Friday, August 28, 2009

LONG-OVERDUE BOOK REVIEW: The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette 25th Anniversary Scrapbook

LET'S not mince words: this book is FUCKING AWESOME.

I've read some great wrestling-related books over the years: Mick Foley's first two books, Ric Flair's autobiography, Terry Funk's autobio, Emerson Murray's book on Bruiser Brody.......but this gazumps them all.

While it tells the story of the greatest tag team of all time - as told by the always-entertaining Jim Cornette - this isn't strictly a biography on the Midnight Express (or Dennis Condrey or Bobby Eaton or Stan Lane either).

It is a genuine scrapbook filled to overflowing with rare photos, programs, payment slips, angry fan letters, court documents etc etc. Plus a bunch of cool articles on some of the bigger crowd brawls the MX got caught up in, the best-known MX in-the-ring spots (that's worth the price of the book alone), classic Cornette quotes and the proverbial much, much more.

If that wasn't fascinating enough, you have a listing of just about every MX match ever held, including Cornette's priceless running commentary on what was going on at that time with the team, himself, the promotion (the World Class section is a real eye-opener) and wrestling in general.

Most importantly, where possible, Jim has listed gate receipts and crowd numbers. It proves just how important the MX were back in the 1980s in selling out houses and making money for any company they worked for (whether it was Mid-South, World Class or NWA).

I'm not the only one to have said this, but I'll add my view to the long list: this book is essential reading for all true wrestling fans.

You haven't already got it, what's wrong with you? It's available directly from Jim Cornette either here or here.

DANN'S CALL?: The best wrestling book on the market today.

All Japan forever

Sunday, August 23, 2009

REVIEW: "Los Campeones De La Lucha Libre"...everything's buena!

THERE is so much to like about this 2008 animated brainbuster made by Aussies Lili Chin and Eddie Mort (of Mucha Lucha! fame) and Keith Rainville (the brains behind the awesome From Parts Unknown zine). I caught its second screening - a second premiere, if you like - at Mu-Meson Archives in Sydney last night and I was blown away!

If you enjoyed Mucha Lucha! when it screened on The Cartoon Network, then you'll understand where the film's animation, action and humour is coming from. But Los Campeones De La Lucha Libre takes what you saw in a children's TV series to a whole new level, particularly when it comes to violence and the accurate depiction of genuine wrestling holds (don't want the kiddies seeing how a backbreaker or Boston crab is performed, then executing them on their little brother, right?)

While it's heavily geared towards those punters who already understand and love the sport of lucha libre and the pop culture surrounding it (particularly all them so-bad-they're-buena Santo films), pretty much any fan of madcap cartoons are gonna love it.

Add to that a heap of monsters, ultra-violence, a cool soundtrack and the FINAL performance by the late, great Lux Interior from The Cramps...and you have a fucking AWESOME comedy action movie. Incredibly, it is also very respectful towards the sport of lucha libre.

The plot of Los Campeones De La Lucha Libre is simple yet effective. A mysterious stranger seeks help from the legendary Dragon Rojo to save his village from an attack by a gang of marauders. Dragon refuses but his idealistic son Dragon Rojo Jr takes up the offer and quickly gathers a group to help him: US masked man Mr Profesional, the tiny brawler Tsetse Fly, female warrior Sorpresa, and the cold and cruel Rayo X (superbly voiced by Lux). Do I need to add that Rayo X steals every scene he's in? I thought not. :)

Los Campeones face many trials before they reach the threatened village, but when they get there they discover that all is not as it seems. What shall they do? Will they overcome the revelation of this disturbing secret and defeat the marauding menace? And can Dragon Rojo Jr defend his family honour and win the respect of his father?

Oh, you better fucking believe it! This film is a joyous celebration of everything that makes lucha libre so great. If you can find a way to see it somewhere, ANYWHERE, then I highly recommend you do it ASAP!

Check out the official web site at for more groovy info!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I've seen the future of Australian wrestling - and his name is...

(or William B. Kidd as he calls himself)