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DVDs - VGames - Books
2004 PWTorch Christmas Buying Guide - DVDs, books, shirts, crappy WWE CDs

Dec 11, 2004 - 2:43:00 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY


By Derek Burgan, Torch Media Guy

2004 PWTorch Buying Guide

Its that time of the year again, when Xanta Clause makes his rounds and delivers wonderful gifts to all the good boys and girls while giving TNA shirts to all the kids on the naughty list. Here at PWTorch we have put together a handy list of all the items you might want to pick up for the wrestling fans in your life and if you have some extra cash available, get them for your own collection.

DVDs While the WWE has had one of its worst year creative-wise they have more than made up with producing a string of incredible DVDs.

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The Rise and Fall of ECW: You couldnt ask for anything more coming from the WWE as they take a mostly unbiased look at the history of Extreme Championship Wrestling. You can read my review HERE and I cant say enough good things about the disc. If you were a ECW fan in the 90s, or always wanted to know why you heard ECW chants after a spectacular high spot on a WWE, then this is the disc for you. The Rise and Fall of ECW takes an in-depth look at the company from its beginnings (including Shane Douglas shocking double cross of the NWA) and hits upon almost every major subject. The Mass Transit Incident (although not shown), WCW stealing Mike Awesome while he was holding the ECW title, ECWs invasion on RAW and the very controversial angle involving Sandman getting crucified are all covered. There is a second disc full of bonus material including some matches that every fan of wrestling should check out to see how months of storylines can culminate in one match while starting new angles at the same time. Highest possible recommendation.

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Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story: If you are like me you were jumping out of your seat when Chris Benoit won the WWE title at WrestleMania XX. Not just because it was a great match, but because most all major wrestling fans had an emotional investment in Benoit. I think there is not a wrestler alive who can match the intensity that Benoit brings to each and every match. The DVD has a wonderful retrospective on Benoits career and a Must See bonus disc with some of Benoits greatest matches. You might want to head on over to the bonus disc first because not only do you get to see Benoit vs. Jushin Liger, but you can click on the optional commentary with Benoit and Todd Grisham and watch Grisham make a complete ass out of himself.

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The Monday Night War: Much like the ECW DVD above, the WWE attempted their own spin on the famous Monday Night Wars of the 90s and had slightly different results. First of all, I think every one should have this in their collection as it has so many incredible moments from when wrestling was at its all time peak, but it also is an invaluable look at what happens when the winners write the history books. I think in Vince McMahons eye he is always the victim. It is really incredible to look back and see such great moments as the DX invading CNN center and then read on the Torch website that McMahon is suing TNA for their stupid footage of bringing milk and cookies to the WWE wrestlers while they were filming a commercial at Universal Studios. Hypocrisy has a name, and that name is Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

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WHHHOOOOOO!


The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection: You gotta think this was the DVD that made the WWE get serious about their releases. Everyone was shocked when this 3 disc DVD flew off the shelves earlier this year. This DVD is just a fantastic look at the career of Ric Flair as each disc pretty much covers a particular era. Theres stuff from the old NWA, WCW and of course WWE. One great bonus is the inclusion of the entire Royal Rumble from back in 1992 when Slick Ric won the WWE Championship. Bobby Heenan was in prime form here on commentary and we get to watch Ric take on every single big WWE name including Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage. The one negative? That the WWE has absolutely NO IDEA why this DVD sold so well and none of the Undertaker or HHH ones do.

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WrestleMania XX: The event of 2004, hands down, and this DVD is exactly what the WWE can do when they want to do something right.

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Latino Heat!


Eddie Guerrero - Cheating Death, Stealing Life: This DVD is much in the same mold as the Benoit DVD above and just as good. There are two discs, one being a retrospective look at Eddies career (and I think everyone of his fans should go out of their way to see this) along with a second disc being devoted to Guerrero matches. Again you get to see Todd Grisham look like a complete tool if you listen to his commentary. Eddie has been through hell and back in his career and this disc does a good job walking us through all his ups and downs.

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Ring of Honor DVDs: In case you have been living under a rock the past couple of years, you have noticed the amount of fans who have just stopped watching wrestling. They are sick and tired of the stupid storylines. They are bored with matches that arent exciting. Well, if you are one of those fans thinking of leaving, or know someone that did, take a chance and pick up some releases from Ring of Honor before you finally call it a night. There is no promotion in North America that is doing what ROH has been doing for three years. The belts in ROH mean something, the wrestling moves in ROH are exciting as you dont see any 3 minute headlocks that you find on any WWE pay per view, and the storylines almost always build up to a satisfying payoff.

