DVD Review: WWE WrestleMania XXX

wwe-wrestlemania-30-dvd

Certificate: 12

Running Time: 233mins (3hrs 53mins excluding extras)

Discs: 3

Disc 1 Chapters

  • Hulk Hogan Welcomes the WWE Universe to WrestleMania
  • Winner Enters the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan v Triple H
  • Six-Man Tag Team Match: The Shield v Kane & New Age Outlaws
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
  • John Cena v Bray Wyatt
  • Introducing the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 Inductees
  • Undertaker v Brock Lesnar

Disc 2 Chapters

  • Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational
  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton v Batista v Daniel Bryan
  • 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (part 1)

Lita
– Jake “The Snake” Roberts
– Mr. T
– Paul Bearer

Disc 3 Chapters

  • 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (part 2)

– Razor Ramon
– Carlos Colon
– Ultimate Warrior

Extras

  • Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos v Los Matadores v Real Americans v Ryback & Curtis Axel
  • Top 30 Greatest WrestleMania Moments
  • Hulk Hogan Discusses WrestleMania
  • Triple H & Stephanie McMahon Reveal the WrestleMania Set
  • Batista Reflects on His Return to WWE
  • Randy Orton Speaks On Becoming the Face of WWE
  • The History of Andre the Giant
  • The Streak v The Beast
  • A Look at Hulk Hogan’s Storied Career
  • John Cena Confronts His Fears
  • AJ Lee v The World

After a rather crazy opening video (well, we were in N’Orleans and it did allow us to hear the late, great Gorilla Monsoon again), to have a WrestleMania start without a rendition of America the Beautiful for the second year in a row makes me think that WWE may have abandoned that tradition, perhaps as it embraces the “World” part of the name. Of course, they probably know that a lot of the WrestleMania crowd is not from the US… or perhaps I’m over-thinking things.

Anyway, in place of the national anthem, we get WrestleMania’s host Hulk Hogan coming out first to welcome everyone to the Silverdome, only to get booed. He then says how great it is to be here in the Silverdome, only to be booed again. Finally realising he’s in the Superdome, he corrects himself and gets the crowd back with some well-timed self-deprication. As if Hogan popping the roof off the building with “Real American” (which gave me goosebumps on the night… and again when reviewing this set) wasn’t enough, he’s then joined by Steve Austin… and then they are joined by The Rock.

Hulk Hogan walking to the ring to the strains of “I AM A REAL AMERICAN…”, for me, is and always will be what WrestleMania is for me. To have that and then Austin and The Rock sharing a ring in front of 75,000 enthusiastic fans was the perfect feel-good moment to kick of WrestleMania.

The banter between all three was great and to have them share beers, the three biggest stars in the company’s history, was the perfect send-off for those eras and a great symbolistic passing of the torch to the current generation.

With that said, the opening match was also a more literal passing of the torch as the last bastion of the old guard, Triple H, decided he was going to be the one to stop the momentum of the young upstart Daniel Bryan and his Yes Movement. Taking matters into his own hands, Hunter laced up the boots and put himself into position for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat against current holder Randy Orton and the #1 Contender (via a Royal Rumble win) Batista.

The pre-match hype video for this one was fantastic. Showing the evolution (no pun intended) of Daniel Bryan from his debut in WWE as part of NXT (interspersed with indy footage) through to his title win at Summerslam 2013, it’s a great feel-good piece of footage… until Triple H nails him with a Pedigree and Orton steals his glory. From there, we are treated to possibly the best version of Hunter since his 2000 peak – the corporate suit who is doing this for the good of the entire company and not his own personal feelings – as he relays why he did what he did and why it was BEST FOR BUSINESS.

One of the highlights of Triple H matches at WrestleMania for a long while has been how OTT will his entrance be. I don’t mean that in a negative way (c’mon, it’s ‘Mania… if you can’t go OTT at the big show then you can’t go OTT at all). The whole King Conan-inspired set dressing and wardrobe has been amazing and 2014 didn’t disappoint. Hot women draped over Triple H sitting on a throne with an absolutely stunning headdress adorning his shaved skull.

As if to drive the point home, Daniel Bryan comes out without any additional accoutrements as he is a WRESTLER and he is here to overcome the odds by wrestling his way to the championship.

Whether this was the plan all along or whether WWE panicked at the severely hostile reaction at Royal Rumble (when Rey Mysterio got booed like he was Flair and The Horsemen breaking Dusty’s arm and Big Dave was vilified for coming in as a part-time movie star and winning the match to garner a shot at the title), the company had righted the ship and with one final hurdle in his way, Daniel Bryan had the chance to enter the main-event of WrestleMania.

Triple H gets a lot of stick for the way he has conducted himself (politically) over the years, but when he was “on”, he was always a great wrestler and would put people over (Chris Benoit and John Cena both made him tap in WrestleMania main-events). Tonight was another one of those matches as he and Daniel Bryan went at it for over 25mins in an absolutely fantastic opener.

Pulling out all the stops, they traded moves, pulled out things you’d not seen before (Triple H nailing a Tiger Suplex??) and just went Hell-for-leather from bell to bell in front of an absolutely rabid crowd. Near-falls aplenty, heart-in-mouth moments and a conclusive finish set the tone for the rest of the show. Although, of course, The Authority couldn’t leave it at that and waylaid the victor with a brutal assault. Now the big question would be whether Bryan would even make it to the main-event.

With the fans over the moon as the prospect of their now complete main event, another passing-of-the-torch moment was up in the second match of the evening as The Shield took on the Attitude Era mainstays of The New Age Outlaws and Kane. To say this was a complete juxtaposition of the opener is an understatement as the greatest group in WWE in easily the last decade wiped the floor with the future Hall of Famers.

The success, the continued success, of The Shield is phenomenal and WWE deserve credit for abandoning their normal start-stop method of pushing new guys and letting Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns become one of the greatest teams / factions in company history.

Two matches in and this WrestleMania is already shaping up to be better than the last three combined. Even better, the next match has the potential to pass yet another torch to a new guy with a bright future, but before that we have the obligatory backstage comedy skit featuring legends past.

As cheesy as these segments are, seeing old faces is always cool. Guys like Sgt. Slaughter and Duggan are always around, but having an appearance from “Dangerous” Danny Davis, Steamboat and (to a great pop) Ted DiBiase just makes this fun.

With the frivolity out of the way, it’s back to action as WWE honours one of its greatest ever talents in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The general story of Battle Royals is that there are usually around 75% of the field who have no hope of winning and the general excitement of having a ring full of wrestlers makes way for the general meh-ness of the whittling of the deadwood until we get down to the final four or five who have a genuine shot.

Highlights of the early moments were Brodus Clay’s inspired-by-Bane (from the comics) attire, 3MB eliminating Khali and actually getting a pop from the crowd, Sheamus and Cesaro just clubberin’ people, Big Show pressing people, Rey Mysterio literally on his knees begging Show to leave him alone, Rey’s eventual elimination and Kofi finding yet another way to avoid elimination from a Battle Royal.

When it comes down to the final two and the fans are rabid for Big Show and Cesaro, you know you’re doing something good and as the right man won, WWE were 3-for-3 so far in matches. Also, special props to the glorious Andre Trophy.

At this point, I’d like to give props to the commentators as well as they were fantastic and not overbearing as they can be on RAW.

As good as this has been and as much as I have spoken about the torch-passing in the first three matches, John Cena v Bray Wyatt is possibly the biggest test of that ideology on the show. Here you have John Cena (who gets way more stick than he deserves, but the complaints about his character not taking anything seriously, even when he is attempting to be serious, are merited), the poster boy of WWE for the last decade coming up against Bray Wyatt, a new face making waves with his character, his so-amazing-they-should-be-quoted-in-English-classes promos and overall package. It’s old v new in the manner of Rock v Hogan and, to this writer’s eyes, despite the age-old “face eventually triumphs” way things are meant to be done, there was only one right outcome to the match. That we didn’t get it and that today Cena is still not taking thing seriously is the one great mis-step WWE have taken in a long time.

The match itself was good, but it should have been great. It should have been an epic struggle of good and evil with the hero (that would be Cena) faltering and being clouded with self-doubt going forward. From there, we have his I redemption against the forces twisting his legacy.

Cena should not have won at WrestleMania and I personally don’t believe Bray Wyatt has recovered from this, the shambles of a steel cage match at Extreme Rules and I fear the worst for the upcoming Last Man Standing Match at Payback.

Of course, that’s to come and this review is about WMXXX. To that end, let me first praise Wyatt’s entrance as he was played to the ring live by Mark Crozer and The Rels performing “Live in Fear” under masks reminiscent of the doctors from medieval times.

Secondly, the hype video chronicling the reason why the match is taking place was another amazing piece of business by the WWE Production team. At the Hall of Fame the night before, Warrior said he wanted an induction spot created for those who work behind the scenes. If that comes to pass, then these guys should be first in the queue as they have continually excelled and when they are on point (HBK v Taker II, Austin v Rock II and this are prime examples) they are without question the greatest talents in their field on the entire planet.

With the majority of the fans despondent at the result, it made sense to lift them again by wheeling out the Hall of Fame inductees. It is genuinely uplifting to see how well Jake Roberts and Scott Hall look, it was amazing to see that Mr. T drinks from the same Fountain of Youth that Jimmy Hart owns and it was great to see Warrior take his rightful place and that hatchets appear to be buried for good and it is still heartbreaking to know now that Warrior would only remain on Earth for a few more days.

Thank you to Triple H for reaching out (like he did with Bruno) and making it possible that amends were made before it was too late.

The Streak. For some, the streak itself embodies WrestleMania. Undertaker has been a constant in WWE since 1991 and for the 22nd time, Undertaker steps into the ring at WrestleMania to defend his legacy. Just take a moment to think about that. With the exception of WrestleMania X and WrestleMania 16, ‘Taker has fought (and won) at WrestleMania for the last TWENTY-THREE YEARS. Most wrestlers don’t have a career that lasts that long and I will confidently state that there will never be another wrestler who competes at that many WrestleManias, never mind win every time.

Of course, the early years of The Streak weren’t actually called that. The first time I can remember anyone counting was Undertaker himself when he took out Ric Flair at WrestleMania X8 to go 10-0 (he counted out ten on his fingers post-match). The first time it was really referred to as The Streak was when he fought Randy Orton at WrestleMania 21.

Orton was at the apex of his “Legend Killer” gimmick and the biggest legend on the block was Undertaker and The Streak was the biggest part of the that legend. With it being the 13th match, there was also the unlucky aspect being touted. Combined, it was for many (including me) the one time that breaking The Streak made sense in virtually every way.

Since WM23, Undertaker’s matches have been the highlight of WrestleMania. His show-stealer against Batista, his epic battle with Edge, the two HBK classics, the two outright wars with Triple H and the only match worth seeing at WMXXIX against CM Punk are all amazing bouts and the smart money was on Brock v Undertaker joining that pantheon… and Brock joining the list of victims.

A number of factors played into this match being a bit of a bust. It’s still a decent bout, but it’s a long way from the classics.

The main story coming in was that while Undertaker was victorious each time, his last matches had taken more out of him and his opponents had taken longer to finally rest in peace. Father Time waits for no man, even the Deadman, and Brock Lesnar (who is possibly the most legitimately intimidating man in wrestling) was going to be a step to far.

Despite only being one year older from when he tore the house down with Punk, Undertaker seemed genuinely off throughout the match. A concussion suffered early didn’t help and this match was completely disjointed from start to finish… but what a finish.

They say you can’t “get” the fans in 2014. The fans are too smart, they know too much, they understand how it all works and can’t be worked. Take a look at the immediate aftermath of the pinfall and tell me again whether that is true.

Brock hits a third F5 and everyone, including myself at home watching it live, expects the obligatory kick-out followed by a desperation Tombstone or Hell’s Gate for the hard-fought win.

1!

2!

3!

It didn’t happen. Brock Lesnar pinned Undertaker, cleanly, at WrestleMania. Paul Heyman sold it like he didn’t know it was going to happen. The fans were in genuine shock and whenever you get a genuine widespread show of emotion from the fans, you have made history.

The fact it took so long to get Brock’s music cued simply added to the feeling of shock. It was almost as if the production staff had Undertaker’s music ready because, of course, he’s going to win. When Lesnar got the three-count, it came across like they had to scramble to get the correct theme ready and the delay just helped the sense of disbelief sink in.

Whether you agree with it or not, the ending of The Streak was one of those moments where time appears to stand still, where hundreds-of-thousands will claim to have been there to see it live and where those who witnessed it live (whether in person or on TV) will never, ever, forget what they witnessed.

Special props should also go to Paul Heyman (who deserves an Emmy for his performances since returning) and Brock Lesnar for conveying a genuine look of disbelief that they actually did it.

As much as The Streak was a part of WrestleMania’s legacy, the theme of passing the torch continued (not in respect of Undertaker to Brock), but from WrestleMania past to WrestleMania future. Next year will be the first WrestleMania for the majority of people without a Streak match on the card and that is a step into the unknown that I look forward to.

After all of that, it made perfect sense to have the Divas Invitational to give the fans something a bit fluffy to bring them back down from the emotional extreme they were at following Brock’s sensational win.

With it being an invitational, the main disappointment was that there were no surprise entrants (Kharma would have been perfect) and it was really just an excuse to get all the Divas on the show. AJ winning wasn’t a surprise, although what it led to on RAW the next night was.

MEAN GENE!!!!

PAUL ORNDORFF (with the most amazing moustache) AND RODDY PIPER!!

HULK HOGAN AND MR. T!!!

An interesting phenomenon when watching a DVD through headphones is that you pick up pieces of audio you might miss when watching on a TV. During the above skit, a production staff member can be heard saying to someone else on the production staff “read what’s on the sheet”.

It’s main-event time as Orton (the champion) defends his title against Batista (Rumble Winner) and Daniel Bryan (the current People’s Champion). As stated earlier, whether this was the plan all along or WWE panicked, listened to the fans and rewrote their plans, we had reached the point every WWE fan had been wanting; Daniel Bryan in a position to win the championship in the main-event of the biggest show in town.

Among all of the build to this match, Batista deserves a ton of credit for embracing his heel turn and reverting to an updated version of his awesome 2010 persona. He really excels as the bully-boy-douche who feels the smaller wrestlers are beneath both him and the sport itself. Add this to Orton being the whiny undeserving champion who has been hand-picked by The Authority and you have the makings of Daniel Bryan having to wipe out Evolution (even through they are not together as a unit at this point) to reach the mountain top.

To say the fans were into this is putting it mildly. Of course, only one outcome would prevent 75,000 fans rioting (especially after Undertaker’s loss), so this was more about the journey than the result… and what a trip it was.

Punctuated by an amazingly brutal powerbomb-neckbreaker double-team on Bryan through a table (which could have resulted in a serious injury for Randy as he landed badly on a discarded monitor), the match was a great three-way and WWE again showed that when it comes to multi-man matches they are virtually untouchable when everyone clicks.

Normally, interference via run-in is an unwelcome addition, but here it made perfect sense for Triple H to come out with a crooked referee to influence the match… and the point when Daniel Bryan fought back (including nailing Hunter with his own sledgehammer) and essentially sent them scurrying to the back with their tails between their legs was when the fans erupted into life and didn’t stop until the finish.

The last five minutes were AMAZING and to win by making Batista submit was the icing on the most delicious cake imaginable. To end the show with Daniel Bryan, internet and indy darling, as THE champion in WWE raising the belts aloft with the WrestleMania XXX logo in the background as the entire building chanted “YES” is why I love wrestling.

Extras

The Hall of Fame ceremony was great, with Jake’s speech being the dark, but profound, highlight. Lita was out there too long, Mr. T loves his mama, but he was out there too long, Paul Bearer’s kids are definitely Paul Bearer’s kids, Carlito is still funny and Warrior was just a great guy who was in a great place in his life.

The pre-show tag-team match was a fun outing, while the 30 Greatest Moments will (as all lists do) have you agreeing with some, disagreeing with others and wondering why something you like wasn’t included.

The other extras are all worthy of a watch and round out a comprehensive overall package.

Overview

A vast improvement over WrestleMania XXIX, this doesn’t have a bad match on the card. Sure, there are aspects that are not enjoyable (I’m looking at you being victorious, John Cena), but as an event this is a fantastic show pretty much from top to bottom.

I mentioned it many times throughout the review, but it was like an en-mass passing of the torch from the old guard to the young guns and, with The Streak being no more, from WrestleMania past to WrestleMania future.

The extras are great as well, with the full Hall of Fame ceremony, a countdown (which are always good to watch), a look at Andre, a look at Hogan and litany of segments to add to the experience.

Blu-Ray owners also get -:

  • All That’s Left is The Game
  • Bruno Sammartino Unveils His Statue
  • Hulk Hogan Welcomes the WWE Universe to WrestleMania

Due to the this, unless having the crispest picture is important, you’re better of getting the DVD version and saving some money.

Points: 9.5/10

Buy It:

UK: DVD / Blu ray

USA: DVD / Blu ray

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