December 14, 2008
Bill Brown

Ring Roasts I -- A Comedic Tribute To The Iron Sheik
Produced By: Kayfabe Commentaries
12/1/08

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Content: 9.0

Comedian & "Ring Roaster," Don Jamison said it best at the end of this DVD when he stated “This was not a normal comedy show." Indeed it was not. Witness a wild & unbelievable evening captured on DVD from Kayfabe Commentaries in the form of the first ever held "Ring Roast," where the guest of honor was a man that has been roasting the wrestling world the last few years with his unbelievable behavior, none other than wrestling WWE Hall Of Famer, The Iron Sheik. The Sheik is put up on stage to be bombarded by a huge cast of roasters ranging from old friends in the business to professional comedians to even his very own personal foe in Brian Blair. Each roaster has a speech: ranging from humorous to praising, to down right insulting, but this is a roast, and you need to be aware of the nature of this beast. The roast is shown in its entirety, with the exception of the well- heard of scenes involving a drunken Scott Hall being an insulting & obnoxious attention-getter. This is a two-disc set, and the second disc goes back & shows you the pre-show, the Scott Hall incident, as well as a good look at the altercation at the end of Ring Roast I -- where The Iron Sheik slaps the face of electoral-nominate Brian Blair, after a plea from the "Bee" to bury any grudge between the two. Ring Roasts I is an out-of-control, yet wildly entertaining setting with many wrestling personalities present to be a part of something totally unique, and the first guest of honor in The Iron Sheik is one of the most-fitting personas to kick off the new DVD series with.

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Video: 8.0

Shot with three cameras, in a weird style though, as only two main stage ones in the first disc showing just the entire roast were utilized. On the second bonus disc, the stage-side walking cameraman was then used to show all backstage stuff, Scott Hall in action, a close-up of the slap by The Iron Sheik, and all of the conversation with an upset Blair & a stunned Sean Oliver who promised security to the independent candidate for election in Florida at the time. So you have only two cameras set up 30 feet from the stage to shoot for the first disc, and it hurt the production, as there were times I felt you needed a closer feel to the event. During the introductions, the hand held camera shot them & got everyone as they walked in the room to their seats, but on the DVD you just see the hard camera pan them through a bunch of audience heads from the door to the stage, taking the feel away. It seemed like a waste not using the close shots, but the two hard cams still did a great job following the event throughout.

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Audio: 9.0

Everything is heard & understood clearly in the first disc, which is important as everything that came out in this event should be easy to follow. When you go to the second disc, the hand held camera through all the crazy scenes, and loud fans becomes extremely hard to understand. Scott Hall shown up close during the acts is not expected to be heard, as he should have just never been in the room in the first place acting like an ass-clown, but the major "up's" to this is that Kayfabe Commentaries knows the viewer is not going to understand everything & therefore puts in captioning for every line that is said which can be no better satisfying to the viewer. The camera also follows Brian Blair around after the slap by The Iron Sheik and captions all of the dialogue by Blair & those around him from the event through the hallways & up to the elevator. The second disc, although hard to hear audibly, is still great due to Kayfabe Commentaries making it as easy as they can for the viewer to understand the emotion & words.

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Special Features: 9.5

This is the second disc which really came out great. The drama is magnified with three chapters, the pre-show meet & greet, Scott Hall incident, & the infamous Brian Blair slap. Interview inserts were show in the corner from The Iron Sheik & Scott Hall after the incident, while footage was shown on screen from the event. Early footage of The Iron Sheik seeing Blair in the hallways is also shown, as they keep "Sheiky Baby" separated from his enemy.

B. Brian Blair getting slapped is shown up close, and the cameraman follows the action through continuously with the commentary & a very irate Blair & Sean Oliver right through their exit out, as Sean continued to tell Blair that he can’t control what The Iron Sheik does. The DVD viewer in this second disc gets the feeling that they are almost actually in the building live, due to the structure & narration of the three chapters shown. This bedlam that transpired & the way it was shown to us made the special features disc awesome to witness.

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What's on Both DVD’s?

Sean Oliver introduces a panel consisting of the ring roasters & then the guest of honor, The Iron Sheik. Bill Apter stumbles in as a waiter soon after, and becomes the host of the evening from there.

Comedian Mike Morse is the first roaster, and as he mentioned later in conversation with me, he sure was glad he was first & not later on. Morse had some great lines as a true comedian in his field, but the crowd was tough to get with it. Myself, being there live, right away I noticed the secondary feel this time watching on video. Fans, I encourage you to go to any event live as we all know how much better things are that way. In the way of comedy, I was laughing wildly in person, but it is not the same without your peers, and some beers sitting in front of my TV this time around. Morse came off well for this type of situation, and did his research to give jokes that the audience could grasp & did not look foolish out there. A job well-done.

King Kong Bundy had some really funny lines & was the best of the pro-wrestlers to roast The Iron Sheik. He mainly roasted the panel & Bill Apter though & very little to the man of honor. "Sheiky" is all smiles & very calm...listening & laughing along.

Don Muraco was up third. He puts over how The Iron Sheik was the man, and how happy he is to be there & see all of his friends. You would never know you were watching a roast if you just walked in while Muraco was on stage, because all he did was put everyone over on the panel & talk of all the good times they had together.

