I'm not generally a huge fan of shoot videos. For the most part, the interviewer reads from a list of pre-selected questions, and the lack of genuine rapport between interviewer and interviewee gets tiresome to watch.
The one exception to my shoot video rule is the Ultimate Insiders series. DVD 's in the series include Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, and Matt and Jeff Hardy, and are well-produced, intelligent and fun to watch (there's also one with New Jack, which I have yet to find for sale in the Toronto area).
The fourth Ultimate Insiders video features ECW originals Raven and Sandman, sitting in a bar and swapping wisecracks. It sounded like a solid premise; both guys have proven to be interesting interviews in the past and have great stories to tell. And if you get liquor into them? Icing on the cake.
The problem, however, was in the execution. Host Dr. Keith Lipinski has trouble maintaining order (though I can't imagine too many people would have been able to), and from the very beginning, his guests are pretending to be asleep and are generally uncooperative answering questions.
It's all a ruse, of course -- Raven and Sandman are just trying to amuse themselves -- but that's also part of the problem. One can tell within three minutes of the interview that this won't be a hard-hitting look at their careers, but rather a chance for the two to get really, really drunk
.In reality, Sandman is definitely a bit hammered (he failed to smash beer cans against his forehead until he bled, however), while Raven sips from bottled water and proves he can be a wiseass while sober.
Soon, Lipinski disappears and WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk appears in his place. The conversation between the three is lively, animated and -- in at least one spot -- disturbing (you'll never think about cows the same way again).
Unfortunately, Funk is soon gone as the host/bartender and we're left with Raven and Sandman berating Lipinski and largely avoiding his questions.
Before long, New Jack and Mustafa Saed enter the makeshift bar and from that point forward, the DVD becomes a chance for New Jack to practice stand-up comedy.
The good news: New Jack is hilarious and well worth the price of admission. The bad news: You can barely hear anyone else over The Original Gangsta's rants about Ooo-bama, cocaine and whether All In The Family came out before Good Times. As a result, Raven and Sandman kind of move into the background.
In a running gag, New Jack continually apologizes to Terry Funk for failing to mention him by name during Funk's own retirement banquet (the entire "tribute speech" is included as an extra; the banquet is the one featured in Beyond The Mat).
For a short while, The Gangstas disappear, allowing Lipinski to focus on Raven and Sandman again. However, the New Jack Show takes over again and he continues talking until the interview makes an abrupt end.
Don't get me wrong - New Jack is the most entertaining of the five ECW legends in "the bar". But there were so many things I would have liked to hear Raven and Sandman discuss, ranging from the famous cruxifiction angle, to their work together in WCW to their thoughts on Vince McMahon's version of ECW. None of this is really addressed.
The extras include a half-dozen XPW matches that feature the five wrestlers on the shoot, plus Shane Douglas, Messiah and others. None are must-see, in my book.
Overall, this video is an opportunity to see a group of controversial veterans shooting the shit and having a good time. If you're okay with that, it may be worth picking it up on the cheap. Otherwise, I couldn't really recommend it with a clear conscience.
Pro Wrestling's Ultimate Insiders
Last Call with Raven and Sandman