Plot: What’s it about?
He has wrestled all over the world, held a myriad of title belts, and even written a best selling book, but he is best known for taking some of the hardest bumps in wrestling history. He is Mick Foley and he has been known in his career as Mankind, Dude Love, and his most (in)famous role, as the sadistic Cactus Jack. Although he had some great matches in Japan and even toured World Championship Wrestling, Cactus Jack became a household name during his time in Extreme Championship Wrestling, where his hardcore style was embraced. He managed to set new standards for extreme matches, with barb wire, fire, intense elbow drops, and even some death defying aerial assaults. Cactus Jack looks out of shape to be sure, but he can absorb a whole lot of pain, which is just what you need to survive in ECW. After a time, he moved on to the World Wrestling Federation and became an icon, but in was in ECW where American audiences started to latch on to this brutish, violent persona, known as Mr. Bang Bang, Cactus Jack.
This is a great release in all respects, one of the better “best of” titles I’ve seen, as I usually dislike this approach. But this program offers not only important matches, rare footage, and such, but also some story on Cactus Jack, which is cool. We learn more about Jack’s time in ECW and why he came in the first place, which newcomers to Foley’s greatness should be pleased to pick up on. I love how Jack’s time is traced all the way back to when the “E” in ECW stood for Eastern, as opposed to Extreme. So this is much more than a collection of matches, but of course, you’ll see tons of in-ring footage as well. It all starts with the classic first meeting between Jack and Sabu, then moves through many memorable & rare matches, as well as brief looks as various feuds & alliances he formed in ECW. This program also features some interviews with Jack, which made great inclusions and made for a more complete package. With over two hundred minutes of classic matches, interviews, and all around Cactus Jack mayhem, this is one excellent overall release.
Video: How does it look?
The Best of Cactus Jack is presented in a full frame transfer, as intended. The video level dips & rises at times, because of the different sources used for the content. The image is clean and shows no real flaws, but some low level equipment was used, which hinders the video at times. A lot of the matches are taken from small scale shows and as such, the video is less than pristine, but looks better than expected, I think. You’re given pretty much the best possible presentation of the material, which is about all you can for, if you ask me.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounds good, but this isn’t the kind of material to showcase your home theater with. The main audio element is the voice of Joey Styles, who calls the matches and he sounds clean & crisp here, no real complaints. The crowd noise and in-ring stuff sounds good too, but again, the best equipment was not used as the matches were taped. So given the nature of the content, I can’t imagine this sounding much better. I wouldn’t call the mix immersive, but it allows the elements to come through well, which is what counts.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.