RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S "The Pull List" (Vol. 5) "Young Bucks Too Sweet Journey" doc review, The Flash season 1 Blu-Ray, Top Ten MOTYC for 2015
Sep 28, 2015 - 1:01:34 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
THE PULL LIST (VOL. 5)
”The Pull List” is a new feature column that will take a look at a mix of the most noteworthy topics in wrestling, comics, books, Movies & TV Blu-Ray releases, and videogames along with reviews and commentary in each category.
“THE YOUNG BUCKS TOO SWEET JOURNEY” DVD REVIEW
RADICAN’S THE YOUNG BUCKS TOO SWEET JOURNEY REVIEW
RELASED IN 2015 BY HIGHSPOTS.COM
BY SEAN RADICAN, TORCH COLUMNIST
“The Young Bucks Too Sweet Journey” is a new documentary that was made in 2014 by director James Franck and The Young Bucks. The focus of the DVD is following the Young Bucks from California to New York for their dream match against The Hardy Boyz, which took place in front of around 3,000 fans in Fishkill, N.Y. at a baseball stadium. This documentary gives a lot of insight as to how the Young Bucks became self-created stars, as Franck travels with the Young Bucks from California to New York and they give a lot of insight into their careers
Franck narrates the documentary and begins it by talking about how he met The Young Bucks in California following the indies as a fan. This documentary is really good and is clearly inspired by Beyond the Mat and Wrestling Road Diaries, which Franck acknowledges during the credits at the end. The Young Bucks have grown into becoming megastars on the independent scene without the backing of mainstream television outside of a forgettable stint in TNA as Generation ME.
One of the most surprising things about the success of The Young Bucks is that they’ve done it as a tag team during a period when tag team wrestling hasn’t been pushed strongly by WWE. Despite WWE not taking tag team seriously and influencing a large group of wrestling fans to respond in king, The Young Bucks have taken their act and tweaked it to the point of being able to support their families despite being independent wrestlers.
The most difficult part of earning a full-time living on the indies and overseas for Matt and Nick is that they are away from their families from Thursday-Sunday most weeks. When they go on tour with NJPW, they are usually gone for weeks at a time.
Being on the road without a family would be difficult just given the travel, as at one point in one of the extra scenes on the bonus discs Matt asks which state they’re in because he can’t remember. It is powerful to listen to Matt and Nick’s wives talk about how hard it is for them while Matt and Nick are on the road, especially with young children.
It’s powerful to listen to their wives speak about having to stay behind and take care of their children while only being able to rely on Voxer and Facetime to let their young children talk to Matt and Nick while they’re gone on the road for long stretches.
On the flip side, it’s also hard to listen to Matt and Nick talk about missing important moments as their kids make their first milestones in growth while they’re on the road. Wrestlers often miss family dinners, birthdays, holidays, and the list goes on, but to miss out on not being there when their kids do something special has to be difficult. Matt and Nick are genuinely nice people and their parents brought them up in the church, but they weren’t strict, which is why they were allowed to have a ring in their back yard growing up. Their mom and dad also talk about supporting their wrestling career, although their mom gets worried when they go on long trips to Japan.
One of the big things that keep Matt and Nick’s career going is the support of their wives and parents to follow their dreams. Both of them admit that if they didn’t have the support of their wives, they wouldn’t be able to continue to wrestle.
As the Young Bucks make their journey a dream match against The Hardy Boys, they give a ton of insight on how they grew their act to become as big as it is today. Matt and Nick talked about how they thought about quitting, but realized they were in wrestling to change lives and kept pressing on after what was clearly a difficult experience for bout of them.
Matt has a great line talking about how The Young Bucks have never had a machine pushing them, but they’ve gotten over huge on the indie scene and even though tag wrestling is on the undercard in WWE, they main event with tag matches everywhere they go. Matt and Nick give3 a lot of insight on how they’ve become more character driven and incorporate psychology into their matches, which in turn has helped them grow as performers.
One of the things The Young Bucks do best is that they are self-aware. When they were first starting their wrestling careers and were plain babyfaces in PWG, they started to get booed. They could have felt bad for themselves and pouted about it, but instead they used it as the impetus for a heel turn. Matt and Nick talk about how they were wrestling on the indies and a fan yelled at them that they looked like Hanson, so the next time they wrestled they came out to “MMMBop” and it became a staple of their act.
While this documentary was being shot, there were a lot of rumors going around on minor websites about The Young Bucks going to WWE. Matt and Nick end up playing into it on Twitter and it is fun to see an example of how they use Twitter to enhance their characters. It would be interesting to see their state of mind right now about heading to WWE given how the landscape has changed for indie wrestlers potentially signing with WWE in 2015. It wouldn’t be surprising if The Young Bucks were able to leverage a big deal out of WWE for an NXT contract at some point.
