I have a wrestling column every Monday and Friday for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review which can be found online at Triblive.com.
Today, I wrote a review on the new "The History of WWE, 50 Years of Sports Entertainment" DVD. There had been a lot of talk and hype surrounding this project so I felt with the holidays here, WWE 50 years DVD review was neccessary to inform people what they're getting.
The biography starts off unlike any other WWE production. It begins with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon pulling into his parking spot at WWE's headquarters in Stamford, CT. The cameras follow McMahon all through the building, up the elevator and leave him as he enters his office. McMahon never once addresses the camera, just goes about his routine. This would be the last original video shot for this DVD that we would see of McMahon.
McMahon never once appeared as one of the interviews telling the story of WWE. Some clips of past DVDs and interviews McMahon's done over the years were used at times. However, Stephanie McMahon, Linda McMahon, Triple H and so many others recorded original interviews for this project, but not Vince.
The lack of Vince McMahon is my one complaint. This isn't surprising as he is known to stay backstage and doesn't want his name mentioned during the Hall of Fame ceremony WWE has every year before WrestleMania. However, I feel his voice needs to be on this DVD. While his close family members and colleagues offer great insight, to hear it from him directly would have added to the story.
Even an hour into the biography, we hear a familiar voice in an unusual tone. The Undertaker, dressed in a hoodie, chimed in on much of the WWE's story in a rare appearance of him speaking out of character.
The in-depth nature of the content and the running time made me think WWE produced this biography piece with the intent to have it potentially aired on television. The biography is exactly two hours in length. It truly is a good text book to educate someone on how a small regional rasslin' company known as WWWF became the global entertainment juggernaut known as WWE.
The feature is broken up into 25 chapters, which include Bruno Sammartino, Hulkamania, the first WrestleMania, Monday Night Wars and the Hall of Fame.
Two chapters easily the most controversial were WWE's steroid trial with the federal government in 1992 and the tragedy in May 1999 when Owen Hart died in Kansas City during WWE's pay-per-view. It means a lot for WWE to acknowledge these two dark but very significant points in the company's timeline. If they weren't included, it would be a knock on the legitimacy of this DVD history project.