Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The DVD Ray-View: History of TNA - Year 1

Thought i’d add another neat little feature to the site and start reviewing some of my TNA dvd collection. I’ll start first with one of my favourites which i happened to watch last night – its the History of TNA: Year 1, the story of the Genesis of TNA and its initial struggles.
Now i know promotional history DVD’s have been done to death as of late (Rise and Fall Series) but there’s a distinct difference with this one – it is not often these days that any company, not to mention a wrestling company in a titanic struggle in a two company marketplace, will admit mistakes to the public that nearly led to its demise let alone produce and market a DVD that details the experience; however, The History of TNA: Year 1 does just that and its a refreshing experience. Its open and its honest unlike its WWE counterparts which tend to have a lot of revisionist history and personal bashings.
So what would you get for your hard earned cash with this offering? Well the main menu, which is emblazoned with the awesome looking original TNA logo, consists of three categories: The Story, The Matches and Bonus materials.
The story is obviously the centrepeice item of the DVD and charts the inception of TNA and its first full year. The Story begins with the final audio check by Mike Tenay and Don West from TNA’s first pay-per-view held on June 19, 2002 in Huntsville, Alabama. Captions also explain to viewers the nature of the dialogue between Tenay and Don West in regards to last-minute format changes as the ring crew scrambled to repair a cable underneath the ring, which was broken in a dark match by gargantuan wrestler “Cheekz”just prior to airtime. Essentially, this sets the tone for the documentary by foreshadowing the obstacles TNA would face.
Jeff Jarrett, Jeremy Borash and Bob Ryder start off by describing life after the fall of WCW, their “summer of no worries” as they refer to it whereby they sat out the remainder of their WCW/Time Warner contracts. They also mention touring with World Wrestling Allstars which let to Jeff getting a greater understanding of the business side of wrestling and implanting the seed of creating his own promotion. The guys then go into detail about the infamous boat trip, whereby Bob Ryder outlined his idea for a weekly Pay-Per View wrestling show at a lower price thereby by-passing the impossible mission of getting a cable tv deal. Many thought of it as fishing talk but not Jarrett
Many talk about their lack of optimism for the company initially, especially the weekly PPV format. I remember following TNA in their early days, wishing they would succeed but to be honest i, like most people, including as we find out people WITHIN TNA didn’t think it would work.
Many TNA employess on the DVD explain their initial doubts in the success of the company, which is what makes this DVD so intriguing. Instead of glossing over both the external and internal doubts regarding TNA’s success ratio during their first year, the documentary goes to great lengths to tackle the subject head on which is very refreshing.
What really caught my attention was Jeff Jarrett’s analysis – “Outside of my wife, everyone to a ‘T’ doubted me,” recalled Jeff Jarrett in the DVD. “They didn’t tell me, but they didn’t have to tell me. I can look somebody in the eye — anybody can look somebody in the eye — and you know whether you got confidence or not.”
TNA’s initial financial woes are also addressed briefly although the HealthSouth Corporation (TNA’s financial backer at the time) is never mentioned by name. The same applies to the erroneous information being supplied to TNA by their former pay-per-view consultant, Jay Hassman, although Hassman is also never mentioned by name
One nice little feature is that interwoven into the documentary are TNA year 1 pay-per view moments which show some of the cool happenings in TNA’s first year such as the first Gauntley for the gold, the first x title match, Ron Killings winning the Title, Vince Russo unmasking as Mr.Wrestling III and Raven debuting and stealing the belt from Jarrett.
All in all i really can’t knock this documentary, its great. The only thing i could see that could have been better would be some of the important faces from year one that WEREN’T interviewed. For Example Jerry Jarrett, Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara would be some of those i’d like to have heard from, but all in all its a solid DVD and a must for any TNA fan or anyone wanting to know a little more about TNA ‘s history.
The four featured matches are all crackers and they are:
  • June 26, 2002: X Title Elimination match featuring AJ Styles vs. Psicosis vs. Low-Ki vs. Jerry Lynn
  • August 28, 2002: X-Division Triple Ladder match featuring Jerry Lynn vs. AJ Styles vs. Low-Ki
  • January 8, 2003: NWA World Tag Team Championship match featuring AMW vs. Disciples of the New Church
  • April 30, 2003: NWA World Heavyweight Championship match featuring Raven vs. Jeff Jarrett
The bonus section also contains some good stuff including -
  • Video of the various cameo appearances during the first year
  • Original TV commercial that aired in the Nashville market for the weekly pay-per view
  • Chris Harris and James Storm’s TNA tryout match during a USA Championship Wrestling show
  • Curt Hennig tribute piece, which is superbly done.

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