Back in the late eighties, Jim Hellwig started a career as a professional wrestler as a member of the tag-team known as The Blade Runners with Steve Borden (better known as Sting) by his side. He soon caught the attention of the higher-ups at WWF not because of his wrestling ability, but because of his muscular build. This DVD shows how he would go on to briefly become the biggest thing in professional wrestling by defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI (which was the biggest PPV in history at that time), and then go on to, as the title says, "self destruct" later on thanks to his ego and attitude towards the sport. We get an inside look at his horrible skills on the mic, his tendency to botch spots in the ring, and we find out how he managed to burn his bridges at WWF not once, not twice, but three times and then go on to repeat these mistakes in WCW. We also get to see how this man is not quite all there in the mental department, with things such as his legal name change to "Warrior" and how he truly believed that he was becoming the character that he played. The stories are told by former and current WWF personalities Vince McMahon, Edge, Christian, Bobby Heenan, Bruce Pritchard, Chris Jericho, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Gene Okerlund, and others that I'm probably forgetting.
There's two stories behind the making of this DVD. Vince McMahon (the owner of WWF) says that it was originally intended to be a documentary about his career, but was turned into a burial job after Jim (excuse me, Warrior) went on to bad-mouth the people behind the scenes at WWF and refused to have any part in the making of the documentary. Warrior claims that they wanted to make this a burial DVD from the start, and that the producers were planning on editing all of his comments to turn the disc into a disgrace to his career. While I'm sure that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of those conflicting statements, the DVD ended up being pretty brutal towards this man, but I can't say that he didn't deserve it. There's a lot of things that this man did and said along the way to warrant this type of DVD release, and this disc merely points them out to show the viewer how he screwed up his chances at a long career. For example, Warrior was slated to head-line the SummerSlam PPV at one point and it had been advertised as such for quite some time leading up to this point. Moments before the match began, Warrior went to Vince and demanded $500,000 in order for him to follow through with the agreement. Warrior claims that this never happened, but personally, I can't see why else Vince would choose to fire the hottest, most profitable thing going in professional wrestling at the time. This is just one story out of many on this disc, and it soon becomes clear that there probably wasn't enough positive things to say about the man in a straight-forward career retrospective.
One would think that this would be a one-sided story thanks to the exclusion of Warrior himself, but there are a number of people involved with this disc that currently have no connections to the WWF. While it's true that the pressure from the bosses could have pulled some negative stories from the WWF employees found on the disc, I don't think that the men who are not under contract would have had much of a reason to lie for the camera. Also, when you listen to the stories, you can tell that these interviewees have a true disdain for the man. Bobby Heenan in particular just oozes hatred towards him, and he holds absolutely nothing back when it comes to his thoughts on the career and attitude of Warrior. As a side note, Warrior went on to write an essay about this DVD on his web-site, and instead of defending himself against these comments, he spent most of his time writing about how funny it is that Bobby Heenan is dying of cancer and how hilarious it is that Jim Ross suffers from Bells Palsy. The facts found on this disc are pretty telling about how great of a man Warrior is, but these comments from the man himself tells more about him than any documentary ever could.
Overall, this is another worthy disc from WWF, who are known for putting together some high-quality releases. It's not the best of the bunch, as it's pretty short (ninety minutes, give or take) and it's lacking in the bonus features when compared to other recent releases. There's five matches (two of which run for under a minute) and a couple of ten-twenty second outtakes... and that's about it. While it would have been nice to have some additional content on the disc, the documentary itself is well worth the price of admission. 8/10.
- added 01/21/2007, 12:35 PM
bought this because of this review and I wasn't