RADICAN DVD Review – “Hitting the Highspots” with Rich Swann

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

RadicanSean_profileRADICAN’S REVIEW SERIES
“HITTING THE HIGHSPOTS (w/RICH SWANN)”
RELEASED IN 2015 BY HIGHSPOTS.COM

“Hitting the Highspots with Rich Swann” was the first edition of the show recorded, but Highspots held off on releasing it until later in 2015. This is one of Swann’s final interviews before he reported to WWE NXT in September of 2015. Swann tells a lot of stories spanning his entire career working in CZW, DGUSA, EVOLVE, and PWG.

The thing that makes this release stick out is that host Rob Naylor and Swann have great chemistry together and are able to bounce back and forth telling stories that each of them is connected to in some way. Swann covers a lot of territory that he didn’t cover on his edition of The Kevin Steen Show, so if you’re worried about hearing repeat stories, you won’t find that here. This is more of a hilarious free-flowing conversation between two friends than a chronological march through Swann’s career.

Swann and Naylor tell some really entertaining stories about the early part of his career during the early part of the interview. Swann tells the infamous story behind his match at CZW’s “Proving Grounds 2011” where he came down to the ring carrying a bucket of KFC Chicken to the Sanford & Son theme. Swann talks about how Callihan dared him to come out to the Sanford & Son theme and Swann ramped up the racism even more by taking it upon himself to come to the ring with a bucket of KFC chicken. Needless to say, the story is hilarious and other elements of the story are enhanced by Highspots having access to CZW footage to use on this release.

Swann tells some fantastic CZW stories, but he does a pair of hilarious impersonations of former CZW owner John Zandig and current CZW owner D.J. Hyde. Swann tells a story about Adam Cole and Mia Yim being paired together and does another imitation of Hyde telling Hyde and Yim that they should kiss on the apron. He concludes the imitation with Hyde always saying “It’s good for CZW. CZW.”

The talk moves on to Swann’s start in EVOLVE/DGUSA and how Swann was practicing a standing 450 before a DGUSA show. He said CIMA saw it and lost his mind and Swann does a great impression of CIMA. Swann claims that CIMA was a huge mark for Highspots and talks about how you can hear CIMA screaming from behind the commentary table during the DGUSA event where Ricochet missed a double moonsault. Swann said needless to say he and Ricochet had to get a passport right away because Dragon Gate in Japan wanted to use them.

unnamed (3)Swann and Naylor talk about the long tours Swann did in Japan for Dragon Gate, which eventually rounds into a discussion about the Dragon Gate dojo monkey being one of the greatest high-flyers in the world.

Swann also talks about some of the racism he experienced in Japan, but he laughs it off and doesn’t seem to take it very seriously. As for the monkey, Swann says, “That monkey could go bro.” Naylor tells a great story about how when Jack Evans was in Japan, the monkey would copy him doing backflips. Stories like these add a ton of value to this release.

The discussion of the first EVOLVE Style Battle Tournament at “EVOLVE 9” was fantastic. This was a memorable show for many reasons. Kevin Steen wrestled on the show to further an angle he was doing in ROH. Zack Sabre Jr. made his EVOLVE debut against Sami Callihan in a crazy match that was a preview of what was to come in 2015 when he blew up in the UK and US.

For those that don’t remember, going into the tournament, everyone in the Style Battle tournament had their own Style. A.R. Fox had already taken high-flying, so Swann tells the story of how he cut a promo and said he was going to represent Rich Swann style. This discussion brought back a lot of good memories about “EVOLVE 9,” which also served as Moxley’s farewell show before he left for WWE.

Naylor and Swann also discuss several of Swann’s most memorable PWG matches in-depth. Highspots also has the rights to use PWG footage, so each of the topics they discuss are enhanced with the footage being shown as they discuss things.

One of the best stories they discuss is about Swann & Ricochet having great matches as a unit in PWG. Naylor says his favorite match was Swann & Ricochet vs. Edwards & Strong. They discuss a really crazy spot where Strong had Swann set up for a powerbomb on the ladder and Edwards was supposed to come off the top of the ladder and hit a double stomp as Strong powerbombed him. Swann didn’t want to do it and says it was Strong’s idea. The footage of the match rolls and Strong slips off the ladder with Swann and he ends up landing on his feet while holding Swann. He then brings Swann back up so Edwards can nail him with a double stomp. Swann says he told Strong, “Damn, see, y’all killed me!” Again, if you’re a fan of PWG, this release has a lot of value because the conversation Naylor and Swann have makes you want to re-watch a lot of the matches that are discussed.

The best part of this release is saved for last, as Naylor has Swann sing some songs about various personalities in wrestling. If you saw “The Kevin Steen Show with Rich Swann,” you’ll remember the songs Swann sang were legitimate songs, but this time Swann makes up songs on the spot about different people on the independent scene. I don’t’ want to spoil anything, but the songs about Hyde, Sapolsky, Tozawa, and Zandig are so funny that they nearly had me in tears.

Overall Thoughts: (9.0) – This was a really fun interview. Swann and Naylor had great chemistry and they did a fantastic job of discussing the highlights of Swann’s career from CZW all the way through to his recent matches in EVOLVE. Swann is naturally funny and he told some tremendous stories on this release that I hadn’t heard before.

It was also fun to listen to Naylor drop in little tidbits from his time in WWE developmental, which included a really interesting comment about the match Brodie Lee (Luke Harper) sent to WWE before his tryout. In addition to the interview, there are two Rich Swann matches included as well. I give this release a high recommendation.

You can purchase “Hitting the Highspots with Rich Swann” on DVD by clicking HERE or by visiting Highspots.com. You can also purchase this release on MP4 at Highspots.com and on VOD at DIYWrestling.com. You can also watch Highspots titles from The Kevin Steen Show, Best Friends, CZW, PWG, and more at HighspotsWrestlingNetwork.com subscription service, which is now available on Roku.

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Email Sean at PWTorchSean@Gmail.com

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