Wednesday, October 07, 2015

SHOOT VIDEO REVIEW: Danny Spivey (2007)

"[Ric Flair] is a lying, two-faced dog...and that's a SHOOT!"

WAYLON MERCY is hands-down my favourite WWF gimmick. The character - played by "Dangerous" Danny Spivey - only lasted a short while in 1995 before injuries forced his early retirement, but Mercy's sinister, Cape Fear-inspired character was memorable to say the least and obviously inspired the current WWE superstar Bray Wyatt.

This shoot interview is a fascinating insight into the career of the former gridiron player who got into wrestling in his early 30s.
Over two hours, we hear Danny discuss breaking into the business in 1984 alongside Scott Hall as the American Starship tag team in the Carolinas and Central States territories.
In 1985, he got his first taste of stardom in the WWF, replacing Barry Windham in the US Express tag team with Mike Rotundo. But he spent much of his three years as lower card enhancement talent despite being an athletic, tall, blond stud.
Thanks to his friendship with Terry Funk, Spivey began a seven-year run in 1988 with All Japan, where he excelled and which he greatly enjoyed. However, he also admits that the hard-hitting matches most likely shortened his career.
Danny also jumped from WWF to WCW in 1989 and had two unhappy runs in Atlanta - where he was in tag teams and seemed to serve more as a babysitter for greener talent like Sid Vicious and Mark "The Undertaker" Callous. Of course, they both went onto much greater fame in WWE years later.
Spivey's ornery nature saw him quit WCW the first time, then get fired the second time round for refusing to job to Tom Zenk. He believed he was undermined and set up to fail by the bookers, particularly Flair.
While Japan remained his chief source of income during the first half of the 1990s, Spivey also worked for Herb Abrams' UWF.
With his career winding down, he returned to WWE in 1995 as the psychotic southern gentleman Waylon Mercy. His vignettes, interviews ("Lives are gonna change in Waylon Mercy's hands") and chilling entrance music were fantastic. His matches? Er...not so much.
In the interview, he claims Vince McMahon hired him to eventually work with Diesel on top for the world title, but his run never reached that height - probably because the company quickly realised that Danny couldn't go anymore in the ring.
The highlights were a TV match with Bret Hart and an In Your House PPV bout with Savio Vega (which I believe was his last televised match).
"I never won a match!" Spivey complains in the video. He felt Mercy was a great gimmick and had potential to be a top babyface. I tend to agree, but the fact is it was Danny's body that led to the character's demise.
At that point he quit the business and the interview wraps up with Danny discussing all his injuries, including him dislocating his artificial hip only a few days prior to the interview.
I wasn't sure what to make of this tape at first, but I eventually got a "feel" for Spivey and what he was saying and I enjoyed it a lot, even if some statements threw me, like his negative comments about Flair and Mick Foley. Oh, and this...
"I have a lot of respect for Dynamite Kid." Oh dear.
Danny hated bullies who took advantage of rookies in the ring, so his anecdotes on how he meted out punishment in the ring to the likes of Adrian Adonis, the Road Warriors, Misawa and Kawada ("a jackass") are entertaining. He also talks about being happy when he saw Japanese tag team partner Stan Hansen punch out Vader's eye.
Spivey didn't look healthy in 2007 - he appears to have liver spots and a slurred voice - I assumed he'd had a stroke, but he was probably just drunk. He subsequently went into a rehab.
Now, a few quibbles. Technically, this was not one of the better efforts from RF Video - there's background noise in various parts of the video, plus a couple of bad edits. 
However, the questions are entertaining and well-researched (which isn't always the case with these shoots), which almost makes up for the interviewer continually asking Danny about stuff he's already talked about five minutes earlier. Got to stick to that written script no matter what, right mate? Sheesh.
In addition, Spivey's memory is faulty in parts - and there are various anecdotes that go begging despite the interviewer's obvious cues because the dude simply can't remember them. That said, you're talking about events that happened up to 20 years earlier - hell, my memory's terrible about stuff that happened last week. So Danny's spotty recall is understandable.

CONCLUSION: Despite its flaws, this is a fascinating video - certainly one of the better shoot interviews done by RF Video - with a worker who I've wanted to know more about for decades.
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
Waylon Mercy's RAW debut against a very young Jeff Hardy in 1995


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