DVD Review: Ultimate Insiders 3
The perks of being a DVD reviewer for the Torch are too numerous to mention without having men weep tears of jealousy. Therefore I will list just several of them to give you a glimpse of the charmed life I lead. First, there is the embarrassingly high salary. There are times I literally feel ashamed to cash the checks from Torch Towers for the “work” I put in. Having unequaled access to Wade Keller also can’t be overlooked. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear from the Torch Editor. Constant ego-stroking, immediate answers to any question and helpful writing tips flow from Keller’s fingers at a shockingly high rate. I honestly have no idea how Keller gets anything done with all the time he spends writing me. It also goes without saying the amount of women that are immediately drawn to a Torch Writer. ‘Sheet rats just won’t leave me alone. In fact, at WrestleReunion 2, I had about as many girls trying to get my room key off me as I had wrestlers trying to bum free drinks at the bar. The biggest bonus though is the rare chance to check out a DVD before it is nationally released.
Imagine my surprise this week when I was sent Ultimate Insiders 3. I have told everyone I can that the first edition of Insiders, with Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera, was the best produced shoot interview DVD I had ever seen. Here’s a great review of that three DVD set, Who would have known that “record” would have lasted for just a couple months, because the recently released Insiders 2 with the Hardy Boyz blows the Russo/Ferrera shoot away. Multiple cameras. Fancy editing. Sharp on-screen graphics. Floating Torch headlines. Tons of cool Bonus Features. I went on record saying there was no way that Big Vision Entertainment could possibly top this edition of Insiders.
I was wrong.
Why? Because I didn’t consider Big Vision actually lining up BIGGER STARS. I jumped for joy when I saw the latest edition would showcase two of the greatest, if not the greatest, wrestling writers of all time. Bruce Mitchell and James Caldwell. The back of the box reads: “Step aside Shakespeare! Move over Mark Twain! It’s time to give a forum to true authors. A pair of men who continually amaze and astound thousands of dedicated readers each and every day! Guys who produce written works each week that make War and Peace look like One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish!”
Bruce Mitchell and James Caldwell,
writers extraordinaire and all-around great guys.
How could I not be excited after reading a preview like that?! I popped the first DVD in and was surprised to see that Big Vision has somehow one upped themselves again. There were more cameras working this shoot than a Michael Bay film. There were black and white shots. There was cool editing. There were even some old school moments when Wade Keller would go Max Headroom-like in his asking of questions. My favorite? The star wipe. You can never get enough of that. For those of you who have seen Insiders 2, you’ll be glad to know there is not just one, but TWO cameras dedicated to close ups on Wade Keller’s face. I’m not sure if Ric Flair grabbing Carlito Cool’s nuts on Monday Night Raw is “gay,” but if thinking Wade Keller’s penetrating stare is anything but dreamy then call me Carson, lock me up in the Blue Oyster and throw away the key.
How many Ultimate Insiders DVD's need to sell
before Wade Keller can afford a razor?
The first disc had both Mitchell and Caldwell being interviewed at the same time, while discs two and three had one-on-one interviews with both writers. Even though I’ve listened to about two hundred thousand hours of Torch Audio, it was quite odd to hear both Caldwell and Mitchell speaking together. There was more Southern Drawl going on than in a Dukes of Hazzard marathon. You get used to that pretty fast though. I didn’t understand Jar Jar Binks the first time I saw Phantom Menace either. The Insider factoid pop-ups are back in full glory as well. Not only does the factoid come up to explain insider terms, but it also adds bits of trivia throughout the shoot. Here are several I picked up on:
• Bruce Mitchell’s favorite team is the Duke Blue Devils
• James Caldwell once dressed as the Road Dogg for Halloween
• There is no relation between Wade Keller and Helen Keller or Dwayne Wade.
Wade still has the one little diamond in his right ear on Insiders 3, like he did for the Hardyz shoot, but on the left side he is decked out in enough “bling” to make Missy Elliot and Diddy envious! There are at least four earrings that I could see, each one larger than the last. All diamond. Insane! Who knew dirtsheets sold so well? Keller also had this HUGE necklace that was all iced out with the letters “TDH” in it.
Clocking in at well over three hours, disc one is an exhaustive discussion on the state of wrestling today. All the major stories were covered, including whether
or not WWE’s “Hurricane” wrestler was insensitive to those in Louisiana. Caldwell felt that not only was it reprehensible to keep Shane Helms in his current gimmick, but that WWE should go back and erase all mentions of The Texas Tornado Kerry Von Erich, Earthquake and Typhoon as well. When Wade and Bruce debated about a new wrestling “war” with TNA going to Spike TV, Caldwell reminded them to not forget about the promotion which could possibly take both companies down, PWG. Bruce said he had never heard about Pro Wrestling Guerrilla while Wade asked if they were the ones releasing the King Kong movie this December.
