Judge Daryl Loomis's in-ring career was cut short by sucking.
Can you recount the time you were stabbed by a fan?
In general, there are two types of pro wrestling documentaries. There's the straightforward biographical style that WWE produces on their compilation DVDs and there's the more sensationalist, violent style like Card Subject to Change and many others. Both are valuable, but both don't often have a lot new to say, at least for long time wrestling fans. That isn't to say there's nothing valuable in them; there often is, especially when the subjects are the better storytellers in the industry.
The title of this documentary, Bloodstained Memoirs, has the appearance of the latter style, but it's actually something different. Rather than telling stories of violence and injury or the corruption of the industry (which are fun in their own right), the interviews in this film focus on the person behind the persona. It's refreshing and, while it might not be the most exciting wrestling documentary ever produced, it will have a lot of value for the die-hards among us who've already heard all the gross and weird stories.
Aside from some very brief match footage, the entire documentary is comprised of interviews with legends of the sport, or at least eight of the nine segments. The subjects are as follows: Ultimo Dragon, one of the great Japanese innovators of the Cruiserweight style; Rowdy Roddy Piper, star of They Live and one of the most popular wrestlers in history; Keiji Mutoh, known in the US as The Great Muta and very possibly the most successful export to ever emerge from Japan; Christian Cage, one of the great young(-ish) wrestlers currently in the industry; Nora Greenwald, known as Mona or Molly Holly, one of the true innovators of modern women's wrestling; Chris Jericho, arguably the best wrestler of his generation and the frontman of second-rate rock band, Fozzy; "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, the extremely popular Samoan high-flyer of decades past; and Rob Van Dam, one of the most athletic wrestlers to ever step in the ring. The exception to the rule is the final segment, featuring the legendary Mick Foley who, in place of an interview, is shown interacting with fans at an autograph signing.
All of this is hosted by the not-so-legendary Al Snow, an enjoyable and funny wrestler, as well as an acceptable host, but in no way the historic figure of the subjects he introduces. Aside from the Foley piece, director David Sinnott uses the interviews to ask unconventional questions, which vary depending on the subject. These range from Greenwald's feelings about the depiction of women in pro wrestling to Mutoh's experience as head of All Japan Pro Wrestling to Christian's friendships with other wrestlers. The only interview I wasn't particularly impressed with was the Chris Jericho interview, which exclusively concerns his band, which I don't like and have no interest in hearing about.
Bloodstained Memoirs comes to DVD from Revolver in a special edition that extends upon what was already available online. The image and sound are average for a documentary. Neither is anything special but they have no real problems, either. For extras, we get an extended interview with Piper, complete new interviews with lucha libre star Juventud Guerrera and modern female star Christy Hemme, an intro with Nora Greenwald, a discussion of the film by wrestling podcaters, a match between Snuka and Foley from the '90s, a very brief featurette on the production, and a blooper reel of Al Snow.
It's a great package for a very good documentary. Bloodstained Memoirs may not pique the interest of newbie wrestling fans; they may have not even heard of many of the performers profiled. But for those who have spent a long time with the pro wrestling industry, it's a unique and surprisingly quiet film about some fantastic personalities.
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Studio: Revolver Entertainment
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