Ring Roasts 1: The Iron Sheik

Online World of Wrestling DVD Review
RING ROASTS 1 (2-Disc Set)
A Comedic Tribute to The Iron Sheik
Available at www.KayfabeCommentaries.com
Reviewed By: Brad Dykens

Upon watching the latest DVD release from Kayfabe Commentaries, I had to ask myself the following question; why did it take the world of professional wrestling so long to embrace the roast concept. It seems like a perfect fit for all the unorthodox characters that wrestling has to offer.

The comedic ROAST goes way back the golden era of Hollywood, where celebrities would gather for black-tie banquets to both praise and embarrass the heck out of a colleague. For some people it would be a nightmare come true, but in the best case scenario, it is truly an honor to be roasted.

Recent roasts featured on Comedy Central (correct me if I’m wrong) featured Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, Flava Flav, and Jeff Foxworthy. Anybody who has seen these TV programs knows just how brutally offensive the content can get; so if you don’t have thick skin, don’t stand too close to the barbeque.

Ring Roasts 1, A Comedic Tribute to The Iron Sheik, was just awesome. With a tag line “Someone’s Getting Humbled,” you just can’t go wrong. To his credit, the Sheik sat there next to the podium all night long and took it like a man. It was open season on the Iron Sheik’s personal and professional career and the hits just kept on coming.

The guest line-up was actually quite impressive, considering how many legends agreed to participate in this event. Bill Apter, King Kong Bundy, Don Muraco, Nikolai Volkoff, Adnan El-Kassie, and the legendary Mr. Bob Backlund were just a few of the Sheik’s friends who were asked to take part. B. Brian Blair, who the Sheik has publicly berated for years, joined in the festivities as well. There were numerous well-known wrestlers sitting in the audience, although some did not appear on camera. One unadvertised wrestler caused a major uproar when he made himself apart of the show, but I’ll have more on that later. There was a small cast of legitimate, or should I say unknown, comedians who also spoke – providing some of the biggest laughs of the night.

The second disc of this 2-disc set featured a couple important extras. They showed some backstage footage of some of the stuff that happened before and after the event. Next they showed all of the footage from Scott Hall’s controversial interruption which put an abrupt halt to the program. This was edited out of the main show on disc one. It seems one of the unknown comedians thought he could get over in a room full of wrestlers by making a joke about the late Owen Hart and the tragic event that took his life. God bless Scott Hall, he was the only one who stood up and tried to make this filthy son of a bitch eat his words. As inappropriate as the joke might have been, Hall’s reaction was also out of line, and he nearly spent the night in jail because of it. Scott Hall had clearly fallen off the wagon on this night. The third special bonus was a look at the final moments of the roast, which featured a confrontation between the Iron Sheik and Brian Blair. I don’t feel the need to spoil things for you, but let’s just say it’s pretty intense. Personally I have no idea, but I’ll let you decide for yourself whether of not it was scripted or unscripted. It was that well done.

The whole DVD was well done and would make a great gift for any wrestling fan on your list. It’s definitely the best DVD produced by Kayfabecommentaries.com – and that’s certainly saying something! Here’s hoping there are more roasts in the future. That, however, begs the question; who else is man enough to be roasted in public by their peers? Off the top of my head, I would suggest maybe Tommy Rich? Paul Heyman? Captain Lou Albano? Ahhhhh, Ric Flair! Maybe not Flair. What do you think? We shall see.

Kayfabe Commentaries.com presents
Ring Roasts I (2-Disc Set)
A Comedic Tribute To The Iron Sheik
Produced By: Kayfabe Commentaries
Written By: www.alanwojcik.com

The concept of the roast goes back decades to the Hollywood stars like Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Buddy Hackett & Don Rickles where they would gather for a dinner and throw comedic insults at their honoree. Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Club does one for their Man of the Year usually dressing them in drag (once given to “Macho Man” Randy Savage.) Well the people who run Kayfabe Commentaries decided to add the roast to professional wrestling. They chose former WWF World Heavyweight & Tag Team champion The Iron Sheik (AKA Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) as their initial honoree on October 10, 2008. With so much controversy surrounding what happened that evening (and I will get to that in a moment) www.kayfabecommentaries.com released it as Ring Roast I. The event was emceed by wrestling journalist legend Bill Apter. Here is the list of people that took the stage to roast the Sheik: wrestlers King Kong Bundy, King Kaluha, Tom Brandi, Don Muraco, Nikolai Volkoff, Brian Blair, Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissy, Bob Backlund plus comics Don Jamieson, Jimmy Graham, Mike Maher (also a wrestling manager,) Mike Morse and lastly the Sheik’s advisor Eric Simms.

