"WWE: The Rock vs. John Cena - Once in a Lifetime" Blu-Ray/DVD Review
Mt. Killamanjaro -- @MikeKillam
This is the kind of video production that would be so much better in about ten years. WWE literally just wrapped up this feud in April at WrestleMania 28; it hasn't even been six months and already we've got a 3-disc set highlighting the year-long war between the Rock and John Cena? They haven't even given me enough time to forget about the Miz's title reign.
Part of the reason the new(ish) Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels "Greatest Rivalry" set was so brilliant is the timing! It's been long enough since the Montreal Screwjob, and there's been enough time passed since Bret Hart returned to Raw and made amends with the WWE Universe. Long enough to at least appreciate looking at old footage and seeing a fresh perspective painted by Bret and Shawn, hosted of course by the legendary Jim Ross.
I would love un-boxing "Once in a Lifetime" in about 2022, when the whole industry had shifted and changed. This is the kind of thing that old fans will want to pick up and relive iconic moments of their adolescence and young adulthood. Problem is, I'm just not ready to relive something that concluded earlier this year! It's hard to see the ripple effects, if any, caused by Cena and Rock's feud at this point. In ten years we'll be able to look back with enough hindsight to know if that match defined anything in either man's career, how it effected the long-term product, etc.
What You're Getting for Your $$
Despite that rather negative introduction, if all you're looking for is a collection of promos and matches to re-watch, this is your set. The second and third disc contains every single promo, video segment and wrestling match the Rock and John Cena took part in between the Road to WrestleMania 27, and their confrontation in Miami this year. I'll admit, it was a hell of a lot of fun to go back and remember the Miz's title reign, and to see some of the segments I attended live in Chicago. The promos are still funny, and of course the matches are as remembered.
Speaking of matches, there are two (and a half) in total. The half is the second part of Miz and Cena's WrestleMania 27 match, where the Rock interfered and cost Cena the victory. The others, in their completion are: (1) Rock & John Cena vs. Miz & R-Truth from Survivor Series 2011, and (2) The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 28. That doesn't sound like a lot, but with all the in-ring, backstage and via-sattelite segments the set totals about six hours (Amazon puts it at 540 minutes; it's not).
WWE puts over the "never before seen" documentary as the gem of this set. I enjoyed getting to hear about all the build-up from some unique angles, but on the whole you've seen about 90% of the content before. There weren't any "fun facts" that surprised me, or revealing docu-drama that made their final match any more interesting. It's exactly what you'd expect: a bunch of respected WWE employees talking about how important Rock and Cena's match was, for about 45 minutes. I would have loved to see more of an attempt made at highlighting their invidual careers, and less on a match I just watched in April.
I was a little disappointed by the lack of original content and interviews. The documentary was as solid as I had expected, but WWE's recent success in the genre - "Greatest Rivalries", Edge's career overview, Clash of the Champions, etc. - had me wanting more. This could have benefited from more hindsight, in terms of both fan perspective and the interviews they could have acquired.
I was also frustrated by WWE yet again using more discs than necessary for such a small amount of content, but it's a small issue in the grand scheme.
If you're really obsessed with the Rock/Cena feud, or just want a good collection of their back-and-forth, pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray. But if you're expecting more of the "insider" value that comes with higher quality collections, I'd hold on to your money for the new CM Punk set coming this October.
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