The latest of WWE’s personality-based DVDs, ‘D-Generation X’, is actually a re-release of a 1998 video release of the same name. Produced around the time of the growing popularity of ‘WWF Attitude’, this release, and its stablemate, ‘Cause Stone Cold So’ (a Steve Austin profile in the same vein) were two releases that became hardcore fans’ favourites at the time. For many years, non PPV WWF home videos had adopted the same mundane format – fill up a tape with as many ‘dark’ matches from WWF tv tapings, featuring name vs name matches being wrestled at half speed, as possible. These two releases broke the mould. They mirrored the WWF TV product at the time, and interspersed supposed ‘shoot’/reality based stuff featuring the personalities in question, with lots of in-ring clips and memorable skits, angles and interviews. They were the primitive forerunners of the WWE personality DVDs you see nowadays, produced at a time when the wrestling business wasn’t quite as open as it now is.
Length: 2 hours 45 minutes Approx
Disc 1 Chapters: 10 chapters. These are entitled:
- Obtaining Michael Cole’s Services;
- The Beginning of DX;
- Triple H;
- DX Uncensored;
- DX Make Some Noise;
- Shawn Michaels;
- DX & Tyson;
- New Age Outlaws;
- DX Invades WCW
Disc 1 Extras: Eight extras, entitled:
- Shawn Michaels vs Mankind – RAW 11/8/97;
- Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker & Mankind – RAW 18/8/97;
- Triple H vs Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart – RAW 6/10/97;
- Triple H vs Shawn Michaels – RAW 22/12/97;
- Shawn Michaels vs Owen Hart – RAW 29/12/97;
- Casket Match: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – ROYAL RUMBLE 18/1/98;
- Triple H & New Age Outlaws & Savio Vega vs Stone Cold Steve Austin & Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie & Owen Hart – NO WAY OUT 15/2/98;
- Triple H vs Owen Hart – RAW 17/3/98.
Highs & Lows
Watching this DVD, and having not seen the original for several years, I was apprehensive about how the 55 minute ‘documentary’ part would stand the test of time. As we all know, not everything from the late 1990s still does. No edits are made the original release, with only the obvious blurring of the ‘Attitude’ logo and of the initials ‘WWF’. It’s still totally watchable and doesn’t spoil your enjoyment.
The DVD begins with a younger, longer-haired Triple H hanging out with a very muscular Chyna in the stands of an arena, at a Raw taping, sometime in mid-1998. ‘Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn interrupts their conversation, and Hunter, in his wise-cracking, sarcastic, joking persona, tells him to go and pull out all sorts of DX footage from the production truck, in order to make ‘their video’. The DX entrance video from 1998 airs. We then find a young-looking Michael Cole in the ring, talking to someone out of shot. Hunter and Chyna basically bully him to narrate their new video, which links into the first round of ‘DX Hijinks’ clips – Cole getting a wedgy from HBK during an in-ring interview; Cole being thrown into the showers and being given a soaking by DX and Rick Rude (humorous because Cole almost cracks up laughing during the soaking and when the shower curtain breaks); HHH sticking chewing gum in Cole’s ear; and Cole taking a pratfall in the ring after being shoved. Cole’s narration then begins over more clips, with him making the point that it wasn’t just him that DX targeted. Clips aired of DX displaying their homemade, kayfabe-breaking signs whilst sitting on the entrance ramp; being obnoxious to then-babyface announcer Vince McMahon and Jim Ross; disrespecting Commissioner Sgt Slaughter by wearing riot helmets with moving windscreen wipers on them; and HBK picking his nose with the Canadian flag. Basically all the classic DX clips are included here.
In between the segments, Cole, Triple H and Chyna interact whilst making their way to the production truck outside. Cole acts enthusiastic about the project, coming up with ideas for what they can include, and Hunter and Chyna basically make fun of him. Cole then goes a good job narrating how DX was first formed. In a nutshell, Bret Hart (then a pro-Canadian, anti-American heel) had just become WWF Champion for the fifth time, after defeating Undertaker at Summerslam 1997. Michaels, a babyface, had been the special referee for the title match. They had been building towards a Michaels vs Hart match for months. In the finish of the Summerslam match, Michaels had tried to hit Hart with a chair, but had missed and hit ‘Taker by mistake, costing him the match and the title, as Michaels had to deliver the three count (this was before the rebellious days of referees screwing people). With a furious Undertaker after his blood, Michaels turned tweener/heel (he gradually became a heel) the day after Summerslam. At the same time, Hunter had been feuding with Mankind. A few weeks after Summerslam, Michaels vs Mankind main-evented Raw (this match is on the DVD extras). The finish of this match led to Commissioner Sgt Slaughter making the ‘reluctant partners’ match for the following week on Raw, with Michaels and Triple H facing Undertaker & Mankind (another match included as a DVD extra). Michaels and Triple H showed good teamwork together in the match, and the rest was history. Clips aired of Michaels’ famous victory over Davey Boy Smith at the U.K. ppv, ‘One Night Only’ in September 1997. From there, we saw the October 13th, 1997 promo from Raw, when the D-Generation X name was used for the first time. More clips aired, such as the ‘DX Barbeque’ promo from the day after Rumble’98; DX and ladies emerging from a hearse; and DX playing strip-poker in centre ring on Raw, before beating up the Head Bangers.
