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WWE: The Rise and Fall of WCW – DVD Review

New World OrderThe Rise and Fall of WCW is the newest DVD from WWE Home Video. Fans feared that this would be nothing more than a Vince McMahon hatchet job on WCW. Rest assured that this WWE DVD treats WCW with more respect than it probably even deserved.

The DVD comes in a set of three discs. The first disc is a produced documentary about the rise and fall of World Championship Wrestling. Discs two and three features an assortment of WCW classic matches. However, it is truly disc number one that is what everyone is talking about.

The documentary begins with the origin of Jim Crockett Sr.’s foray into pro wrestling. A great chunk of time is devoted to the golden years of Jim Crockett Promotions (which later morphed into WCW) in the mid-1980s when Crockett’s sons took over. Both Jim Crockett Jr. and his brother David are interviewed to give the DVD a fair representation of WCW. The classic clips spliced in between chatter are worth the time alone devoted to watching this DVD.

A great deal of Jim Crockett Promotions’ heavy hittters are also interviewed to give the context of the story from the wrestler’s side. Magnum TA, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Arn Anderson are just a few of these wrestlers. I thought all of the wrestlers were very fair to Jim Crockett and their time with the company. Dusty Rhodes shines the brightest here as he credited by several including Crockett himself as having the vision to take business to the next level.

I was a little disappointed that several key turning points in WCW were not discussed. First and foremost, I thought the DVD totally missed the impact that the Road Warriors and the Rock N’ Roll Express had on Crockett Promotions. At the time, the Road Warriors were arguably the biggest act in wrestling second to Hulk Hogan. The Road Warriors jumped from the AWA to the area and spiked business. The same story with the Rock and Roll Express was also ignored. Jim Crockett’s purchase of Bill Watt’s UWF was also curiously ignored.

The disc doesn’t really spend a lot of time on the promotional war between WWE and Crockett Promotions. The only real war that was discussed was WWE’s WTBS takeover and Black Saturday. The Clash of the Champions vs. WrestleMania and Starrcade vs. Survivor Series stories were completely ignored. Crockett’s inability to get Starrcade cleared when Vince McMahon strong armed cable companies is a huge part of this story that was never covered.

The WCW years under Turner are something of a companion to WWE’s Monday Night Wars DVD. The disc never gets too involved in the dirty promotional stuff covered on the Monday Night Wars. The story really just focuses on WCW and how it grew from the frustrations of Jim Herd to the success of Eric Bischoff. As expected, Jim Herd is buried on the DVD.

Jim Ross says something that I found very interesting on the DVD. In speaking about Jim Herd, Ross mentions that he had the chance to sign Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage in about 1991. Turner would not okay the money and thus the deals were dead. I had heard about Savage, but I never heard about Hogan’s WCW negotiations. It made me sit back for a second and think about how different the business would have been if WCW signed Hogan and Savage in 1991.

Unexpected would be the picture painted of Eric Bischoff. Bischoff was continually praised in the documentary. I started thinking as I was watching this disc and I started wondering why Eric Bischoff isn’t involved in pro wrestling anymore. Bischoff had a ton of success and a great mind when he was on top of his game. It amazes me that TNA, a startup, or even the WWE hasn’t reached out and gotten a deal done to pick Bischoff’s brain. Eric Bischoff was treated better than I would have expected in the documentary.

One guy I was surprised to see here was Bill Goldberg. Goldberg gave a fresh take on the story from a guy that isn’t employed by the WWE, yet was a big part of WCW. By the end of the story, the most dominant them you get here is that ending Goldberg’s push is what ruined WCW. The disc makes the point that Goldberg was all WCW had to stand out and once he became just another wrestler, WCW lost any star power.

Unlike Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo’s WCW run was heavily scrutinized and criticized. It is funny because when you watch the clips back between segments, you realize what a complete idiot this guy was a booker. Additionally, it is amazing that this guy is still booking wrestling for a major company. Russo’s reign of terror is credited as being a part of the WCW downfall in the movie.

