April 21, 2009
Steven Wilson

DVD Review : Timeline – The History of the WWE – 1987 as told by the Honky Tonk Man

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a WWE historian, Kayfabe Commentaries has opened up its college, and is providing its lesson plans via DVD with the debut of its latest series “Timeline : The history of the WWE," the product of a partnership between KC and The History of WWE.com.

Each edition of the series plans to focus in on a specific year in the long and storied history of the WWE. The first entry looks at 1987, it’s story is told by the Honky Tonk Man,who at the time was climbing the ladder rather quickly after having debuted with the company a year prior. The WWE was starting its build toward the record setting Wrestlemania 3, and the wrestling business was booming.

The DVD begins by catching up with the Honky Tonk Man and quickly transitions to looking at the feuds and matchups he was involved in as 1987 began. Some of you may recall this time in history as he was being featured in Elvis themed vignettes, and It’s while Honky Tonk explains the filming of these segments that one of the cool features of this DVD debuts as a ticker tape runs across the screen with a Timeline fact eluding to something that needs to be mentioned or is a quirky fact from the time. It appears several times throughout the feature and is an informative and appreciated addition.

January 3rd 1987 begins the overall story as it would set the stage for much of what was to come that year as WWE’s syndicated programs debuted on Fox, while the largest live wrestling crowd in Northern California in 12 years in drawn in Oakland and during a superstars of wrestling taping in New Jersey, the Andre The Giant/Hulk Hogan feud begins during the filming of Pipers Pit. The build toward Wrestlemania 3 occupies much of the talk for the first hour of the 2 hour feature.

To say the least The wealth of information to be learned is immense, Honky Tonk gives a detailed look at how the business was working at the time including the head to head faceoffs between the WWE and NWA, the insane road schedules which included shows up until the nights before Wrestlemania and just how different working Wrestlemania was at the time compared to nowadays.

Along the way all of the major happenings of the time is also covered, such as Jim Neidhart’s arrest for allegedly attacking a stewardess, The Dynamite Kid’s back injury and how he went against doctors order’s to drop the belts on TV to the Hart Foundation, the debuts of Tom Magee, Jim Duggan and Outback Jack, whether or not Roddy Piper was intending on retiring, and all the major happenings from the tapings of Saturday Night’s Main Event and Superstars of Wrestling.

From there Wrestlemania 3 is looked at, Honky Tonk offers his thoughts/memories of the matchups, celebrity implications and whether or not the 93 thousand in attendance was papered as some have suggested throughout the years and also tells the most hilarious story about Roddy Piper’s electrocution leading into Mania.

The last two thirds of the year is then looked at in a less in depth way but still touches on the major events including the returns of Ken Patera and Superstar Billy Graham, the Iron Sheik/Jim Duggan arrest for possession of drugs, the David Schulz incident and subsequent lawsuit, the debut of Brutus’s Barber gimmick, as well as the mega powers and the first ever Royal Rumble and Survivor Series matchups.

The coverage goes deep enough to give you a detailed overview, yet at the same time, flowing look at the historical events of the year. This is often the challenge to any documentary video maker and time and time again Kayfabe Commentaries successfully finds the right balance. The afformentioned ticker tape as well as timeline story boards help this immensely as important things that are worth mentioning for historical purposes but not worthy of Honky Tonk Man talking about are listed on the storyboards.

This series has the potential to be something huge once it is complete. I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD and look forward to the future releases as it not only gives you a chance to learn about the history but at the same time gives you insider insight so even if you knew of the majority of these events you still get something from the guest host in question.

"The History of the WWE – 1987" is available now from Kayfabe Commentaries, For more information or to get your own copy check out www.kayfabecommentaries.com, and to read my previous DVD reviews check out www.maineventradio.com/reviews.htm.

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