The Best of WWE at Madison Square Garden DVD Review

wwe-msg-dvd-set

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 7hrs 7mins (427mins)

Discs: 3

Disc 1

  • 50 Years of History
  • Ivan Koloff
  • 8th February, 1971 – WWE Championship Match: Ivan Koloff v Pedro Morales
  • Bruno Sammartino
  • 27th June, 1977 – WWE Championship Match: Superstar Billy Graham v Bruno Sammartino
  • Bob Backlund
  • 19th May, 1980 – Texas Death Match for the WWE Championship: Bob Backlund v Ken Patera
  • Harley Race
  • 22nd September, 1980 – Match for the Undisputed Heavyweight Wrestling Championship: WWE Champion, Bob Backlund v NWA Champion, Harley Race
  • The Iron Sheik
  • 23rd January, 1984 – WWE Championship Match: The Iron Sheik v Hulk Hogan
  • Sgt. Slaughter
  • 16th June, 1984 – Boot Camp Match: Sgt. Slaughter v The Iron Sheik

Disc 2

  • A Date Forever Etched in History
  • Vince McMahon
  • (WrestleMania) 31st March, 1985 – Hulk Hogan & Mr. T v “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
  • Bob Uecker
  • 10th August, 1985 – Andre the Giant & “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff v “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & “Cowboy” Bob Orton
  • The Miz
  • (SummerSlam) 29th August, 1988 – Intercontinental Championship Match: Honky Tonk Man v The Ultimate Warrior
  • Bret Hart
  • (SummerSlam) 26th August, 1991 – Intercontinental Championship Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart v Mr. Perfect
  • Howard Finkel
  • (WrestleMania X) 20th March, 1994 – Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels v Razor Ramon
  • Kevin Nash
  • 26th November, 1994 – WWE Championship Match: Bob Backlund v Diesel

Disc 3

  • Under The Iconic Lights
  • The Rock
  • (Survivor Series) 17th November, 1996 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Rocky Maivia, “Wildman” Marc Mero, The Stalker, & Jake “The Snake” Roberts v Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Crush, Goldust, & Jerry “The King” Lawler
  • Vince McMahon
  • (Raw) 22nd September, 1997 – Stone Cold Stuns The Boss
  • Mick Foley
  • (Raw) 22nd September, 1997 – Falls Count Anywhere Match: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v Cactus Jack
  • Jim Ross
  • (Royal Rumble) 23rd January, 2000 – 1st Ever Tag Team Tables Match: The Dudley Boyz v The Hardy Boyz
  • Daniel Bryan
  • (Raw) 7th August, 2000 – #1 Contender Triple Threat Match: Triple H v Kurt Angle v Chris Jericho
  • Booker T
  • (Raw) 25th June, 2001 – Booker T Attacks Mr. McMahon
  • Triple H
  • (Raw) 7th January, 2002 – Triple H Returns
  • Big Show
  • (WrestleMania XX) 14th March, 2004 – United States Championship Match: Big Show v John Cena
  • Trish Stratus
  • (Raw) 11th September, 2006 – Trish Stratus v Mickie James
  • John Cena
  • (Royal Rumble) 27th January, 2008 – John Cena Returns in the Royal Rumble Match
  • Shawn Michaels
  • (Raw) 16th November, 2009 – Triple Threat Tag Team Match: D-Generation-X v Jeri-Show v John Cena & The Undertaker
  • Great Moments Happen Here

MSG.

Madison Square Garden.

Whether you call it by the initials or the full name, if you are a follower of boxing or wrestling, the name alone evokes memories and expectations in equal measure.

Of course, in wrestling circles, Madison Square Garden is the home of WWE, due to the way the the people operating the venue ran it. Basically, they would only licence one promotion to provide them with wrestling content and this has always been WWE since the company’s creation.

Since 1963, when it was known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation, through its runs as the World Wrestling Federation to the modern-day WWE, “The Garden” always seems to have a special place in the hearts of wrestlers and fans alike. WWE also tend to push the boat out themselves when it comes to events in MSG, with at least one memorable happening taking place per show.

