UK quartet Fights and Fires play what can be described as Hardcore ‘N’ Roll, but ‘Geekcore’ is a similarly befitting label when their members consist of a trained wrestler, a rollercoaster addict, an obsessive completer of video games and, erm, a father to a hedgehog!
With this in mind, we took the opportunity to find out from vocalist Phil, what he regards to be the best wrestling DVD releases to date. Evidently, despite ditching the lycra for the stage at 16, he is still a fan of the sweaty man on man action, and now you can be in the know to!
#1: ECW - The Rise And Fall Of -
ECW started off as a small fish in a big pond that then went on to change the face of professional Wrestling. Popularising the hardcore, blood and guts style of wrestling that WWE later took influence from, to create the attitude era (by far the most popular era for WWE). This saw WWE make a move from the family friendly entertainment of Hulk Hogan, to more a raunchy adult friendly product, in the late 90’s.
This DVD shows the humble beginnings in Bingo Halls of Philadelphia, to a Global scale, before its demise in 2001. This is the second best selling Wrestling DVD of all time… not bad, for what started as a independent wrestling company, in front of a few hundred fans.
#2: WWE - Wrestle Mania X-7 -
Wrestle Mania is the biggest event in the annual wrestling calendar and just like all roads lead to Rome, in Wrestling all roads lead to … Wrestle Mania! I had to include at least one WM in my top 10 list and this is my favourite. The main event saw two of the biggest stars in wrestling history collide. THE ROCK went in to battle with “STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN.
The show ended when Steve Austin turned his back on the fans by siding with his long time nemesis and owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon, in a shocking turn of events. Austin then went on to win the Heavyweight Title, after 16 brutal chair shots!
#3: WWE King Of The Ring 1998 -
I have always loved wrestling but between about 95-97 I found myself becoming less interested… maybe it was growing up… THEN this happened and I was hooked for life. Mick Foley is a professional wrestler like no other, he looks like your friends friendly uncle, only, when that bell rings he turns into a madman with no care for his own safety. Mick Foley has worked under many names, including Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack. This was the night he became a megastar.
Mick Foley (as Mankind) had one of the most talked about wrestling matches, of all time against THE UNDERTAKER, inside The Hell In The Cell. It saw Foley thrown 15+ feet through a table and battling on with visible injuries,Z to put on one of gutsiest performances ever seen in the ring.
#4: CM PUNK - Best In The World -
CM PUNK is one of the true bright stars of the last 10 years, battling his way up the independent wrestling scene, often wrestling in front of 20-30 people, very much in the same way DIY bands do. Featuring interviews with Lars, from Rancid and Music from H20 and Bouncing Souls. This documentary really shows his love for Punk Rock and how he has carried that influence with him into WWE, to become one of the biggest stars on his own terms.
#5: Beyond The Mat (1999) -
This was a real eye opener as a Wrestling fan and helped open the door for these kind of open and candid documentariesbabout what was always a rather secretive sport/entertainment. It follows the life of three wrestlers, one at the height of his career (Mick Foley, aka “Mankind”), one contemplating retirement (Terry Funk) and one at a career low (Jake “The Snake” Roberts).
At times, this is very dark and bleak, but, I feel it helps you to understand the risks and pain these people go through to follow a dream many consider a joke..oh and its also packed full of funny stories too!
#6: The Monday Night Wars -
Another fun documentary which follows the timeline of the ratings war between WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro. The two biggest Wrestling companies aired shows at the same time and this documentary tells the story of just how far they were willing to go, to win the War.
#7: WWE - Royal Rumble 2000 -
Royal Rumble is by far my favourite wrestling event of the year! It features a 30 man, over the top rope elimination match, that never fails to entertain. It was hard for me to pick just one Royal Rumble but I went with the 2000 Edition, as it featured not only an exciting Royal Rumble match, but a great under card of bouts also. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H is one of the greatest Street Fights in the history of wrestling which features pins, barbed wire and chairs. It is one of my favourite ever matches.
#8: ECW - Barely Legal 1997 -
ECW’s first PPV, which, from top to bottom, is a classic wrestling show. Striping back all the glitter and glamour of WWE and just presenting wrestling… as wrestling. All styles of wrestling are covered in one night, technical wrestling (Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm), Hardcore (Sabu vs. Taz) and Hard hitting (The Eliminators vs. The Dudley’s)
#9: Ring Of Honour - Man UP! -
My passion for wrestling is very similar to my love for music. How, I love the big time feel of seeing bands like Foo Fighters, but I really feel at home in a small venue, watching bands. Well, If WWE is the FOO FIGHTERS, then ROH is the cool DIY band who are signed to your favourite independent label. This was one of the first few times ROH dabbled into the world of doing internet PPV. From top to bottom it was a great card. If you have never heard of Ring Of Honour, I strongly suggest you pick up a DVD.
#10: The Wrestling Road Diaries -
This is a documentary made by the professional wrestler and podcaster Colt Cabana. It journals the life of an independent professional wrestler. From sleeping on a fans floor, to driving 12 hours to make a show, for little to no money, just for the love of it (sounds familiar to band life!).
The comparisons between this life and that of a touring band are extremely similar. Colt Cabana is joined by Bryan Danielson, doing his farewell tour of the independent circuit, before heading to the big leagues of WWE.
Fights and Fires release new album ‘We Could All be Dead Tomorrow’ on 04.03.13 via Blackstar Foundation