Review for The Attitude Era WrestleMania Collection
This set brings together the four Wrestlemanias from the Attitude Era Wrestlemania 14, 15, 16 and 17 and I must say this trip down memory lane is one of the best things I have watched. For those who didn't experience this first hand will enjoy the best period in the wrestling business.
Wrestlemania 14 saw the crowning of Stone Cold at the top of the WWE. His match with Shawn Michaels was great and though there is much talk about whether it could have been better I still think the build and the match itself was great.
The rest of the PPV had its moments, but did feel a little lop-sided. The Tag Team Battle Royal was only really memorable because of the re-debut of The Road warriors, but nothing special otherwise. Marc Mero and Sable against Goldust and Luna was fine as was the Owen Hart against Triple H for the European Championship. The Light Heavyweight Championship match between Taka Michinoku and Aguila was too quick to mean anything, as was The Rock against Ken Shamrock for the Intercontinental Championship which was such a shame.
The Dumpster Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships between The New Age Outlaws and Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie was a great match and you can certainly see the influence of ECW on this exciting and crazy match.
Finally we have The Undertaker against Kane which had an amazing build and then the match was a little lacklustre. It should be said that at this point The Streak hadn't been developed as a storyline yet and so for Taker to have lost to his brother would have made much more sense.
This PPV is definitely worth a watch, even just for a few matches as it really showed WWE pulling out all the stops in the war with WCW.
Wrestlemania 15 was possibly one of my favourite Manias of all time. This was a stacked card and really showed how popular Stone Cold was, but also how much The Rock had risen as the top Heel. The PPV is stacked with ten matches and on reflection, watching back I wonder whether my love for Austin/Rock clouded my judgment.
Skippable matches are The Brawl For All between Bart Gunn and Butterbean which was just pointless, Big Show against Mankind was nothing special, Undertaker against Big Bossman in a Hell in a Cell was a waste of the stipulation and I am really surprised that the ending was not edited out, Triple H against Kane was fine, but again nothing special. Sable against Tori for the Women's Championship was awful and this is a shame as Tori was a pretty good worker, but that's not what the match was about.
Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett against D Lo Brown and Test was a good tag match, but again nothing special, the Hardcore Championship Triple Threat between Billy Gunn, Hardcore Holly and Al Snow was a typical example of the over the top hardcore style WWE was starting to show. The Four Corners Elimination Match for the Intercontinental Championship between Road Dogg, Val Venis, Ken Shamrock and Goldust certainly had its moments and the 'elimination' style certainly helped.
Oddly enough, one of the best matches of the night was Shane McMahon defending his European Championship against X-Pac. When you consider Shane was not a trained wrestler this was technically only his sixth match it was a pretty good showing and they both worked well together.
Match of the night was obviously the main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. This match had one of the best built storylines in history and when you consider a year previous I was groaning at The Rock against Ken Shamrock he had come on leaps and bounds within that time. This was a classic match and though it didn't need all the outside nonsense, it didn't hurt the match at all.
What is great is that the DVD retained all of its extra features (though the Download content feature no longer works) including both Stone Cold and The Rock sitting on separate commentaries on the main event which is a fantastic listening and idea. Fan Comments is just a quick video of the fans saying how great Wrestlemania is, Tech Talk is again a quick look behind the scenes with some camera operators and other technical people which is nice. Rage Party is again a quick look at the party WWE gave to promote the event and Music Video is a quick recap of the event.
Get Personal is a Bio of every performer involved in the show including everyone from The Acolytes to X-Pac. Not very indepth, but nice if you are unfamiliar with some of them. What is great though is the Give Me The History feature which is a quick video montage as to why some of these matches were happening. This is something WWE were so good at in the past and I wish they would do things like this now.
This is certainly not the best Wrestlemania, but also not the worst. It is almost like one of those classic albums which survive on the one massive hit single. If you take Rock/Austin out of the equation it is passable, but that one element makes the PPV one of the best.
Wrestlemania 16 was a PPV many have issues with. The loss of Stone Cold to injury means that more people had to step up and I am never sure whether the main event really lived up to the hype. That being said, unlike the previous event, this one really did have a nine match card which was very enjoyable to relive.
The Hardcore Battle Royal was madness, but exactly what I expected. If you ever wondered where the 24/7 Title idea came from, this is a great example of it. T&A against Al Snow and Steve Blackman was fine, highlighted with the always amazing Trish Stratus.
Godfather and D Lo Brown against Big Bossman and Bull Buchanan was an average big man match, not great, but not horrible. The Cat Fight between The Kat and Terri was really just an example of how much WWE pushed the envelope when it came to sexy women and I wasn't expecting a great match from it.