There are also some wrestling clips! Triple H’s feuds with Mankind and Sgt Slaughter are both profiled, as well as Michaels’ December 1997 ppv match with Ken Shamrock. A vignette profiling Chyna’s physical attributes also airs. The Mike Tyson storyline is recapped. Michaels’ Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker and Hunter’s feud with Owen Hart are also featured. Tons more clips of DX antics air, such as DX mooning the crowd on a Christmas Raw; the DX Presidential address; and DX peeing on DOA’s bikes backstage. At this point in the show, Cole, Hunter and Chyna reach the production truck, where they find the New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) and X-Pac, goofing around with the production equipment, ‘running the show’ in the truck. Cole answers the truck phone, and it was Shawn Michaels on the line. He passed the phone to Hunter, who promptly hung up on him. To a modern day viewer, that would make no sense, but back in 1998, the storyline was that Hunter had become leader of DX when Michaels had gone down with his back injury and left, and Hunter, having created the ‘new DX’, now didn’t want anything to do with Michaels.
Cole then narrates how the New Age Outlaws joined DX, with clips airing of the Outlaw’s dumpster angle with Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk under a stocking mask) on Raw, and their subsequent match at Wrestlemania 14. The final segment of ‘DX antics’ showcase probably their best known shenanigans – the invasion of WCW’s Atlanta offices, the CNN Center, and parading around outside a WCW Monday Nitro TV taping in April 1998. At the time, when there was such a thing as competition, and wrestlers couldn’t just seemingly flit from one promotion to another with ease, this was ground-breaking and mind-blowing stuff. It was so exciting to be a fan and seeing this unfold on a weekly basis as the two companies’ traded barbs and insults. This footage is great. The DVD then concludes with a brief clip of the DX Band singing a degenerate version of the U.S. national anthem at Wrestlemania 14.
Comments on other DVD features
The DVD includes eight extras, matches featuring DX members, Shawn Michaels and Triple H, from the time period August 1997 to March 1998. Here are some notes on each ‘extra’:
(1) Shawn Michaels vs Mankind – RAW 11/8/97 – This was Michaels’ first match back since his infamous non-scripted backstage brawl with Bret Hart back in June. Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are the announcers. It’s funny to hear them on commentary during this match, pushing the ‘ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997’ ppv that was scheduled for the following weekend (this was during the time period when the WWF featured several ECW performers on their programming, in order to create an interest in Raw and help the ratings). Michaels and Mankind have a great brawl here. This match also marks the debut of Ravishing Rick Rude as Shawn Michael’s ‘insurance policy’.
(2) Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker & Mankind – RAW 18/8/97 – This was the following week’s match. Funny sign in the crowd, “Lawler Got His Ass Kicked”, referencing Lawler’s appearance on the ECW ppv the previous day. Lots of hype for Michaels vs Undertaker at the next ppv, September’s ‘Ground Zero’, during this match. The finish of this match is great. Michaels’ nailed the Undertaker with some brutal looking chairshots, and Taker’s crimson mask is quite the sight to behold.
(3) Triple H vs Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart – RAW 6/10/97 – This is a huge rarity, the only known match between these two, anywhere. Not much of a match though, only 7 minutes in length, and HHH wins via count out, after Michaels superkicks Bret Hart behind the referee’s back. This match came the day after Brian Pillman had died. It’s also during this match that Michaels comes to ringside and picks his nose with the Canadian flag.
