Sunday, 24 March 2013

DVD Review: The Best of WrestleMania 1-14

WrestleMania is of course the pinnacle of the WWE's pay-per-view calendar. The event itself has seen some of the company's best matches, feuds begin or end and it has featured a host of well-known faces. WrestleMania was the wrestling event that saw the worlds or entertainment and wrestling unite, it worked so well that the industry has never looked back.

Of course there are many DVD releases looking at the history of the PPV and they all will showcase the event well. But what is nice here is that this disc runs us through the pivotal events form WM 1-14 at a nice speed.

Matches are shown in well-paced segments. We also get to see some specially made talking heads (old and new). We also get to see the event grow and build up its reputation as a must-see wrestling show.

Along the way we see 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper face off against TV star Mr T in a boxing match, Hulk Hogan battle the massive Andre The Giant, Randy Savage become world champion and the rift between Savage and Hogan unfold.

What is nice is we also get to learn how having celebrity involvement helped the PPV build up its profile and we get to see many of them here too.

Told in a punchy style this DVD takes us on a swift and concise trip through WM's early days (as number 30 soon approaches). Watch out for the well-told scrap between Hogan and Ultimate Warrior for the title at Mania 6.

Watch out for early appearances by future champs Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart (amongst others). We also get to see some pretty recent interviews with them too.

The Undertaker's debut is here as well, we have to feel sorry for the legend that is Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka in that one. He did after all become the first man to fall to Taker's streak.

Sgt Slaughter's anti-American slant is featured briefly. There are also spots showing Undertaker wiping out foe after foe. Randy Savage's epic encounter with Ric Flair and we also see the rise of the next generation of WWE super stars.

This is where the likes of Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon came to the fore. Their ladder match was a genuinely exciting piece to view. We actually feel the pairs pain throughout.

There was also the highly anticipated and well told encounter between 'Bam Bam' Bigelow and former American footballer Lawrence Taylor.

There are also appearances by boxing legend Mike Tyson and other stars of stage, screen and more along the way too.

One curious aspect was the brawl between Roddy Piper and Goldust, which saw Piper strip his opponent down to a set of female underwear.

When you look back at the first 14 WrestleMania's you of course think of all of the above and the rich history they bring. The characters, the storyline's and the memories each installment brought with it.

Of course this was also the period which saw the WWE change and adapt to its surroundings. Here we met the Attitude Era up close and personal.

The Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart Iron Man match may be tough to view in full. But the edited version here is perfect.

The real highlight of this release is (your reviewers mate) 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin's rise as the ultimate tough guy of the WWE. His WM 13 battle with Bret Hart is iconic and brutal to view. This was the match that Austin became a legitimate WWE star. The ending is one of wrestling's most iconic.

To see Austin pass out in a pool of his own blood is amazing to see yet again.

We also see Undertaker battle fellow big men Diesel (Kevin Nash) and Psycho Sid (Sid Eudy). All of which fall under is undefeated streak remit.

WM 14 saw Kane face-off against his brother Kane. This was an amazing match and still is today.

Finally WM 14 offered up our friend Steve Austin's match with Shawn Michaels for the world title. The ending here was superb, guest enforcer Mike Tyson turning on DX leader Michaels and Austin standing victorious.

By Phil Allely

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