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WWE The Monday Night War, Volume 2: Know Your Role DVD Review

Know Your Role kicks off where Shots Fired kicked off, and is a collection of the second (and final) ten episodes in the WWE Network’s series. The format is the exact same as the previous set, with all ten episodes in their entirety featured, as well as final comments after each episode from, slightly suprisingsly, none other than one half of the leaders of the Monday Night War, none other than Eric Bischoff.

Each episode, much like the last set, includes one or two topics for the entirety of the episode, and they are as follows: Monday Night Jericho, The War Gets Extreme, The War Gets Electrified, Divas Gone Wild, The War Goes Mainstream, Building an Army, The Kliq, Mistakes in the Battlefield, The Fall of WCW, and Life After Wartime. For each episode, there is a blend of commentary from those who were directly involved in the war from both sides, as well as commentary from current (or current at the time of filming) WWE performers who offer insight from the perspective as fans, which many of them were during the war.

While there were some great moments in the first set, especially the episodes about the cruiserweights and Steve Austin, I actually enjoyed this set more overall. Aside from the episodes focusing on specific performers, the episodes kind of offer a side-by-side comparison on what each company was doing, and what they did right or wrong. A prime example is the episode “Divas Gone Wild”. Here, you can really see a stark contrast between the differences in booking between the two companies. Whereas WWF put a lot of emphasis on their women’s division at the time, giving it equal parts in-ring action and eye candy for the fans, WCW’s presence in this department was almost non-existent. They did have a women’s division, which came about after Madusa defected from WWF, but it never went anywhere, and was instead replaced by a handful of valets and the Nitro Girls, glorified cheerleaders that really didn’t interest the fans.

The best episodes, in my opinion, are “Mistakes in the Battlefield” and “The Fall of WCW”. Now, I wanted WCW to succeed as much as anyone; the Monday Night War was one of the most fun times in wrestling history for fans, and it should have gone on much longer than it did. At the same time, it’s interesting to see how exactly WCW fell apart despite years of success, which is the main subject of these two episodes. You see what went wrong both behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera, including performers just not giving a damn on both sides of the camera towards the end, thanks to the absolutely atrocious mess that the company was in. Tony Schiavone sums it up perfectly in an off-hand comment he made during a broadcast (the clip is included), which was, “I stopped trying to make sense of this company long ago.” This was a man who was loyal to the company all the way back to its Jim Crockett/NWA days (save for a brief run with the WWF), who was also supposed to be the voice of the company, and even Mr. Greatest-Night-In-The-History-of-Our-Sport couldn’t be bothered to care anymore.

Not only that, but you hear from many of the in-ring performers who worked for WCW at the time also more or less act like they were embarrassed to be there. The Big Show in particular comes off as extraordinarily bitter, while guys like Chris Jericho were angry, frustrated and quite frankly confused (“Everyone was a dick!”-Jericho). For a company that did so many things right, you see, in living color, how they did even more things wrong.

As I said before, Eric Bischoff offers closing comments after each episode, similar to Sting and Triple H on the last set. Say what you will about Bischoff (personally, I’ve always found him to be a smug prick), but he doesn’t mince words here, and comes across as a straight shooter. He still acts pretty smug in a lot of parts, but he also admits his mistakes and has no problem pointing out where he went wrong in a lot of ways. Now, some of the stuff he still refuses to budge on, but overall, he appears to have been somewhat humbled in the years since he left TNA. Vince Russo, the man many place blame on for WCW’s downfall, weighs in on several episodes, and everyone knows, bro, it’s next to impossible, bro, to take his words, bro, at face value, bro.

Everyone including Bischoff. I guess I didn’t realize that Bischoff hated Russo so much, as some of his comments surprised me, especially regarding the Bash at the Beach “work-shoot”. Both guys have a completely different side of the story, with Bischoff saying he tried to veto everything that Russo did, which is eventually what we saw with Jeff Jarrett laying down, Booker T winning the World title, etc. Now, I’ve always heard a completely different story, one that involves that angle supposed to have gone down exactly as it did on screen, save for Russo’s profanity-laden rant, which would then lead to a match between Booker and Hulk Hogan for the Undisputed World title. Neither man makes mention of this ever being part of their version of the plan whatsoever, so I honestly have no idea who to believe. Bischoff’s version sounds more plausible and likely, but who the hell knows?

