Before I begin the Casa this week, I?d just like to say rest in peace Andrew ?Test? Martin, who as most of you already know, tragically died over the weekend, aged 33. Wrestling deaths may be alarmingly commonplace these days, but it’s especially tragic when someone dies who had overcome their addictions and problems, only for their life to still end so prematurely.
Now, are you ready to step inside the place which makes WrestleView.com’s managing editor Hunter Golden want to ?take copious amounts of LSD?? Good, then let us begin another magical mystery tour around Baiamonte’s Casa. This week, the art of the wrestling montage video.
Whether it be in the field of sports entertainment, film or even Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (I had to watch it for a university class, it moved me,ok?), a montage is always a welcome addition. Who can honestly say, hand on heart, that they are not a fan of montages? You?d have to be literally the dullest person on Earth not to. They?re an inspirational tool that can get the blood pumping or the tears flowing with consummate ease.
?Risin’ up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive?
You all know what song that’s from. However, if somehow you lived under a rock during the 80’s or simply are not familiar with 80’s American rock, that is the opening verse of ?Eye of the tiger? by Survivor. The song which was written at the request of Sylvester Stallone for Rocky III. This song invented montage as we know it. There were no montages before Rocky III? FACT! Before then it was simply moving pictures that happened to be accompanied by music. Then Survivor came along and changed the relationship between film and music forever.
So what exactly does this have to do with wrestling you say? Oh nothing, apart from the fact a certain Mr. Terry Bollea starred in Rocky III. Who? You know, that guy who played Sterling Golden down in Georgia Championship Wrestling. Funky mustache and a receding hairline since the age of 20. I think he also goes by the name of HULK HOGAN! Who else was also in Rocky III? The world’s most famous Snickers endorsing, plane fearing, dinner plate wearing, foo? pitying bastard? Mr.T. It just so happens that three years after the release of Rocky III, both Hogan and T teamed together to headline the very first WrestleMania. Thus, the seeds were planted for the marriage of the montage to the world of professional wrestling.
Now, I?ll be honest, I can?t remember much montage wise from ?85 until the attitude era (I wasn?t born until ?88 and the attitude era rolled around when I was nine) but I?m pretty sure there wasn?t much to shout about. Fuck knows what Vinnie Mac and his boys were doing for the 15 years between Rocky III and the Attitude era, but it sure as shit wasn?t producing a good montage. Then all of a sudden they were shitting them out for feud after feud, no matter how big or small. They made the great feuds that bit more memorable and the terrible feuds more memorable than they had any right to be.
This all brings me back to your last visit to the Casa. Remember, last Monday? The one about music in wrestling? It was hilarious, a tour de force in literature. Some people (me) have called it a veritable all you can eat buffet of wrestling hilarity. If you have somehow forgotten it, educate yourself here at this link. It was here that I said as soon as Vince had the money to throw at recording artists, he was using them for everything from theme songs to montage videos. And this is when the wrestling montage age exploded.
We?re now spoiled for choice with promo videos coming out of our ears. Whether it’s hyping a match, or a video package accompanying someone into the Hall of Fame or maybe one of those borderline cheesy yet incredible ?Desire? videos. The WWE certainly has a hard on for a montage, as does every one of their fans. A collective chubby that yearns for slow moving images and quality sound bites played over the top some rock score or another. Simple yet effective. ?My Way? by Limp Bizkit was almost a miniature movie score for the Rock/Austin feud heading into WrestleMania. I still check it out once every so often, and even eight years on it still gets the blood flowing, even with a fucking Limp Bizkit song in the background (click here).
