By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Please check local listings for a repeat schedule.
A&E Network and WWE Studios are partners in Biography: WWE Legends (formerly known as World Wrestling Federation), a new run of biographies about the legends of wrestling. The decision on who to first focus on must’ve been tough. To see true alumni, namely Hulk Hogan, interviewed about their time with the talents from the past two decades, made for a great retrospective.
There are eight specials and the last documentary about Bret Hart aired last weekend. To binge watch these two hour specials isn’t possible, but to watch them over successive days than wait reveals a lot more about the sport turned entertainment spectacle. Although each piece doesn’t get into the most guarded secrets or details that can be read from a Wikipedia styled biography, I found the series to be a terrific primer to get newcomers and the curious up to date on the talents who became Stone Cold Steve Austin, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mick Foley and Ultimate Warrior.
Not all of these people stood out, but I did find Booker T’s charm a total gem in the spotlight about him. From those who are still living and are looking back, they’re not talking about all the demons they faced or go into huge lengths about their youth which led to them wanting to partake in wrestling as a proper sport (the part of their life I’m really curious about). Randy perhaps had the most problems to deal with. Not even The Undertaker can exorcise them.
We get a fairly good nostalgia trip and history about what this sports entertainment business is about, even before it became a crazy arena spectacle. One nice mention is in how the South East of America operated as fiefdoms, before it eventually became one huge brand. These documentaries doesn’t always reveal how much of an influence WWE is in other media (missing the boat on crossover into comic books and cartoons) and this segment can use an expansion.
Continue reading “The Retrospective in Biography: WWE Legends”