Now, if you guys and girls are getting a little sick and tired of being lied to, deceived, hoodwinked, bamboozled, hornswoggled (or just flat out bull-s***ted) about the origins of the Royal Rumble, then surely, “The True Story of Royal Rumble” DVD and Blu-ray is the one for you.
But does this set really give us the “True Story” at all?
Just why is now the time for this “True Story”? Well, if I were to venture a guess it would be because next month the 30th annual Royal Rumble will come our way from the renowned Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. 30 years is a pretty big milestone, and since this is the first time in 20 years that WWE is taking the Rumble to a dome (this time maybe with a few less special “Coca-Cola” $5 tickets), a nice little documentary might be a great way to build the hype and anticipation.
Plus, ’tis the season for a BIG Home Video release – as we have seen in the past, this time of year gives us the biggest and most anticipated DVDs – cast your minds back to some of the titles that we’ve had at this time of year (here’s a little reminder of some of them): Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Randy Savage and hell, even WWE itself! So, with all this in mind, you’d think the company would be pulling out all of the stops with this one, making it a killer release…
What we were presented with in “The True Story of Royal Rumble”, however, was a rather lackluster set. The 64-minute documentary isn’t up to the standard of some of the past winter releases, or even some of the WWE 24 specials on the WWE Network!
If you were thinking that you were going to be getting a documentary with a similar vibe to the 2011 “True Story of WrestleMania” release that’s unfortunately not the case here. Sure, that documentary had its own issues and it wasn’t an absolutely perfect offering, but the Rumble Story documentary sadly doesn’t come close to being as good in my opinion. However, it was something I had my reservations about when I first learned that it was planned for release at the end of 2016.
The biggest issue is that in all honestly the Royal Rumble doesn’t really have much of a “story”. It’s just a pay-per-view on the schedule (an important PPV granted, but a PPV nonetheless). The WrestleMania story when boiled down is essentially the story of WWE itself and their evolution (as evident by the fact that documentary used a theme to segue between older and newer Mania events). The Rumble however, other than how the event came to be in the first place, doesn’t really have much of a story – it has noteworthy moments but not a real story within – so, for me, the DVD failed to live up to what it was said to deliver (at least from the title).
The method that WWE uses to tell the narrative is by following the day-long build up to (and through) the 2016 Royal Rumble PPV and using this as jumping off points into past Rumble moments. For example, the footage of AJ Styles making his first appearance links into looking at surprises from the past Rumble matches, and the great IC Championship Last Man Standing match (between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens) links to looking at the Rumble’s other memorable championship ‘non-Rumble’ matches. There isn’t really anything wrong with this method, it’s just that the title tells the viewers they will be given THE TRUE STORY OF THE ROYAL RUMBLE. Had the documentary have been titled something else maybe I would have had less issues with it.
Now, on to the juiciest part of the Royal Rumble’s story, and something which is actually completely overlooked here is the “True Story” of how the Rumble match came to be. Other than a brief mention, the meat of the story is ignored. For those unaware the Royal Rumble was WWE’s attempt to kill off Jim Crockett Promotions second attempt at the PPV (The Bunkhouse Stampede) by presenting the Royal Rumble on free TV (headlined by the first showdown of Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan since WrestleMania III with a contract signing for their famed match on The Main Event the following month). The reason WWE took the fight to Crockett on free TV was due to the fact that the cable companies vowed that there would not be rival wrestling events scheduled against each other after the Starrcade/Survivor Series incident just a few weeks prior.
Of course, for history sake, Crockett would respond himself just a couple of months later with his own free event on TBS – the first Clash of the Champions, which was put up against WrestleMania IV. It’s a shame that WWE chose not to tell us a unbiased version of this story – maybe one day they will give us the truth, but wasn’t this the perfect time?
As for the matches and extras featured in the DVD/Blu-ray: on the surface, I know many were scratching their heads looking through the content WWE decided to go with. However, after viewing the documentary, the match selections will make a lot more sense as they are all discussed and referenced within the main feature – so for this reason, in retrospect, I have much less of an issue with the matches chosen as they help to round out the set with context, plus many of them are pretty fun matches too – particularly: The Rockers/Orient Express and the 2007 Royal Rumble (with its nail-biting conclusion!). The Blu-ray special features are also a really fun watch with some forgotten Royal Rumble’s like the 2004 SmackDown Rumble to determine the #1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship at No Way Out and similarly the 2011 RAW Rumble to determine The Miz’s challenger for Elimination Chamber.
Overall, believe it or not, I didn’t hate this set. It’s certainly not a ‘bad’ release, but I do feel however that I was mis-sold a bill of goods as the story told isn’t the TRUE story – its WWE’s story.
Perhaps, in hindsight, a better way of presenting the main feature on the Royal Rumble would have been a countdown style release – something like: “The Top 30 Hits & Misses of the Royal Rumble”. If you can get over all of this, then I wouldn’t really have a problem in recommending this set, after all it is a nice accompaniment to check out before the 2017 event – but if you think my criticisms will bother you too, then it might be best to stay well clear of this one.
Even with the irony of lies surrounding the “True Story”, this is still a far better DVD compilation than some of the lazier releases of late (*cough* Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar *cough*).
Grab a copy of WWE’s “True Story of Royal Rumble” DVD or Blu-ray…
– USA: NOW! Get your “Rumble Story” DVD or Blu-ray now here on Amazon.com.
– UK/Europe: NOW! Get your “Rumble Story” DVD or Blu-ray now here on Amazon.co.uk.
– Australia: January 11th. Go pre-order your copy of the DVD over at Madman.com.au.