YouShoot: Perry Saturn
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
Kayfabe Commentaries has had a long list of interview subjects and an equally long list of entertaining DVDs. While most are enjoyable, there are standout examples and interviews with talents that are informative, compelling, honest and/or vastly interesting.
Now’s not the time for lists, but the comparison between the Perry Saturn YouShoot and anyone else is almost impossible: while most YouShoots have been all about wrestling, and secondarily about the person being interviewed, this was one where the person was much more interesting than the discussions of other related subjects.
Perry Saturn completely disappeared a few years back, after his in-ring career ended.
That was cause for concern considered the gross numbers of his peers that passed away, often due to drug addictions yet more often due to the dangerous combinations of drugs, chemicals and an unnatural level of addiction to the sport of professional wrestling.
Perhaps disappearing from the wrestling scene was the piece of the puzzle that saved him from himself?
From the outset, the interview and discussions of his life reveal a personality that has been through it all, done it all and came back from the hell of a drug addiction that few have survived. But Perry Saturn is one amazing person, exuding a humility and a matter-of-fact attitude rarely seen in the business.
Other subjects show honesty, an entertainment value or incredible insights into professional wrestling, and for those reasons, create compelling DVDs for Kayfabe Commentaries.
But here, the person being interviewed is the compelling subject, to the point where Saturn himself overwhelms the often childish games, the adult natured banter and the unrestricted subject matter. Even when confronted by too many repeated questions or the boorish and silly video questions, Saturn doesn’t just brush them off, he rises above it all.
There’s something about hearing how much Saturn partied and how deeply he delved into the underworld of homelessness that seems so amazing. Not in the bad way or the incredulous way, but in the way in which he survived and can sit there and admit his mistakes and own up to his failures and talk openly about what he went through.
Sure, it could have gone deeper, but this is a pro wrestling shoot video, not a clinic on drug addiction. But I’m sure Saturn could do that with equal results.
Physically, he looks great …. A little thicker, a little weary around the edges, and of course you can’t help but wonder about that Mike Tyson style facial tattoo, as well as wondering about what that tattoo on the top of his head is all about (looks like two black racing stripes, like the Denver Bronco helmet top), or how drugged out he had to be to have forgotten why he got all that ink done.
His arms alone are scribed with tribal tats of a width and depth I can’t say I’ve seen.
But what is more striking is that there is no apparent darkness in this man’s soul. It’s interesting to listen to him talking for more than an hour, then hearing him discuss a list of tough guys, and explain how Meng could take out several guys in a heartbeat, and say he’s one of the nicest guys around.
Ironically, Perry Saturn seems also to be one of the nicest guys around.
Presented with various opportunities to take shots at acquaintances or fellow talent or bosses, and he mostly defers comment. Of a long list presented on strips of paper to place in the infamous bag, he’s dodging a whole slew of people that most would drop in a heartbeat.
The only exceptions are Kevin Sullivan and Mike Graham.
Those two were of certain levels of power in WCW at the time Saturn would leave with the Radicalz, and Saturn provides the details and depths of the lies of Sullivan and the annoyances he begrudges Graham. Not so ironically, Kayfabe Commentaries peddles those two YouShoots as well, but I’m not sensing anything other than coincidence on that.
Saturn rises to the level of annoyance with those two, obviously more than a little angry, but it’s hard to connect the demeanor of the guy on the screen (and I’m not talking Sean Oliver) with his later comments that he’d be a criminal or in jail if he hadn’t become a pro wrestler.
Luckily for society, he wanted to be a pro wrestler when he was young.
Words on a computer screen can’t do justice to the 100 minutes of Perry Saturn’s answering questions, telling tales and reflecting upon his life and travails – especially of the last decade, but here’s some commentary on some of the various chapters:
Saturn tells the story of his drug addiction and how he got so deep into drugs (he talks of the impact of Meth on the brain) that he missed out on several deaths of those he knew, including his trainer – Killer Kowalski, fellow Eliminator – John Kronus and peers like Benoit and Kanyon.
This story alone is magnetic.
The type of Internet rumors and cynicism about the real stories surrounding various names are more embarrassing than even the worst YouShoot inset video, but realizing how many people questioned Saturn’s intervention in a horrific situation – a rape, seems completely crazy.
Saturn explains how he interrupted the crime but was shot by one of the perpetrators, and had part of his collarbone removed and has had steel plates and plastic surgery in his neck.
This guy partied, lived a depraved life, and yet he stood up when he could have just ignored something like that, and paid a potentially deadly price for his good deed?
It’s the standard set of questions, with internet types asking in various strange costumes and voices about the most base of subjects. I get a little annoyed that no one cares so much about the craft of the sport as much as the sex, drugs and shoot stories, but that’s the nature of the beast.
Saturn’s avoidance of slamming his peers doesn’t mean that he isn’t dishing out dirt.
Kronus was an odd fellow, by his reputation. Saturn backs that up and provides some insight into the character of a guy who got mixed up in drugs before he did, and succumbed to those demons. Saturn talks of the illiteracy and the road stories and the way they got along for the longest time, until John went down that too inescapable path of wrestlers fated to die young.
It’s scary how the names involved in that story are diminished these days. Saturn provides his take on WCW, Bischoff, Sullivan and the jump to the WWE. He talks Shane Douglas and Konnan, and about all the lies and stirring up of trouble that Sullivan inflicted on his own name.
That aspect of Saturn’s career may be long forgotten, but he talks about the prop that some feel was payback for the Bell incident (where he took out frustrations on a fellow worker) and provides Too Much Information for a general audience (even though he says Vince implored him to share one particular story backstage.)
At the time of this DVD taping, the whole Teri Runnels/New Jack situation was curious but not scandalous. Now, that’s a completely different subject. Interesting backstory to that on-air relationship, which Saturn says never went beyond the on-air and some working of the crew type of things.
In the end, this was a DVD that you don’t want to end. Perry Saturn comes across as more real, more human, more interesting than almost all other Kayfabe Commentaries subjects. His stories are amusing, dirty, interesting and his perspective on his career is humble.
What he survived so many of his peers could not. It seems as though he is a better man for it, but he lost years, his wife and nearly his life (in several ways) to the dangers of drugs.
That alone is a compelling reason to watch and learn.