The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment DVD Review

Disc 3 –

The Rock: Arguably the greatest ‘Third Generation Superstar’ in the history of our business. His late grandfather, ‘The High Chief’, was a Superstar. His dad, Rocky Johnson, a Tag Team Champion. This young man using the WWE as a springboard to Hollywood stardom but there’s one thing The Rock has never done, King, and I truly believe it is eating him alive, and that is on the grandest stage that our business has to offer The Rock has never defeated ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.”

(Jim Ross, WrestleMania XIX, 30/03/03)

Icon vs. Icon: Disc 3 kicks off with the background to possibly The Rock’s most famous ever match. Hollywood Hulk Hogan had returned following a nine year hiatus from the WWF, as part of the nWo giving fans the opportunity for a true‘Dream Match’ between two of the biggest names of all-time. It was a match many thought we would never see, right up there with Austin/Goldberg in terms of a ‘fantasy match’ fans talked about during the tail-end of The Monday Night War between the WWF and WCW and seeing the build-up again makes one remember how important it seemed at the time. We get footage from the classic in-ring segment from Raw the night after No Way Out 2002, complete with the obligatory one-liner from JR: “It looks like wrestling’s past about to meet wrestling’s future”…

The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania X8 (17/03/02): If the last match fell into the ‘Love It Or Hate It’ category then this match seemingly defines the category itself. This is a match that inspires strong feeling of love or hate, throughout both the internet  wrestling community and ‘mainstream’ wrestling journalism (it may be the only match I’ve seen nominated for ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ match of all time in various polls). One thing is for certain: whenever it is mentioned you are guaranteed to get a variety of reactions to it. Some claim that Hogan, the heel, went out of his way to get cheered to “make The Rock look bad”; others argue it wasn’t really necessary considering this was Hogan’s first WrestleMania since IX  and  return to Toronto’s SkyDome site of one of his most famous WrestleMania matches ‘The Ultimate Challenge’ at WrestleMania VI (in which he lost the WWF Title to The Ultimate Warrior) and that Hogan was going to get plenty of support whoever he wrestled). Some say that not only did it have a great big match feel but that the ‘work’ of match surpassed expectations as far as in-ring performances went; others claim Hogan looked barely mobile pointing to several poorly executed or botched moves (including a missed kick in the corner). I could go back-and-forth with the various points and counter-points all day, but instead I’ll just say whatever your opinion on this match it was certainly a spectacle.

Most of the 68,237 who travelled to Toronto that Saint Patrick’s Day seemed to enjoy themselves, and the ‘Big Match Atmosphere’ is apparent before they even lock-up. Jerry Lawler compares it to getting to see Mike Tyson against Muhammad Ali or Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds, in their respective primes with one important difference: “We’ll never see Tyson and Ali, we’ll never see Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds but we are going to get to witness The Rock and The Hulk, only at WrestleMania!!!” In some ways the reaction to this match, mirrors the reaction to Hogan in general. As JR puts it: “You can love him or you can hate him and there’s a lot of these fans here in SkyDome that love this legendary figure: Hollywood Hulk Hogan.” That turns out to be the understatement of the year as a BOOMING chant of “Hogan! Hogan!” from the start. In the interest of fairness, Rock did have his supporters but they were drowned out by the assembled Hulkamaniacs (prior to the match the announcers had been told some pro-Hogan reaction was expected and to acknowledge it after but this was bigger than anyone expected).