The layout for most WWE shows also helped (at least until the latest renovation) as the entranceway was located directly opposite the hard-cam instead of the usual position of the left side of the screen. This created a unique look and for the 2000 and 2008 Royal Rumbles added an extra dimension to the countdown / appearance of the next entrant.

This set covers from 1971 to 2009 and features a raft of performers making their name as only they know how. This takes the form of title changes, crazy stunts, “you had to be there / see it live on TV” moments, historic debuts and three WrestleManias, two Summerslam, two Royal Rumbles, one Survivor Series and numerous RAWs.

Taking the format of the recent Top 25 Rivalries DVD, the chronological rundown has a single talking-head discuss “The Garden” and then we have a match or a moment relating to that performer. It worked very well before and it works very well here.

There are a fair number of complete matches on here, with some providing the younger fans a great history lesson and the others being a great trip down memory lane for the rest of us… although how far that lane is depends on how old you are.

In addition to the matches, there are some great segments from RAW, including the first ever Stunner on McMahon, Triple H’s absolutely electrifying return in 2002 and the fantastic WWE debut of Cactus Jack (which features one of the greatest and most creative pre-match promos in history).

Overview

What an amazing DVD collection. The history lesson is great (albeit slightly revised as WWE are wont to do), the matches and segments are worthy of inclusion and the talking-heads all relay how much Madison Square Garden means to them, how symbolic the venue is and how important to the growth of the company those three letters represent.

However, there are issues. Picture / sound quality on some of the earlier bouts is rather poor, if not unexpectedly so. The original commentators are not present for some of the matches either, meaning Jim Ross fills in where required (and does a good job, for the record).

As the set begins in 1971, there is literally nothing at all of Bruno Sammartino’s record-breaking championship reign and run as box-office king at MSG. We do get a match featuring him against Billy Graham (who is as charismatic as they come in his prime), but this is not the Bruno we should have been seeing. Of course, this may be down to the quality of the footage, but it is still a glaring omission to have.

Also strangely absent is the barnburner of a Street Fight between Cactus Jack and Triple H at Royal Rumble 2000. This is another glaring omission, which can’t be attributed to to the graphic nature of the bout (which would be a no-no in this era), the unprotected chairshots and the fact we had just had a match between the two, as there are matches from the early days with chairs and blood aplenty.

WWE gets a lot of stick and some of it is warranted, but when you realise that they have been going for 50yrs this year it soon becomes apparent that maybe Vince McMahon knows what he’s doing after all. This collection encompasses that perfectly and if you are a fan of WWE, a fan of wrestling or a fan of wrestling history, you need to own this.

The only reason this does not get full-marks is because a lot of the content is repeated from other releases and the wealth of footage WWE must have in their vaults from MSG events mean another set is should be a given. That being said, we’ve all seen the powerbomb from Diesel to Backlund that won him the title, but I believe this is the first time that the entire segment (entrances, match, post-match) has been shown.

It also gets a mark on its own as we finally have Vince McMahon giving a reason for calling it Sports Entertainment rather than pro-wrestling.

If you buy the Blu-Ray version, you get the following additional content -:

Blu-ray Exclusive

  • Gerald Brisco
  • 12th July, 1986 – Steel Cage Match: Bruno Sammartino & Tito Santana vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage & “Adorable” Adrian Adonis
  • Ted DiBiase
  • 29th December, 1991 – Intercontinental Championship Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
  • Alberto Del Rio
  • (Survivor Series) 20th November, 2011 – WWE Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
  • Extra Stories
    • Trish Stratus
    • Ken Patera
    • Mr. Fuji
    • Road Warrior Animal
    • Barry Windham
    • Koko B. Ware
    • Ricky Steamboat
    • Sika
    • Rocky Johnson
    • Edge
    • Brooklyn Brawler
  • Vince McMahon MSG Walk of Fame Induction

Points: 9/10

Buy It:

UK: DVD / Blu-ray

USA: DVD / Blu-ray

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