Re: Official DVD/Match/Show Discussion Thread
WWE Confidential : Volume 1
This is a one disc set from the WWE that was released in late 2003, highlighting the best of WWE Confidential, a show that featured various vignettes and interview/documentary type segments that normally broke kayfabe, although some of it was used to highlight the more "entertainment" style of the company at this point. What we get here is a documentary featuring various parts from the show, and we get 4 matches as extras. The segments that we get on this disc are a real nice treat, ranging from hilarious vignettes on Bobby Heenan, to stories about the world's oldest wrestling fan and her connection to The Rock, to the first in-depth look at the Montreal Screwjob on national television (from the WWE's angle anyways). The "superstars at home" featurettes were nice to see, as we get an in depth look at wrestlers like Stratus and Regal outside of the ring, showing off their personality.
Those segments alone offer much for the fan of the "entertainment" side of the WWE. As for the diehard wrestling fan, they'll be thrilled to hear stories such as the first in depth WWE account of the Montreal Screwjob, an in depth look at the Monday Night Wars / a history of the WWE championship, and various other strictly-wrestling segments. At a run time of 2 hours, this documentary style main feature is hosted by Gene Okerlund, and since the amount of topics covered on this set are so diverse, it's impossible to get bored while watching it. I wouldn't recommend this to any pure WRESTLING fan, but to a fan of the WWE like myself this was pure gold. Very, very fun feature that just flew by.
Jimmy Snuka vs Ray Stevens 1983 MSG
These two on paper sounds like it has the potential to be a very good, physical match with tons of psychology and exciting high flying moves. However, what we get here is a slow paced matchup that is very short in length at about 6-7 minutes. We start off with a pretty good sequence, with superfly going for a second rope manuver and actually hitting it, before we move on to the painful part of the match, which is basically 5 minutes of these guys not doing very much besides standing around.
Seriously, I just watched this and I have barely anything to say about it, besides the fact that it was extremely dull. Old school fans might love this because of this slow pace, but you have to remember that this isn't a Backlund match or a Bockwinkel classic; It's Jimmy fucking Snuka, he should be flying around the ring doing all sorts of crazy shit. Not a good match, but it has a moment or two. NO IDEA why it's on here.
Bret Hart vs The British Bulldog Summerslam 1992
The atmosphere is absolutely off the charts here as these two go into battle. These two know each other's in-ring styles and characters very well, so they're able to put on a show and tell a fluent story everytime they go out there, and IMO this is the greatest match that these two have ever had. Davey Boy wasn't his best in here, but he didn't have to be, as this is the biggest carry job of all time, carried out by the master himself. We get a beautiful exchange at the beginning of the match as neither of this men can gain a definitive advantage. There are a few moments in this match where Bret takes some huge bumps, and kudos to him for taking an absolute beating out there. There are points where he gets caught in the ropes, where he actually gets crotched on the top turnbuckle (legitimately) , and there's a spot where Davey Boy is supposed to catch Hart doing an over the top rope crossbody, but Bulldog misses his spot so Bret improvises into a sort of mid-air headlock takeover, which is a very impressive save.
Davey has the power advantage in his home country while Bret has the speed/technical advantage here, which is a beautiful contrast of styles as both men exchange and escape finishers. This is all workrate and nearfalls here, as I found myself at the edge of my seat the entire time that I was watching this match. I love the many storylines of these two being family, the connection between the two nationalities, and Diana Hart being a background point instead of being the main focus. These two just tore the house down, and honestly you should check this match out ASAP. It's carrying 101 by Bret Hart, and if Davey had to be a little better this would be ***** easily. My MOTY for 1992, the crowd goes beserk for the title change that led to Bret being catapulted in the WWE championship picture. Fantastic, fantastic match.
Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels Survivor Series 1997
I could sit here all day and talk about the Montreal screwjob, but instead I'm going to focus on the actual match. I'm making an exception here and grading the pre match fight as a part of the actual match itself, as it's just such an intense battle between two greats, that it needed to take place in this paticular segment. Shawn plays the cocky prick heel just as well as Bret plays the hometown hero in this match, as these two characters play so well off of each other in this match that you can see the pure hatred taking place between them. The pre match fight is very intense, with both men getting in their shots all over the arena, a very attitude era esque brawl. This goes on for a while until we get the actual match. Shawn's bumping around all over the floor and ring is just superb, and shows why he takes a bump better than anybody in history. The intensity is showing in this one and I ask myself ; WHERE WAS THIS IN THEIR PREVIOUS MATCHES ?!?!
Some great spots here, as the weapon use is kept to a minimum but is used so effectively that it does nothing but contribute to the story. Bret's leg work to Shawn is absolutely fantastic, as he works Shawns leg with a variety of holds and strikes before applying the figure four. Shawn sells this accordingly as this is just great stuff with a fantastic pace here. A crossbody reversal nearfall takes place, as for a second I thought this was over (even though I already know the ending 15 years later). Shawn puts Bret in the sharpshooter, and we all know what happens then. Allegedly this match was supposed to be twice as long, and if that was the case, this probably would have been worse off. This is the kind of match these two always needed : An intense, well paced FIGHT with great psychology. These two needed to cut out the headlocks and just BRAWL, and that's what we got in this one. It's such a shame that this match is enamoured in controversy, as I believe that it is the greatest Bret vs Shawn match ever, and probably the only classic/near classic encounter that these two have had together. One of the most underrated matches of all time.
Booker T vs Scott Steiner Nitro 2001
This is on the last episode of Nitro, so obviously a very emotional match taking place here. This isn't really much of a MATCH per se, as it's about a little over 5 minutes long. This is about the big feel good moment for Booker T, having worked so hard in his life, getting to finish with the company as the World Champion meant everything to him. The match itself told a pretty good story, as Steiner was an unstoppable monster at this point who was just destroying everything. His cocky heel mannerisms were great ; telling the referee to count his pushups mid match, and flexing his biceps to the crowd made the fans more into Booker T. Some decent moves here by both men as we get some finishers by Booker, as well as a variety of slams and suplexes by Steiner. Booker wins this in an emotional moment, as this was a very fast paced match for two big workers. Short, but a significant moment, and good in quality.
It's impossible to grade this like you would grade a 3 disc set, as it just isn't fair. You have to grade this for what it is : A one disc feature highlighting the ins and outs of the ring, with a few extra matches on the side for bonus material. The documentary style main feature will be hit and miss for alot of people, although I enjoyed it very much. When it comes to the matches, we get a Snuka match that I don't know WHY is on this, an all time classic that can be found on other DVDs, and a historically significant/short WCW title match.
The main reason to buy this DVD is simple: The Survivor Series 97 match between Shawn and Bret. If you don't own a blu-ray player, this is the only home video release that features this match, including the big time entrances and all. If you want to see a fantastic match between two all time greats, and you are entertained by the antics of the WWE, pick this one up. If you don't care much for the entertainment side of the WWE and you don't care about the SS 97 match, stay away. Good quality, if you can grab this for cheap, go ahead.
"He's not the biggest. He was never the strongest. He was never the fastest. He was overlooked. He went in the sixth round. So with that being said, all of the intangibles that a quarterback is supposed to have, they overlooked it with him because it was burning from inside of him" - Ray Lewis on Tom Brady