"Jeff Jarrett: King of the Mountain"
- Documentary: 4/5
- Match Selection: 4.5/5
- Organization: 3.5/5
- Appeal: 5/5
- Overall: 4.5/5
From his attack on country music star Toby Keith at the company's inaugural pay-per-view to the first match of a blood feud with Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett has had one of the most storied careers in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
And it's a story captured on TNA's first major biographical DVD release, "Jeff Jarrett: King of the Mountain," set for release Tuesday.
The four-disc set tells the story of Jarrett's pro wrestling career, covering his early days in regional territories, the rise and fall of World Championship Wrestling and his tenure with World Wrestling Entertainment.
An in-depth interview with Jarrett allows viewers to also learn about the history of TNA Wrestling, the struggles of launching a new company and blending family life with running a wrestling company.
Jarrett and other TNA stars and officials pay tribute to Jarrett's wife Jill, who died of cancer in May 2007, eight years to the day after the death of wrestler Owen Hart, a close friend of Jarrett.
Listening to Jarrett's accounts of losing his loved wife and a dear friend, viewers feel a personal connection to the King of the Mountain one would never expect to feel through watching an televised wrestling show.
Watching Jarrett tell these stories, especially those dealing with Jill, who it's clear he loved dearly, it's hard to hold back emotions, leaving even grown men susceptible to tears.
Jarrett also uses the interview as a way to set the record straight on certain issues, including his departure from WWE (WWF at the time) and the famous "fishing trip" story of how TNA came to be.
And while one may expect Jarrett to take the opportunity to bash his competition, he actually has high praise for several members of the WWE roster and staff.
He tells it like it is, putting over those he finds worthy and putting down those he finds not, for example saying Chyna "didn't know her a** from a hole in the ground" when he lost the Intercontinental Title to her in his departure match from WWF.
"King of the Mountain" offers a tremendous collection of nearly 30 matches, including five matches from 1986-1988.
Viewers get to see Jarrett's first television appearance, as a referee; his second match, against Tony Falk; and bouts with Hector Guerrero, Jerry Lawler, Gary Young, and Cactus Jack.
These classic matches add a nice touch of nostalgia to the collection, but the heart and soul of the DVD comes in the matches from TNA between 2002-2008.
It all starts with a championship gauntlet to crown the NWA World Champion (a match involving Toby Keith) and ends with Jarrett's return match against Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory IV.
But the real glory is contained in between. Matches involving A.J. Styles and Ron "The Truth" Killings top the pack, while countless other matches against the likes of Raven, Rhino, Jeff Hardy, Sting round out a nice selection of well-picked matches.
Only one match, featuring Jarrett wrestling Hacksaw Jim Duggan, seemed out of place among the quality-packed collection.
While it may seem Jarrett's DVD would be filled with matches he won, this is not the case. There is a mixture of Jarrett wins and losses, but Jarrett looks good even in the losses.
As someone, possibly Jim Cornette, said in the documentary, Jarrett has the ability to make anyone in the ring with him look good, and this shows through in the selected matches.
TNA has adopted a organizational style for its DVDs that feature the documentary segments broken up by matches and segments.
This same system was used on the "Knocked Out" DVD, and possibly others as well.
This system has mixed advantages and disadvantages. It allows for breaks in the interview segments, which can keep the audience entertained for a more extended period.
But it also makes it difficult to quickly find a match if one just wants to watch it or show it to a friend.
The other option would be to put individual matches as separate scenes on some of the DVDs and the documentary as its own disc. Under this system, though, many people may not enjoy the entire documentary feature.
Early on, this organizational system can seem odd and even annoying, but by the end, it makes sense and is a welcome change.
If TNA can continue to tweak this system and make for more smooth transitions, they'll be well positioned for future DVD releases.
One of this DVD's biggest advantages is its mass appeal, possessing the ability to attract hardcore TNA fans, casual wrestling fans yet to really discover the product, and those new to wrestling altogether.
TNA fans will appreciate the collection of great matches featuring current and past TNA superstars and learning the history of the company, if they didn't already know or hadn't seen "The History of TNA: Year One."
For casual fans, this could be the attracting factor to TNA. The DVD provides a snapshot of what the company has to offer, including two of its signature matches, Lethal Lockdown and King of the Mountain.
Fans of the WWE will also see where some of their favorite superstars grew their careers or thrived in a different environment. Ron Killings dominated in TNA before heading back to the WWE and being saddled in the lower midcard as R-Truth.
New fans interested in learning wrestling have the chance to learn about TNA's history and its product. The DVD will introduce them to many of the new (and familiar) faces they would see in TNA.
This four-disc collection has a retail price of $30, but Amazon has it discounted for $21.50. At either price, the DVD is worth a buy for casual or hardcore wrestling fans.
New fans really wanting to dive in head first would also do well to dish out the money for this collection.
The DVD provides a great story, quality matches and a sense of personal connection to Jarrett and the struggles he's gone through in his life. Many people know the name Jeff Jarrett, but this is really a chance to meet the man himself.
Anyone who watches this DVD in its entirety will almost assuredly walk away with new-found respect for Jeff Jarrett: King of the Mountain, founder of TNA and 10-time world champion.
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