The SmarK DVD Rant for THE ATTITUDE ERA
Gotta have all caps for this one.
First up, a quickie documentary about the creation of the Attitude Era following WWE’s lowest point after the steroid trials. As befitting the subject matter, it’s only an hour and edited to a very brisk pace to say the least. Usual discussion of the Monday Night Wars and how WCW was beating them with their “limitless budget”, leading to the makeover of RAW in 1997. Ironic note: They talk about how you can’t keep things looking the same forever, even though they’ve now had the same basic setup for something like 10 years now with no attempts to freshen it up. The talking heads start blowing through the highlights (The Oddities?) and then move onto D-X. Yeah, we’ve had like 9 DVDs on them already. And then all of sudden here’s VINCE RUSSO commenting on a WWE DVD! Man, he’s the new Steve Lombardi, I guess. And then talking about all the “great” storylines, we move onto the HHH-Stephanie nonsense and Steve Austin getting run over. Oh, and the Brawl For All, which JBL both takes credit and blames Vince Russo for. Onto ladder matches and the creation of the divas, then the raunch factor with Val Venis and the Godfather. Mick Foley thinks that perhaps stuff like Mark Henry and the transvestite might have pushed the envelope too far. Mark thinks that maybe he’s role model of sorts. We keep bouncing back and forth with the PTC controversy and the creation of Sunday Night Heat and then Smackdown. Then discussion of ratings records and This Is Your Life (“I felt like Roger Maris, because when you can you beat Stooges v. Posse…”). And then they go public, buy WCW and ECW, and win the war. So this whole thing was nothing, with no real insights and just a recapping of everything we already know from the other Monday Night Wars documentaries and stuff. But no blurring or bleeping! Hooray!
But now the good stuff, the extras!
Jim Ross interviews Goldust and Marlena from November 1997, following Pillman’s death. This was the start of Goldust’s turn to bizarre performance artist. You’d think Dakota Runnels would be pursuing a career in the business soon, actually.
From December 97, Steve Austin throws the Rock’s IC belt off a bridge.
Val Venis: Soldier of Love. His initial promo video!
From November 98, Vince McMahon presents Mankind with the first Hardcore title. Vince’s reaction to “Thanks…DAD” still kills me.
From July 99 on Sunday Night Heat, Jim Ross interviews HHH in the segment that completely altered HHH’s character from goofy DX leader into The Game. And he’s the best IN THIS BUSINESS. And he’s gonna get what he wants IN THIS BUSINESS.
From January 2000, the Outlaws hang out at the Friendly Tap bar and get into a huge brawl with the APA.
From February 2000, the Hollies are disgusted with Mark Henry’s romance with Mae Young, leading to a beating. So Mark goes to the APA for protection of his pregnant girlfriend, and she ends up fleecing them in the poker game and smoking cigars with them. Bradshaw’s reactions here are pretty funny. “You’re not supposed to inhale!” She gives them the money back in exchange for beating up the Hollies so that Henry can win his match.
From Judgment Day 2000, Kurt Angle teams up with Edge and Christian to present their most epic five-second pose: The Jug Band!
From Smackdown, July 2000: HHH trains Trish Stratus to wrestle but gets caught in a very compromising position. Obviously she paid attention.
From RAW, October 2000: Edge’s most awesome birthday ever! “Dude, you were like totally born today!” Stephanie is a buzzkill because she’s sick, but E&C are ROCKING THE KAZOOS anyway. “You think you know me, you think you know me!” Oh man I miss these guys. Having the whole saga on here is awesomeness.
From RAW, December 2000: Rock has words for his Hell in a Cell opponents, as he does impressions of everyone else. Rock’s grunting HHH impression set the standard for all that would follow and marked the first time that anyone else was allowed to point out his verbal tics.
And finally, a compilation of GTV highlights.
And now the GOOD STUFF!
From RAW, March 1998: Mike Tyson joins D-X. Sadly our first noticeable edit sees Tyson’s entrance music getting dubbed over. So yeah, Vince McMahon brings out Tyson as the special enforcer for the Austin-Michaels title match, and after threatening a fight with Shawn it’s revealed to be a SWERVE, as Tyson is D-X. Kind of funny how such a fundamentally insubstantial storyline ended up drawing such huge money. Tyson looked like a little kid on Christmas morning here, playing the heel.