Hogan dominates early on using his “You ain’t nothin’ Meatball” taunt from his character Thunderlips in Rocky III , before this Rocky (Maivia not Balboa) makes a comeback with a flying clothesline and the boos start already as he performs his trademark “Just Bring It!” hand-signal. This reaction set the tone for the rest of the match. Was the match itself any good? I’ll admit the match had an awkward feel to some of the exchanges but as far as the “Hogan looked awful” argument goes, I have to say Hulk’s offence consisting of elbow drops, back rakes, a back suplex and an abdominal stretch didn’t look bad. It was when he was on defence, i.e. required to take bumps/sell moves, that things looked awkward. A ref bump allowed some false finishes as Rock used the Sharpshooter for a visible tap out win to a chant of “Rocky Sucks!”… but with no ref it gave ‘Hollywood’ enough time to recover and deliver a low-blow followed by his version of the Rock Bottom for another visible fall, but by the time the ref got there it only secured a two. Both took turns whipping each other like Government Mules with Hollywood’s trademark weight-lifting belt. Interestingly (but not surprisingly by this point) the crowd cheered when Hogan did it but booed when it was Rock’s turn. The finish resembled the dramatic closing moments of ‘The Ultimate Challenge’: Hogan kicked out of a Rock Bottom, Hulked-Up and delivered TheBigBoot and a Legdrop for a pinfall attempt of his own but this time Rock was able to kick out. As ‘The Hulkster’ took to the air with a second Ledgdrop, ‘The Great One’ moved out of the way and followed up with two Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow for the win.

Refreshingly, this was the first match since the very first match on the set ( Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Rocky Maivia, 13/02/97) that didn’t involve some kind of outside interference. It does however include the post-match angle where Scott Hall and Kevin Nash attack their former nWo comrade and Rock helps ‘The Hulkster’ out thus cementing Hogan’s babyface turn. The post-match handshake (“A handshake that will be remembered for many, MANY  years to come!”) and celebration is included. Historically, WrestleMania has featured the biggest matches of the year with the emphasis more on presenting a larger-than-life spectacle than a workrate classic and this match wasn’t short of spectacle. Love it or hate it, I’d safely call this a match everyone should see at some point whether they end up enjoying it or not.

Rating: ***¼  (Atmosphere: *****)

Triple Threat: We get the build-up to his match at Vengeance. There isn’t much to say here other than The Rock was back for three months that summer before leaving again to finish filming Welcome To The Jungle/The Rundown.

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Undisputed Championship – Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. The Rock, Vengeance (21/07/02): In 2008, this match isn’t so much ‘Love It Or Hate It’ as just plain forgotten. At the time it was quite the talking point however being hailed as not only a ‘Match Of The Year Contender’ but one of the best matches of the decade (to that point). Whilst inevitably overshadowed by Chris Benoit’s emotional title win against Triple H and Shawn Micheals at WrestleMania XX and the following month’s rematch at Backlash 2004, this match still has a small following who regard it as the best Triple Threat Match the promotion has ever done… Yet interestingly enough, it is rarely mentioned today.

In many ways this match was the template for the workrate-orientated, ‘chained-spots’ style that became synonymous with the WWE Main Event style into the mid-2000’s. That style has its share of positives and negatives, but here they make it work because it relies on three very distinct, and over, characters with their own trademark mannerisms and moves. They go through most of them here and also mimick each other along the way. All three were on top form: Undertaker was in his short-haired, heel, biker phase and the defending Undisputed Champion, ‘The Dead Man’ looks very slim here, moves incredibly quickly and isn’t afraid to mix things up a bit – including a rather unique variation of ‘Old School’; Kurt Angle is in full-on ‘Suplex Machine’ mode and plays a central role in keeping the action moving at a swift pace; and The Rock entered a strong performance typical of him in this era.  It’s funny how The Rock seemed to get better and better in-ring coinciding with the further his career moved away from wrestling (if he came back today he’d probably be the best wrestler in the world!). The ‘workrate’ here is very strong as they hardly stop for a breath delivering lots of punching, big bumps, comedy (thanks to Your Olympic Hero), blood (again courtesy of the Olympian), low-blows, a chair-shot, a ref bump and more false finishes than you can shake a stick at. Somehow they also manage to exchange taunts which each other as this is all going on. Its funny to see them all using each others moves as Rock chokeslams The Undertaker, then Angle Locks Angle’s ankle, before Angle Rock Bottoms Rock, and Undi’ Angle Slams Angle! Whilst the match is clearly built around big moves and high-spots it’s the way they are able to transition between them that makes it all ‘click’. In the end it was ‘The Brahma Bull’ delivering a Rock Bottom to Angle to become a record-breaking seven time WWF/E Heavyweight Champion. This match marked The Rock’s first pay-per-view match since his WrestleMania win over Hogan and he did so in style. At 19:35 it is given enough time for it not to seem rushed despite the frenetic pace and is easily the most underrated match any of the three have been in. I think the main reason it isn’t that widely remembered is because in the grand scheme of things it was just a way to set up Rock putting over Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam the following month.

