Welcome to the latest edition of the WRATH OF TITO for another special multimedia column. Phew, I'm at the end of my "essential stack of stuff", for now and today, I'll review the latest video by Backyard Inc. called "Backyard Wrestling Superstar Series: A Passion for Pain", which is a focus on two guys who went from the backyard to actually breaking into professional wrestling. And many wrestlers or so-called experts said backyard wrestling won't lead to a professional career.
That's B.S. If you're motivated and work hard, you can be anything. The two guys in this DVD video beat the living crap out of each other in the backyard, and just why did they do it? They loved wrestling. It was what they both wanted to be, and they busted their asses to become that. It should be a message sent to anyone who is stuck in a workplace that they didn't want to be at or someone who once aspired to be something. If you're young and want to do something, just get focused and give it your full effort to become this. Don't expect opportunity to be handed to you. I'm sure the 2 backyard wrestling guys featured in the DVD didn't expect a professional wrestling career to be handed to them. This applies to anything in life.
I laugh whenever someone tells me that NWA-TNA has been successful. For MONTHS now, I've said that NWA-TNA is going in the wrong direction by hiring and pushing old WCW wrestlers over creating their own superstars. Look what just happened... Their 3 hour Sunday Pay Per View was postponed, once again! The wrestlers on the roster are losing confidence in the product (and they should with the older WCW guys getting their pushes, in addition to Jarrett booking himself over everyone) and even the old WCW guys don't want a piece of this federation. This is a federation that is taking pieces of the past and trying to put them together and recycle them as new. They wrestle like ECW or WCW, depending on the workers. The storylines are either WCW southern-style or Vince Russo shock value, while they make a WWE leftover debuting wrestler a big deal. Get real. The lack of innovation in NWA-TNA will keep them on Pay Per View because no national cable network is willing to risk receiving lower advertising rates for a wrestling product that won't deliver in the ratings.
Speaking of NWA-TNA, Joanie Laurer (formerly Chyna of the WWF) appears to not be welcome there, ALREADY. She had a few disputes with the company, such as an instance over plane tickets (First Class or Coach), and I'm sure NWA-TNA had problems with her through booking ideas if they don't feel like bringing her back. Laurer is a headcase, and her attitude is that everyone is against her. She wonders why she can't find steady work anywhere, such as acting or a wrestling promotion. Until she cleans up her act and recognizes that the WWE made her and she was nothing without their publicity machine, she'll be losing more jobs in the future.
I do find it funny, though, that she has reunited with Sean Waltman (or X-Pac when he was in the WWF). Those two are so perfect together, given that both feel their "shit doesn't stink" in whatever they do. If either one had any sense in them, they would go back to the WWE and BEG to come back. In addition to that, they better accept a lowball money offer just to be on television again. Both Waltman and Laurer need that, if they want to remain in wrestling or television. I guarantee, though, that Laurer is blackballed from the WWE by HHH and Stephanie McMahon, especially for her very public comments about HHH/Stephanie. Personally, with X-Pac, he hasn't been the same since he tagged up with Kane (which I thought was a great pairing at the time).
Wow, the WWE isn't going to put Bill Goldberg on the television shows up and until Wrestlemania 20. Yes, Goldberg is not contractually obligated to appear anywhere until the big Pay Per View. However, if the WWE wants some big money for Wrestlemania 20, I'd maybe pay Goldberg a few thousand to appear on a few of the shows leading up to Wrestlemania. In my opinion, Goldberg vs. Lesnar is the match that seems to have the most attention on the card. It looks as though the WWE is using Goldberg's contract to keep him OFF of WWE shows to cutdown on the hype of that match, given that the WWE isn't going to sign Goldberg after Wrestlemania (which I think is suicide because someone else will sign Goldberg, and it could be the best former WCW signee of NWA-TNA). The WWE just has too many personal and stubborn issues against Bill Goldberg due to jealousy of his WCW 1998 career and his ventures outside of wrestling.
Today, I'm reviewing a Backyard Wrestling DVD... I'm sure if you've been a wrestling fan for the past 7 years, you can probably remember how Backyard Wrestling was popular and peaking in 1999 and at a steady decline since 2001. Why is it in decline? As a longtime wrestling fan, I know indicators of WWE popularity. Aside from ratings, buyrates, attendance, and merchandise as business indicators, it's the small things. For instance, when wrestling is popular, the wrestlers find more work as actors, ESPECIALLY on television shows. Look at all of the WWE wrestlers who appeared on shows during 2000. It was ridiculous. Secondly, if you've been on the internet for 7 years, you'll remember E-Feds or Electronic Feds. These are role-playing websites which has many users acting as wrestlers. There are still some to this day, but during 1999, it was insane at the amount of E-Feds out there! I was invited to join one everyday (but politely declined). Third, when wrestling is popular, you see WWE shirts sold at regular kinds of stores. For instance, K-Mart will actually care to sell wrestling shirts. When wrestling is in the pits, the only time you can buy a shirt is through the federation. Another indicator is celebrity involvement.
