The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling
By Phil Allely
Ever wonder where the idea for music driven entrances, over the top performances, glamorous valets and mega-shows came from in the world of wrestling? If you have this release is one for you. WCCW was a hotbed of in-ring action during its 1970s-1980s heyday, run by legendary grappler Fritz Von Erich it dominated local cable channels and grew into a very big concern for Fritz and his family. This DVD box et uses the WWE owned back catalogue of TV and pay-per-view recordings to their best and shows just how the company rose and unfortunately how it fell as well. Though the ride itself to the top and back down again is a heart wrenching one full of tragedy, yet somehow at the same time immensely watchable and involving.
At the centre of this set is a nice almost two hour documentary, (which does of course take a WWE slant on some things) which covers the Von Erich family in depth and highlights their in-ring triumphs and the personal demons each seemingly had accompanying them throughout their lives.
Brothers Mike, Kevin and Kerry were the main stars of the show in WCCW. They faced some of the wrestling worlds most well known and respected wrestlers during their prime and had some of the industries hottest and best attended matches of all time doing so. Across this set you get to see and hear comments from such luminaries as Ric Flair, The Fabulous Freebirds, Gary Hart and others of the era, plus a few talking heads from today’s sport. All of which are linked well with the documentary footage and other parts of the production.
For wrestling historians sets like this are pure gold, for fans of good honest wrestling they are stunning efforts too. The content has been well thought out and it’s not just the Von Erich’s who get profiled, whilst the sections on the late family members (many of which are deceased due to drug dependency, injury issues or other personal problems), we also get nice mini profiles of guys like ‘Gentelman’ Chris Adams, Gino Hernandez, Missing Link, Kamala and hardmen like Terry ‘Bam Bam’ Gordy. All of which pave the way for the second disc, featuring a dozen of the best matches from WCCW’s classic period. Matches include: Von Erich’s vs The Freebirds, Chris Adams and Sunshine tacking the paring of Jimmy Garvin and Precious, plus the wonderfully fulfilling NWA Heavyweight Championship cage bout between Ric Flair and Kerry Von Erich.
The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling certainly puts the emphasis firmly on the Von Erich boys and their determined father, the company they built out of Texas and how it spawned the way wrestling is presented now at all levels. The old footage is well delivered, the deceased wrestlers are lovingly remembered and last surviving Von Erich, Kevin has some interesting and moving nuggets of information on his family and the company they helped build.
The two disc dvd is available now from www.silvervision.co.uk and all good retailers.