Rating: ****¼

Just Bring It: This is yet another match that comes from ‘the next night on Raw’ following a significant pay-per-view match involving ‘The Great One’. The voiceover talks about Rock’s challengers during his final title reign and puts over Eddie Guerrero as one of Rock’s best opponents during this period. Those who remember this match will be disappointed to learn that it doesn’t include the Eddie promo which set up this match, where Guerrero talked about taking down his daughters’ Scorpion King poster because they should support their dad (“I think I’m going to send them one just for the hell of it!”, JR).

The Rock vs. Eddie Guerrero, RAW (22/07/02): From one underrated match to another, the action is quick, there is some silky smooth wrestling from both, and you can almost feel the charisma coming from the two in the ring. Eddie was such a good sneaky heel at this point. From the way he worked the crowd during his entrance, to the ‘Latino Heat’ character, to his facial expressions to the way he alternated between power moves, ariel attacks and slowing down The Rock with a chin-lock, he really brought a lot to the table. Lots of nice counter moves further illustrate how ‘complete’ a wrestler Eddie was when he was on form. After countering a Rock Bottom, Guerrero misses the Frog Splash and suffers the spinebuster/People’s Elbow combo for another Rock victory.

Based on this ‘Latino Heat’ and The Rock showed they had some real chemistry together so it’s a shame we never got a proper program between them. Not long enough to be a classic, this was still a really fun TV main event.

Rating: ***¼

Third Time’s A Charm?: The reasons behind The Rock’s heel turn (he was getting booed for having ‘turned his back on wrestling’ during his summer 2002 run) are ignored and in fact from watching this you don’t even learn that he did turn heel upon his return in early 2003. What we do learn is that for The Rock to move on, there was one thing left for him to accomplish: defeat ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin at WrestleMania and we see highlights of the two previous WrestleMania matches (XV and X-7) between the two.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, WrestleMania XIX (30/03/03): Fittingly, the last match of the set is the third match in the Austin/Rock WrestleMania Trilogy bringing us full circle to the end of Disc 1. As far as mixed reactions go, nothing may top the discussion relating to Rock/Hogan at WrestleMania X8 but if anything comes close its Rock’s match from the following year’s show. Many consider this to be the weakest of their three WrestleMania matches, but a small but vocal minority of others argue it was in fact the best of the bunch. This was Steve Austin’s last match. ‘The Bionic Redneck’ was in bad shape at the time having spent the previous night in hospital and was unable to do much beyond basic very basic punch-stomp-Stunner offence. The result is that if the previous two bouts were more of an ‘Austin Match’ in terms of him ‘leading’ the action, this was The Rock’s match both in result and in terms of carrying most of the work so I suppose a lot of whether you like it depends on whether you’re a fan of The Rock or not. Another problem is that it’s inevitably compared to the match at WrestleMania X-7, where they went into the match as the top two babyfaces in the company. Compared to that match people say it doesn’t have as good a structure or enough “wrestling” being more of a punch-kick brawl. Personally, I think this one is far closer to their match at WrestleMania XV, both of which were built mainly around of brawling and finishing moves with a definite heel in The Rock. It also evokes memories of Rock’s match with Hulk Hogan from the previous WrestleMania in terms of him having to create most of the ‘movement’ in the match with a physically limited opponent.