The footage from the NEW show where the Young Bucks wrested The Hardy Boyz is really good. Clearly because of their mainstream following, many of the fans are at the Duchess stadium in Fishkill, N.Y. to see them, but the Young Bucks also have their fair share of fans.
Kevin Steen is also on the show making his last indie appearance before heading to WWE and there’s some fun behind the scenes footage with him as well, including some footage from the last ever edition of The Kevin Steen Show with The Young Bucks.
Watching the Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy put the match together with Matt and Nick Jackson backstage is a blast. To see them talk about the match and then execute their plan in the ring is a lot of fun as well. You don’t usually get that level of access to matches as big as The Hardy Boyz vs. The Young Bucks, so that footage really enhanced this release.
The bonus disc is fantastic. Bonus discs in general can be hit and miss, as their tends to be a ton of fluff in a lot of cases, but several of the extra footage that was left over from filming with the Young Bucks and the wrestler interviews is great.
Kevin Gill appears and tells a fun story about prepping The Young Bucks for an appearance at Gathering of the Juggalos and how they accepted his suggestion for a change to their act that worked out for the best. Another highlight is Kevin Steen appearing and telling a story about being mad at how Rob Feinstein cut the trailer for his RF Video shoot interview and made his comments about Bret Hart appear to be something they weren’t by the way he edited them.
The final crown Jewel is Brian Kendrick telling Franck to ask the Young Bucks about growing up in a haunted house, which is followed by Matt and Nick telling some crazy stories about what went on in their house while they grew up that they feel can only be explained by paranormal activity. Only Kendrick could drag a story like this out of the Young Bucks.
Overall thoughts: (9.0) – This was a fantastic documentary. It’s not often you get to experience life on the road with indie wrestlers, but “The Young Bucks Too Sweet Journey” captures life on the road in the same way that Colt Cabana’s “Wrestling Road Diaries” documentaries did.
The Young Bucks are engaging to listen to as they talk about the rise of their career, but it’s the testimony from their wives and parents that really hits home when it comes to realizing just how hard the wrestling lifestyles is on them. The behind the scenes footage of The Young Bucks vs. Hardy Boyz match in NEW is fantastic as well, although I was surprised that their first meeting with Booker T before the show where they made amends with him wasn’t included on the final cut of the documentary. Not many documentaries give you this level of inside access and insight. I give this documentary my highest recommendation.
You can purchase “The Young Bucks Too Sweet Journey” 2 DVD set by clicking HERE or by visiting Highspots.com. This release is also available on VOD by clicking HERE or by visiting DIYWrestling.com.
2015 MOTY TOP 10 LIST
This is a running list of the top 10 best matches of 2015. I still have things I need to catch up on and watch, so I will be adding new additions to this list throughout the year. I will eventually make a separate post of my entire 2015 MOTY list and keep it updated regularly. I will also update the top 10 list in this column.
(1) Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25: Night 16", Aug. 12, 2015. (*****)
(2) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25 Finals," Aug. 16, 2015. (*****)
(3) Kota Ibush vs. IWGP IC Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW, "Wrestle Kingdom 9," Jan. 4, 2015. (*****)
(5) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25: Night 17," Aug. 14, 2015. (*****)
(6) Zack Sabre Jr. vs Roderick Strong, EVOLVE, EVOLVE 45, July 10, 2015. (****3/4)
(7) Tomihiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto, NJPW, "G1 Climax 25: Night 14, Aug. 9, 2015. (****3/4)
(8) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kota Ibushi, NJPW, G1 Climax 25: Night 7, July 29, 2015. (****3/4)
(9) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi, NJPW, G1 Climax 25: Night 1, July 20, 2015. (****3/4)
(10) British Cruiserweight Champion Will Ospreay vs. Matt Sydal, RPW, "Summer Sizzler 2015," June 14, 2015. (****3/4)
NEW TV BLU-RAY RELEASE
THE FLASH (Blu-Ray &Digital HD combo pack)
The Flash is a tremendous super hero TV series. The Netflix exclusive version of Daredevil blew me away when it came out earlier this year, but The Flash is equally as brilliant. Although Daredevil had a darker tone, The Flash is a modern update on DC’s iconic comic character with a more modern suit and look, but the show as a whole does not have the dark tone that Daredevil carries, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
When The Flash is just a child he sees his mother killed in what appears to be the midst of a lightning storm in his house. His father is sent to jail for a murder he didn’t commit and Barry is raised by Detective Joe West, who has a daughter named Iris. Barry grows up with Joe and Iris, but longs for the day when his father is released from jail.
Dr. Harrison Wells of STAR Labs played by the brilliant Tom Cavanagh sets off his particle accelerator, which doesn’t go as planned and sets of a lightning storm that transforms many people into what are called metahumans. Metahumans gain special powers from the lightning storm. One of those impacted is Barry Allen played by the fantastic Grant Austin. When Allen recovers from the particle accelerator disaster that impacts Central City, he now has super speed. Now Allen must live a duel life working with his foster parent Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) at CCPD as a forensic scientist and harnessing his powers at STAR Labs under the guidance of Dr. Wells and his assistants Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes).