But like E-Fed involvement exploding, when wrestling is popular, more people want to wrestle. 1998 created a whole new fan base of TEENAGERS, with the WWE's attitude wrestling and ECW's violent wrestling. Wrestling's popularity increased by the month, and so did the amount of backyard federations that popped up. I know, because I used to run a Backyard Wrestling website called the "Backyard BBQ", which was an index of many backyard sites for people to view (and I gave awards for best fed of the month and year). Therefore, I kept an eye out on the websites that were updated and weren't updated. I look around today, only a few websites are getting updated. Many feds are going under. Yes, many wrestlers ARE getting older and realizing that dressing up in costumes to wrestle is getting out of touch with their age. However, the WWE's fanbase has almost been cut in half since 2000, its peak, and WCW and ECW are well gone.
Backyard Wrestling was very popular in 1999 and 2000. The "Best of Backyard Wrestling" videos, 1 and 2, sold very well in stores and were on the Billboard charts for a while. Talk shows featured backyard wrestlers and professional wrestlers themselves were condemning backyard wrestling as "bad". Once the WWE began to go downhill (after Wrestlemania 17), the Best of Backyard videos didn't sell as well (they slowly come out now) and talk shows moved on to something else. Therefore, Backyard Wrestling declines is a small indicator of the WWE or wrestling's popularity.
One thing I dislike about the "Best of Backyard" series is the way it paints backyard wrestling. Only a small minority of the feds out there, according to my research, are hardcore feds. If you watch the Best of Backyard videos, you'll notice that it's the same 10 feds or so sending in material. Not everyone who participates in backyard wrestling tries to attack each other with weapons, tables, lightbulbs, or whatever else. I'm more of a big fan of the gimmicks and storylines than the feds itself. Backyard Wrestling, in my opinion, presents great creativity from wrestling fans, especially ones who believe they can do better than the wrestling programs they watch. The hardcore stuff was funny in Backyard 1 and 2, but became boring or repetitive after that. Part 4 of the BOBY series was the best since it had great gimmicks featured, such as a lot of good stuff by Masked Mike Jackson and the Sasquatches.
I still support backyard wrestling just because of some good friends I've made through one fed, who in turn merged with another fed to make the federation I link in my columns (Willygoat Valley Wrestling). Their events are a lot of fun to attend, and I like to help them out whenever, whether it's holding a camera for a match or so, helping out with the ring music, or giving some HTML assistance to the website. I do what I can, and like Eek the Cat used to say, "it never hurts to help".
By the way, check out My Weblog for future Frequently Asked Questions that I may post in the next few days. A lot of readers have enjoyed discussing other issues, outside of wrestling, with me, whether it's politics, DVDs, sports, or whatever else. On to the DVD review.
The difference between M-Dogg and Prohibition from the other guys is the fact that both are pretty incredible athletes, especially M-Dogg. Lots of acrobat moves, well timed flying moves, or some decent in-ring work. Without training, these two have seemed to pick up their own way to wrestle back when they were backyard wrestlers. Both sent their tapes into Backyard Inc. and the buzz created from their events probably landed them into a wrestling school. They would then go to the indies, where the video really began to become fun. The old backyard stuff with the excessive tables got old after a while, but when they were in the indies and XPW, they were forced to do moves without weapons. This is when M-Dogg, especially, flourished because he could go off the ropes and hit very flashy moves. Prohibition seemed to be the better bumpman or the better power move wrestler. They would get enough attention on the indies to get into XPW as a tag team (whereas before, they mostly wrestled each other), and they looked quite good in the ring (albeit, both of these guys are pretty short or small in muscle mass). They can both hit some very impressive spots, and hit a lot of moves I've never seen before.
It's funny, this is a backyard wrestling video, but their professional wrestling material is BETTER. That being said, they wouldn't have reached the professional level if they didn't have fun backyard wrestling OR want to do this for a living. Both seemed to really enjoy what they were doing, and it's a case where backyard wrestling helped benefit a person to become a professional wrestling (Hardys and Mick Foley also became wrestling after backyarding).
The DVD itself mainly focuses on M-Dogg and Prohibition's wrestling careers, but they feature a lot of skits from their backyard fed or with their friends. For instance, they parody Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, one guy walks around on the streets in a "Party Box", and they show M-Dogg jumping on or off various things just for a pure laugh. You also get to see the party to celebrate the Backyard Wrestling video game, in which the Insane Clown Posse tries to hog up as much publicity as they can. M-Dogg and Prohibition are both there as well.
Extras? Not much, really. You can preview other videos by Xtreme Entertainment Group in one section, big whoop. My DVD skills didn't find any Easter Eggs, although I'm not Easter Bunny to be good at digging for them.
Sound? Video quality? Both are OK... XEG is dealing with footage they didn't tape, so the quality can't be perfect.
LAST WORD: I liked watching highlights of Prohibition and M-Dogg after their backyard careers, but the rest of the video was just OK or repetitive as far as Backyard Inc.'s videos are concerned. I'd probably recommend a rental only just to see some pretty flashy moves from the 2 wrestlers featured, but to buy? I don't know, but I'm giving this DVD a [ C+ ] (C plus) for a lack of any special features. Could be a better video, but M-Dogg and Josh Prohibition are quite impressive wrestlers. Full credit goes to both of them.
Mr. Tito's BLOG! My thoughts on Sports, Politics, Entertainment, and everything NOT Wrestling!
Willygoat Valley Wrestling - A Backyard Fed that's Still Alive and Kickin'!
@That's all for today. Thanks a million for reading.