Thursday, September 19, 2013

The (Mid) South Will Rise Again!

WWE Home Video releases that satisfy everyone are few and far between.  Either there's too much previously released material or the content is too "old" to appease the "Universe" or this or that or the other thing.  I'm not sure if it's a credit to the WWE home video team or the creative genius of Ernie Ladd and Bill Watts, but the newly released "Legends of Mid-South Wrestling" might be the pacifier needed to satisfy the cries of all groups of wrestling consumers.

Ever since WWE purchased the Mid-South Wrestling Library, fans have been clamoring for something to come of it.  It didn't take a genius to figure out that the purchase was a smart buy.  From Junkyard Dog to Ted DiBiase to Jim Duggan to Jake Roberts, so many wrestling stars of the '80s had some of their best years in the business as part of either Mid-South Wrestling or the Universal Wrestling Federation when the promotion changed names.  Seeing as how WWE enjoys showcasing the stars of what many fans between the age of 30 to 40 years old consider to be the company's "glory years," this release practically built itself.

Released in both DVD and Blu-Ray formats, Legends of Mid-South Wrestling is presented in a format that I was unsure of at first.  Instead of the often-used WWE DVD format of a documentary followed by matches, the wrestler soundbite and clip segments are interspersed throughout to tell the story of Mid-South/UWF and build up to complete matches.  After watching, I decided that I enjoyed this format more than the separate documentary.  While it may not work for every topic tackled, it definitely thrives here.

Although I'm not a home theater expert, to me this classic footage is particularly crystal clear in Blu-Ray format.  Though the occasional imperfection from the source material cannot be helped, someone did an absolutely remarkable job restoring these tapes.  Rumor says that the tapes were restored for the Watts family's own marketing of these matches before WWE purchased the library. 

The segments and matches presented each revolve around a key player in Mid-South's history and often include stars such as Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, and Dusty Rhodes who passed through.  In my estimation, the match listing is phenomenal.  Despite collecting quite a bit of footage through the years, the only match I had previously owned was Andre, Dusty, and JYD taking on Ladd and The Wild Samoans.  Six Hall of Famers in one match gives you just a hint of the star power involved here.

You'll see the student-teacher struggle of Magnum T.A. and Mr. Wrestling 2.  You'll relive the conniving Ted DiBiase as he battles former friends JYD and Hacksaw Duggan.  You'll witness tag teams such as The Fabulous Freebirds, The Midnight Express, and The Rock 'n Roll Express as they climbed up the ladder.  You'll learn of Muhammad Ali's involvement with Mid-South from Jim Ross himself.  How about Shawn Michaels, Sting, and The Ultimate Warrior TRULY "before they were stars?"  It's all here.

As is usually the case when comparing formats, the DVD packaging is a bit more attractive than the Blu-Ray version.  The latter format, however, contains several bonus segments and matches.  These extra features are absolutely worth picking up the Blu-Ray version for.  Cantankerous old "get that WWE logo off of my classic wrestling!" fans will be happy to see that the company's logo is very small in the over all packaging design.  In comparison, the classic Mid-South Wrestling logo is featured much more prominently as a whole.

This release has a lot of potential in several different areas.  As with any "classic" release, the likelihood of future, similar releases only rises if the sales are good here.  I've seen many fans reporting purchases of "Legends," which will only help the cause.  With this particular release, hopefully the company will feel the need for yet another chapter of Mid-South Wrestling.  There are many more great matches, classic characters,and untold stories yet to be touched upon.  Hopefully "Legends of Mid-South Wrestling: Volume 2" is on the home video horizon.

For every reason mentioned above and more, go out and buy this one.  WWE releases from their vast "vault" are always worth a purchase due to being able to get these gems in pristine quality, but this set goes above and beyond.  Very rarely in viewing the discs was I not completely entertained.  Going back to my earlier pondering, I think that it did have a lot to do with "The Cowboy" and "The Big Cat."  Not only did they know how to build a promotion, but they knew how to build the talent to keep us enthralled.  Thanks to WWE, we now get to treasure that greatness forevermore. 


Hobgoblin238 said...

I actually had someone at tell me that Legacy was the greatest tag team of all time and that the eighties stars were for old foagies....Ughh...I hate the new fans.

Loneman1 said...

Hobgoblin.....that makes be very sad. Kudos on the name BTW....your namesake's "Secret Wars" figure was one of my favorites growing up!!