Overall, it’s a fun set, and one I enjoyed watching quite a bit. There’s still plenty of WWF/E bias throughout, as there always will be with these kinds of sets, but amazingly enough, much like the first volume, it’s kept mostly fair, with input from countless figures involved in both sides. A lot of the interviews with current or “current” stars are pretty enjoyable, with most of the former indy darlings like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, etc., being the most insightful due to the guys being lifelong fans. Cody Rhodes also offers quite a bit of good commentary, but that’s more likely due to the fact that, although he was just a kid at the time, he was often backstage at WCW shows and saw a lot of this stuff first-hand. Brodus Clay is featured an oddly large amount, and while I’m sure he was a fan, he comes off like he was working for one of the “Big Two” at the time. The Bella Twins, as you would expect, are the absolute least informative (even the Miz was better), but thankfully, someone on the production team must have expected that, as they are relegated to a single interview segment that lasts less than a minute. Sadly, there are once again no bonus features like matches or promos, but given that this set is a full ten hours of video, it’s forgivable.

I’m sad to see the series end after just two volumes, but it goes out on an enjoyable note, and I can very highly recommend it to fans my age and older who watched the entirety of the war, as well as newer fans who are still curious as to what all the hype was about. Definitely pick it up if you get the chance.

DISC 1
Monday Night Jericho
• Humble Beginnings
• Cruiserweight Division
• Creating a Character
• Countdown to the Millennium
• Lone Wolf
• Breaking Into the Main Event

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

The War Gets Extreme
• Eastern Championship Wrestling
• Taking it to the Extreme
• Talent Raids
• ECW Comes to Pay-Per-View
• WWE Ushers in the Attitude Era
• Financial Struggles

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

DISC 2
The War Gets Electrified
• Samoan Lineage
• Rocky Maivia
• Rocky Sucks
• People’s Champion
• Corporate Champion
• Rock N Sock
• Hollywood

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

Divas Gone Wild
• Special Attraction
• Alundra Blayze
• Birth of the Divas
• Divas Get Attitude
• Rebirth of the Women’=’s Championship
• Stephanie McMahon
• Lita vs. Trish Stratus

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

DISC 3
The War Goes Mainstream
• Hulk Hogan’s Influence
• Reality Based Television
• Dennis Rodman
• Mike Tyson
• WCW Goes Late Night
• Pop Culture Explosion

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

Building An Army
• More Than a One-Man Show
• WCW Assembles Their Roster
• New Generation
• Faction Warfare
• Breakout Stars
• Creative Control
• Big Show Jumps Ship
• Decline in Programming

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

The Kliq
• Bonds Begin to Form
• Triple H Comes Onboard
• Locker Room Heat
• Curtain Call
• Outsiders Defect to WCW
• The Formation of D-Generation X
• A New Leader Emerges
• Enduring Legacy

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

DISC 4
Mistakes in the Battlefield
• Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair
• Eric Bischoff’s New Direction
• Ric Flair’s Diminished Role
• Becoming One of the Boys
• “We Want Flair!”
• Fatal Mistakes

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

The Fall of WCW
• The Rise of WCW
• Russo Raw
• Standards and Practices
• Vince Russo Joins WCW
• Radicalz
• Reset Button
• Bash at the Beach
• Acquisition

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

Life After Wartime
• The War Begins
• Management Changes
• Mr. McMahon Purchases WCW
• The Final Nitro
• Invasion
• nWo Comes to WWE
• Eric Bischoff – Raw General Manager
• Then. Now. Forever.

— Post Episode Analysis with Eric Bischoff

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES
Hulk Hogan WCW Contract Signing Parade
June 11, 1994

Paul Heyman Calls into the Show
LiveWire • October 5, 1996

Post-WrestleMania XIV Press Conference
Stone Cold Steve Austin & Mike Tyson Q&A
March 29, 1998

Bash at the Beach Press Conference
Dennis Rodman & Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Karl Malone & DDP Contract Signing
June 18, 1998

Scott Steiner Thinks WCW Sucks
Nitro • February 7, 2000

ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Mike Awesome vs. Tazz
ECW on TNN • April 14, 2000

The WWE Monday Night Wars Vol. 2 on Amazon.com

WWE: Undertaker: The Streak R.I.P Edition 21-1

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Dustin Nichols

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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