Too Cool and Chyna against Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko was great and really showed just what WCW threw away by losing the workhorses of their roster. Kane and Rikishi against X-Pac and Road Dogg was fine, nothing special and really just an excuse for Rikishi to dance.
One of the best matches of the night is really 'the elephant in the room' with Kurt Angle putting his Intercontinental and European Championships on the line in a Triple Threat Two-Fall match where each fall would be for a different title. He was facing Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. This match is just fabulous and it pains me to say that, but all three showed just how technically perfect they were.
Match of the night was absolutely the Triangle Ladder match for the WWE Tag Team Championships between The Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian. It doesn't matter what combination these three teams were in they always smashed it out of the park. It is stunning that none of the multi-man tag matches these had won a Five Star rating, but this one won the PWI Match of the Year.
The Main Event was the elimination WWE Championship match between Triple H, The Rock, Big Show and Mick Foley. Foley had just come out of retirement after being retired in an amazing Hell in a Cell and really this match should always have just been Triple H against The Rock. The elimination stipulation didn't help much and the ending was just disappointing.
Wrestlemania 16 is a great PPV, just tripping a few times along the way and then stumbling at the last hurdle.
Wrestlemania 17 is generally regarded as one of the best Wrestlemanias ever. I'm not sure. It's not perfect, but it certainly has flashes of perfection throughout.
Chyna against Ivory for the Women's Championship was awful, The Gimmick Battle Royal featuring the likes of Gobbledy Gooker, Iron Sheik and The Goon the kind of goofy awfulness I expected.
A number of matches seem to sit in the 'sit-through-able' category with the likes of APA and Tazz against Right to Censor a typical slugfest tag match, the Triple Threat Hardcore match between Kane, Raven and Big Show just full of over the top antics and oddly even Chris Jericho against William Regal for the Intercontinental Championship a little lacklustre. Also Eddie Guerrero against Test for the European Championship certainly has its moments, but they just didn't work that well together.
The Streetfight between Shane and Vince McMahon was great and full of the crazy moments you would expect (and some you wouldn't) from these two. Triple H against The Undertaker was fantastic and possibly one of the best showings of Taker at Mania and one of my favourites. Despite not appearing on any of the packaging the Kurt Angle against Chris Benoit match is one of the best technical matches to ever appear at Wrestlemania and though it pains me to say it, it is still amazing to watch.
For the second year in a row, the show was stolen by The Dudleys, Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz in a TLC match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. This match was amazing and if you are fan of tag team wrestling and high-flying action then this match has everything. It is amazing that it was not given Five Stars, but again won the PWI Match of the Year.
This brings me to Main Event with Stone Cold Steve Austin facing off against The Rock again for the WWE Championship. This match has its moments, but the ending just destroys it. It is strange watching these PPVs back to back as you can see the development of the Austin/McMahon rivalry. I just did not expect it to end like this.
Like the Wrestlemania 15 DVD, this also includes all of the original extra features over two disks. Flashbacks looks at the history behind Jericho and Regal, Ivory and Chyna, Shane and Vince McMahon, Triple H and Undertaker and The Rock against Stone Cold which are all great.
A number of featurettes look at the WWE Superstars at Fort Hood and also two regarding the Axxess event. A Highlights video is essentially just a quick montage of the event so if you don't have time to watch it all you can watch this and see everything that happened. Next night on Raw is a quick look at the Raw which followed Wrestlemania and just showed how great the WWE were at the time. A quick interview with some WWE Legends picking who will win the Gimmick Battle Royale is nice, but too quick as is a mad interaction between Lilian Garcia and The Bushwhackers.
There is an extra match putting Grandmaster Sexay and Steve Blackman against X-Pac, Justin Credible and Albert. It is the very definition of a 'Kickoff Match' and did not feel like Wrestlemania at all. Also included is an interview with Chris Benoit which I doubt many will watch and considering the Angle/Benoit match is not mentioned at all you would be forgiven for thinking that it had been removed.
Wrestlemania 17 has a number of amazing matches and I can understand why most people say this is one of the best. Yes, there are some that are less then stellar, but even just for the TLC match this is a PPV worth watching.
This set is a fabulous trip down memory lane. If you are new to WWE and you want to see how it was during the Attitude Era then this is certainly a perfect snapshot of that time. Of the four PPVs I enjoyed them all to some extent and I don't regret reliving these moments. Wrestlemania is the showcase of the immortals and this is definitely the best example of why that is.