I don’t think there’s any debate that the formation of the nWo is one of the most important moments in wrestling history. It made wrestling mainstream again, and indirectly led to the start of the Attitude Era in the WWE. Although we had a single disc nWo DVD release in 2002, it mostly focused on the WWE nWo run. It’s about time we got a DVD surveying the entire run of this influential group.
This DVD lived up to my expectations on almost every level, and I’ll get more into those different levels shortly. The DVD is rated TV-PG. Disc 1 runs about 90 minutes (including bonus features), Disc 2 runs about 2 hours, 30 minutes, and Disc 3 runs about 2 hours, 40 minutes. As expected, the WWF scratch logo remains unblurred, and this is the first DVD on which I can confirm that the announcers saying WWF is no longer bleeped either.
“You Can Call This the New World Order of Professional Wrestling, Brother”: The Documentary
I think most readers were a bit disappointed when they heard that the documentary on this DVD would only be an hour long. After the great Rock/Cena doc, though, my hopes got a little bit higher. After seeing this documentary and the Rock/Cena documentary, I’m really liking the direction the WWE may be going with their features. In the past, pretty much all WWE documentaries have been “timeline” documentaries that just ran through someone’s career. While these docs are usually very entertaining, they don’t hold their own as great films. However, with this nWo feature, instead of looking at every feud over the career of the nWo, we get more of an overview of the group’s ideology while still looking at some of their most important storylines and moments. I found this format to be very effective.
After watching the documentary, you get a great feel of what it was like to follow the nWo during the time period. The biggest criticism is that they didn’t spend nearly enough time discussing the key events from the history of the nWo, such as the feud with Sting, the formation of the Wolfpack, the Fingerpoke of Doom, and others. At the same time, they spent a bit too much time talking about Rodman’s involvement in the group. Another 15-20 minutes to give the feature some breathing room would have been great. However, this DVD shows that length of the feature does not always measure greatness. If this were one hour longer, it would become much more generic.
Like most DVD’s that have come out this year, the WWE picked the perfect subjects to be interviewed for the DVD. Unfortunately, the fact that Hogan, Hall, & Bischoff were not available to be interviewed does hurt the DVD, but the other interviews are all pretty good. Some surprising names, like Vince Russo & Lex Luger, show up in addition to expected interviews from Nash, Big Show, DDP, and others. The biggest surprise ended up being the interview with Cody Rhodes. It was great to have an interview from an “outsider” watching the nWo storylines as a fan with family ties to the company. Rhodes is clearly a smart guy, and he gives a great perspective to the nWo to go alongside those from the wrestlers involved in the storyline. Between this DVD, the Edge DVD, and the Punk DVD (not to mention who we’ve heard is being included in the Foley DVD), I think we can safely say that the WWE will be using the perfect names for their interviews from here on out.
I wanted to quickly discuss one of the biggest potential issues with WWE DVD’s about WCW: revisionist history. I didn’t feel that was too prevalent here. Some of the aspects of the nWo are actually celebrated more than they probably should have been. I was happy that they acknowledged how successful, from a publicity standpoint, the inclusions of Rodman & Leno in WCW were. Bill DeMott was the only interview that said anything about being unhappy that non-wrestlers were main-eventing a PPV, though. I can’t imagine he was the only person who felt that way. They also don’t pretend that the WWE version of the nWo was much of a success. They say that it was basically a low-rent version of the original nWo, which was good to hear. Hopefully, we are at the end of the revisionist history era on these DVD’s from now on.
“Lethal Dose of Poison”: The Matches
The Outsiders Vs. Randy Savage, Sting, & Lex Luger (Bash at the Beach, 7/7/96) – ** 3/4
Probably one of the top 3 most memorable moments in the history of wrestling occurs at the conclusion of this match. The rest of the match surrounding it isn’t bad either.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: The Giant Vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (Hog Wild, 8/10/96) – DUD
I think this match was just a 20-minute Greco-Roman Knuckle Lock. Painfully boring match here. The post-match promo is included, though, which is a lot of fun.
WCW Tag Team Championship Match: The Outsiders Vs. Harlem Heat (Halloween Havoc, 10/27/96) – ** 1/2
A perfectly reasonable tag team match.
Syxx Vs. The Bounty Hunter (nWo Saturday Night, 11/9/96) – N/A
A squash match that is fun to watch just to see the concept behind “nWo Saturday Night”.