I will not roast the Iron Sheik, believe me everyone on this DVD does a good job of it. I have never been a fan of the Sheik as a wrestler and as a person. My dislike for him dates back to a 1987 arrest on the side of the Garden State Parkway when he broke kayfabe in a huge way, being busted for drugs with his good guy counterpart “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. As someone who has covered wrestling for years I know the kayfabe word doesn’t mean much anymore; but in the era the Sheik worked in, kayfabe was gospel. Since I am not an Iron Sheik follower I have no idea why the Sheik dislikes former Killer Bee & Hillsborough County (FL) Commissioner Blair. Someone told me it stems from the Sheik’s time on the Howard Stern show which is only on satellite radio. Seems he is a bitter person and is taking it out on his former WWF colleagues. I am sure the loss of a child in a violent way scars you forever. Now that I have talked about the Sheik, let’s address the star jerk on this DVD, comedian Jimmy Graham. During his roasting time he takes pot shots at the late Adrian Adonis and Owen Hart. The latter got him a near beatdown from the very intoxicated Scott Hall who charges from the audience. While Hall was in the wrong for his actions I don’t think making fun of a wrestler who fell to his death is good comedy. While I understand it’s a roast there has to be a decency line in the proverbial sand you don’t cross. Graham does it though thankfully producer Sean Oliver deletes it from the main feature.

The second disc holds some pre-roast footage, the entire Scott Hall saga and the aftermath of the Blair-Sheik confrontation. Both incidents show Sean Oliver has a career waiting in contract negotaions and mediation. The DVD is a good item for someone who got a gift card and can’t think of something to buy. Log onto www.kayfabecommentaries.com for this and other DVD’s. plus you can check out an on-demand item with former WWE office member Rene Goulet.

Monday Night Mayhem DVD Review
Ring Roasts I (2-Disc Set)
A Comedic Tribute To The Iron Sheik
Produced By: Kayfabe Commentaries
Written By: “Wild” Bill Brown


Content: 9.0

Comedian & “Ring Roaster,” Don Jamison” said it best at the end of this DVD when he stated “This was not a normal comedy show.” Indeed it was not. Witness a wild & unbelievable evening captured on DVD from Kayfabe Commentaries in the form of the first ever held “Ring Roast,” where the guest of honor was a man that has been roasting the wrestling world the last few years with his unbelievable behavior, none other than wrestling WWE Hall Of Famer, The Iron Sheik. The Sheik is put up on stage to be bombarded by a huge cast of roasters ranging from old friends in the business to professional comedians to even his very own personal foe in Brian Blair. Each roaster has a speech: ranging from humorous to praising, to down right insulting, but this is a roast, and you need to be aware of the nature of this beast. The roast is shown in its entirety, with the exception of the well- heard of scenes involving a drunken Scott Hall being an insulting & obnoxious attention-getter. This is a two-disc set, and the second disc goes back & shows you the pre-show, the Scott Hall incident, as well as a good look at the altercation at the end of Ring Roast I — where The Iron Sheik slaps the face of electoral-nominate Brian Blair, after a plea from the “Bee” to bury any grudge between the two. Ring Roasts I is an out-of-control, yet wildly entertaining setting with many wrestling personalities present to be a part of something totally unique, and the first guest of honor in The Iron Sheik is one of the most-fitting personas to kick off the new DVD series with.

Video: 8.0

Shot with three cameras, in a weird style though, as only two main stage ones in the first disc showing just the entire roast were utilized. On the second bonus disc, the stage-side walking cameraman was then used to show all backstage stuff, Scott Hall in action, a close-up of the slap by The Iron Sheik, and all of the conversation with an upset Blair & a stunned Sean Oliver who promised security to the independent candidate for election in Florida at the time. So you have only two cameras set up 30 feet from the stage to shoot for the first disc, and it hurt the production, as there were times I felt you needed a closer feel to the event. During the introductions, the hand held camera shot them & got everyone as they walked in the room to their seats, but on the DVD you just see the hard camera pan them through a bunch of audience heads from the door to the stage, taking the feel away. It seemed like a waste not using the close shots, but the two hard cams still did a great job following the event throughout.

