By Steve Rockamaniac of MainEventRadio.com
Shawn Stasiak: Determined is the new documentary out from Howard Feintuch’s MuscularGalore.com which is a website/company that promotes physical and mental well being through having a vision for your life and using the bodybuilding lifestyle to achieve it. Which may make you wonder, as it did I, why they would be putting out a documentary about Former WWE and WCW superstar Shawn Stasiak. Sure Wrestlers are often regarded as larger than life muscle bound guys, but I had to question as to whether this DVD was being put out for fans of Stasiak and pro wrestling in general, or for those who follow the bodybuilding life that want an inspirational story to encourage them in their training. Well after checking the documentary out myself I can tell you this DVD has something to offer to all of the above.
The documentary has over a 3 hour run time and can basically be divided into two parts, one being Shawn’s life in pro wrestling, and two being the mental and physical training lifestyle he likes to live.
Beginning with the Wrestling portion, Stasiak starts by looking back on his childhood, growing up the son of the famous Stan “The Man” Hansen. What ensues is almost a trip through his childhood as Shawn visits the famous sites he would tag along with his father too such as the Dallas Sportatorium or the arena where Portland Wrestling once ran (which is now a renovated church, and not too appreciative of it’s wrestling past) But anyways you get to hear some real interesting stories here, and interviews with Skandor Akbar, Kevin Von Erich and Hansen’s one time tag team partner Johnny Mantell are also included. What I really found cool here was actual footage of Hansen wrestling a match thrown in here and there as well as true home movies featuring Hansen fooling around with Shawn.
Next they begin to look at what was the first step in Shawn’s career, and that is making the Division 1 wrestling team at Boise State University. A hilarious story on how he got onto the team is told by his former coach Mike Davies that reminds me a lot of some indy wrestling guys who try to make it to the big time. Shawn also tells the story of how he had 10 pro matches on Portland Wrestling’s local shows completely untrained, and used that footage along with some sting like facepaint to get himself a gig at the local new s station filming child safety promos for holidays such as Halloween, Again the beauty of this is you get to see the actual footage of Shawn as the character “Phobia”. You also get to hear from the actual anchor he worked with at the station as well.
Next up is his journey to the WWF, as he signed a developmental deal and began training for the next 10 months with the likes of Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle. He then explains how he moved on to Memphis and feuding with Jerry Lawler and how it became frustrating that he wasn’t getting his shot to debut on TV. Until “Meat” came along, which when you watch the documentary can tell that he hated the name, but tells an interesting story on how he believed that the delays in his actual debut was a sign as he ended up debuting on his late Father’s birthday.
We then get coverage of his firing from the WWF in 1999 due to the “Tape Recorder Incident”, One thing I disliked about this Documentary is that a lot of times Shawn glosses over things almost assuming everything is known, this was only one case amongst many, a text screen had to explain things many times in the film, Basically for those who don’t recall, Stasiak was caught tape recording conversations of Steve Blackman and British Bulldogg during a tour here in Montreal in 1999, it got him fired, and to this day Stasiak seems somewhat bitter about the incident, but refused to name names in the film as to who it was, especially because one has passed on and the other isn’t wrestling all that much anymore, although Stasiak challenges him to a UFC fight and then apologizes about being bitter. It seems like he still has a hard time letting that go, and with just cause as it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to begin with.
From there his WCW career is covered, the rough times he endured trying to get in there, training at the powerplant and eventually running with WCW until the buyout by the WWE. He offers thoughts on his biggest moments in the company and the final Nitro broadcast, as well as being bought out by the WWE to return “home” as he put it.
Although his return home didn’t work out too well as we hear about how he was informed of his release via a 1am phone call, Shawn does take time to explain how the “Planet Stasiak” gimmick could of worked and made him a big star, which I appreciated cause I never really got the gimmick. Contemplated if his release was political based and whether moving to the SD brand would of helped, but reveals that the night he got his release he made the decision that he was going to persue a career in chiropracting.
Shawn then offers advice on making a career change, shows where and how he got his degree and treats a patient for us all to see, An interesting part here is when Stasiak shows his own X-rays and points out the damage wrestling will do to your neck and spine, which nowadays is a hot topic.
You then get to see Shawn back in the wrestling ring as he participates at a Indy show for PCW in Dallas Texas, This is a very cool part as you get to see a ton of the backstage stuff and his full match that night with Mace Malone. Shawn also explains why he keeps coming back to wrestling and the things he would like to achieve and proposed a very interesting storyline idea for him with Shane McMahon, and also explains why he would like to be challenged in the UFC and how much respect he has for the MMA world.
This brings you up to the 2:11 mark, which is where the DVD switches gears, first you get a full workout session with Stasiak, I must admit he’s pretty hardcore when it comes to the workout, this is interesting only if your into bodybuilding otherwise you may find yourself skipping through the 20 minute workout.
At 2:34, Stasiak pays visit to Rob Van Damn where they have a half hour long conversation on Channeling Positive Energy, and making changes in your life to allow you to live life to the fullest, there is some interesting content here that may even help yourself change your look out on something in your life.
Despite some of it’s vagueness, I really enjoyed Shawn Stasiak: Determined, It has the right balance of wrestling information to bodybuilding and motivational speaking information, and I’d recommend it to those wrestling fans who enjoy the shoot type of documentaries, And when I say Vagueness, don’t get me wrong there is still a lot to learn about Stasiak and his life in pro wrestling on this DVD, much of which you may have never known before depending on intensely you followed his career.
Shawn Stasiak : Determined is available via Howard Feintuch’s WWW.MUSCULARGALORE.COM web store, which also has Wrestling action figures and is promising a Marty Janetty documentary sometime this winter which I certainly will be keeping my eye out for.
Previous Reviews Can Be Seen at www.maineventradio.com/reviews Or Directly for
TNA Year One: http://www.maineventradio.com/SteveColumns/Reviews/TNA-YearOne.htm
Cougar Club Featuring Joanie Laurer: http://www.maineventradio.com/SteveColumns/Reviews/cougar.htm
Headlocked: A Pro Wrestling Comic : http://www.maineventradio.com/SteveColumns/Reviews/headlock.htm
Instant Classic: The Best of Christian Cage DVD: http://www.maineventradio.com/SteveColumns/Reviews/christian.htm
Monday, November 26, 2007
By Steve Rockamaniac of MainEventRadio.com