Disc Two centered around the cranky curmudgeon of the Torch, Bruce Mitchell. Wade asked Bruce about how Mitchell became a wrestling fan, which allowed Bruce to talk about his days at Greensboro Coliseum as part of the infamous Front Row Section D fans. Mitchell spent ninety minutes going over how the Front Row Section D fans “changed wrestling forever.” Bruce said that they were the first fans ever to cheer for the heels and bring signs to shows. Mitchell then gave a list of all the traits that Section D had which were then copied by wrestling fans worldwide, including: physically unappealing; dateless, holier-than-thou attitude; and absolutely no fashion sense. Mitchell threw props to his old Section D crew, including John Hitchcock, who runs the Parts Unknown comic book store in North Carolina, which has become the ”Cheers” for local Star Trek nerds and Magic: The Gathering players. Bruce claims that the Front D boys will be writing a book soon and are a secret “egg” available on the newest WWE video game.
Mitchell talked about the celebrities he personally knows, including Mark Madden and Jonny Fairplay. Mitchell said he already has tickets for Fairplay’s Kill Reality movie “The Scorned” and was actually looking forward to the movie “almost as much as Fantastic Four 2.” Wade talked about Bruce’s ultra-successful “Mojo’s Stream of Consciousness” recaps and asked Mitchell how he came up with all those funny nicknames that are used throughout. Bruce said he was inspired by the Cameron Crazies that go to all the Duke basketball games and an only-now-revealed secret man crush on Kevin “Breck Girl” Nash. Mitchell also explained a few of his other trademarks, such as backhanded compliments and other insults with plausible deniability built in.
Jonny Fairplay, John Hitchcock, Mark Madden and
in a tribute to Front Row Section D
from an upcoming WWE video game.
Wade brought up the oft-rumored affair with former Torch columnist, Carlie Gill. Mitchell said that he doesn’t “kiss and tell’ and also used that line to get out of discussing both Chris Zavisa and John D. Williams. Mitchell talked about two of his most popular gimmick columns, Ten Questions and the Year End Quiz. The idea for Ten Questions came after the Torch was forced to publicly apologize for Bruce attributing quotes to Vince McMahon that he didn’t say, so Bruce created a column where the wrestling personalities would remain silent. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” Bruce said. Wade delved into Bruce’s well known liberalism and asked Bruce if he wanted to talk politics. Bruce started talking about how George W. Bush “doesn’t like Southern folk” and things of that nature, and after about an hour of that I popped out the disc to check out the last one of the set.
Disc Three is spent with a one-on-one interview with the newest member of the Torch Staff, James Caldwell. The first ten minutes of the DVD actually just had Wade dropping every superlative in the book to describe what a fan he is of Caldwell’s columns. Caldwell did the entire interview while wearing a Super Dragon mask, which he said was available through Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s website. Caldwell also said he was wearing PWG wrestler Chris Bosh’s underwear, but we’ll have to take his word on that one.
Wade then jumped right into Caldwell’s “31 Days of Caldwell” gimmick in which James wrote an article on the Torch website every day for a month. Caldwell said that he wanted to make a big splash when he started writing and that’s why “31 Days” contained so many subjects that many wrestling fans considered controversial. Caldwell said he didn’t mind if he got heat for making the topics like “There’s too much Jeff Jarrett in TNA,” “Gene Snitsky can’t work,” and “a wrestling ring has turnbuckles” because he feels many “news writers” avoid such hot topics.
As a side note, the Insider factoid pop-up was disabled during this part of the DVD set due to, I presume, Caldwell’s overuse of insider terms. After James said the following, "Ric Flair showed the boys how hard it is to draw heat as a heel when he did a sixty minute Broadway with Steamboat, in which he gigged while also juicing hardway, in front of a heavily papered house to almost no pop” the factoid box came up with a bunch of weird symbols and some Japanese writing in it. Really weird. It never came up again after that.
Wade brought up all the brouhaha that came during the taping of Insiders 2 earlier this year. Caldwell talked about picking Wade up at the airport and driving him around town, while also doing small errands for Wade during the Hardy Boyz DVD shoot. Caldwell said this was completely different than what a “male rat” does in wrestling, although he didn’t say exactly what, if anything, was actually different. Caldwell did say that he was grateful for the opportunity to assist Wade and called it a “life changing experience.”
Wade Keller interviews James Caldwell.
Wade closed by telling all the viewers how wonderful James Caldwell is as a writer, and that everyone should be checking back at the Torch website daily to see if James has a new column up. Wade in particular asked the Lounge writers to pay attention to the clarity and detail that Caldwell puts into each and every one of his writings. Wade repeated his reminder about checking out Caldwell’s work three times, thanked everyone for watching the DVD, then reminded them again.
Overall Thoughts: This DVD has set new standards for greatness. I now find myself not just a better writer, but a better man as well, just for watching it. The knowledge passed down through this three disc set (over twelve hours of content) makes in a must buy for anyone looking to get into the wrestling writing business. And if you just want to be a jerk who insults people that haven’t spent their entire life following every single aspect of the wrestling business, you’ll find all you need on the Mojo disc. Want to know what really went down on the famous car ride in California? Caldwell finally spills the beans. This DVD, and all other editions of Insiders can be bought by
Special Thanks to Keith Lipinski, Maniacal Mike Roe, Sensational Scott Paris, and Dean Evans.
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.