Wednesday, 4 January 2012

WWE DVD Review - Greatest Rivalries - Shawn Michaels Vs Bret Hart

WWE DVD Review: Greatest Rivalries – Shawn Michaels Vs. Bret Hart

By Phil Allely

I like countless other wrestling fans of a certain age have been waiting for this DVD box set for a great many years now. Why you may ask, well because it not only features two of the WWE’s most popular and influential superstars, but also finally lets us hear their own (perhaps slightly WWE endorsed) thoughts on the infamous ‘Double Cross’ form Survivor Series 1997 that saw Bret hart get screwed out of the WWE World Title by Vince McMahon (with assistance from Michaels and referee Earl Hebner).

Over three (or two on Blu-ray) packed discs we get a nicely made documentary/sit down interview with Bret & Shawn, plus a good mix of their best matches, including a few early bouts and never seen before on DVD ones.

The sit down interview is the main selling point here. Hosted by good old Jim Ross this is a well-paced and decently put together piece. We get brief glimpses of the pairs early years as tag team grapplers, their progression to singles runs and their subsequent title wins.

There are of course numerous parallels in the in-ring careers of both men. Hart being form a wrestling family had it in his blood and was destined for greatness. Michaels was the stand out tag team star who needed an attitude adjustment to find his true role in the WWE (then WWF).

Jim Ross does provide some interesting questions here and he does probe both guys about early matches, their title wins, match highlights and the fact that no matter how much they disliked each other, these were two men who kept the WWE ticking over in the 1990s.

Michaels and Hart appear to be genuinely pleased to have buried the hatchet with each other. The legendary ‘Double Cross’ was a situation that McMahon felt was necessary, Hart was about to leave for WWE rivals WCW and he was unwilling to drop the title to Michaels on PPV in his home country of Canada. This volatile situation grew out of Hart’s 20 year contract with the WWE being shot to pieces due to budgets and him having to source a new contract elsewhere, it also spiralled out of control as his and Michaels’ turbulent relationship began to blur reality with storylines.

It is interesting to see how these men now feel many years later about what transpires that November night in 1997. Hart did indeed sign with WCW, he also saw his brother Owen die in a freak accident live on WWE PPV, he himself suffered a career ending concussion and went on to see many other friends die early due to their grappling career. Michaels had to retire from the WWE himself due a severe back injury and somehow returned a few years later to surpass his previous successes, now with a new found faith in god he tore the house down and stole the show wherever he could.

Now both retired this release is perhaps the best way to see two pioneers of the sport at their best, it also highlights just how real a planned sport can become.

On the match front we have some true classics, these include The Rockers versus The Hart Foundation (1989), a ladder match for the IC Title (1992), a good Steel cage match (1993) and the highly regarded Iron Man scrap from WrestleMania 12. There are also both men’s Hall of Fame inductions.

Greatest Rivalries – Shawn Michaels Vs. Bret Hart is available now from and all good retailers.

RRP £29.99 (DVD), £34.99 (Blu-ray)

Running Time 7hrs 5mins (DVD 3 discs), 8hrs 22mins (Blu-ray 2 discs)

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