In 2010 its rare to have a independent company put out a documentary on a legendary wrestler featuring high quality footage from years past, but that’s exactly what Independent New Service, a seemingly new company on the scene has attempted to do with their first wrestling themed released entitled “ The Sheik : Wrestling’s Greatest Villian” now available on DVD.
Ed Farhat, better known as The Sheik, and famed uncle of ECW legend Sabu was a hardcore before hardcore was cool, he lived kayfabe to the fullest and protected the business at all costs, in fact he blew much of his earnings from wrestling by living his character 24/7/365, and this new 2 disc DVD set attempts to give you a taste of what the sheik was all about. Hosted by Robert Vito, the first disc features a 1 hour documentary, that for many dedicated wrestling fans may seem somewhat incomplete in comparison to the documentaries on wrestling stars that we have gotten used to nowadays, however it serves a somewhat of an homage to what the sheik stood for.
Instead of taking the time to seek out and interview wrestling experts and wrestling supertars, Executive Producer Mark Nowotarski keeps it simple interviewing some Detroit area fans, and former Sheik manager Dave Drason. Something tells me The Sheik would of liked it that way, as his personal life and backstage reputations are not touched on, and his greatest feuds only grazed over, in fact even his time in Japan is not touched on in depth, and although it could be easy to rip on a release like this, when you think about it, The Sheik would not of wanted it any other way. The documentary portion reminds me of those later 80’s early 90’s WWF superstar tapes that keep it kayfabe while only giving you a glimpse inside the off camera life.
With that being said, this 2 disc set still contains some rare gems that make it an interesting buy for old school wrestling fans. This includes complete matchups from the Detroit area in the 80s and 90s with new commentary from the likes of Sheiks manager Dave Drason, executive producer Mark Nowotarski, and others. Opponents of The Sheik in these matchups include Malcolm Monroe, Bobo Brazil, and Luis Martinez. You also get a glimpse of the younger Sabu who used to accompany his uncle to the ring, and even some FMW footage from when The Sheik was in a barbed wire flaming ring match with Onita which resulted in severe injury. To say the least, very few independent releases in this day and age can feature real footage from this time period as WWE has bought up so many libraries over the years, so this is one of the brightspots of the release.
The vast array of Bonus Features on this release continue with a 20 minute interview with Dranson talking about his time in the wrestling world, A featurette on some famous pro wrestling ads from the Detroit area during the time period where The Sheik was king, as well as a featurette on a scrapbook that was maintained by George Crybaby Cannon.
Longtime fans of The Sheik will undoubtedly appreciate this release even with the 30$ US price tag as it pays homage to a wrestling legend in a way that legend would of wanted it. Meanwhile casual fans who are used to today’s documentary may not find this release as worthy, but considering the rarity of the footage included, it does make this release a positive addition to your wrestling collection.
The Sheik – Wrestling’s Greatest Villian is now available on DVD from Independent News Service, For more information or to order your own copy check out their website atand read all of my previous dvd reviews at http://wrestlingdvdreview.