The Rock’s short-lived wrestler-turned-arrogant Hollywood movie star gimmick was a ton of fun and a noticeable departure from the way he worked during his 1999-2002 babyface run as he combined elements of his ‘Corporate Champ’ days (such as the long, slow walk to the ring), with the more workrate-orientated style of his later babyface days, and then added in something new to create one of the most entertaining gimmicks of the past few years. He is able to carry this arrogance through to the match, where he mocks Austin even going so far as to wear ‘The Bionic Redneck’s’ jacket as he lays the smack down on him.  The match itself has a slightly odd structure but the red-hot crowd and some good commentary really add to it. For all the criticism they have taken over the past few years this is an example of how well Ross and Lawler can work at adding to the ‘Big Match Feel’ of the contest from the long entrances to finish, in one of Ross’ sharpest performances of recent years (“This is some serious ass impact! BOOM! Flesh on flesh, body on body.. Nothin’ pretty about that! A hellacious physicality on display!”). They play-off their previous matches via a long brawl down the aisle, use of the Sharpshooter, and delivering their own versions of each others’ finishing move. Ultimately, it takes three Rock Bottoms for The Rock to FINALLY… get a pinfall victory over ‘Stone Cold’ at WrestleMania.

In many ways the match brought closure not just to Austin’s career but to an era in wrestling: with Rock already successful actor by this point this was one last chance to revisit the classic Austin-Rock feud that had existed in many forms in the WWF from late 1997-2001 and often been the highlights of the promotion during that period. It’s a shame Austin shot down the ‘Career vs. Career’ stipulation that was suggested by Creative because I can guarantee the match would be better remembered if it had been used. Still, for whatever short-comings it might have this was still an entertaining spectacle, which only added to one of the better WrestleManias they’ve ever done. And lets face it, like him or not, The Rock deserved the win here for putting Austin over all those times in the past.

Rating: ****

Transcending Sports Entertainment: The main feature concludes with a nice little summary of The Rock’s career, reminding us that “The Rock is unquestionably headed for the WWE Hall Of Fame” and highlighting of the strengths that made him such a star with lots of clips of his best catchphrases, angles, eyebrow raises, and trademark moves. The DVD ends by boldly stating “His place in Sports Entertainment, will be forever recognised” followed by ‘The Great One’ himself reminding us: “Vince McMahon didn’t make The Rock. Hell, The Rock didn’t even make The Rock. The People made The Rock.”

Promos:

Apparently this year’s Royal Rumble is going to be different from all the rest because apparently there’s not just going to be one winner of the Royal Rumble, EVERYONE is going to win the Royal Rumble. Steve Austin told The Rock he’s going to win the Royal Rumble. Kurt Angle told The Rock he’s going to win the Royal Rumble. Undertaker, Triple H – they’re all going to win the Royal Rumble, Big Show, Booker T… Hell, The Rock even just got a postcard from that sick freak Goldust saying he’s going to win the Royal Rumble!

(The Rock, SmackDown! January 17, 2002)

Let’s face it: it wouldn’t be a Rock DVD without some interviews…

Heat July 11, 1999 – “Billy’s Prayer to God”: This was the first time I’d seen this promo since it was shown on Sunday Night Heat at the time. It is a great example of The Rock’s early post-Corporation promo work which was basically a babyface version of the storytelling, audience participation, ‘Sing-Along With The Great One’, style he perfected as ‘The Corporate Champ’. We get a two-in-one as Rock sets up his matches at Fully Loaded and SummerSlam ’99 in one segment as ‘The Great One’ insults  Triple H, whom he had beaten in a Cage match on the previous week’s Raw (see: Disc 2), and Mr. Ass who had attacked him afterwards. The highlight is ‘God’ getting Billy Gunn’s name wrong.

RAW August 9, 1999 – “The Big Slow”: Rock mocks Big Show, ripping into his gimmick, his ability and his theme song in one of  the highlights of the entire DVD. If it seems short (and it does) that is because this was the set-up for the Millenium Clock to countdown to Chris Jericho’s debut. Unfortunately this debut and The Rock’s subsequent verbal exchange with Y2J isn’t included… Although I suppose that would have more place on a Jericho DVD set (hopefully I’ll be reviewing one of them in the future!). Short and to the point.

