Mike Johnson is on vacation this week. Here is his 2008 review of Last Call with Raven & Sandman.
The tag line for Big Vision Entertainment's new DVD is "It was SUPPOSED to be an Ultimate Insiders interview shoot." That's probably for the best.
"Last Call with Raven and Sandman" featuring the former ECW World champions in what is supposed to be a bar setting for a discussion about their careers instead becomes the latest in a recent line of trainwreck-styled DVDs that are somewhat entertaining but more so exploitive. That said, this DVD is nowhere near as embarrassing as some recent videos released featuring the likes of Iron Sheik, but at times, it's just painful to watch.
From the onset, neither seem very forthcoming with any actual information, instead belittling the interviewer and making comments designed to crack themselves up instead of, you know, speaking about their careers for fans who dropped $20 on the DVD. A typical interplay between the interviewer and Raven:
Q: "What was your favorite role in the business?"
The highlight of the DVD is a "surprise" appearance by Terry Funk, who pops up as a bartender. Even with Terry settling into similar insane discussion, including oral sex with a cow (not kidding), you can't help but smirk at the crazy old man for being his insane yet charming self. Still, the contempt out of Raven and Sandman is almost insulting to the viewers to the point you had to feel for Big Vision Entertainment for investing in this project and trying to get something out of the raw footage.
As the DVD continues on, The reunited Gangstas arrive on the scene, with New Jack discussing in his usual colorful style different stories about his and Mustafa's drug use in ECW, including a story about "Shane" OD'ing on cocaine in a New Orleans parking lot and being blamed for it by Paul Heyman, although Jack claims he simply came across the wrestler in the parking lot and saved him. Whether you like New Jack or not, you can't help but crack up at his antics. What you see is what you get with him and you have to respect that.
The DVD extras feature a series of XPW matches featuring all five talents as well as New Jack's speech at the 1997 Terry Funk Banquet Dinner promoted by ECW, which is a fine extra as Jack, admittedly high, goes on and on in colorful fashion, taking over the dinner, which he apologizes about 100,000 times to Funk for during the interview shoot.
So, if you know what you are getting into with this DVD, you'll enjoy it. I found myself laughing at the argument over whether Good Times was a spin-off of All in the Family. If you are looking for a matter of fact, frank discussion about one of ECW's most famous feuds and the personalities that populated their unique careers, you won't find it here If you are looking for sleaze and tales of drug use from a crew of talents that likely are lucky to be alive if even half their stories are rooted in truth, you hit the jackpot.
Last Call with Raven and Sandman can be ordered in the PWInsider Superstore.
Mike Johnson can be reached at Mike@PWInsider.com.