the best of Cactus Jack in ECW
In the dying days of ECW, someone at Pioneer Entertainment must have read "Have A Nice Day" and realized they could capitalize on the book's success by providing a companion piece to his chapters on ECW.
That's exactly what this DVD is - a look at some of the biggest matches he had during his time in the renegade Philadelphia promotion.
Production Values: The DVD is narrated by Joey Styles, who introduces each match and describes its significance. A music video with Cactus Jack highlights opens the DVD, another nice touch.
While Pioneer never had the best material to work with, I found they made the most of what they had in all their DVD releases. It's unfortunate they only put out a handful of these (a Best of The Dudley Boys and a few compilation tapes) before ECW went belly-up.
BIG bonus points to ECW for setting up each match with past clips and necessary backstory. Not everyone knows what happened between, say, Foley and Mikey Whipwreck, so the setup goes a long way.
The video quality isn't tremendous, but if you were able to sit through the ECW DVD (or One Night Stand, for that matter), you should be fine.
Commentary: Personally, I've never cared much for Joey Styles on the mic, though I know a lot of people feel he's the be all and end all of wrestling announcers. Part of it is because I've been trained to hear two or more people call the action, and just about ANYONE in Joey's position would have a hard time handling both play-by-play and color commentary.
Still, his screeching voice and constant knocks at the competition gets old really fast, which really offsets any superior wrestling knowledge he may have to other announcers.
The Action: We start off with a decent match featuring Cactus and Sabu from June 1994, marred only by numerous run-ins… Afterwards, we have the infamous "Cactus Jack spits on WCW tag belt" interview, followed by a promo by Sabu's then-manager Paul Heyman… Then we're off to Cactus and Mikey Whipwreck against The Public Enemy in a wild brawl… Cactus then recruits Kevin Sullivan to replace an injured Mikey in a rematch against Public Enemy, and Sullivan SHOCKINGLY turns on his former WCW friend… Sullivan's ex-wife Woman launched a feud between Cactus and her protégé, The Sandman. This leads to two (clipped) matches, a promo and outside interference by Terry Funk himself… This then segues into a match with Cactus and Shane Douglas against Funk and Sandman, and a one-on-one match against The Funker (this MAY be the "flaming branding iron" incident Foley covers in "Have A Nice Day")… Then we see a brutal barbed wire match against Sandman, which is actually hard to watch at times… Cactus then turns on Tommy Dreamer and begins his anti-hardcore character. This leads to a generous helping of the anti-hardcore promos that are covered in later WWE DVD's, but not in as great detail as shown here… Several clips of the Cactus and Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer feud are shown here, and again, this is where reading "Have a nice day" helps to explain the context of this unique feud… Next is a Cactus vs. Shane Douglas match, unique in that Douglas was returning from a short-lived WWF stint as "Dean Douglas" and Cactus was on his way there as "Mankind"… Then we have Cactus' final ECW match against Mikey Whipwreck, and the now-legendary exit promo (although I believe they clipped the best part, which involved Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie).
Extras: None, but keep in mind this is a pretty complete collection of his ECW body of work.
Overall: Easily the best storyline chronology of any of the Foley DVD's out there (and really, I can't come up with ANY wrestling DVD that ties in major events so tightly). At more than three hours, it's a generous collection of memorable matches in an easy-to-follow format that I'd highly recommend to both Foley and ECW fans. Overall rating: 4/5.