From RAW, March 30 1998: The business changes forever, again, as HHH fires Shawn Michaels from D-X in the wake of Wrestlemania, and introduces his replacement in the form of X-Pac. Waltman’s clearly drunk off his ass as he cuts a promo on Hogan and Bischoff like he’s some guy in bar, claiming that Hall and Nash are being “held hostage” by WCW. Nash had one hell of a case of Stockholm Syndrome when he got the book, then.
From RAW, April 1998: Sable calls out Marc Mero and ends up hitting him in the nuts and delivering the Sablebomb. This was a pretty notable show in Canada as mentioned on commentary here, because it was the first time that RAW was actually live on TSN up here instead of tape-delayed by hours.
From RAW, July 1998: The Nation of DeGeneration! This marked the debut of Vince Russo’s favorite trope, “Guys dressed up like other guys”. It was also an important storyline marker because it basically created characters for the Nation where they didn’t have any before. Specifically it gave Godfather and D-Lo their defining traits. Jason Sensation as Owen Hart is pretty tremendous, especially “I tried to be a tough guy, but I couldn’t grow my damn beard in!”
From July 1998: BRAWL FOR ALL. Bart Gunn accidentally knocks out Steve Williams to derail his main event push. Whoops. As UFC later found out, you can’t book reality. Like how hard of a concept would it have been for them to just work this? By the third boring round the crowd is just brutally turning on the whole thing, and Doc going down by knockout had to be KILLING Jim Ross. Williams messed up his knee really badly here, too, and effectively ended any chance of a main event career again.
WWF tag titles: Steve Austin & Undertaker v. The New Age Outlaws v. The Rock & D-Lo Brown v. Kane & Mankind
From RAW, July 1998. I actually have a MATCH to recap here? All sorts of wackiness here, as the Nation brawls with D-X while Ken Shamrock kicks the shit out of Owen Hart before intros have even been completed, giving us D-Lo as Rock’s partner. Mankind quickly gets a neckbreaker on Austin for two. There is some crazy-ass star power on display here. D-Lo works over Austin, who is rocking the elbow pad due to his staph infection, but Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and FU Elbow. Billy Gunn comes in with a rocker dropper on D-Lo and press slam for two. Dogg elbow gets two. Mankind pounds on Dogg as Rock draws a “Rocky Sucks” chant just by STANDING ON THE APRON. So he comes in and really milks it by beating on Dogg. The Outlaws come back and Gunn hits a jackhammer on D-Lo for two, but Austin tags in and the champs kick the shit out of Gunn. The crowd just goes crazy for all of that and then just starts ragging on the Rock out of nowhere again. D-Lo drops a leg on Road Dogg for two and Rock gets a legsweep for two. D-Lo with the powerbomb for two, and Rock awkwardly has to reposition Dogg for the People’s Elbow, which the crowd goes BATSHIT for. People just HATED this guy. It’s just so wacky seeing the turnbuckles unblurred and hearing JR talk about the “WWF tag team titles”. Dogg continues playing face-in-peril, getting beat down by Kane & Mankind, before Undertaker gets tagged in and all hell breaks loose. Taker runs wild on everyone, but Kane casually chokeslams Undertaker and pins him to win the titles at 14:44. THEY’RE IN CAHOOTS, KING! Undertaker seems largely unconcerned about this turn of events. They were going somewhere with it, you have to give them that. Really boring match for the most part, despite the hellacious star power. **1/2
Lion’s Den match: Owen Hart v. Ken Shamrock
From Summerslam 98, in the theatre adjacent to MSG. So yeah, this a weird, unique match held in a caged circle instead of a ring, full of cool goofy spots like Shamrock doing the Anthony Pettis springboard kick off the cage. Also, JR calling the most Italian stereotype in the history of Italians an “Irishman” because of his adopted name is hilarious. Owen kind of works it like a regular match, building to stuff like Shamrock backdropping out of a piledriver spot as we learn that Owen has been training submissions with DAN SEVERN. There’s lots of people I’d go to for submission training, and Severn is somewhere around #7654. Shamrock continues his cool cage springboards, showing he knows the environment, but Owen reverses one to a powerslam and uses the Sharpshooter. Shamrock walks up the cage to escape and uses the cage for a DDT. Shamrock throws some solid head kicks, but Owen runs him into the cage and gets a dragon sleeper. Shamrock walks the cage to escape and finishes with the anklelock at 9:00. This was actually a HELL of a match, full of innovative and fun spots and it made Shamrock look like a killer. ***1/2
WWF World title tournament finals: The Rock v. Mankind
