Ringside Review: Barbed Wire City is a must-watch, in-depth look at ECW

Barbed-Wire-City-PosterExtreme Championship Wrestling was a unique, influential and revolutionary company that reshaped the pro wrestling landscape in the 1990s. While many stories have been told, books have been written, and other documentaries have been produced, none of them is as in-depth as Barbed Wire City. The documentary film, produced by Kevin Kiernan and John Philapavage, provides a detailed look back on the company many of us hold so close to our hearts.

The doc is heavy on nostalgia and you can see there is clearly a passion and love for ECW shared by the film makers, yet it doesn’t pull any punches when discussing some of the lowlights of the history of ECW. From the infamous “Mass Transit Incident” to the personal tribulations of many of ECW’s performers, almost every key moment in ECW’s short but storied history is covered in great detail. We even get a detailed telling of the poorly received Extreme Reunion show.

The only things missing are closer looks at ECW’s relationship with WWE and perhaps a more in-depth telling of how Eastern Championship Wrestling became Extreme and Shane Douglas’ denouncement of the NWA belt.

There is also no shortage of interviewees in Barbed Wire City. Kiernan and Philapavage were able to speak with many of the key players in ECW’s rise as well as the writers that covered the promotion. The film features over 60 interviews with people such as Raven, Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie, Shane Douglas, Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, Sandman, New Jack, Rhino, Tod Gordon, Billy Corgan, Jason Powell, Wade Keller, Mike Johnson, Dave Meltzer and more. A wealth of footage compiled over the last 20 years is included, with many of the aforementioned interviews featured being filmed in the early 2000s.

If you were a fan of ECW, this is definitely a documentary you need to watch. Even if you’re too young to remember, it’s a worthwhile look at a company that shaped and changed the pro wrestling landscape and birthed many of the industry’s biggest stars.

For more information or to purchase, visit Barbed Wire City‘s official website.

(Image from Barbed Wire City‘s official site)

Ringside Review: ECW Loves NY 8-disc DVD set

Image courtesy Highspots.com

Image courtesy Highspots.com

Highspots recently released the ECW Loves NY 8-disc DVD-R set, which is a “must own” for fans of the original ECW. The set chronicles ECW’s best matches and moments from New York City, in familiar venues such as Lost Battalion Hall, Elks Lodge #878 a.k.a. The Madhouse of Extreme, and the Hammerstein Ballroom. In total, the set has 56 matches and is well worth the $29.99 price tag.

Some of the matches are from ECW Fan Cam footage, but many feature Joey Styles on commentary and are their original television of pay-per-view broadcasts. Nostalgics will enjoy seeing a young, slim Joel Gertner as ring announcer during the earlier years. The set also has some rare matches, including Chris Jericho v. Cactus Jack from Big Ass Extreme Bash; Rey Mysterio v. Juventud Guerrera from Big Apple Blizzard Blast; and Taz, The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Al Snow v. Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon in a ECW v. WWF eight man tag match.

I would recommend this to anybody who, like me, remembers watching ECW Hardcore TV and wants to re-live some of ECW’s best moments, or to anyone who may be too young or missed the groundbreaking innovation that was happening under Paul Heyman’s control in the mid-to-late 1990s. Since all of the matches in this collection take place in various venues throughout New York, the crowds are electric as well.

For full match listings and purchase information, visit Highspots.com.