Audio: 9.0

Everything is heard & understood clearly in the first disc, which is important as everything that came out in this event should be easy to follow. When you go to the second disc, the hand held camera through all the crazy scenes, and loud fans becomes extremely hard to understand. Scott Hall shown up close during the acts is not expected to be heard, as he should have just never been in the room in the first place acting like an ass-clown, but the major “up’s” to this is that Kayfabe Commentaries knows the viewer is not going to understand everything & therefore puts in captioning for every line that is said which can be no better satisfying to the viewer. The camera also follows Brian Blair around after the slap by The Iron Sheik and captions all of the dialogue by Blair & those around him from the event through the hallways & up to the elevator. The second disc, although hard to hear audibly, is still great due to Kayfabe Commentaries making it as easy as they can for the viewer to understand the emotion & words.


Special Features: 9.5

This is the second disc which really came out great. The drama is magnified with three chapters, the pre-show meet & greet, Scott Hall incident, & the infamous Brian Blair slap. Interview inserts were show in the corner from The Iron Sheik & Scott Hall after the incident, while footage was shown on screen from the event. Early footage of The Iron Sheik seeing Blair in the hallways is also shown, as they keep “Sheiky Baby” separated from his enemy.

B. Brian Blair getting slapped is shown up close, and the cameraman follows the action through continuously with the commentary & a very irate Blair & Sean Oliver right through their exit out, as Sean continued to tell Blair that he can’t control what The Iron Sheik does. The DVD viewer in this second disc gets the feeling that they are almost actually in the building live, due to the structure & narration of the three chapters shown. This bedlam that transpired & the way it was shown to us made the special features disc awesome to witness.


What’s On Both DVD’s?

Sean Oliver introduces a panel consisting of the ring roasters & then the guest of honor, The Iron Sheik. Bill Apter stumbles in as a waiter soon after, and becomes the host of the evening from there.

Comedian Mike Morse is the first roaster, and as he mentioned later in conversation with me, he sure was glad he was first & not later on. Morse had some great lines as a true comedian in his field, but the crowd was tough to get with it. Myself, being there live, right away I noticed the secondary feel this time watching on video. Fans, I encourage you to go to any event live as we all know how much better things are that way. In the way of comedy, I was laughing wildly in person, but it is not the same without your peers, and some beers sitting in front of my TV this time around. Morse came off well for this type of situation, and did his research to give jokes that the audience could grasp & did not look foolish out there. A job well-done.

King Kong Bundy had some really funny lines & was the best of the pro-wrestlers to roast The Iron Sheik. He mainly roasted the panel & Bill Apter though & very little to the man of honor. “Sheiky” is all smiles & very calm…listening & laughing along.

Don Muraco was up third. He puts over how The Iron Sheik was the man, and how happy he is to be there & see all of his friends. You would never know you were watching a roast if you just walked in while Muraco was on stage, because all he did was put everyone over on the panel & talk of all the good times they had together.

Ryan Mahr was up next. Ryan spent some of his time previously as a manager & is very familiar himself with the wrestling business, which helped him out well. He had stuff for everyone & did the best job so far as a real roaster should at an event like this.

King Kuluha & Tom Brandi were up next. If you are asking why they were called to participate in this event, then all I can tell you is that I am still searching for an answer. They had a few stories, but anyone in the business could have stories about this crazy Hall Of Fame legend. And the stories are about all the trouble The Iron Sheik got himself into in the past, and although kind of funny, it just seemed like time was being wasted at this point. Brandi even brings up the offensive “n” word from a Sheik story, which irritated all the people in the room that he can even use this word. Yes bad, and understandably so, but I just watched comedy centrals Flava Flav roast on the secret stash the other night unedited on cable, and I heard that word about 2000 times in an hour & a half. Certainly unacceptable, but at any type of roast these things are unlimitedly a part of the show. This is where the fans were getting tiresome & wanted to be more vocal, and the roast was starting to fall apart. Thank you Brandi & Kulaha!

