When the WWE announced that they would be releasing a DVD set spotlighting the Attitude Era, the internet basically exploded out of excitement. I have to admit that I was quite skeptical when I heard the news. While the Attitude Era is looked back on quite fondly, a lot of fans seem to forget all of the negatives that go along with the positives. The good news is that the WWE seemed to also recognize these flaws, and they hid all of them pretty well. I’m happy to admit that I was wrong, and the Attitude Era set delivered pretty well.
As is clearly advertised, the Blu-ray is rated TV-14. The regular features run around 7 hours, and the Blu-ray extras run 1 hour, 25 minutes. The only noticeable edit is Undertaker’s theme music during his entrance at Armageddon 2000. Fortunately, all of the mentions of “WWF” and the scratch logo remain, which was pivotal on this set.
“Get It”: The Main Feature
When the WWE first started working on this Attitude Era set, I don’t think they had any intentions of including a documentary. At some point during the process of creating the Blu-ray, though, the decision was made to add a documentary, and I think it’s pretty clear that the documentary was put together at the last minute. While it is still enjoyable, there’s not too much substance to it. The Attitude Era is a well known era in wrestling already, and a lot of the details were covered on previous docs like The Monday Night War, McMahon, The Rock: The Epic Journey of Dwayne Johnson, and Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line. Of course, there’s no way you can have a doc on the Attitude Era without highlighting DX, Austin, McMahon, The Rock, and the other big name players, but most of this information isn’t new.
The highlights of this documentary end up coming from discussions of the era as a whole, rather than individual storylines or characters. You get to see some neat, rare promos from the start of the Attitude Era movement, including a great promo from Vince McMahon discussing how things will change on Raw with the birth of the Attitude Era. Because the doc may have been a bit rushed, it doesn’t feel like all of the right names were interviewed for the set. Mark Henry, Mick Foley, and Road Dogg are responsible for a large bulk of the interview clips. This hurt the discussion of a lot of topics, such as the lawsuit from the PTC, something I didn’t know much about. I would have preferred a bit more time dedicated to some of these big picture topics rather than discussions of the individual superstars and feuds, but they did a great job grouping together superstars on the documentary. Each of them were tied into a larger picture (for instance, the New Age Outlaws were discussed when talking about the importance of big entrances and titantrons).
I think a lot of fans may have been dissuaded from this documentary when they saw that the runtime is 57 minutes. As I’ve said about a few other documentaries that have come out recently, the length is not the issue with this doc at all. In fact, if more time was spent spotlighting individual superstars or feuds, the pacing of the feature would have been killed. As I said above, I do wish a bit more time was spent on topics like the PTC hearing, but overall, I felt that the pacing was pretty well done. Ultimately, since we all know so much about the Attitude Era already, it’s going to be tough to give us much new information, and keeping the documentary quickly paced worked out very well. I think most fans will have a lot of fun watching this feature, even if it’s pretty superficial.
“My God, King!”: The Matches
Sable Vs. “Marvelous” Marc Mero (Raw, 5/11/98) – N/A
Not really a match, but still a fun segment.
Brawl for All Match: Bart Gunn Vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams (Raw, 7/27/98) – DUD
Although the “fight” is almost unwatchable, I’m still glad that a Brawl for All match was included here. It’s bizarre to watch, and was probably the biggest blunder of the Attitude Era.
WWE Tag Team Championship Four Corners Match: The Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. The New Age Outlaws Vs. Kane & Mankind Vs. The Rock & Owen Hart (Raw, 8/10/98) – *** 1/2
The star power in this match is awesome. For a Raw main event, this is a great match.
Lion’s Den Match: Ken Shamrock Vs. Owen Hart (SummerSlam, 8/30/98) – ** 3/4
This match ended up much better than expected with the added gimmick. The UFC-influenced style isn’t my favorite, but it works fairly well here.
WWE Championship Tournament Finals: The Rock Vs. Mankind (Survivor Series, 11/15/98) – ***
This match isn’t nearly as good as their future encounters, but it still is a solid, by the book match. The post-match is all included, and is a lot of fun.
The Rock & Undertaker Vs. Mankind & Stone Cold Steve Austin (Raw, 12/7/98) – **
A great inclusion, given that these four men are four of the biggest names of the Attitude Era. The match itself is nothing special, but there is a great post-match that serves as a good representation of Ministry-era Taker.
WWE Championship Match: Undertaker Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (Raw, 6/28/99) – ** 1/2
It’s great to get a never-before-released title change on DVD, but that match itself isn’t really anything special.
European & Intercontinental Championship Match: D’Lo Brown Vs. Jeff Jarrett (SummerSlam, 8/22/99) – ** 1/4
A very traditional match. Nothing bad here, but nothing memorable either.
WWE Tag Team Championship Buried Alive Match: The Rock & Mankind Vs. Undertaker & Big Show (SmackDown, 9/9/99) – * 1/2
The Buried Alive match is a silly gimmick, and a lot of this match is dedicated to watching wrestlers shovel dirt. It’s not very exciting. This match is a great hidden gem, though, so it’s cool to see. The finish of the match is ridiculous, and feels like something that would have occurred in a WCW main event of the era.
Stone Cold Steve Austin & Jim Ross Vs. Triple H & Chyna (Raw, 8/11/99) – * 1/4
This match was a typical “brawl through the arena” match, which is pretty boring. They don’t get any mileage out of the the gimmick of JR wrestling, either.