RAW September 6, 1999 – “My Name is Kane”: Another short interview segment, mocks Kane’s new-found ability to talk via an electronic voicebox. This seems to be here as an example of The Rock’s standard ‘take opponent’s gimmick’, “shine it up real nice”, “turn that sumb**** sideways”, “stick it straight up your candy-a**” promo that we all remember him for.

RAW November 15, 1999 – “Doughnuts”: The night after Steve Austin was run over at Survivor Series ’99, the investigating police officers commit the cardinal sin of interrupting Rock’s backstage interview on Raw to inform him that it was his rental car that was used in the attack on ‘Stone Cold’. ‘The Great One’ is on top form here and we get some excellent set-ups to his trademark catchphrases here as well as few other memorable one-liners (“Write it down, you like writing things down”).

SmackDown! August 10, 2000 – “Hermie”: Reigning WWF Champion The Rock accuses interviewer Kevin Kelly of being “an ugly hermaphrodite” and nicknames him “Hermie”.

RAW December 4, 2000 – “Armageddon Opponents”: This is one of The Rock’s most famous interviews. From the Raw prior to Armageddon 2000  he imitates his five opponents (Kurt Angle, Rikishi, Triple H, Undertaker, and Steve Austin) in that coming Sunday’s Six-Pack Hell In A Cell. This interview is something of a classic, thanks in particular to Rock’s dead-on impression of cousin Rikishi (“Or maybe The Rock is going to face Rikishi, beat Rikishi: ‘I did it for De Rock. I did it for De People, I did it… I du’… Ah, shut your mouth you thong-wearin’ fatty!”). It’s a good example of how a promo can be both funny and make you want to see the match its promoting, ending on a high note hinting at the main event of the next year’s WrestleMania (“…Or maybe The Rock has got to beat… >puts on ‘Stone Cold’ baseball cap< ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin? Which means I gotta get in pick-up truck, drink some Steveweisers, listen to some Backstreet Boys… And THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE, ‘cause ‘The Great One’ said so!”)

RAW August 13, 2001 – “Thomas Jefferson Sucka”: The Rock and Chris Jericho confront Stephanie McMahon, Booker T and Rhyno at the height of the Invasion storyline. Its worth noting this is part Rock promo (obviously), part Jericho promo (which is a good thing), and part Stephanie promo (which is a very bad thing). Booker makes the mistake of saying he is going to ‘take The Rock to school’ which sets up ‘The Brahma Bull’ mocking him for taking the “short bus” (highlight: The Rock saying “Meep meep! Meep meep!” > dramatic pause / shot of angry Booker about to explode < “Meep  meep!”) and impressions of Little Booker T answering questions in class (“Do you know the answer Booker?”).

RAW September 10, 2001 – “The People’s Strudel”: Michael Cole is caught looking at “The People’s Strudel” after ‘The Great One’ got out of the shower. Rock mocks him for it and Cole looks like he’s going to cry.

SmackDown! September 20, 2001 – “Great Balls of Fire”: With first ballot Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer Jerry Lee Lewis in attendance, The Rock talks about Beale Street, treats the crowd in Memphis to his own rendition of Lewis’ classic (complete with references to The Rock’s privates).

SmackDown! January 3, 2002 – “Copacabana”: The first SmackDown! of 2002 sees The Coach admit to liking Barry Manilow. Predictably The Rock makes fun of his for it, including the all-time classic one-liner: “Copa your ass on outta her, Jabroni!”

SmackDown! January 17, 2002 – “Camera Man”: In one of the better promos on the set, The Rock runs down the potential winners for the 2002 Royal Rumble (see above) before stopping, looking at the camera and informing us…

This jabroni holdin’ the camera just whispered to The Rock he is going to win the Royal Rumble! Give The Rock the camera, give The Rock the camera.

>Camera Man hands The Rock the camera<

Unclip yourself jabroni, unclip yourself. Good. Now stand your candy ass in front of The Rock

>Close Up on Camera Man’s face (to a BOOMING “Rocky! Rocky!” chant)<

Does this jabroni look like a man who’s going to win the Royal Rumble?