WCW Tag Team Championship Match: The Outsiders Vs. The Steiner Brothers (Souled Out, 1/25/97) – ***
These two teams had pretty good chemistry, and, honestly, that makes this probably the best in-ring match on the entire DVD set.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Hollywood Hulk Hogan Vs. Roddy Piper (Superbrawl VII, 2/23/97) – 3/4 *
Hogan & Piper were both well past their prime at this point. The match is paced slowly because of this, but that doesn’t really help it. This is also the first of many matches on this DVD to have a completely nonsensical finish.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman Vs. Lex Luger & The Giant (Bash at the Beach, 7/13/97) – **
A much better match than I was expecting, but still nothing great. For a non-wrestler, Rodman wasn’t terrible, and the worst parts of the match were actually the parts where Hogan & Luger attempted to “wrestle”. My biggest complaint is just that the match went on too long.
Las Vegas Sudden Death Match: Diamond Dallas Page Vs. Randy Savage (Halloween Havoc, 10/26/97) – ** 1/4
Your typical “brawl around the arena” style hardcore match, which has never been my favorite. Again, ends in a pretty bad screwjob finish.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sting Vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (Nitro, 12/29/97) – * 1/4
Way too short to really mean anything, this match took place after the infamous Sting/Hogan Starrcade match the night before. Bizarrely, the finish of this match actually takes place AFTER NITRO WENT OFF THE AIR, but it is all included on the DVD. It’s pretty silly.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship No DQ Match: Randy Savage Vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (Nitro, 4/20/98) – 1/2 *
Another match between two men well past their prime. Another screwy finish as well.
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match: Sting Vs. The Giant (Great American Bash, 6/14/98) – **
Yes, this is a singles match for the Tag Team title. A very basic match that could’ve gone a bit longer. There was also a ridiculous storyline going on at the time about Sting trying to convince The Giant to stop smoking or something like that.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff Vs. Jay Leno & Diamond Dallas Page (Road Wild, 8/8/98) – * 3/4
Like the Rodman match, this was better than it should have been. This match was also way too long though.
War Games Match: Team WCW (Diamond Dallas Page, Roddy Piper, & The Warrior) Vs. Team Hollywood (Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, & Stevie Ray) Vs. Team Wolfpack (Kevin Nash, Sting, & Lex Luger) (Fall Brawl, 9/13/98) – * 3/4
The antics with The Warrior in this match completely overshadow anything else going on. Honestly, it’s worth watching just to witness some of the disaster that is Warrior’s WCW run. The match itself is pretty generic and short.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Match: Goldberg Vs. Kevin Nash (Starrcade, 12/27/98) – * 3/4
I actually was pretty disappointed in this match. I knew going in about the horrible finish, but I was hoping they would put on a better big man style match. The match was very short, very generic, and, as I mentioned, has a terrible finish.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Goldberg Vs. Bret Hart (Nitro, 12/20/99) – * 1/2
Yet another very short match that is all about the aftermath, leading to the formation of nWo 2000.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, & Scott Hall Vs. The Rock & Steve Austin (Raw, 3/11/02) – ** 1/2
The idea of having all of these men in the same match is pretty cool, and overall it’s a fun match to watch. This also is one of the few times Hogan & Austin ever squared off in the ring. That reason alone makes it pretty memorable.
“Too Sweet”: Closing Thoughts
Overall, The Revolution is a nice representation of the nWo, both in the best ways and the worst ways. For every great promo, there’s a terrible match with a stupid finish, and this DVD sums that up perfectly.
Although the documentary is short, it’s still a lot of fun, and is a very well made film. Yes, some parts are a bit rushed, but it has a great thematic through-line, and the time flies by while watching it. As you can see above, the bonus matches on this DVD are not great from an in-ring standpoint, but a lot of them are fun to watch anyway. The finishes are often ludicrous, and most of the matches are kept short enough. Just don’t go in expecting a technical masterpiece, and you’ll probably end up having enjoying yourself. My single biggest complaint about this DVD is the lack of segments. There are a few segments included as bonus features on Disc 1, but I didn’t think this was enough. The nWo was known more for the great segments than the matches, and the DVD doesn’t represent this fairly. Regardless, I still would recommend this DVD. It’s an easy watch, and gives a great picture of what WCW was lying during its heyday.
Let us know what you thought in the comments below, and I’ll be back in two weeks to look at what could be called the bastard child of the nWo – The Attitude Era!