Around the same time that Shane Douglas & Co. were putting together "Hardcore Homecoming" in 2005, they figured why not round up the troops and deliver their side of the story, being as WWE never saw fit to include them in "The Rise and Fall of ECW"?
It makes perfect sense to me, because, really, you need guys like Shane Douglas, Raven, Sabu, Terry Funk, The Sandman and Joey Styles to tell ECW's true story. There are also tons of other voices, from the relevant (Francine, Gary Wolfe, Kid Kash, Blue Meanie, New Jack, Simon Diamond, Tod Gordon, Sinister Minister) to the decidedly-less relevant (Terry Taylor, Konnan, Bill Apter and a whole smorgasbord of Internet writers that unfairly perpetuate the stereotype of all IWC columnists being out-of-shape slobs).
Many of the interview subjects really deliver on the charisma (including Styles, who has me in stitches with some of his comments, The Sandman, and a surprisingly-upbeat Raven), which makes for a very watchable documentary.
Internet writer Derek Burgan once called this DVD "the perfect companion piece" to Rise and Fall of ECW, and honestly, I can't come up with a better description (Derek's comment was also reprinted on the back of the DVD box, which makes me insanely jealous).
For example, you have Heyman in the WWE version calling Douglas's trashing of the NWA title a great angle. Then you have Raven, Styles and others rebut in Forever Hardcore that "Yes, it was a great angle, but you also double-crossed another wrestling promotion doing it." There are similar checks and balances throughout the DVD on various aspects on the company.
There's a bit more negativity in this one, which one may expect given that many of these guys aren't even working right now. Taz comes across as being particularly hated by many of the workers, while there's not nearly as much love for Vince McMahon as in Rise and Fall (It's being produced by TNA's Jeremy Borash, so I suppose that's not a surprise, either).
Also, you have heat between Douglas and Funk, Douglas and Wolfe, Douglas and Francine, etc., captured here for everyone to see.
In terms of production values, a TON of credit goes to Jeremy Borash here. They obviously couldn't show ECW footage and I don't believe they could even say the company's NAME throughout most of this, yet Borash finds way to work around it.
For example, they show footage of XPW -- an ECW ripoff league that used many of the same stars, matches and angles -- whenever they need to show a non-interview visual. They also make liberal use of old ECW pictures that I suppose, legally, are fair game.
The video and sound quality is just about perfect, with the documentary format being the only area I really had any minor quibbles with. Instead of the narrative-type approach that "Rise and Fall" had, Forever Hardcore opts to open each segment with a title, such as "Enter Sandman" superimposed across the screen. It's not a huge deal, but I'm just pointing out that I just enjoyed WWE's approach a little bit more.
These guys also deliver the extras in spades. There's a generous helping of "deleted scenes" from the documentary here, probably another 45 minutes worth, in fact. You also have a bunch of XPW matches including Terry Funk vs. Sabu, Shane Douglas vs. Chris Candido, New Jack vs. Vic Grimes, Jerry Lynn vs. Chris Hamrick and Sandman vs. Konnan. None of these bouts I'll probably ever watch more than once, but considering most indy promotion DVD's only give you five or six matches of this quality WITHOUT any documentary, it's a nice bonus.
Make no mistake, this set is a must-have for any ECW completist (let's see if THAT makes the cover of their next DVD box!). Borash started this project from scratch, without any guaranteed big names or footage to work with, and came up with a really compelling movie.
the Documentary (Directors' Cut)