I?ve seen so many of these things that nowadays I can practically produce them myself (in my head. I?m a technology retard). For your typical, old fashioned good guy vs bad guy feud, this is the wrestling montage 101. Start with a quick establishing shot of both guys, if you?re a real sucker for good vs evil, maybe have the bad guy’s clips be accompanied by a darker screen tone, I dunno, whatever lights your candle. Then the point at which the feud started should be clipped before we move to the nefarious bad guys misdeed, which of course, comes complete with glorious ominous tones and repeated slow mo footage, just to make the prick look even more sinister. Throw in some footage of said prick bragging about his accomplishments before BAM! The music speeds up, drums start thumping, and the good guy makes his triumphant return. Any stooges involved with the heel get smashed to shit as the heel either scarpers or gets his. Footage continues to move faster like the editing team have moved from weed to coke during post production, as every flashpoint between the two guys amalgamates at the same point the music reaches a crescendo with our hero and our villain staring each other down.
Sound familiar? I hope that didn?t seem mocking in tone either, because as simple as I just made that whole thing sound, it’s still a brilliant technique for giving a match that ?big fight? feel. If I didn?t quite explain it clearly enough, maybe this song will help;
?The hours approaching, to give it your best
You’ve got to reach your prime.
That’s when you need to put yourself to the test
And show us a passage of time
Were going to need a montage (montage)
Ooh it takes a montage (montage)
Sure a lot of things happing at once,
Remind everyone what’s going on (what’s going on)
And when every shot you show a little improvement
Just show it all or it will take to long
That’s called a montage (montage)
Ooh we want montage (montage)
And anything that we want to know
From just a beginner to a pro,
You want a montage (montage)
Even rocky had a montage (montage)
Anything that we want to know
From just a beginner to a pro,
You need a montage (montage)
Ooh it takes a montage (montage)
Always fade out in a montage,
If you fade out
It seem like more time has passed in a montage
Team America: World Police
As for the ?art of the perfect? montage, well, just take a look at anything from 2000 onwards, there’s been some doozies. HHH was the king of promo land during his phenomenal 2000-2001 run. I?ve lost count of the amount of times I?ve seen him sledgehammer someone 14 times in the space of 3 minutes. My personal favorites are the promo for his match with Cactus Jack at the Royal Rumble 2000, his three stages of Hell match with Austin at No Way Out 2001 and especially the montage for his match with Taker at WrestleMania X Seven. In fact, fuck it, any montage that accompanies WrestleMania 17 is worth watching, actually, forget that, any WrestleMania montage from the last 10 years is worth watching, ESPECIALLY the highlights package at the end. There’s something about seeing Rey Mysterio winning the World Title whilst Peter Gabriel sings ?Big Time? that makes me smile. WrestleMania montages are also the reason I could actually stand that piss awful ?Leave the memories ALOOOOOOOOONE? song that got played roughly 46,574,236 times during last years ?Mania as part of Flair’s retirement. If it hadn?t have been for Flair’s sake, I?m pretty sure whoever wrote that song would have been shot by now. That is, if the emotional American soft pop rock market is as violent as the hip hop world. Who knows?
What a montage video does best however, isn?t highlight a feud or make you go from six to midnight with anticipation, no, it’s cover up any botches or mistakes that may have happened up to that point. Want any proof? Check out the Hogan/Vince feud in 2003 which led to their match at Mania. Hogan botches his lines terribly in this promo; click here. Watch it from around 1.36. I?m not kidding when I say Steven Hawkings shags better than Hogan delivers those lines. Yet come the big match itself, the ever faithful WWE production team pulls through yet again to deliver this glossy little number, with every botched crease ironed out, and no sight of Hogan saying ‘some other gay? instead of ‘some other guy?. Genius.
Eesh, well that’s your lot for this week bambinos. It’s been great having you and I hope you return next week for ?best nip slips in wrestling history?. Just kidding pervs, next week, yours truly is going to be studiously examining just what made 80’s studio wrestling so great. Your required viewing is ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING to do with Ric Flair in the NWA or Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee in Memphis. Youtube the shit out of this topic, I know I am. When wrestling meets chat show, you know you?re onto a winner.
So until next time my esteemed casa-ites (catching on yet?), I bid you arriverderci. If you can?t wait until next week to hear from me, email me at email@example.com and I?ll be more than happy to get back to you. Although beware, I?m currently very busy trying to invent a new superhero, so my time is precious.