SmackDown! January 24, 2002 – “The Charleston”: One week after the Rumble, The Rock makes The Coach dance The Charleston after Jonathon Coachman commits the cardinal sin of not paying attention during ‘The Great One’s’ promo.

No Way Out February 17, 2002 – “NWO”: The Rock buries (in storyline terms) the nWo six feet under before any of them have had the chance to wrestle, in hilarious fashion. Although short some regard this as one of the best promos of Rocky’s entire career.

SmackDown! July 11, 2002 – “Busta Rhymes”: This one however is definitely not short. Busta Rhymes makes an appearance on SmackDown! to promote his role in Halloween: Resurrection (2002) which came out the next day. The Rock and Rhymes sing their version The Drifters’ 1964 hit Under The Boardwalk. As far as random celebrity appearances go it’s not as horrible as some made out at the time but it lasts too long, taking away from the segment (… then again maybe I’m biased because I saw The Drifters last Wednesday).

RAW March 10, 2003 – “The Superhero”: The penultimate promo comes from Rock’s highly-praised 2003 ‘Hollywood’ heel run. ‘The Great One’ is backstage playing guitar when The Hurricane pops up and confronts him about their match (“The biggest match ever on Raw Superhero vs. Superhero”) that night: “All Superpowers go”. These two had a three or four week mini-feud, during which ‘The Great One’ showed how his star power could rub off on someone during what was to The Rock a meaningless program (Helms received bigger pops in the weeks following this series of interactions… Shame they didn’t do anything with him afterwards). The Rock is on top form as he mocks Hurricane for being ‘The Hamburgler’ asking “Hey whatcha gonna do> Throw a Chicken McNugget at The Rock? You gonna hit The Rock in the head with a Chesseburger?” Funny stuff.

RAW June 21, 2004 – “Miami Dolphins”: The retired Rock makes one of his last appearances to date in his old hometown, mocking his old University team The Hurricanes and NFL squad The Dolphins many of whom are seated in the front row: “You all make twenty million dollars a year and got on free Nike gear!”

The One-Liners: In one of the highlights of the DVD we end with a near ten minute long collection of clips from various promos. Featuring a fair few repeats, there is nonetheless some hilarious material here one of the highlights being from his feud with the late British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith (“Well The Rock says, your bark quite frankly sounds exactly like this: ‘Ick ick ick ick ick ick! Ick ick ick ick ick ick!’”) before moving into individual sections of ‘The Great One’: insulting opponents; humiliating announcers, referees and members of the production crew; singing and playing music; doing – mostly very good – impressions (including Test, The Big Show, Scott Hall, Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Rikishi, Kevin Nash, Kane, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Billy Gunn, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart); and raising ‘The People’s Eyebrow’.

TheBigBoot’s Fun Fact: The Rock wrestled all the wrestlers he imitates here with the exception of Savage.

TheBigBoot’s Best Match: Hmmmn, it depends which version of the Rock you like and what you’re looking for dramatic WrestleMania main events, “Attitude Era” brawls, fast-paced workra… Ah, forget it! As the man himself would say, “It doesn’t matter!”

TheBigBoot’s Most Memorable Quote:

Big Show you think you impressed The Rock? Let The Rock make something perfectly clear to you: is you have never… And The Rock means >audience chant: “NEVER!”< EVER impressed The Rock  from the time your crappy music hits: ‘Well It’s The Big Slow’ and every single one of The Rock’s fans stops… pauses… and takes a look and they all say this: ‘Ah, I’m going to take a leak this guy sucks!

(The Rock)

Conclusion

The main two criticisms relating to this DVD were not unexpected. Most obvious is that it doesn’t feature any comments from Dwayne Johnson/The Rock, instead relying on a narrator to provide info on each section of his career before introducing the next match. That they couldn’t get ‘The Great One’ to record a sit-down interview isn’t unexpected but it still leaves the DVD feeling like it is lacking something. Another obvious but unavoidable problem is that the bulk of The Rock’s best years coincided with the infamous ‘‘Attitude Era’’-style ‘scratch’ logo, meaning there is plenty of blurring going on. Fortunately the blurred logos don’t detract too much from the action but I’m aware plenty of you find that annoying. Verbally it does lead to some amusing editing that makes it sound like the announcers are swearing: “The Rock has defeated Kurt Angle to once again become the >censored< Champion” (Jim Ross, No Way Out 2001). Of course Hogan’s music at WrestleMania X8 has been edited as well.