To follow up that act, none other than Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissy was next, and just told a story of The iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter, & himself in a car: “Sheiky” has his gimmick, and Slaughter freaked out with a cop next to them on the highway. I liked the story, but the crowd did not, and Scott Hall was now by this point in the building making a scene (which is edited entirely from disc one, although you could hear in the background all kinds of crowd interaction).

Bring up Bob Backlund next. Twenty-five years in the making lasts less than three minutes of speech, as Backlund praises The Iron Sheik’s accomplishments, wishes him the best to overcome current personal issues, yelled at a heckler in the crowd stopping & ending his speech (which was going nowhere), & popping the audience finally.

“Roundboy” Jimmy Graham was next, and you could see that nobody cared as soon as he got up there. The fans were by this point burned out & not into the jokes anymore, and Jimmy was just giving his lines. He made jokes about whether Saddam Hussein who was Al-Kaissy’s old classmate back in the day was still hanging around, in addition to other very colorful lines coming out of his mouth, but then the Owen Hart joke is what got Scott Hall out to the stage to jack up the comedian. This moment is edited off of disc one, but shown on disc two (on the special features). On disc one, you will hear Jimmy Graham’s jokes, and then listen immediately to a jump cut of the Russian National Anthem (by Nikolai Volkoff) to cover up the Scott Hall incident. Volkoff has a Sheik story, and then it shifted to The Iron Sheik’s manager, Eric Simms.

Simms has so much “heel heat” it’s not funny. Nobody wants him to take the podium, and then his jokes were pretty bad, as he just read from his notes. The one-liners were terrible. The crowd was brutal & bored with him. The event had been over an hour & a half live now, and the roasters were not going to save this thing any longer.

Bring out Don Jamieson. Jamieson is a really funny guy. but was too late by now to win this audience. He made a Fabulous Moolah joke, which later he admitted to not knowing she passed, and asked if anyone was going to beat him up for that one. This is where you realize that all the comedians came here on a job call to be harsh roasters, as this event was planned out, but all the wrestlers were here to pay tribute to a legendary friend that they have not seen in a while. The sense of humor between the comedians, the wrestlers, & their fans were as far apart as you can imagine as everyone, but the comedians were sensitive on any topic that was controversial.

And so last, but not least, is B. Brian Blair. He seemed thrilled to see old friends & thanked everyone. He watched everything he was saying, as he wanted The Iron Sheik to bury the hatchet, but he also at the end tried to add some light comedy to a few Sheik stories…and the look on The Iron Sheik’s face was that of disgust. Sheik had a personal grudge & a look of unforgiveness the whole time, and no-sold any words from the former Killer Bee.

The Iron Sheik then gets up to receive his Ring Roast plaque, and we are then given the face-to-face encounter with Blair asking for a hand shake, and Sheik buzzing the “Bee” with a slap to the face & walking off the stage. The audience loved the ending, and it left The Iron Sheik as a man of his word — continuing his personal rivalry that nobody understands. All in all, “Ring Roasts” is great to watch & is totally unique.

The second disc was pretty much explained earlier, as it had the pre-show meet & greet (with comments from many), the Scott Hall incident (including footage of the cops entering the hotel), as well as full coverage of the Brian Blair incident & aftermath. The words are captioned, and you as the viewer, get the feel that you are there right in the fray.


The Verdict:

Unique & unordinary, if you like wrestling & comedy and have a very open mind to accept foul & insulting language, then “Ring Roasts” is an absolute must. See a different side & fascinating presentation of a great event.


Overall Recommendation:

Buy this. Even if you do not like it when it is done, you will still want to show someone else what the hell you just saw. You will always think about going back & re-visiting this DVD production once again to remind yourself of this crazy event, because there will not be anything as similar than this in the future.


Final Thoughts:

Sean Oliver & his crew have come up with some interesting new concepts to present to their audience in many of their DVD productions. “My Side Of The Story,” “You Shoot,” “Guest Booker,” “The Great Debate,” & many other of the newest concepts have been introduced by Kayfabe Commentaries in the last few years. Kayfabe Commentaries continues to push their own innovations for the real wrestling fans, and they should be commended for plenty of their fine work that they have done.

Overall Rating: 9.0


DVD Reviewed By “Wild” Bill Brown. Visit the official website & MySpace pages of The Mayhem’s official DVD reviewer at www.BBrownVideo.com & www.MySpace.com/BBrownVideo.