I’ve been spending this weekend enjoying one of wrestling’s best kept secrets. Any wrestling fan who hasn’t taken out the time to watch the WWE Legends of Wrestling is seriously robbing yourself of learning some of the real behind-the-scenes history of the industry from those who experienced it firsthand.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll give you a brief description. The Legends of Wrestling is a roundtable discussion type of show featuring legendary names and from the rich history of wrestling. They sit around a table and tell old “war stories” about their peers, significant moments they lived through, and a host of other fascinating topics. The show originally aired on WWE’s 24/7 classics on demand service, and they’ve compiled some of those broadcasts into DVD releases.
The atmosphere is incredible (they even smoke cigars during the discussion) as you have names like Dusty Rhodes, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, Mick Foley, Mike Graham (son of legendary Florida promoter Eddie Graham), Michael Hayes, and others sharing stories in a manner unlike anything you’ve seen released by WWE. One of the more interesting categories they address is subject of “Heatseekers”. It’s basically a conversation about wrestling personalities who are genuinely disliked by just about everyone in the profession. Some of their stories about working with guys like Lex Luger, Paul Heyman, Scott Hall, and Buff Bagwell are quite interesting to say the least!
My first time seeing one of these DVDs was at a local used bookstore. The cover was distinctive from the typical company releases in that it features older stars and a unique yellow and black Legends of Wrestling logo. However, it was over the last week where I watched some of the more recent shows on You Tube and became instantly hooked. I spent hours watching the discussions about “Wrestling in the 70s“, “Territories”, “Important Moments”, and “Greatest Rivalries”.
After watching those editions, I checked Amazon to see if any were on sale and to my delight, I found a three-pack bundle for around nine bucks. Thank God for the wonders of online shopping! The bundle includes DVDs on the following subject matter: Heatseekers, a look at the careers of 80s wrestling stars Junkyard Dog/ Jerry Lawler and another focusing on the careers of Ric Flair/ Sgt. Slaughter. The discussions run for about an hour (30 minutes dedicated to each wrestler) with an assortment of classic matches thrown in as a bonus feature. If there were no matches and just an hour of footage on each disc, I would still buy them. They are that good! The discussion about the Junkyard Dog and the impact he left on the business is especially touching, as well as a story about the relationship Slaughter has with today’s young talent.
With a wrestling market that craves nostalgia, it’s really a mystery why WWE has never strongly promoted these shows to the general public. I’m sure these DVDs would sell way better than the typical Steve Austin or Greatest Matches collections they seemingly put out every year.
True wrestling fans who wish to gain a better understanding of the events and people that shaped this great industry should seek out the Legends of Wrestling. You won’t be disappointed.