Surprisingly, only one WCW wrestler really gets the shaft here and his name isn’t Lex Luger. The DVD goes out of its way to bury Jeff Jarrett towards the end of the story. Mike Graham says, “He broke six thousand guitars and didn’t draw a dime.” The burial was somewhat odd as it didn’t even fit into the story being told. I wouldn’t expect an invitation to the WWE Hall of Fame anytime soon if I am Jeff Jarrett.

WWE showed a lot of class in producing this DVD. Eric Bischoff and a few others refused to take part in the DVD because they were afraid of a WWE hatchet job. WWE praises WCW quite a bit throughout the DVD. At one point, Jim Ross even mentions that WCW had a better in-ring product than the WWE in the 90s. This isn’t a completely selfless act considering that the WWE owns all of the WCW video rights.

Overall, WCW fans will be thrilled with the disc. The documentary is more than fair to WCW, even from the WWE perspective. The matches are good to excellent, with some real gems in the bunch. My favorite of the collection is a Magnum TA vs. Ric Flair Challenge Match. The Flair-Steamboat match from Chi-Town Rumble is also an all-time favorite of mine, although that has been released on several previous DVDs.

The last time WWE produced a rise and fall concept, they revived the brand a few years later. Maybe you WCW fans will get just as lucky…or unlucky.

Documentary chapters:

Jim Crockett Promotions

Georgia Championship Wrestling

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling

Black Saturday

The Expansion

Crockett Sells to Turner

Greatest Talent in the World

New Management

Bill Watts Era

Bill Shaw Hires Eric Bischoff

Hulk Hogan Arrives

Nitro Debuts

nWo

Cruiserweights

Goldberg

WCW Ratings Champ

Celebrities

Goldberg vs. Hogan

Mistakes Begin

Vince Russo

A Corporate Merger

McMahon buys WCW

Legacy of WCW

Bonus features:

* Lost in Cleveland (Cactus Jack vignette)

* Bill Watts Defends Himself

* Spam Man

* The Origin of Goldberg

* Bischoff Gives Away RAW Results

Matches:

$1,000 Challenge Match

Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A.

NWA World Championship Wrestling – June 15, 1985

Sting, Lex Luger & Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ JJ Dillon)

The Main Event – April 3, 1988

United States Championship Match

Dusty Rhodes vs. Barry Windham

Great American Bash – July 10, 1988

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match

Ric Flair vs. Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat

Chi-Town Rumble – February 20, 1989

The Rock `n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express

Wrestle War – February 25, 1990

NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match

The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys

Great American Bash – July 7, 1990

WCW World Tag Team Championship Match

The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger

SuperBrawl – May 19, 1991

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match

Sting vs. Big Van Vader

Great American Bash – July 12, 1992

WCW International World Heavyweight Championship Match

Rick Rude vs. Sting

Spring Stampede – April 17, 1994

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match

Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan

Bash at the Beach – July 17, 1994

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match

Ric Flair vs. The Giant

Nitro – April 29, 1996

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko

Clash of the Champions XXXIII – August 15, 1996

War Games Match

Team WCW- Sting, Lex Luger, Ric Fair & Arn Anderson vs. Team n.W.o.- Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & a Mystery Partner

Fall Brawl – September 15, 1996

United States Championship Ladder Match

Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero

Souled Out – January 25, 1997

United States Championship No Disqualification Match

Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko

Uncensored – March 16, 1997

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Title vs. Mask Match

Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera

SuperBrawl VIII – February 22, 1998

WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship Match

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Outsiders

SuperBrawl VIII – February 22, 1998

Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman

Bash at the Beach – July 12, 1998

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match

Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Halloween Havoc – October 25, 1998

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match

Booker T vs. Lance Storm

Nitro – August 7, 2000

Order the WWE: The Rise and Fall of WCW DVD by clicking here.

Order The Monday Night War – WWE Raw vs. WCW Nitro DVD by clicking here.

Check out tons of exclusive wrestling interview videos at www.wrestlinginterviews.com.

From the ring to your wall – WWE REAL.BIG Wall Graphics on sale now at Fat Head!

I will be back on Pro Wrestling Radio Wednesday August 26 at 7 PM/EST. Call in with your question or comment at 1-877-800-8834. Listen live and ask questions from the chat room clicking here. Check out Prowrestlingradio.com for more information on the radio show and archived show downloads.


Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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