Here in the WrestlingDVDNews.com “universe” we have a very special anniversary this week. Not only is it my birthday week but this week also marks the 15th anniversary of the very first WWE DVD releases: WrestleMania XV and Hell Yeah! To honor this milestone, today I am going to take a look back at “Hell Yeah: Stone Cold’s Saga Continues”.
Much has changed with the WWE DVD offerings over the past fifteen years, not only in how the DVDs features and extras are put together, but also the number of discs we are given. Imagine the outrage if, for example, Daniel Bryan was given the single disc treatment like Stone Cold was given here – you can almost hear the keyboards typing up complaints!
But 15 years ago coming from the dark ages of video tapes (remember those kids?) us wrestling fans were still trying to get our heads around the fact that we didn’t have to rewind these DVDs before we started watching.
It should be noted that in addition to this fancy new DVD, Hell Yeah was also released on VHS. Typically the WWE VHS releases would have a run time of approximately 1 to 2 hours. So comparing the VHS to the DVD, the Hell Yeah DVD was PACKED with special features; hell you might even say it deserved the moniker of “special extended attitude edition”!
The main feature on Hell Yeah runs for a touch over 1 hour and 5 minutes and features Stone Cold Steve Austin discussing his meteoric rise in WWE from WrestleMania XIV through to the fallout of WrestleMania XV. The feature jumps back and forth between video clips of Steve Austin’s matches and their builds from 1998/99, plus it follows Stone Cold Steve Austin discussing his career as he prepares for a show and then after the show in his pickup truck on the way to the next town.
The matches spotlighted are: the WrestleMania XIV match versus Shawn Michaels, the First Blood Match with Kane at King of the Ring, SummerSlam versus The Undertaker, BreakDown, Judgement Day 1998, WrestleMania XV and Backlash 1999. Additionally his feud with Mr. McMahon is given a fair amount of screen time, plus discussion of the events leading to WrestleMania XV. Many of the videos which are presented are either music highlight packages of the matches (a couple of which even feature The Hardy Boyz theme song!) and also the PPV opening videos – which 15 years later still comes over as really lazy.
In addition to the matches and feuds highlighted, Steve Austin also discusses some of the vehicular mayhem which he has caused such as with the Zamboni, cement mixer, the “limo-nator” and of course the beer truck. A cool thing which we are given is shots of Mr. McMahon’s cement filled Corvette which was stored in the parking garage of Titan Tower (I’m not sure if it’s still there today).
Other stories which Steve tells us include: being knocked out at SummerSlam 98, the story behind the origin and design of the Smoking Skull WWE Championship Belt, his acting roles such as working on Nash Bridges and being with the WWE Racecar team.
I don’t know that the main feature stands up as all that great in 2014, simply based off the quality of the productions which we have had in the past 15 years, however it’s still nice for a little piece of nostalgia to go back and see the evolution of WWE Home Video.
In terms of the special features, we don’t have a series of matches as extras like today. Actually a little more thought has gone into the extras than simply throwing a few matches together. The extras are split into three groups:
Rattlesnake Rules: Clips of famous Steve Austin moments such as throwing the Intercontinental Championship off the bridge and “Bedpan McMahon” – moments which we have definitely seen before, but equally moments which are essential Stone Cold viewing.
Say What, Jackass?: This is a series of 30 second to 2 minute interview clips with various WWE Superstars and personalities discussing Steve Austin, his career and some personal stories of The Texas Rattlesnake.
The Book of Austin: A collection of miscellaneous extras which range from classic clips (like King of the Ring 1996), a very cool “Pulp Fiction” (Pulp Austin) video montage (complete with the “Misirlou” song) and a written biography of Steve Austin which you read through using your remote (remember when lots of DVDs had these?)
The story segments are cool as are a few of the other extras. It’s really nice to see these type of extras on a DVD set. All too often nowadays the extras are a little phoned in and lazy, but here when the DVD media was new it was nice to see WWE go the extra mile to create some cool, cool, fresh and unique content.
Again, if this set were released today, I’m actually not too sure what the reaction would be. While it does fall way, way short of some of the documentary features we have been given over the past 15 years, it has to rank quite highly as a single disc feature – it is far and away much better than any of the single disc WWE DVD releases which we have been given in the past several years, and Hell Yeah does clearly has its basis in the “Coliseum Video” era of releases.
It would be nice to see WWE look to utilizing this format again for some of the modern day stars. Now all the DVD sets are focused on really big and historic names. It was common place in the 1980s, 1990s and into the 2000s to have VHS releases looking at less high profile superstars or those with relatively short WWE careers, superstars like: Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Demolition, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle. It would be really quite nice if WWE would give some love to the less high profile superstars of today with a single disc DVD release with wraparound segments not dissimilar to how Hell Yeah is presented.
Growing up with these “Coliseum Video” style releases – I actually really enjoyed looking back at Hell Yeah, it’s honestly a DVD set that I haven’t looked at in years, and anytime you get to jump in the DeLorean and head back to 1999 is cool with me. So the next time you’re wondering what WWE DVD to re-watch, why not throw a little love Hell Yeah’s way and pay homage to the DVD that got us where we are today? After all, you probably wouldn’t be reading this site right now had it not been for Hell Yeah.
So, folks get your cold one ready, on 3 – 1..2…3….. “Happy Birthday Hell Yeah… Happy Birthday Hell Yeah… Happy 15th Birthday Hell Yeah… Happpppppy Birthday to youuuuuuuuu!!!!!!”
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