The main event of Survivor Series 98, of course. Another beginning of a long and successful feud. They fight for the lockup to start and Rock slugs him out of that and chokes away in the corner. Rock with a clothesline out of the corner for two and Mankind bails, as they brawl up the aisle and back in for a chinlock from Mankind. Vince and Shane join us at ringside as Rock fights out of the chinlock with a backdrop suplex and they hit the floor again. Mick goes for a suplex out there, but Rock reverses and goes after Vince, which allows Mankind to attack. Rock fights him off and gets a weak suplex onto the floor, and they brawl into the crowd and back again. Back in, Rock hits the chinlock as they're having a rough time working out the match, according to Foley's book, but Mankind fights up and puts Rock down with a knee to the gut. Cactus clothesline sends them back to the floor again and Mankind adds a chairshot. He picks up the stairs to follow, but Rock hammers it with the chair and then hits Mick in the face with it. Back in, that gets two. Rock slugs away in the corner, but Mick goes low and chokes him out on the ropes. Back to the floor, and Mick drops the elbow off the apron and then puts Rock on the table for a legdrop. Back in, that gets two. And Mick goes back to the chinlock again, but Rock fights up and slugs away until a blind charge puts him on the floor. Back in, Rock comes back with the DDT and slugs away, but charges again and gets dumped. Mick dives at him with another elbow, but Rock moves and Mick goes through the poor, defenseless Spanish announce table. Back in, it's the People's Elbow, which gets two. Mankind gets the DDT and it's Mandible Sock time, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom. Double KO, but Rock rolls over for two. Rock debuts his crappy version of the Sharpshooter, and Vince rings the bell, rings the fucking bell at 17:14 to make Rock the Corporate champion. This one never really got going, but they'd have far better ones just a couple of months later. **1/2
The Rock & Undertaker v. Steve Austin & Mankind
From RAW, December 1998, to set up the Rock Bottom PPV. This is of course a giant brawl from the start, as they go all over ringside before finally settling down into Rock and Undertaker beating on Mankind. This is pretty lengthy and dull stuff until Rock hits the CORPORATE ELBOW, with Austin making disgusted motions on the apron, although it only gets two. Rock Bottom gets two. Finally Taker has had enough and just goes to brawl with Austin again, while the Corporation runs in for the DQ and beats Mankind down at 8:00. *1/2 Is it any wonder no one bought that PPV? It was the one with the Buried Alive match between Austin and Undertaker as well as Mankind giving himself the mandible claw to escape a submission loss, in case you’ve blocked it out. Speaking of blocking things out, Undertaker knocks out Austin and CRUCIFIES him, which I had totally forgotten. Er, sorry, SYMBOLIFIES him, because it’s not a cross. Oh, Vince Russo, you wacky hack Good thing Linda wasn’t running for Senate back then, or else she’d have lost by even more. Why did this need to be saved on DVD? Wasn’t this the kind of shit they were desperately trying to erase from YouTube recently?
From RAW, March 1999. The beer bath, of course. This has already been on a million other “Best of RAW” sets and really didn’t need to be here again.
WWF World title: The Undertaker v. Steve Austin
This is from RAW, June 1999, the week after the HIGHER POWER show and the match that marked the highest RAW rating in history up until that point. Taker had won the belt at Over the Edge, in case, like me, you have lost track of all the Austin-Undertaker matches around this time. Taker attacks to start, but Austin gets the Thesz Press and elbow for two. Austin works him over with shoulders in the corner, but Taker escapes the stunner. Big boot puts Austin down and Paul Bearer hits him with his shoe, allowing Taker to clothesline Austin to the floor. We get some slow brawling out there before Austin makes the comeback. Back in, Taker gets two as JR reveals that Austin is actually the smartest figurehead of all time, because he booked himself a title match as CEO with the deck stacked against Undertaker. Austin tries a slam, but Taker falls back on him for two. We get a lengthy chinlock that Austin escapes from, and the ropewalk for two. And back to the chinlock, as this is hardly PPV caliber stuff. Finally after another chinlock, Taker goes for the tombstone and Austin reverses to the stunner out of nowhere for two, with Bearer saving to wake up the crowd. Another go, and KICK WHAM STUNNER gives Austin the belt back at 12:00. Man, they were sleepwalking through that one. **
However, the disc saves the best for last.
From RAW, August 1999, as Rock comes out to cut a promo on Big Show, and it’s the COUNTDOWN TO THE MILLENNIUM. Yes, finally Jericho’s debut on WWE DVD without any blurring or bleeping or editing! This was of course the last big jump of the Wars. Jericho’s speech about how ratings are falling, buyrates are down and mainstream acceptance is zero comes off as kind of a shoot interview when applied to today’s product. The people have been led to believe that mediocrity is excellence!