The Godfather & D’Lo Brown Vs. Too Cool (SmackDown, 7/27/00) – N/A
This match never really gets going. Still a humorous segment.
Hardcore Championship Match: Crash Holly Vs. Hardcore Holly (Raw, 3/27/00) – N/A
A great choice to represent the 24/7 era of the Hardcore Title.
European Championship Match: Chris Jericho Vs. Eddie Guerrero (Raw, 4/3/00) – ** 3/4
Given that this match involves Jericho & Guerrero, it’s certainly not bad. It’s not given nearly enough to mean anything, though.
Intercontinental Championship Steel Cage Match: Rikishi Vs. Val Venis (Fully Loaded, 7/23/00) – ***
An entertaining steel cage match, topped off by a great spot from Rikishi.
WWE Tag Team Championship TLC Match: Edge & Christian Vs. The Hardy Boyz Vs. The Dudley Boyz (SummerSlam, 8/27/00) – **** 1/4
This match has become over-glamorized a bit since it’s happened, but it’s still a very good encounter. A bit too much of a spot-fest to make it one of the best matches of all time, though.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Kurt Angle Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. The Rock Vs. Undertaker Vs. Triple H Vs. Rikishi (Armageddon, 12/10/00) – ****
This match features a great blend of storyline and highspots, and is constructed pretty well. The part where all 6 men brawl outside the cell near the entrance ramp can get a little boring, but that’s the only time this 30+ minute match really drags at all.
Blu-ray Exclusive Matches
King of Kings Match: Ken Shamrock Vs. Triple H Vs. Owen Hart (Raw, 6/29/98) – ***
A fun TV match. The postmatch angle is included, and is a nice representation of the DX-Nation feud.
The Oddities with Insane Clown Posse Vs. The Headbangers (Raw, 9/28/98) – 1/4 *
It was nice to see some of the less popular stars of the Attitude Era included here, even if the match is way too short to be meaningful at all. Also strange to see ICP in a WWE ring.
No Disqualification Match: The Rock Vs. Val Venis (SmackDown, 10/7/99) – ** 1/2
The Rock was reaching his peak in popularity, and this match becomes a glorified squash match. It features some fun moments, though.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, & Shane McMahon Vs. Triple H, X-Pac, & The New Age Outlaws (SmackDown, 11/4/99) – ** 1/4
Unfortunately, for a match featuring so many big names, this isn’t given anywhere near enough time to be memorable. For the historical value alone, though, this match is worth watching.
Hardcore Championship Match: Crash Holly Vs. Al Snow (SmackDown, 6/29/00) – *
This match shows off the “garbage wrestling” style of the Hardcore division pretty well. The matches always had very little psychology to them.
The Hardy Boyz & Lita Vs. Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero, & Dean Malenko (Raw, 11/30/00) – **
Another match that is too short to really get going, but is still fun to watch while it lasts.
Chris Jericho & The Dudley Boyz Vs. Kurt Angle, Edge, & Christian (Raw, 12/25/00) – ** 1/2
With the 6 men in this match, you know you will get something at least decent, and that’s pretty much what you get here. A standard TV match.
“We’ve Got Two Words For You…”: Closing Thoughts
There’s no better way to review to put this Blu-ray as a total package than simply, “they got it”. The Attitude Era is perfectly captured throughout all of this content. Between the matches and segments, you get a great mix of classic moments and hidden gems. Of course, we’ve seen a lot of these classic moments on other DVDs or Blu-rays, but they really needed to be here, and they are very well complimented by the new discoveries throughout the set. The Blu-ray bonus content in particular is loaded with a lot of undiscovered matches.
Two of my biggest concerns about this Blu-ray were that there wouldn’t be enough segments featured, and that only the main eventers (Austin, Rock, Taker, Kane, Mankind, HHH) would be heavily represented. Both of these fears were well laid to rest. A lot of different talent is featured throughout the segments and matches, but enough emphasis is given to the main eventers to show their importance. We also got a decent number of segments, although I would have preferred more. The matches that are represented here are generally pretty good (although there aren’t too many classics), but more importantly, they all are great representations of what made the Attitude Era unique. This is what is most important about this particular Blu-ray, so I can’t complain that not all of the matches are in-ring classics. I also appreciated that a lot of the matches on the set came from Raw and SmackDown, because I feel that what is best remembered about the Attitude Era is how great the TV shows were, rather than the Pay Per Views. I did feel that the choice to “end” the Attitude Era at the end of the year 2000 felt a bit arbitrary. Wrestlemania X-Seven, the name change from WWF to WWE, and the Invasion angle felt like more natural endings to this era.
My biggest problem with the Blu-ray wasn’t the documentary itself, but just the fact that it existed period. I would have preferred another hour of segments and matches over having the documentary, and it seems like this was the initial intention when making the DVD/Blu-ray. Again, the documentary isn’t bad, and I probably will revisit it down the line, it just doesn’t feel necessary. The reason to pick up this set (on DVD or Blu-ray) is because of the matches and segments. The Blu-ray exclusives do make that particular version worth the extra money, namely because of the hidden gems you get to see amongst that content. If you couldn’t already tell, this Blu-ray comes with a pretty high recommendation, and although it probably won’t be in my Top 3 DVD/Blu-ray releases of the year, it’s pretty damn close, and just may crack that list.