Having watched both this doc and the Vince McMahon financed (and I'm sure controlled) "Rise and Fall of ECW", I must say I prefer this version just a bit more. Much like it's companion (or rival, depending on how you look at it) "Forever Hardcore" recounts the mythological entity that was Extreme Championship wrestling, told by many of the people who lived it, and who incidentally weren't on "Mr. McMahon's" payroll at the time. In contrast to "The Rise's" interviews with the likes of Tommy Dreamer, Stevie Richards, and Taz, "Forever" gets the word of people like Raven, Tod Gordon, Sandman, and New Jack, among others. It provides a compliment in some ways to "Rise", by adding a different (and probably less censored) view of the many outrageous and infinitely entertaining moments of ECW. From Sandman's acerbic view on the "Cricifixion" angle, to New Jack's disturbingly candid take on the "Mass Transit Incident" (something only briefly touched on in Rise), this seems to be the more truthful and entertaining version of the story. The only drawbacks I'd say are: 1.) the fact that Vince is the self serving megalomaniac that he is, and as a result the doc is devoid of any ECW stock footage, relegated to still photos presented in slide show fashion in between interviews and 2.) for much of the same reason, the bonus matches included are from the third rate XPW promotion, lacking the feel and inspiration of the classic ECW matches that rightfully should've been included.
On the flipside, the bonus interview footage is some of the best I've ever seen, and if I'm not mistaken the total runtime of said interviews clocks in at somewhere around 100 minutes, with more fleshed out commentaries by the likes of Sabu (yes, he actually does an interview, and a rather insightful one at that), Francine, Shane Douglas, Kid Kash, and several others.
All in all I give it a 9/10, only for the previously stated lack of footage. Bottom line, if you're a true ECW fan, you have to see this, if not, you're better off watching "Rise".
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