December 16, 2008
Fight Network's Unstable is unsatisfying
By "Bloodthirsty" BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
You know how sometimes you see a movie that is so frenetic with rapid-fire action scenes that by the end of the movie you're shell-shocked and dizzy? And afterwards, you have no idea if there was any actual plot to the movie, and if so, if it was any good? Unstable, a new show airing exclusively on The Fight Network, is kind of like that.
The show, produced by Aaron Weiss, the brains also behind Pro Wrestling Superstars: Past, Present and Future, is billed as the most hardcore wrestling clip show ever created. Each episode (six have been produced to date) is a countdown of 30 moments, with a definite focus on extreme violence. On paper, that would seem like a hardcore fanís dream. So why is Unstable unsatisfying?
Itís not for lack of star power. Indeed, the clips in Weissí extensive wrestling video library feature a whoís who of the sport. In the 30-minute review copy that was provided to SLAM! Wrestling (the second episode that aired), names featured included hardcore legends like Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, the Sandman, Abdullah the Butcher, and even Bruiser Brody. Other big names whose clips are included range from tragic fallen heroes like Eddy Guerrero, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Chris Candido, to todayís brightest stars such as Frankie Kazarian, Kevin Steen, Low-Ki, and Homicide.
Nor is it due to the quality of the moments themselves. Sure there are some duds in there -- Iím not sure that Billy Gunn getting a lapdance from his opponent counts as a truly extreme moment, nor would I consider anything Test does to be particularly thrilling. But there are a lot of great clips in there too. Steve Corino carving up his opponentís valet, screaming like a man possessed. Indy wrestlers carving each other up with a sharpened hockey stick blade. Kevin Steen delivering a sick package piledriver on a helpless Generico. Guys catching on fire, or flipping out of the ring to land on their opponentís head, or smashing their opponent onto a guardrail. I mean, itís all great stuff!
The problem, I think, is in the format of the show itself. The blurrying pace of the clips doesnít allow any time to breathe and savour the moment that just unfolded on-screen . Itís like that scene in the one Simpsons episode where Homer gets sent to hell and his punishment is to eat every donut in the world. They flow on a conveyor belt and fall directly into his mouth. The torture isnít having to eat so many donuts, but rather in having to swallow them down so quickly that he canít even taste their sweet, donutty goodness. Unstable is like that conveyor belt, delivering violent moment after violent moment, but not the accompanying emotion and drama that makes a wresting match truly delicious.
Bottom line: while the show might be great in small doses -- for example, flipping over to it during the commercials when youíre watching something on another channel -- Unstable is hardly what I would consider "appointment" television. While it might become a guilty pleasure for current Fight Network subscribers, I wouldnít suggest that non-subscribers are really missing out on anything major. It's a novelty, but as it often happens, the novelty wears out pretty quickly.
"Bloodthirsty" Bob Kapur prefers bagels over donuts. What about you? Share your holed-food views at firstname.lastname@example.org.