Earlier this week WWE officially released its DVD and Blu-Ray sets of the April 1st WrestleMania spectacular! The set — on three DVD's and two Blu-Ray discs — is in stores and available online now for $19.99 and $24.99 respectively (although I saw it cheaper at Best Buy this morning). For this review, I'll be taking a look a the Blu-Ray set, which features "exclusive content" in higher definition.
WWE Presents: WrestleMania XVIII
This is obviously going to be the key selling point for most fans. The event runs just under four hours, and everything you'd expect to be here is available. The main menu — which is stunning, by the way — breaks it down into easily accessible chapters for each match and backstage segment. In terms of quality, most fans who have seen WrestleMania 28 (which is most of us by this point) rank it among the best shows in the 28-year history of the event. I tend to agree.
Currently WWE is not offering any "special editions", nor do they have any plans of releasing one at this point. This is it. So if you're a PPV collector this, or the 3-disc DVD set, is literally your only option. The three main events — Jericho/Punk, Triple H/Undertaker and Rock/Cena — are worth forking out the $25, and we haven't even arrived at all the bonus content!
2012 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
This is another big reason why people break down and buy WrestleMania on DVD or Blu-Ray. WWE offers the Hall of Ceremony on television every year, but it's always incomplete. In order to fill an hour-long time slot (with commercials, mind you) they have to cut out all the "fluff", which means you're going to miss a lot of what makes the event special.
The actual ceremony nears the three hour mark, and if you're a true fan of the wrestling industry this is a must-see. The Four Horsemen, particularly Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, talk for what seems like an hour. During that time I felt like I learned more about wrestling than I had while following John Cena's entire career… The backstage jokes, traveling stories and heart-felt mentions make this set worth picking up. The only thing that hinders this — and when I say hinders I mean I came dangerously close to hitting the fast-forward button — is Triple H and Shawn Michael's "classic" DX humor. It's not funny, and it pulls you away from an otherwise special event.
This is a mixed bag. Some of the content is fun, some of it is terrible, but most of it just feels unnecessary. Here's what you're going to get (the Blu-Ray exclusive content is marked with a *):
-WrestleMania pre-show Tag Team Championship Match
The pre-show was a fun match, but nothing to write home about. Still, it's a nice bonus for the cash you already shelled out for the rest of the show. The rest of the content…not so much. This is where I'm going to make a suggestion: IF YOU HAVE A BLU-RAY PLAYER, DO NOT BUY THIS ON DVD. Seriously, give them the extra $5 and get the hugely superior resolution, and save yourself from a terrible list of extra features.
The three promos worth watching are Blu-Ray exclusives. If you get the DVD that leaves you with "John Cena Comes Home" — that terrible empty-arena promo — and the Rock's incredibly awkward return to Portland. The Triple H and Undertaker history package is just another 4-minute montage of everything we've already seen a hundred times. And then there's the WrestleMania press conference, which is only 15 minutes of the actual event, not the whole thing. Though from what you get to watch, I feel like I should be grateful to not sit through the rest…
I know I hit the extra features pretty hard, but let's face it, you're buying this set for WrestleMania 28 and the Hall of Fame ceremony. The extras are fun to run through once to get you in a familiar perspective before popping in Disc 1 and watching the real event, but I can almost guarantee you'll never sit through them again. But that's really my biggest complaint, and since it's about a largely unimportant part of the set, it shouldn't really matter to the fan trying to decide whether or not to buy this item.
If you want my opinion — which I can only assume you do, if you've made it this far — buy it. Get it on Blu-Ray and spend a day or two re-living one of the best WWE events of all time. WWE did a fantastic job with the content that matters, they packaged it nicely and, as I already stated, the menu screens look amazing. If you enjoyed WrestleMania 28, or if you somehow have yet to see it, go buy this relatively inexpensive set.
Final Grade: B+