History Of WWE – 50 Years Of Sports Entertainment DVD Review

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With the Road to Wrestlemania XXX right around the corner, there’s no better time to look back at the first fifty years of Vince McMahon’s behemoth. It’s safe to say that it would be easy to release a fifty disc set of WWE and barely scratch the surface, so to release a three disc set is challenging to say the least. From numerous weekly TV shows to monthly PPVs and nightly live events around the world, WWE is a non stop company with incredible depth, having all but obliterated the competition in the wrestling industry. No other company comes close to the leader these days. 

It would be easy for a release such as this to simply be a love letter to WWE, but thankfully the documentary portion is quite a balanced and honest look at the ups and downs the company has had over the years. There are numerous triumphs but tragedies also – such as the loss of Owen Hart – and it’s certainly interesting to gain insight into the most personal of situations. Of course some creative decisions understandably have to be made for obvious reasons, so while we are allowed to hear discussion of the steroid scandal, there is no mention of the Chris Benoit incident years later. It’s no surprise and to this day WWE are right to treat it with sensitivity.

The two hour run time of the documentary means it never lets up. From start to finish it’s an enthralling and fascinating look at the development of the company and the industry as a whole. From Hulk Hogan to Bret Hart to Stone Cold to John Cena, via Shawn Michaels and The Rock, you see the changes in wrestling as a whole and the differences in what the audience wanted from one decade to the next. Whether colourful characters, technical wrestling or something more risqué, McMahon has always been willing to adapt his product to what the audience responds to. He might be stubborn at times, but the longevity of WWE’s success shows he’s right more often than not.

Mentioning the man main himself, Vince McMahon isn’t actually the focal point of this documentary and while he is missed, the sheer number of personalities involved makes up for his absence. With a mix of old and new interviews, including some of the biggest names in the industry from HHH and the McMahon family to The Undertaker, it’s rare to see such openness and honesty, and that alone makes this worth picking up. Yes, it could easily have a much longer run time and input from Vince, but it leaves something to look forward to in future releases.

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In terms of the matches on discs two and three, it was always going to be difficult to select something a bit different as all of the most important matches have been seen numerous times on various releases. The selection is more about historical significance than match quality – Andre vs Hogan, the first Royal Rumble, the birth of Austin 3:16, and the Montreal Screwjob etc. It’s hard to argue against their inclusion as without them, the company certainly wouldn’t be where it is today. However it’s not the most enjoyable of compilations and beyond Bret/Shawn and Punk/Cena, the rest is very hit and miss.

For long term WWE fans and collectors, this is an enjoyable set but one that perhaps struggles to offer enough new content to make it worth picking up. If you don’t have many of the matches and you haven’t watched many WWE documentaries before, then definitely pick it up as it’s certainly interesting to learn about the history. Overall I would hope for another similar set in the future as there’s so much more to look at, but for now this will keep us entertained until we’re on that Road to Wrestlemania XXX. Here’s to the next fifty years!

History of WWE – 50 Years Of Sports Entertainment is available now on DVD and Blu-ray here

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