Well that disc turned into kind of a slog once it switched from the awesome promos and angles and stuff and into the matches.
Intercontinental title: D-Lo Brown v. Jeff Jarrett
From Summerslam 99, as I’m wondering why Jeff Jarrett warranted inclusion. D-Lo with a powerslam for two and a powerbomb for two. D-Lo goes up and lands on Jarrett’s elbow, allowing Jarrett to dropkick D-Lo to the floor. There’s a weird problem with the mastering here, as the picture is noticeably dark here. Like, distractingly so. They fight in the crowd and back in, where Jarrett takes over with a flying armbar. D-Lo fights back with a powerbomb for two and a backdrop suplex, but the Lo Down splash misses. Debra gives Jarrett the guitar and Mark Henry runs in to stop it, then turns on D-Lo and nails him to give Jarrett the title at 7:31. Mark Henry ended up getting the European title as his reward. Dullish match. **1/2
WWF tag titles: The Rock & Sock Connection v. Undertaker & Big Show
From Smackdown, 9/9/99, and this is a Buried Alive match for some reason. And this disc is still really dark compared to the other ones. Honestly I feel like I’ve seen all the combinations of Rock/Undertaker/Mankind that I need to see. After the documentary heralding the varied storylines and characters, this has mostly focused on the big players and no one else. Anyway, they do some token stuff in the ring and brawl over to the gravesite, where Show goes into the ground but can’t get buried. Show tosses Mankind off the stage and into the grave, but Mankind is alive and drags Show down with him. Undertaker and Rock have seemingly vanished off the face of the earth while Show and Mankind roll around the dirt and fight over a sock. Mankind finally puts him out with the mandible sock and starts putting dirt on him. Meanwhile Rock and Undertaker randomly brawl backstage, which leads to a Kane-HHH fight. Like 15 minutes after poor Mick started digging dirt, Undertaker finally returns from Starbucks or whatever and saves Big Show. Mick ends up in the grave, but now HHH comes out and hits Show with the sledgehammer before burying Mankind himself at 10:22. And that gives Show & Undertaker the tag titles back. Clearly Vince Russo was spiralling out of control at this point. -** And then speaking of which, Steve Austin then comes out and beats up HHH, puts him in an ambulance, and then runs into the ambulance with a semi. Now there’s a metaphor for Vince Russo if there ever was one.
Jim Ross & Steve Austin v. HHH & Chyna
From RAW, October 99. Austin and HHH immediately brawl up the ramp, and back to ringside where Austin runs him into the stairs. More brawling outside while Chyna beats on JR in the ring. And yet Chyna was supposed to be a BABYFACE in the Jeff Jarrett feud going on at the same time! Austin and HHH fight all the way to the back and out the doors, leaving Chyna and JR to carry the actual match. We haven’t even had a bell so who knows if it’s even started. Chyna gives him the Pedigree, but now Jarrett runs in and hits Chyna with a toaster, then kidnaps her and loads her into a laundry hamper. Meanwhile, Austin and HHH randomly reappear again and brawl into the beer vendor, which is mainly stocked with Diet Coke. Austin just kind of beats him up on ice, and Austin’s music plays because he…won? I guess? Oh, and Jarrett gives Chyna’s laundry hamper a ride off the side of a ramp backstage. Oh man, he totally Zack’d her!
From RAW, November 99. Lillian Garcia introduces a 10-bell salute for Big Show’s recently deceased father, but Big Bossman interrupts so he can read his own sympathy card. The old bastard has croaked and he ain’t never coming back, indeed.
From RAW, November 99. Test tries to marry Stephanie, but has his nuptials thwarted by HHH, coming to you on tape from Vegas the night after his own beautiful drugged out wedding to the bride. This was like the Punk-Ryback of wedding angles, as they had delayed and delayed to find a new payoff to the wedding angle before finally settling on the HHH storyline and thus finally getting the Game over. And man, as soon as they got to the “if anyone objects…” part and HHH’s music hits, you knew something big was gonna happen. Especially since they played through the whole special dedication song and then revealed HHH’s sleazeball master plan. He’s just at his most slimy and wonderfully evil here, kicking off the most white hot period of his career. And then of course Test was unable to hold up his end of the deal and lost out on the biggest push of his life.
