Take this all from my POV only please…this isn’t a review of “Barbed Wire City” by any means…this is what it did for me and what I hope it will do for others.
I appreciate anyone artistic vision…really…putting something into the public eye that you know will be criticized is a tough and courageous act…I mean after all everyone is a critic right? Right. Some people criticize to themselves and others to their friends who then go to their friends who then go their first cousin and so on and so forth…it’s called word of mouth…it’s a marketing tactic that every brand in the world would love to control but just cannot…you can certainly influence the message but ultimately people are going to say how they feel about something to someone who will listen whether it be good or bad…that’s just the way it…that is what drove Extreme Championship Wrestling and that is what this documentary on ECW captures whole heartedly.
As someone who worked for ECW from almost the get go to the very very end I finally feel like we got our “Behind The Music.” It’s the documentary that doesn’t get every major player but gets enough of every major player to tell the story that needs to be told. More so…”Barbed Wire City” pays attention to the little people per say…the people that fueled the company…from the office staff to the promoters to the referees to the ring announcers to the media that covered the company to the boys in the back…everyone is covered…which is 100% the way it should be because every piece that I just named was needed back in the day to make the show function, to make the magic happen, and the spread the word of mouth that made ECW, yes…I am going there…the Nirvana of professional wrestling in the way that it changed the wrestling landscape forever…
Now, I am not getting retrospective because the documentary does that…however for me after watching it several times I found myself continually being brought back into the ECW locker room, into random cities and buildings, to ringside, to the hotel rooms, to traveling with the boys, to walking around the parking lot the day of Barely Legal, into the rawest emotion and passion of the boys and the fans imaginable…these are all places my mind hasn’t wandered to in years with such clarity of what it felt like…it’s truly amazing of what images from your past can bring back to you when presented in the right light…
A lot of what I experienced while living ECW was a blur…and no not because I “partied”…only because at a very late part of my 8 ½ years around the company I began to realize that this would end and I needed to experience everything to its fullest. For me that maybe happen for the last 2 years I was there…for the first 6 ½ years it was how fast can you run, how high can you jump, and what will you do to survive. “Barbed Wire City” let me feel some things I just didn’t before…and let me realign my feelings with things I missed feeling….and things I never felt right about.
Is “Barbed Wire City” closure? No way. In fact, I will be the first to say that people will want more of this story…and I am happy there is an extended cut being planned because they will need it…there will be demand for it.
The word of mouth will be critical for sure…because everyone believes the story should be told one way and not this way and they didn’t interview this person and this person is full of shit and this person was fucked up and this person is an idiot and this person is politicking, blah blah blah blah….but that’s ECW!!!! There wasn’t a structure! There was craziness that created a true game changer!!! This isn’t a technically over-produced feature film…it’s not shot in a big fancy studio…it produced within a budget…it’s shot in the arenas, the stands, hotel rooms, homes and on the streets…just like ECW when it ran the cool arena, the VFW hall, the gymnasium, the nightclub, the sports center, the baseball stadium…you just never knew where we were going but you knew we were going to deliver…hell FN yeah you knew we would deliver….and so does this documentary. Congrats to John Philapavage and his partner Kevin Kiernan for sticking with this for 12 + years…you guys should be proud.