Ryan Mahr was up next. Ryan spent some of his time previously as a manager & is very familiar himself with the wrestling business, which helped him out well. He had stuff for everyone & did the best job so far as a real roaster should at an event like this.

King Kuluha & Tom Brandi were up next. If you are asking why they were called to participate in this event, then all I can tell you is that I am still searching for an answer. They had a few stories, but anyone in the business could have stories about this crazy Hall Of Fame legend. And the stories are about all the trouble The Iron Sheik got himself into in the past, and although kind of funny, it just seemed like time was being wasted at this point. Brandi even brings up the offensive "n" word from a Sheik story, which irritated all the people in the room that he can even use this word. Yes bad, and understandably so, but I just watched comedy centrals Flava Flav roast on the secret stash the other night unedited on cable, and I heard that word about 2000 times in an hour & a half. Certainly unacceptable, but at any type of roast these things are unlimitedly a part of the show. This is where the fans were getting tiresome & wanted to be more vocal, and the roast was starting to fall apart. Thank you Brandi & Kulaha!

To follow up that act, none other than Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissy was next, and just told a story of The iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter, & himself in a car: "Sheiky" has his gimmick, and Slaughter freaked out with a cop next to them on the highway. I liked the story, but the crowd did not, and Scott Hall was now by this point in the building making a scene (which is edited entirely from disc one, although you could hear in the background all kinds of crowd interaction).

Bring up Bob Backlund next. Twenty-five years in the making lasts less than three minutes of speech, as Backlund praises The Iron Sheik’s accomplishments, wishes him the best to overcome current personal issues, yelled at a heckler in the crowd stopping & ending his speech (which was going nowhere), & popping the audience finally.

"Roundboy" Jimmy Graham was next, and you could see that nobody cared as soon as he got up there. The fans were by this point burned out & not into the jokes anymore, and Jimmy was just giving his lines. He made jokes about whether Saddam Hussein who was Al-Kaissy's old classmate back in the day was still hanging around, in addition to other very colorful lines coming out of his mouth, but then the Owen Hart joke is what got Scott Hall out to the stage to jack up the comedian. This moment is edited off of disc one, but shown on disc two (on the special features). On disc one, you will hear Jimmy Graham's jokes, and then listen immediately to a jump cut of the Russian National Anthem (by Nikolai Volkoff) to cover up the Scott Hall incident. Volkoff has a Sheik story, and then it shifted to The Iron Sheik's manager, Eric Simms.

Simms has so much "heel heat" it’s not funny. Nobody wants him to take the podium, and then his jokes were pretty bad, as he just read from his notes. The one-liners were terrible. The crowd was brutal & bored with him. The event had been over an hour & a half live now, and the roasters were not going to save this thing any longer.

Bring out Don Jamieson. Jamieson is a really funny guy. but was too late by now to win this audience. He made a Fabulous Moolah joke, which later he admitted to not knowing she passed, and asked if anyone was going to beat him up for that one. This is where you realize that all the comedians came here on a job call to be harsh roasters, as this event was planned out, but all the wrestlers were here to pay tribute to a legendary friend that they have not seen in a while. The sense of humor between the comedians, the wrestlers, & their fans were as far apart as you can imagine as everyone, but the comedians were sensitive on any topic that was controversial.

And so last, but not least, is B. Brian Blair. He seemed thrilled to see old friends & thanked everyone. He watched everything he was saying, as he wanted The Iron Sheik to bury the hatchet, but he also at the end tried to add some light comedy to a few Sheik stories...and the look on The Iron Sheik’s face was that of disgust. Sheik had a personal grudge & a look of unforgiveness the whole time, and no-sold any words from the former Killer Bee.

The Iron Sheik then gets up to receive his Ring Roast plaque, and we are then given the face-to-face encounter with Blair asking for a hand shake, and Sheik buzzing the "Bee" with a slap to the face & walking off the stage. The audience loved the ending, and it left The Iron Sheik as a man of his word -- continuing his personal rivalry that nobody understands. All in all, "Ring Roasts" is great to watch & is totally unique.

The second disc was pretty much explained earlier, as it had the pre-show meet & greet (with comments from many), the Scott Hall incident (including footage of the cops entering the hotel), as well as full coverage of the Brian Blair incident & aftermath. The words are captioned, and you as the viewer, get the feel that you are there right in the fray.

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The Verdict:

Unique & unordinary, if you like wrestling & comedy and have a very open mind to accept foul & insulting language, then "Ring Roasts" is an absolute must. See a different side & fascinating presentation of a great event.

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Overall Recommendation:

Buy this. Even if you do not like it when it is done, you will still want to show someone else what the hell you just saw. You will always think about going back & re-visiting this DVD production once again to remind yourself of this crazy event, because there will not be anything as similar than this in the future.

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Final Thoughts:

Sean Oliver & his crew have come up with some interesting new concepts to present to their audience in many of their DVD productions. "My Side Of The Story," "You Shoot," "Guest Booker," "The Great Debate," & many other of the newest concepts have been introduced by Kayfabe Commentaries in the last few years. Kayfabe Commentaries continues to push their own innovations for the real wrestling fans, and they should be commended for plenty of their fine work that they have done.

Overall Rating: 9.0

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