Here are some of my favorite ROH releases:
Reborn: Stage II 4/24/04 (Chicago loves their C.M. Punk)
Reborn: Completion 7/17/04 (one of the best endings of any wrestling show)
At Our Best 3/13/04 (Must see cage match between Samoa Joe and Jay Briscoe)
Death Before Dishonor 7/19/03 (top to bottom the best wrestling show Ive ever seen)
Midnight Express Reunion 10/2/04 (Jim Cornette)
Final Battle 2003 12/27/03 (Great Muta)
Main Event Spectacles 11/1/03 (Scramble Cage!)
Weekend of Thunder 11/5 & 11/6/04 (Jushin Liger!)
Unscripted: remastered 9/21/02 (you will wonder how the WWE screwed up Paul London)

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Secrets of the Ring withJim Cornette


Ring of Honor also has a collection of shoot videos and you are a fan of Mick Foley you MUST get his two disc Straight Shootin disc. Mick actually goes though the pages in Ric Flairs book and offers a rebuttal to the comments Flair made to Foley. Simply incredible. And if you are an aspiring wrestler, or want to one day be a part of the business in any capacity you owe it to yourself to get Secrets of the Ring with Jim Cornette.


Years ago RF Video was accomplishing two really innovative things. The first was producing the Fan Cam for ECW. For those of us who didnt live near Philadelphia, it was one of the only ways to be able to experience ECW. They also were the first company to introduce the Shoot Interview, or at least make it tremendously popular. RF Video has more interviews than you could ever imagine over at their site. (www.RFvideo.com) You can never go wrong with Jim Cornette as he always just goes completely off on people especially Vince Russo. Teddy Hart, Lex Luger, the Honky Tonk Man and The Mountie are just the tip of the iceberg of the shoot interviews RF has available. Heres a look at several other of their high profile releases:

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The most homicidal, suicidal, genocidal...


Shoot Interview with SABU: Make no mistake, to me Sabu defined ECW. He was a mixture of hardcore and high flying. Reading the PWTorch newsletter back in the day this was the one guy I knew I definitely would have to see and boy, did he ever deliver. This is the first shoot interview of any kind with Sabu. RFvideo also has a neat option for many of their most controversial shoots in which you can buy a lower priced CD version. So now you can listen to guys like New Jack wish someones mother cancer while on the treadmill at the gym.

Undercover with New Jack: What can you say about New Jack? Probably the most outspoken wrestler in the business today. You can check out my my New Jack Shoot Interview review and even that doesnt get across how hilarious New Jack is. This Undercover tape centers around the events that recently landed New Jack in jail for stabbing a wrestler.

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Scott Hall in ECW


Scott Hall in ECW? I had no idea Scott Hall was EVER in ECW, but apparently he was and RFvideo has the ECW fan cam to prove it. I remember watching WWE back in the day and they would have promos for Brakkus and I always wanted to see the guy, but never did. Apparently he sucked big time and even the WWE realized it. While they sent Brakkus down to ECW for a bit and I remember seeing him in a match with Taz in which he was totally destroyed. Oh man I miss that company.

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The Best of the Von Erichs: My whole experience with World Class was watching their television show on ESPN. In fact one of my most vivid memories was seeing a wild six man match between the Von Erichs and the Freebirds. This was before I knew about the dirtsheets or the Internet so I had no idea pretty much all the Von Erichs were completely f----ed up beyond belief, all I knew was that I loved watching the show and seeing guys like Gino Hernandez and Chris Adams.

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Wrestling Gold Collection


Wrestling Gold Collection: For the price, this collection cant be beat and there is the added bonus of commentary from Jim Cornette and Dave Meltzer. Enough said.

Also check out releases from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, IWA Mid South, Pr, 3PW, and JAPW as well as WWEs Blood Bath - Most Incredible Cage Matches.