As far as match quality goes, whilst the standard is generally high we run into another problem associated mainly with those from the “Attitude Era” namely that they are overbooked and the constant low-blows, chair-shots, ref bumps, run-ins/outside interference (mainly from Chyna, Big Show and members of the McMahon family) get a bit repetitive after a while. That’s not to say those things can’t add to a match when used correctly but other times they are just unnecessary. On the plus side, watching the matches in order makes it interesting to see how The Rock’s style evolved from his early babyface work, to more of a brawling style, to incorporating more moves, to being able to carry a match. If anything, I think it shows The Rock was more versatile than he was given credit for since he seemed to change his style to suit the times so in the “Attitude Era” he went from a distinctly average brawler in early 1998 to one of the very best at that punch-kick style by a year later, then when the Federation moved to a more ‘workrate’ orientated style in 2000-2001 he was smart enough to add more wrestling moves into his repertoire (his summer long feud with Chris Benoit in 2000 playing an important part in that).

The actual choice of matches here is pretty good. Normally I have a long list of matches that could have been included, but in this case a lot of The Rock’s big matches are on here and with the ones that aren’t I can fully see the reasons behind leaving them off. Obviously, Chris Benoit (Fully Loaded 2000)falls into persona no grata territory and Brock Lesnar (SummerSlam ’02 which was all about putting Brock over)isn’t far behind so two of The Rock’s better singles PPV matches are automatically out. Recent efforts to avoid repeating the same matches on multiple compilations affects The Rock’s other famous matches namely: the Ladder Match with Triple H (on The Ladder Match), the violent ‘I Quit!’ Royal Rumble with Mankind (on Mick Foley: Greatest Hits & Misses), or the Backlash ’99 and WrestleMania X-7 main eventswith Steve Austin (on The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin). Meanwhile, The Rock’s only appearance inside Hell In The Cell at Armaggedon 2000 is due to appear on the upcoming Hell In A Cell DVD. In fact the only obvious omission is the Iron Man Match with Triple H from Judgement Day 2000… but when you consider that match lasted over an hour (including entrances, etc.) you can see why it was omitted. That said whilst it gets The Rock’s big matches right, the choice of television matches is at times puzzling. Just off the top of my head, they could have included Austin versus The Rock from the night after Survivor Series ’98, Rock and Big Show’s cracking pre-WrestleMania XV match with Austin and Mankind, or maybe even the chance to see the top two stars in Rock and Austin teaming against The New Age Outlaws from October 1999 all of which were bigger matches than something like the rather random matches with Owen Hart and Kane. It wouldn’t have hurt to have included at least one of the matches from his year-long (1997-98) feud with Ken Shamrock either.

Even more puzzling is the choice of interviews which for some reason start in July 1999 when The Rock had already been a three time WWF Champion and was now a very over top babyface. As a result we never get to see how his promo style made him popular since we jump right in when he was alreadyvery over and competent on the mic. It’s shocking they didn’t include any of his early promos from The Nation, as the Corporate Champion, his feuds with Mankind and Steve Austin, etc.Not event “The Most Electryinging Eulogy In Sports Entertainment” from the Raw before Backlash ’99 made it. They didn’t include either of ‘The Rock Concerts’ from his 2003 heel run either.

The lack of interviews with the man himself will no doubt disappoint some but with a strong line-up of matches and some entertaining promos you would be hard pressed not to enjoy most of it. It’s not perfect, but its certainly a lot of fun. If there was any doubt that he was ‘The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment’ in nine hours of footage we see that The Rock could wrestle, act, sing, play guitar, cut promos and entertain the millions… And MILLIONS, of The Rock’s fans like very few before or since.

Points: 8.5 / 10

Buy It:

UK: DVD

USA: DVD

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