The Best Of WWE At Madison Square Garden DVD Review

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If you mention those three little words – Madison Square Garden – to any wrestling fan around the world, there’s no doubt that they will evoke an emotional response. No matter whether you’ve followed WWE from the beginning or if you’re simply a casual fan, the Garden is the one place that everyone knows. It’s the one place that anyone would love to go and watch wrestling, even if it meant travelling half way around the world. There is no better venue to watch Vince McMahon’s baby than the hallowed ground in Manhattan.

Known as ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,’ MSG has played host to wrestling for nearly 50 years. To cover such a rich history in one set is extremely difficult, but WWE do a fantastic job here of displaying their legacy in the location and the journey that their roster has taken over numerous decades. This is not only a love letter to MSG but a fascinating look at how wrestling itself has changed over the years – from Bruno Sammartino right through to the modern era with John Cena, and everyone in between. Not only do we get the chance to learn more about the industry but also we see why the New York crowds are considered amongst the best in the world.

As important as the arena is, Sammartino himself, a man who rightfully calls the Garden ‘home’, is the longest reigning WWE champion in history. It’s hard to imagine one wrestler holding the title for 7 years, 8 months, & 4 days for one reign but such was the popularity and talent of The Living Legend that he had a title reign that no one will ever compare to. Even the recent reign of CM Punk at just over a year completely pales in comparison. For many years Bruno stepped away from the wrestling world and so his return to the flock and contributions here are a true rarity and something many long term fans believed would never be available. This set is worth picking up simply for Sammartino’s insight on his first ever WWE home release, even if there were no other contributors or matches on offer.

Beyond the inclusion of the Garden’s favourite son, there are numerous other important people involved too. Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ivan Koloff, Trish Stratus and more explore their own experiences at MSG and the importance of performing at WWE‘s most loved setting. It’s an infectious enthusiasm and love that makes this such an enjoyable release to watch, and certainly tells the tale of why McMahon takes the roster back there whenever he can. Compare it to a home ground for a football team and this is where WWE will always get the love and devotion from the fans.

In terms of the action served up here, it’s a real mixed bag of styles that reflect the various eras through the past five decades. The stars of the 1970s and 1980s may have worked slightly differently to their modern counterparts but they still knew how to work the crowds. Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham, Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan amongst others all show why they are held in such high regard and considered legends in the business. WWE have taken the best PPVs to MSG, from the inaugural Wrestlemania in 1985 to the tenth show in 1994, and a number of SummerSlam and Royal Rumble events too. Every time there’s an electricity in the air which makes the superstars step up their game and deliver beyond their best.

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The matches range from memorable because of the talent involved, to genuine top quality performances. From Mr T being involved at ‘Mania 1, to what many consider the first Ladder Match at ‘Mania X, these are enhanced by where they take place. Wrestling clinics like Mr Perfect vs. Bret Hart and Triple H vs. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho are matches you can watch over and over again and never get bored. This set not only offers matches but unforgettable moments in WWE history, such as the first stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin to Mr McMahon, The Rock’s debut and John Cena’s Rumble return in 2008.

When the title says the best of WWE, it’s not overstating what’s on offer in this three disc set. This is by far one of the best offerings in years, firstly because of the Sammartino involvement but also because of the numerous milestones in wrestling history and classic match-ups. If the DVD content isn’t enough, the Blu-ray gives a couple of extra matches and some great additional stories from more talent, including Edge, Ricky Steamboat and more. This is a must-buy on either format for any wrestling fan and cannot be recommended highly enough.

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