DVD Review: Bloodstained Memoirs
By Phil Allely
There have been a good few decent documentaries looking at the world of wrestling over the years. Most of them have attempted to find the right balance between highlighting the athletic aspects of grappling and telling their own story based on this area of sports entertainment that many millions of people enjoy on various levels. Some have fared better than others, a few have been made with input from the likes of the WWE and others have been made on shoestring budgets with no involvement of any big name promotions, all of them being watchable for their content in some way, no matter how small. Fans such as your truly of course thoroughly enjoy them for the fact that some has bothered taking the time and effort to pursue a subject that is so close to my heart
The eagerly anticipated film Bloodstained Memoirs takes it lead from many of these similar wrestling films, in that it gives wrestlers a platform to speak their mind. The difference being that the theme here is to sit down with people in the industry who have had various levels of success and get their take on the business in their own candid words.
Writer and director David Sinnott has amassed a nice cross section of the wrestling community here, taking in veterans, current stars and a couple of lesser known (to WWE/TNA fans) international wrestlers. All of which have a very different tale to tell and offer forth some nice comments, thoughts and opinions on the grapple game.
What we have here is a nice little snapshot of just what wrestling means to some people who have made their fame and fortune in the ring, some that continue to ply their trade in it and one or two who have felt the sting in the tail that losing your popularity in a company can bring with it.
There are also a few talking heads here who seem to be holding back in case they rile up a potential new boss at some point down the line. Which will not be noticeable to casual fans, but those in the know will see what I mean.
Hosted in his own unique inimitable style by Al Snow we meet, in no specific order Mick Foley in fine form as he promotes his latest book (prior to his recent return to the WWE) Foley as always has a story or two to tell and even the footage of his signing makes for fun viewing too. Roddy Piper is in his usual honest and direct manner, I could personally listen to the guy talk for hours about his crazy life in wrestling. Chris Jericho (a regular interview here at Running The Ropes) is interviewed whilst on tour (in the UK) with his band Fozzy and as we all know he always makes for a fun interviewee. Rob Van Dam brings with him a laid back approach that many think is all an act, he like everyone else makes for entertaining viewing and lets you see what you see on TV is what you get in real life. Jason Reso (Christian Cage) is very honest about his career at the time of Interview (TNA) and his past successes in the WWE. WWE legend Jimmy Snuka is a softly spoken thrill to hear, his career being one of highs, lows and much more. Nora (Molly Holly) Greenwald is a very open and brutally honest subject, as she discusses her religious outlooks and how it affected her WWE tenure. Ultimo Dragon and Keiji Muto’s interviews are more of a limited appeal area of the film, but they are both worthy of their inclusion. Muto’s is subtitled, but this guy is a trailblazer in the sport and his story should be appreciated as much as the others. Dragon has had a chequered in-ring career, but to see him training up and comers and hear him talk about that make it worth watching his section of the disc.
Bloodstained Memoirs doesn’t hold back on the DVD extras front either, apart from an excellent extended interview with Piper, Al Snow outtakes and an extra scene there is a very nice interview with former WWE Diva and TNA Knockout Christy Hemme. Hemme’s contribution to the overall product works well and she like every other person featured here is there for the right reason, to put forward their own unabridged opinion of wrestling, their careers and to answer question in an honest way.
I find it hard to fault Bloodstained Memoirs as a standalone piece of documentary filmmaking, it does exactly what it says it will do, it brings us up close and personal with stars old and new in the wrestling industry, we learn more about them and some new things about the business along the way too. Yes some of the subjects will appeal to more fans than others, but overall this works in giving us a thoroughly interesting and informative look behind the scenes of a world we usually only ever see from ringside.
Available now from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodstained-Memoirs-DVD/dp/B005GEXAGG
Runtime: 155 mins approx