(4) Triple H vs Shawn Michaels – RAW 22/12/97 – This ‘match’ was for Michaels’ WWF European Title. Earlier on this (taped) Christmas-themed edition of Raw, Michaels and Triple H had mooned the crowd with ‘MERRY’ and ‘XMAS’ written on their bare butt cheeks. As punishment, Commissioner Sgt Slaughter had come out and forced the two of them to face each in a match on the main event of the show, and Michaels and Helmsley had teased dissension between the two of them the whole night. The show emanated from the 2500-seater Lowell, Massachusetts Memorial Auditorium (the same small arena at which Michaels had famously vacated the WWF Title to ‘search for his lost smile’ earlier in the year), so it made for a unique look and atmosphere. Jim Ross and Jim Cornette were the announcers for this match. This came during the Russo-inspired era of crazy gimmicks, and it had been quite the show. Cornette’s commentary was fairly tongue-in-cheek, and you could tell that what he was calling wasn’t to his wrestling tastes. Basically, Michaels and Helmsley lock up, Michaels immediately drops flat on his back, and Helmsley pins him to win the title. After the match, Michaels mockingly cries as if he’s upset, before both guys celebrate and frantically crotch chop at the watching Slaughter in the aisle way. Cornette’s sarcastic commentary on this was fantastic:
“It was a ruse, a ploy, a plot, a plan, a charade, a conspiracy, a sham! We’ve been conned, hoodwinked, bamboozled, flim-flammed, had the wool pulled over our eyes!…… Look at these jackasses. Michaels cries every time he comes to this town. He’s good at crying on cue.”
(5) Shawn Michaels vs Owen Hart – RAW 29/12/97 – This was Commissioner Sgt Slaughter’s revenge, the following week. It was a WWF Title defence by Michaels, against Owen Hart. Good match, lasting around eight minutes. The injured Helmsley (on crutches, as he’d sustained a legitimate dislocated kneecap injury the previous day at a house show) was involved in the finish here, hitting Owen with his crutch for the D.Q.
(6) Casket Match: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – ROYAL RUMBLE 18/1/98 – This was the match where Michaels’ suffered his near career-ending back injury, that would result in him only wrestling once more (at Wrestlemania 14) before he took a four year hiatus from the ring. Good match, 23 minutes in length. Inexplicably, the ending of the match is cut. The footage cuts out after Kane does a run in and supposedly saves Undertaker (when in fact he turns on him, throws him in the casket, winning the match for Michaels, and the proceeds to set the casket on fire).
(7) Triple H & New Age Outlaws & Savio Vega vs Stone Cold Steve Austin & Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie & Owen Hart – NO WAY OUT 15/2/98 – Spot the odd man out! Yes, Savio Vega takes Michaels’ place on the heel team, due to his back injury. The WWF were keeping the extent of Michaels’ injury very quiet as he was still a key on-air character, and Vega was a last minute replacement, after Michaels had previously been advertised for the show. Check out the live crowds’ reaction when Savio Vega is announced. They are less than pleased. This match starts off as a great brawl, before evolving into a regular eight man tag team match. Pretty good match, lasting 28 minutes in length. Austin stunners Chyna after the match, to a huge reaction (man-on-woman violence was rare in those days, and this was one of the first few occasions when Chyna sold for anyone).
(8) Triple H vs Owen Hart – RAW 17/3/98 – This was an impromptu match, for the WWF European Title. Owen Hart was the champion at the time, but was legitimately injured with a foot injury. He was at ringside, with his foot in a cast, doing guest color commentary. Triple H came out and mocked him, challenging him to a title match there and then. After Helmsley pie-faced him, Owen accepted, throwing water over Helmsley. This short match ended when Chyna came to ringside and nailed Owen with a baseball bat shot to his injured foot. Triple H then placed Owen Hart in a submission move and the referee stopped the match and awarded it and the title to Triple H.
The 55 minute profile/documentary part of the DVD is very good. If you’re a long time fan, it makes sense as long as you consider that it’s limiting DX history to the time period, August 1997 to April 1998. A newer fan, who only knows DX from what is currently on TV, may get confused. It’s well produced, and the video features are great. Every classic DX moment from the early days is included. The DVD extras are very beneficial, as they support the main documentary perfectly, particularly the first two extras. The inclusion of the No Way Out 1998 PPV main event is a nice touch, and is probably the best extra of the bunch, due to its’ length, being shown in its’ entirety, and the fact that so many well-known wrestlers are in the match. Plus the match itself is something of a rarity. As much as I like this DVD, my only gripe is the very fact that it is a ‘re-release’. It would have been nice to have a more thorough, updated release, exploring the entire history of DX and not just limiting DX to an eight month spell, from over eight years ago.
That said, I would recommend this DVD to anyone who never saw the original release, or for anyone interested in seeing TV matches from this time period. It’s a great trip down memory lane for long time fans, and a nice induction into what DX was like in their prime for newer fans.
Points: 8 / 10