The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Too Cool
From Smackdown, January 2000. Not sure what the significance of this one is, since Too Cool is already into the Rikishi thing at this point. Scotty with a suplex on D-Lo, and Grandmaster adds a bulldog out of the corner. Godfather tosses Scotty around, but misses the Ho Train, and the match just stops so everyone can come in and party with the ladies instead of fighting. That’s a unique finish. This brings out Mark Henry and Mae Young to announce their pregnancy.
Hardcore title: Crash Holly v. Hardcore Holly
Tazz immediately runs out and attacks Crash, as do the Headbangers. Crash wisely runs into the crowd to escape, but gets ambushed by the Mean Street Posse. Funaki mugging a ref and stealing his shirt is a funny spot. Crash sneaks outside, then locks everyone out to escape with the title.
European title: Chris Jericho v. Eddie Guerrero
From RAW, April 2000, the night after Wrestlemania to be exact. Eddie dedicates the match to his “Ancestors in Spain”, but quickly gets faceplanted by Jericho. Eddie reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip and stops to woo Chyna, then catches Jericho with a sleeper. Jericho suplexes out, so Eddie tosses him and they exchange chops on the floor. Back in, Eddie misses the splash and Jericho comes back with the bulldog for two. Ref is bumped and Jericho hits the double powerbomb and Lionsault, to no avail. This brings Chyna into the ring to count on Jericho’s behalf…and then she turns on him as a result of LATINO HEAT, and Eddie wins the European title at 5:35 to kick off one of the hottest acts of the year. Short match, just there to set up the turn. **
Intercontinental title cage match: Val Venis v. Rikishi.
From Fully Loaded 2000. Rikishi tosses Val around and they fight on the top rope. We so some standard escape tease stuff. Rikishi hits the cage a couple of times as we call for the bladejob, but none comes. C’mon, Rikishi, you’re SAMOAN. It’s your DUTY to bleed like a pig. Val lariats Rikishi for two. Yeah, it’s one of those dumb “escape or pin” variations on the cage match. Nice ropewalk elbow gets two for Val. Val tries to climb out, but gets caught. Val blades. He slugs away but gets sent to the cage and Rikishi follows with CHEEKS OF FIRE and the Buttdrop of Doom, for two. Rikishi goes for the door but Trish slams it in his face. Val hits the Money Shot for two. Lita runs out and rips off Trish’s top, then whips her with a belt in retaliation for the beatdown in the first match. Val & Rikishi fight on the top rope, and Val bumps the ref on the way down. Arrgh! Rikishi goes to the top to climb out…and walks along the edge, then HITS A SUPERFLY SPLASH! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! Scrape Val off the mat, he’s DEAD. Tazz then comes out with a camera, rams it into Rikishi’s head, and Val drags himself on top for the pin to retain at 14:11. All the run-ins didn’t help a blah match, but WHAT a finish. ***
TLC Match: Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz v. The Dudley Boyz.
From Summerslam 2000. Chair-throwing exhibition to start. The ladders come in early and Buh Buh makes the first run at it. Edge legsweeps both he and Matt off the ladders. Christian climbs but Buh Buh takes him off with the full-nelson bomb from the ladder! OUCH! Jeff climbs and Edge pushes him off, onto another ladder that snaps up and smashes the prone Matt in the face. DOUBLE OUCH! Dudleyz hit the Wazzup Drop from the ladder, and D-Von brings the tables. Christian takes 3D through one. They stack the tables outside 2-on-2, but Edge foils that spot with a chairshot. Matt hits the Twist of Fate on Edge and a legdrop off the ladder, and Jeff follows with the leapfrog legdrop OVER the ladder. Edge gets sandwiched in a ladder and Matt tosses Christian off the top rope, onto that ladder, killing Edge. Oh man, these guys are INSANE. Outside, Jeff tries the swanton bomb spot from WM2000, but Buh Buh is onto him this time and moves. Continuity! Big ladder gets set up, and four guys climb. All four fall off. Buh Buh’s still alive so he tries, but the champs push the ladder over and he takes a dive through that table stack outside. Awesome spot. Matt tries it, but D-Von is okay now so HE pushes the ladder over, and Matt goes through ANOTHER table stack on the OTHER side of the ring. I fear for these guys’ lives, I really do. Edge & Christian climb, but now Lita comes out and pushes THEM off. She takes a spear from Edge moments later and rams her head into the mat. Man, even the people running in are bumping like freaks. D-Von and Jeff, the last survivors, race up the ladder and each one grabs a belt…and the ladder falls over, leaving them swinging in the air! Wild! D-Von falls off and the crowd explodes…but Jeff can’t loose the belts, and Edge & Christian smash a ladder into him to knock him off, then climb up and grab the belts to retain. Canadians SO rule. Gotta go the full monty here again. ***** No 37-second pose from the champs, though.
WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. HHH v. The Rock v. Steve Austin v. Undertaker v. Rikishi
From Armageddon 2000. Holy crap there's some star power there! And Rikishi. They'd be creaming themselves to have that kind of name value in one match these days. Normally I'm peeved about licensed music getting edited out, but in the case of Undertaker, I can live without ever hearing Limp Bizkit again. Everyone brawls to start and Taker gets two on Angle. He chokes Angle out in the corner, but then they disappear and Rock slugs it out with Rikishi. And then it's HHH v. Austin, as Austin gets the Thesz Press and drops the elbow for two. Austin chokes away on the ropes and gets two. HHH comes back with the high knee, but now it's over to Rock and Angle. Rock with a samoan drop for two and then they head outside, and we switch to Angle v. Undertaker. Angle escapes and baseball slides Rikishi, while Austin and HHH continue their ongoing battle. HHH gets to eat steel and bleeds as a result, but Rikishi takes advantage by legdropping Austin on the way into the ring. Rikishi offers his support for HHH, but KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two. Rikishi was never portrayed as being the bright bulb in the package, was he? Great sequence sees everyone hitting their finishers off of that in a kind of glimpse into the future of these sorts of trainwreck matches. And with everyone out, Undertaker tosses HHH around the cell. In the ring, Rikishi misses a corner splash on Austin, but slugs him down instead.
Then things get a bit silly, as Vince drives a truck down to ringside and vows to rip down the cage, but gets chased off by Commissioner Foley. So that conveniently leaves a pickup truck at ringside, filled with some sort of packing material. Driving the truck into the cage has broken the door down, so Austin and HHH escape and fight down the aisle and into the cart-themed set by the entrance. This gives us an innovative spot with Austin using the boom camera as a weapon. Soon everyone fights to the car lot and Rock teases Rock Bottom on HHH on top of a car, but instead he takes KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and bleeds a little. Austin catapults HHH into a car for another great visual, and everyone fights back down to the cage again. Austin and HHH continue their little war by heading to the top of the cage and actually manage to make it suspenseful by slugging it out on the edge. Austin with KICK WHAM STUNNER, but now Angle and Undertaker have followed them up there. Undertaker beats the hell out of Angle and ponders which side of the cage to toss him off of, but now Rikishi and Rock head up there. Another great moment as Undertaker threatens the timekeeper, from the top of the cage mind you, and convinces him to throw a chair up to the top. Man, that's some respect. Rikishi gets the chair, however, and beats UT down with it. However, Rikishi is of course NOT SMART and going after Undertaker on top of the cage is a supremely bad idea. Which he learns when Taker chokeslams him off the cell and into the truck in retaliation. Rock and Austin have a staredown on their way to drawing a million buys for Wrestlemania, but their all-too-brief slugfest leads to the People's Elbow, which is interrupted by HHH. Rock lays the smackdown on him and hits Angle with Rock Bottom for two, but Austin saves. KICK WHAM STUNNER and Rock sells the shit out of it, but HHH lets his hate of Austin consume him again by making the save, allowing Angle to pin Rock at 32:00 to retain the title. This did an awesome job of making me want to see the big Austin-HHH blowoff, although Angle still wasn’t at the top of his game as a worker, which is kind of scary. I wasn't a huge fan of this one back in the day, but watching Austin, HHH, Rock and Undertaker going out there and doing their thing in their primes has allowed this one to age quite gracefully and set the stage for bigger car crash matches to come. ****
A lot of the set was the awesome stuff that used to make Monday nights fun, although once things got into a seemingly endless loop of Undertaker/Mankind/Austin/Rock stuff it turned into a bit of a chore to sit through. However, the change of pace at the end was nice, even if the entire match selection was a bit dodgy to say the least. This is actually a case where I would have been happier with LESS in-ring stuff, because the whole thing had the feel of a tape-trading compilation for the first half or so, and I really liked the differences from the usual WWE releases. We’ve already had the TLC match on a zillion DVDs and the beer bath on a zillion DVDs. It kind of lost sight of what it was supposed to be celebrating and turned into yet another “Best of RAW volume 19483” DVD set.
However, it’s still lots of fun, and best of all, UNEDITED! No bleeps, no blurs, only one music edit I could find. The documentary is actually refreshingly honest for the most part, too, and I think it’s worth a buy for nostalgic fans like us.