Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
According to the cover of this two-disc set, Ultimate Classic Wrestling Presents… gives fans a ringside seat for a collage of classic wrestling from arenas across the country. It’s a collector’s set featuring ferocious battles between pro wrestling’s most famous and infamous stars, and it’s not for the faint of heart. What is actually delivered is over five hours of matches from the defunct United States Wrestling Association, the majority of which were filmed at the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I won’t deny that there’s a lot of great material on here, but the cover is just a bit deceiving.
Long-time wrestling fans will be familiar with this type of release. It’s basically a bunch of matches featuring superstars from the World Wrestling Federation or World Championship Wrestling before they made it to prime time thrown together by someone trying to make a quick buck. If you’re a fair-weather fan or someone who is accustomed to the glitz and glamour of Monday Night Raw, these matches might be a bit of a shock to your system. They appear to be filmed in a bingo hall with very small, very rural-looking crowds in attendance. There’s no pyro, no fireworks, and no fancy camera angles. It’s wrestling the way it used to be, perhaps the way it was meant to be: two men lacing boots and going toe-to-toe in the squared circle with a giant banner advertising Renegade Tobacco behind them. The human game of chess played out with a distinctive southern style. Or, if you prefer to look at it another way, it’s two guys in tights doing gymnastics. But at any rate, it ain’t fancy and it ain’t pretty.
As a dedicated fan of the real sport of kings, I found Ultimate Classic Wrestling Presents… to be a worthwhile venture, as long as you know what you’re in for. The two-disc set boasts many superstars such as Steve Austin, Cactus Jack, Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett, Dustin Rhodes, and Mark Callous, aka The Undertaker. In addition to these six superstars, there are over twenty other wrestlers who are featured in matches or at the very least make brief appearances, most of whom fall under the designation of either “has-been” or “never-was.” But don’t take that to mean there isn’t a lot of talent on these two DVDs; there’s plenty of great entertainment for a reasonably low price. No one is mistaking any of these bouts as a match of the decade or even match of the year, but if you like wrestling, you oughta like these discs.