The Flash was able to hit the ground running thanks to a crossover with Arrow. The Barry Allen character appeared on two episodes of Arrow season 2 and set the stage for the first season of The Flash to begin a 23 episode run from 2014-2015 on the CW. Arrow is played by Stephen Amell, who began a feud with Stardust earlier this year that eventually culminated in a tag match with Amell teaming with Neville against Stardust and King Barrett at SummerSlam. Several members from the cast of Arrow, including Amell, appear in multiple episode of The Flash and it appears DC is building up a something special here piggybacking off of Arrow.
What makes The Flash so much fun to watch is the character building. Simply put, the show has a ton of heart. It’s clear that the executive producers care about The Flash character and it stays very true to the comic book. For those that don’t like to wait for a show to heat up, The Flash hits the ground running and never stops. The audience not only watches Barry Allen grow with his powers, but they also learn his story through a series of flashbacks.
As more information is unearthed about the murder of Barry’s mother, the character becomes even more likable because he’s not jaded by horrible life circumstances. Gustin plays the role of the flash with a light-hearted tone, but has the chops necessary to be serious and bring you into the moment when it’s called for. It’s hard not to invest in the character, as his relationships with the people he is closest with become more and more complicated as the season goes on. The show is aided by a great cast of villains, especially Captain Cold played by Wentworth Miller, who pops up multiple times and is also The Flash’s arch-nemesis in the DC Comic series.
Barry has two father figures in Detective Joe West and Dr. Wells. Detective West raised Barry, but Dr. Wells also becomes a father figure to him his well as he helps him harness his powers. Barry becomes massively conflicted, as he tries to keep The Flash’s real identity a secret. One of the most enjoyable storylines throughout the season is that Barry is in love with Iris, who he grew up with, but has never told her. He also hasn’t let her in on his secret identity either, which complicates their relationship.
It’s hard to find shows where you can really invest in characters, but The Flash succeeds in not only bringing the comic book to life, but also adding layers upon layers to the main and supporting cast. The show tells a wide-variety of stories and uses some great devices. If you pay attention to the little things during the first half of the season, they get paid off during the second half.
Although I would have loved more commentary for individual episodes, The Flash Blu-ray set only includes commentary from Executive Producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and DC CCO Jeff Johns. The show is so well-put together that it would have been fantastic to hear the cast and crew give commentary on the show as it happens.
That being said, there are some really good special features included on this release. My favorite special feature on this set is “Behind The Story: The Trickster Returns.” Mark Hamill discusses reprising his role as The Trickster James Jesse from the original The Flash TV series from 1990 that aired on CBS in a guest starring role.
It’s fascinating to listen to Hamill talk about being fan of The Flash comic book and reading issues that featured The Trickster when he was in high school. Another fun element to this feature is that the original Flash, John Wesley Shipp, plays Barry’s dad in the modern version of The Flash TV series and he appears and talks with Hamill about how the show has been updated to fit in with modern times.
There are a couple of longer special features that run around a half hour that stand out and really add value to this set. Creating The Blur- The VFX of The Flash is a really fun look at how the VFX for the show are created, but to avoid spoilers, I won’t go into detail on this special feature.
The other long special feature, “The Fastest Man Alive!,” is really good. It features most of the major cast members talking about how the show is put together in relation to being true to the comic. Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, and DC CCO Geoff Johns appear as well and it’s clear that they are very invested in making this show true to the comic as they put a modern twist on The Flash character. Berlanti talked about how a good comic has “Heart, Humor, and spectacle,” but I think he described exactly what makes this show so great to watch episode after episode.
“The Fastest Man Alive!” feature also features commentary by the Berlanti, Kreisberg, and Johns about casting decisions and how they impacted the final product. Berlanti’s commentary about not anticipating how well Tom Cavanagh would play Dr. Wells and the impact it had on The Flash is really interesting to listen to. The Blu-ray also features several deleted scenes, a gag reel, and more.
Overall thoughts: (9.0) – Watching as much wrestling as I do, I often miss out on a lot of TV shows, but after seeing Stephen Amell in WWE, I looked into Arrow and The Flash. While staying spoiler free, I read many great things about The Flash and they all came true once I watched the first season. This show has heart, characters you care about, and fantastic production that brings The Flash character to life.
Every good guy needs heels to feud with and the villains of The Flash are casted so well. One villain after the next takes on the flash with his or her own set of unique powers that The Flash and his support team at STAR Labs have to find a way to combat using The Flash’s speed. Of course, The Flash sometimes gets an outside assist from elsewhere, but each episode has a great structure in that you are satisfied with what is included in each individual episode, but you also can’t wait to see what’s coming next. I give this set a high recommendation, especially if you haven’t seen the first season of The Flash yet.
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