/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This as much fun as you will get watching wrestling these days. All the matches feature wrestlers who went on to be stars in either WCW or the WWF after their stint with SMW. Even for me who had some of thoses matches on tape it is a great compilation for the era. I wish they would have chosen better matches as most are "jobbers" matches but still a lot of fun. I guess the big card will be release as a unit like Night of the Legends. I hope they will continue with their great second track commentary by Jim Cornette and Dave Meltzer. It really make the difference between a good and great product. A must for the real wrestling fans or if you are a fan of one of the wrestlers feature on this great DVD."