Books

Ric Flair: To Be The Man: I was looking forward to Flairs book almost as much as I was to Mick Foleys a couple years ago and he didnt disappoint. Whether Flair is talking about his childhood friend the General or discussing how wrestlers were nothing but pieces of meat back in the 70s, he puts the reader there and does it with great humor. Flair talks about his experience with the WWE, why he hates Eric Bishoff and gives a first hand look at the time in NWA/WCW that we all remember. He also shamelessly kisses the ass of one Triple H, but hey, no ones perfect. Torch readers should note that the editor of the book is former Torch scribe Mark Madden. Although with the amount of factual mistakes in the book youll be wondering exactly what the hell Madden actually did. There better be a sequel to this baby. (Ric Flair: Walk that aisle?)

Bobby Heenan's Chair Shots & Other Obstacles: I grew up on The Brain and consider him the greatest manager I have ever seen. His interplay with the late Gorilla Monsoon made even the most boring of WWE shows entertaining to watch. Thankfully Heenan has overcome some severe personal issues in his life and seems to be heading towards some newfound popularity with his book releases and appearances in ROH.

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Dave Meltzer's Tributes


Tributes II: Dave Meltzers obituaries are among the best writing that wrestling has to offer. Its a shame that most of us need to wait until a wrestler dies before we really appreciate what he did while alive. Meltzers Tributes takes a look at the lives of wrestlers such as Road Warrior Hawk, The Sheik, Gorilla Monsoon, the British Bulldog, Curt Henning and others in a refreshingly honest way. Meltzer has a way to make these larger than live characters seem more like real people which only emphasizes what a loss it is when so many of them died early in their lives. Tributes II also contains a DVD with Meltzer talking about the wrestlers in the book and should be on the bookshelf of any serious fan.

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Want to learn how to lose money really fast?!


The Death of WCW: What happens when you take two of wrestlings funniest writers (Bryan Alvarez and RD Reynolds) and have them talk about a company which went from the biggest money making wrestling company on Earth to losing 60 Million dollars in 1,000 business days? You get one hell of a book. And while you are at it, check out RDs WrestleCrap book. Most of us have a hard time remembering all the good things in wrestling but can look back with pinpoint accuracy to all the times we were let down. Gobbledy Gooker anyone?

Jerry Jarrett's TNA book: I have a review of this book HERE and I thought it was a really interesting look at what it takes to open a wrestling company. Its obvious that Jarrett has learned a lot of lessons in his career, but also has absolutely no clue as to what is successful in wrestling today. Just reading Jarrett rip apart Vince Russo throughout the book is worth the price of admission alone. It would be interesting, considering that Jarrett just pulled a powerplay on his on son Jeff, what Jarretts journal would look like for this past year.


Also check out Scott Keith's One Ring Circus
The Mouth of the South: The Jimmy Hart Story, you know, the guy who Randy Savage is in mortal fear of. Harley Race's King of the Ring, which probably doesnt discuss his involvement in Wrestlings Secrets Exposed. Ole Anderson's Inside Out, and be sure to google Bret Harts rebuttal to Ole saying he was fired for smelling bad.

For those people you DONT like-

Everyone likes to pull a good rib now and then. So instead of going the low brow of taking a dump in your friends bag, buy them one of the following items:

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He's a man they call Sting


Sting: The Moment of Truth DVD. Where do you even begin with this one? First of all, you can check out my review HERE but be prepared to see a movie destined to be enshrined over at RD Reynolds www.WrestleCrap.com It has everything that Mystery Science Theatre 3000 would be chomping at the bit at. Horrible writing + bad acting make for a film thats so bad its good. Except it isnt good. I guess this would be a honest to gosh good gift for any of your friends that have been saved.

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The official soundtrack in hell


WWE CD: Theme Addict. Ill be honest, when the WWE first started putting out CDs years ago with themes of the wrestlers on it I picked them up the first day they were on sale. Over the years the amount of good themes have gone straight down the toilet and today most of the good ones are songs by real bands that the WWE licenses. You do have to laugh at a Gail Kim theme being released days after she was also released from the company.

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Randy Wear. Sometimes you have to wonder what the hell the WWE is thinking. Despite their booking making sure that women do NOT watch their show ($250,000 Rat Search, Kanes angle with Lita), they continually try to market clothing to women. If anyone reading this buys a Randy Orton thong for their girlfriend this Christmas, please take a picture of her face when opening the gift so we can all share in the fun.

Do you happen to know A.J. Styles or Christopher Daniels? Well why not buy them a Property of TNA shirt! What a great gag gift for an ROH fan in your life.

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Ho Ho Ho!


Derek Burgan wants One Night In China for Xmas. You can reach Derek by clicking here!


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