Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for nostalgia lovers and surprisingly good for newer fans, 10 Jan. 2009
This review is from: The Best Of ITV Wrestling [DVD] (DVD)
Why do I love wrestling so much? The characters, the presentation, the storylines, the rivalries, the theatrics, the athleticism, the gimmicks, the variety? All of that, certainly. And maybe because it's in my blood to love wrestling.

After all, my nana really loved wrestling. She loved to see British legends like Big Daddy match-up against Giant Haystacks. She loved the fun and the lively atmosphere of British wrestling, tuning into ITV's World of Sport on Saturday afternoons. I'd been told bits of what it was like by my nana and parents, and I'd also seen a few clips on the "I Love the 70's" programme a few years back. Me being a fan of stuff like WWE, I decided to buy this DVD just to discover for myself what it was that made British Wrestling so special.

The Best of ITV Wrestling is presented by one Dickie Davies, the host of the enormously popular World of Sport programme which ran from 1965 to 1985. His professionalism in presenting still shines through here, thus making for a fine host. Dickie also presents the programme looking back at it all with such fondness and appreciation. His warming nature thus making the viewer take a liking to him and the action that follows

This is a compilation show chronicling the seven biggest legends of British Wrestling; Jackie Pallo, Mick McManus, Les Kellett, Pat Roach (the future star from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet), Kendo Nagasaki and of course, Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. Now, because I grew up watching the likes of Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin, I knew I was in for something completely different here. Those newer-generation fans expecting ladders, chair shots, high-flying dives, multi-move technicians, non-stop action etc will find none of that stuff here.

Instead what you will find is vintage old-school wrestling. Which means generic wrestling moves, submission-holds, mat-wrestling and old-school mentality. It's certainly a different breed altogether, but again, that's one of the reasons why I love wrestling so much. VARIETY. Watching this will make you understand that The World of Sport programme was so lively and engrossing because of the story-telling, the presentation, the larger-than-life characters, Kent Walton's fine commentary and of course...the audience, with their participation and chants of "Easy! Easy!"

Although the compilation format is well put together, the DVD does have it's faults. It's quite a short programme lasting only an hour. And the bouts included are only brief clips, which is dissapointing. I would've really liked to have seen full matches as extras as well as some more interviews with the wrestlers themselves. Plus, a true documentary in the style of WWE's "The Rise and Fall of ECW" DVD could've been huge, chronicling the rise and fall of British Wrestling, its legacy and impact on the business, AS WELL as documenting the biggest stars and most memorable matches/moments. And I also agree that more of the younger, more athletic guys and their matches should've been chronicled. They definitely brought some exciting, innovating stuff to the table.

Still, this really is a DVD I would recommend. The whole atmosphere of the ITV wrestling is so lively and great fun. Jackie Pallo vs. Ian Gilmore is a quality match to kick things off and Les Kellett vs. Leon Arras (A.K.A. Brian Glover) is a brilliant comedy bout. The ferocity and intensity of Big Pat Roach is also something to admire and respect, and the whole character and abilities of Kendo Nagasaki is mandatory watching. Most notably his infamous unmasking, which is such a great segment. And of course, the whole spectacle of seeing Big Daddy fighting Giant Haystacks is comparable to WrestleMania III's Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant.

There're some nice extras here, too. There are some clips of Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki bouts which again are great fun, but I really would've loved to have seen the matches in their entirety. The same goes for the highlights of tag-team action, which features some absolutely cracking wrestling and famous WCW/WWE veteran, Dave `Fit' Finlay. Plus some interviews with the one-and-only Jimmy Saville over his time as a wrestler (seriously!) and with other World of Sport stars on the subject of hard man Les Kellett.

The Best of ITV Wrestling is a high-quality release. Old fans of World of Sport will naturally buy it as well as they should. For fans of today's WWE and TNA...I insist you give this a chance. Like I said, it's fun and historic viewing. I would compare this to Stu Hart's Canadian Stampede Wrestling, in the sense that it was revolutionary and helped pave the way for the future known as sports-entertainment. And the fact that the legendary "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith and Fit Finlay came from all this is testament to that.

Again, the DVD should've been longer and featured more interviews and entire bouts, but it's still worth having for the sake of nostalgia, history and pure entertainment. Easy! Easy!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Feb 2013 11:59:35 GMT
Ah, the memories this brought back. My mum shouting "You dirty swine!" to Mick McManus, my quiet, reserved dad on the edge of his seat yelling "Did you see that? That was his fist!", and my less reserved Uncle Frank screaming "Kick his head in! Kick his bloody head in!" Great, much missed days.
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