Kayfabe Commentaries has really one of the most interesting and creative lines of DVDs. With its Timeline series, you get to relive a year in the history of a company with one of the stars commenting on the different stories, angles and matches from that year. On paper, this is great concept, but to deliver you need someone who actually remembers that year and also can bring something to the story from that year and for that company.
Timeline: The History of ECW 1998, failed miserably with New Jack as the main subject. If New Jack is great with the YouShoot line of DVDs, in this one you get annoyed quickly at how he almost never comments on the subject that was raised or answers the question. More often than not, he just goes into whatever he thinks of at the moment without trying to stick to the year 1998.
Not everything bad falls in his lap, as why they would bring up the death of Louis Spicolli into the history of ECW while Spicolli was working with WCW at the time of his death his beyond me. He had been gone from his short ECW stint since late 1997. That subject made no sense to me except if you want to exploit the fact New Jack met him a few weeks before his untimely passing.
The way the editing is done on this DVD series, you get a vignette with an important event and date from the year 1998. Then New Jack answers the question or comments on that part of ECW history. There is so much quick cutting between the vignettes — and New Jack’s lack of answers — that you sometimes get motion sickness. It’s not a fun experience.
There is also shocking revelation like that Taz shooter gimmick was a work. Really? Why are they asking that question? I have no idea. If you know your ECW history, you know that the shooter thing was his second gimmick after the cartoonish Tasmaniac. Is there anyone who believes that Taz was a shooter? Maybe they just wanted to give New Jack a free shot at Taz? Even then, I don’t see the point.
Let us try to get into the positive; I loved his story about Junkyard Dog when he came to ECW to receive an award. That’s what I want from such a product. Yet I don’t want to give away all the good stuff, so let’s not get into too much details.
New Jack is part of ECW history, and no one can deny it. But in his own words, he was drugged up for most of his run, a fact that should preclude him from being invited to give his opinion on company storylines or if a talent was over or not. The FBI, for example, was a great gimmick in my own opinion and it gave someone deserving like JT Smith a claim to fame. New Jack comes out of the deal with either a bad memory or simply being dishonest, or at worst, with a bone to pick with JT Smith by telling us that he was not over and that the gimmick did nothing for him. That pretty much shuts down most of what was left of his credibility for me.
This offering had so much potential as this was the year of the Eric Kulas/Mass Transit trial that could have been the end of ECW. That was the infamous night where New Jack sliced opened an inexperienced kid who almost bled to death in the ring. Since New Jack was the one on trial, we actually get a little something more about the whole thing than the rest of the DVD. Still, you would expect to get even more from him on such a rich and interesting subject. In his own word New Jack said he like getting blood in his matches very early, even before ECW: “I got hooked on colour,” he said. So why is that statement not followed up with him?
I love ECW. It was a great period where tons of talent got noticed and the product felt so good and was so much fun. We need to take care of that history and preserve it. I was expecting much more from this DVD. It’s even more frustrating when he closes the interview by saying exactly what is at the center of what ECW was and why it is remember so fondly. “We were legit and we give a SHOW, all steam rolling. We gave you something to think about.” They should have put in the trash everything they had filmed. Start over from scratch building on that ending. We might have had a much better story.