Saturday, April 19, 2014

No Holds Barred Friday

Remember earlier this week when I wrote that I had an idea and hoped that Royal Mail wouldn't get in my way?

Well, it worked out as I had planned.

First, I need to go back to 1990.

In Easter of '90, the video of No Holds Barred was released. This was a film starring Hulk Hogan and Zeus. It was produced by the World Wrestling Federation and was a movie that my circle of friends wanted to see more than anything.

We were Hulk Hogan marks after all.

On the Thursday before Good Friday, my sister and I were picked up from school by my father. As we were walking from the school gates to the car, my dad told me that he had rented a copy of No Holds Barred from work.

No, my dad didn't work in a video shop. A colleague of his would copy videos and run his own illegal video loaning service from the locker room.

Back to the story.

I remember the short walk to the car felt like a mile. And the wait for the car door to open was much longer as I looked through the window at the tape on the passenger seat. All it was was a black tape with a white label bearing three black marked words.




Once I was in the car, I held on to the cassette and could not wait to get back home to watch it.

Until my father hit me with something that would extend my wait by half a day.

'We'll watch it tomorrow morning.'

And so I waited.

I cannot recall whether I loved or hated the film upon the first viewing. It was Hulk Hogan in a movie, so I guess I must have been positive towards it.

A year later, we were staying at my American relatives' home in Newmarket. My uncle had moved on from Germany and was then stationed in England. On the evening of Good Friday 1991, what was on Sky Movies?

You guessed it - No Holds Barred.

So, I watched it again.

A year later, on the night of WrestleMania VIII, Sky Movies Plus (that's where WWF main events aired back in the days before Sky Sports did them) played No Holds Barred before the show started. I recorded it and decided I'd watch it on Good Friday. You know, because I watched it two Good Fridays in a row. I wanted to see how long I could go with a run of seeing No Holds Barred each Good Friday.

That's where the run ended, though. I cannot recall going out of my way to watch it in 1993 upwards.

Until yesterday.

Buy Now
A digitally remastered version of the movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray a number of months ago. As soon as I saw it listed, I recalled the three Good Fridays in a row when I watched it. I made a point to myself to do it again in 2014. So, early this week - as you probably read - I purchased the Blu-ray and waited until yesterday to open it up.

For those who haven't heard of the film (that's you, Miguel), it's about the WWF Champion - Rip - played by Hulk Hogan who is being wooed by a rival network. The network is desperate to sign him but Rip refuses to jump ship for any money.

It ends up with the executives launching a new no holds barred style fighting league where anything goes (obviously). Zeus becomes the champion of it and he too becomes obsessed with wanting Rip to jump to the network.

Zeus ends up paralysing Rip's brother in an attack. This leads to the WWF Champion heading to the no holds barred show to take on Zeus.

I won't insult your intelligence by telling you how it ends. It's pretty much formulaic for a movie from the 1980's.

It was cool to see the film all the way through for the first time in so many years. It's very dated but what do you expect?

Even watching it with thirty-four year-old eyes, I still cannot work out whether I loved or merely just liked it as a child. In yesterdays viewing, as an adult, I didn't hate it. I didn't love it.

I just enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it because the tale reminded me in a way of what happened a few years later when World Championship Wrestling (ie Ted Turner) came a-calling and really did manage to woo Hulk Hogan, even though he was technically a free agent at the time.

Oh, and Eric Bischoff and Turner didn't need to beat up a Hogan family member to get him to jump to WCW.

Another cool thing was seeing the credits and noticing all the wrestlers that were in it. Bill Eadie (who was in Demolition), Jeep Swenson (was a stuntman but wrestled in WCW and played Bane in Batman Forever or Batman & Robin but died in the mid-90s) and Stan Hansen were some of the names I caught in the movie.

There was also Jesse Ventuar and 'Mean' Gene Okerlund in the beginning when Rip is wrestling for the WWF.

All in all, it was a cool trip down Memory Lane. I doubt I'll watch it again for a long while. When I do, I might just choose to watch it on another Good Friday.

Buy No Holds Barred from Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment