Millions of fans have called then-WWF’s “Attitude Era” as the greatest point in the history of the company. Considering the amount of legitimate stars that made their careers during that time, as well as the millions upon millions of dollars in revenue WWE did month after month for four or five straight years, it’s hard to argue that point. For the younger fans who weren’t around for that era, or maybe fans that just didn’t tune into wrestling until later or dropped off before the era started, WWE’s latest DVD set, The Attitude Era, is a great reminder.
While I did really enjoy the documentary part of this DVD, it was painfully short. This is really surprising considering how important the “Attitude Era” was to pro wrestling history. This point in time could easily get a 3-4 hour documentary and be made really enjoyable. However, it only goes about 90 minutes, which isn’t nearly enough to cover everything that happened during that famous half-decade. Also, the list of subjects interviewed for the DVD is extremely limited. For the insane amount of talent that worked for WWF during that point in time, I don’t think Vince McMahon really used the resources available to him. Yes, we get pieces from major players from the time like Mick Foley, the aforementioned Christian, Rikishi, JBL and Pat Patterson, but guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock are simply featured in clips from their own DVD sets. I realize both these guys are extremely busy, but it would have been nice for Vince McMahon to shoot this DVD around their schedules so we could get some new comments.
While it’s sad that major players are missing, those that are present tell some great stories. The Road Dogg and Ron Simmons are both extremely entertaining during their talking segments, as is Mark Henry. Plus, those that did contribute were extremely insightful. I didn’t realize that the infamous “Brawl for All” tournament was accidentally created by something said by JBL. He went to Vince Russo with the idea of a hardcore division, and that somehow translated into “guys shoot-fighting each other”. While the ill-fated tournament was horrible, it was funny to hear that pretty much everyone involved agreed on how bad the idea was. Another really note-worthy story is from Pat Patterson, who talks about a match he had with Gerald Brisco against Rodeny and Pete Gas of the Mean Street Posse. As strange as it sounds, it turns out that until the “This is Your Life” segment came across, this particular match was the highest-rated segment in company history. You wouldn’t expect that, but it just goes to show that, during the era, anyone could be made a major star, and everyone had their place in the company.
While I would have liked the documentary to be much longer, there is also the matches/segments on the DVD to examine. In this department, WWE definitely delivered. There are some truly great segments included on this set, as well as some forgotten gems. For example, “The Nation of Degeneration”. For those that might not remember this, it’s a parody of the Rock-led Nation of Domination, done by D-Generation X. I remember laughing hysterically during this segment when it first aired, and 14+ years later, it is still incredibly funny. Not only was the entire group just on that night, but part of what makes it so enjoyable is you can hear commentators Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler legitimately rolling during commentary. J.R. tries to hide it by doing these pseudo-silent laughs, but they come across loud and clear if you pay close attention.
There’s plenty of great moments from the usual suspects like The Rock, Austin and Foley, as well as quite a few I had forgotten about. Vince McMahon crowning Mankind the first Hardcore Champion, Edge’s birthday, GTV, Chris Jericho’s debut and Mike Tyson are all included here. In addition to these, there’s a nice selection of matches that many people have likely not seen or have at least forgotten. There’s a great Jericho/Eddie Guerrero match from the night after Wrestlemania 2000, tons of fun tag team matches (including the very first TLC match), A Buried Alive match for the tag titles, as well as one of my all-time favorite Hell in a Cell matches, that being the Armageddon 6-way.
There are a few odd choices in here as well, as usual. Bart Gunn knocking out “Dr. Death” Steve Williams is hard for me to watch for obvious reasons, but it’s on here. Obviously, the reason is because the “Brawl for All” tournament is discussed pretty extensively in the documentary, but it still feels strange on the set. The very first “Lion’s Den” match between Ken Shamrock and Owen Hart also appears, as does a title unification match between European Champion D’Lo Brown (or D-Lo, depending on what week it was at the time) vs. Jeff Jarrett. These couple of matches weren’t necessarily bad, but just seemed like strange choices for the set. In addition to being far from classics, they are strange in that both Jarrett and Hart’s widow Martha have such extensive issues with WWE. Oh, well.
Fortunately, the oddball or even bad choices for matches and segments are outweighed by the good ones. There are roughly 5 ½ hours of matches and segments on this 3-disc set, and considering how much good stuff is featured in those hours, you’re sure to find something you like.
This DVD is all about nostalgia, and that’s perfectly okay with me. Watching this set was like a trip down memory lane, and it was a trip that I really enjoyed. I loved being a fan during the “Attitude Era”, and watching this DVD brought back all kinds of great, fun memories for me. Not everything about the era was perfect, but there was never a more enjoyable point in pro wrestling or WWE history, at least for me. Listening to the stories, watching the matches and segments, this is a DVD that I honestly had a lot of fun watching. Seeing some of these moments brought a smile to my face and made me laugh. Some of them made me cringe or shake my head. None of them ever made me feel bored or like watching was a chore, and in my book, that’s a DVD done right.
If you were a fan during this famous era, you owe it to yourself to pick up this DVD, as I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did, if not more so. If you weren’t a fan at that time for whatever reason, I still recommend this set, as it’s a good indicator of why millions of wrestling fans were so in love with the sport at the time, and why so many new fans joined the fold. Although it’s somewhat of an incomplete collection in my opinion, it’s still a lot of fun, and is not only a great reminder for other fans during the decade, but a great way to introduce new, younger fans to possibly the greatest era in pro wrestling history, as well as show fans who had tuned out during that time what all the fuss was about.
Disc 1 – Documentary – The Birth of Attitude
Austin vs. McMahon
Wealth of Talent
The World Was Watching
Disc 1 Extras:
Jim Ross interviews Goldust & Marlena – Raw Nov 3, 1997
Steve Austin Throws the InterContinental Championship Off A Bridge – Raw Dec 15, 1997
Soldier of Love – Raw May 4, 1998
Mr McMahon Presents Mankind with the WWE Hardcore Championship – Raw Nov 2, 1998
Jim Ross Interviews Triple H – Sunday Night Heat July 25, 1999
An Evening At The Friendly Tap – SmackDown! Jan 20, 2000
Mae Young and the Acolyte Protection Agency – SmackDown! Jan 27, 2000
“The Jug Band” – Judgment Day 2000
Triple H Trains Trish Stratus – SmackDown! July 27, 2000
Edges Totally Awesome Birthday – Raw Oct 30, 2000
The Rocks Message to His Hell in a Cell Opponents – Raw Dec 4, 2000
A New Beginning For D-Generation X – Raw March 30, 1998
Sable vs. “Marvelous” Marc Mero – Raw May 11, 1998
Nation of Degeneration – Raw July 6, 1998
Bart Gunn vs. “Dr Death” Steve Williams – Brawl for All Match – Raw July 27, 1998
The Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane & Mankind vs. The New Age Outlaws vs. The Rock & Owen Hart – Four Corners Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart – Lions Den Match – SummerSlam 1998
The Rock vs. Mankind – Finals of WWE Championship Tournament – Survivor Series 1998
The Rock & The Undertaker vs. Mankind & Stone Cold Steve Austin – Raw Dec 7, 1998
Austin Gives The Corporation A Beer Bath – Raw March 22, 1999
The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Raw June 28, 1999
The Debut of Y2J – Raw Aug 9, 1999
D’ Lo Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett – European & Intercontinental Championship Match – SummerSlam 1999
The Rock & Mankind vs. The Undertaker & Big Show – Buried Alive Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship – SmackDown! Sept 9, 1999
Stone Cold & Jim Ross vs. Triple H & Chyna – Raw Oct 11, 1999
Boss Mans Sympathy for Big Shows Dad – Raw Nov 18, 1999
The Wedding of Stephanie McMahon & Andrew “Test” Martin – Raw Nov 29, 1999
The Godfather & DLo Brown vs. Too Cool – SmackDown Jan 27, 2000
Hardcore Holly vs. Crash Holly – WWE Hardcore Championship Match – Raw March 27, 2000
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero – WWE Championship Match – Raw April 3, 2000
Rikishi vs. Val Venis – Steel Cage Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Fully Loaded 2000
Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz – Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the World Tag Team Championship – SummerSlam 2000
Kurt Angle vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi – Hell in A Cell Match for the WWE Championship – Armageddon 2000
King of Kings Match: Ken Shamrock vs. Triple H vs. Owen Hart Raw – June 29, 1998
The Oddities w/ Insane Clown Posse vs. The Headbangers Raw – Sept 28, 1998
The Truth About Sammy Raw – Jan 18, 1999
The Unholy Union of Stephanie McMahon & The Undertaker Raw – April 26, 1999
The Rock vs. Val Venis SmackDown – Oct 7, 1999
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane & Shane McMahon vs. Triple H, X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws SmackDown – Nov 4, 1999
WWE Hardcore Championship Match: Al Snow vs. Crash Holly SmackDown – June 29, 2000
The Hardy Boyz & Lita vs. Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero & Dean Malenko SmackDown – Nov 30, 2000
Chris Jericho & The Dudley Boyz vs. Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian Raw – Dec 25, 2000
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