As soon as the 1000th episode of Raw ended back in July, one of my first thoughts was “this better come out on DVD”. I expected it to be released as its own single disc release, but instead, we got that episode of Raw along with a new countdown of the Top 100 Raw Moments. Overall, I was a fan of the SmackDown! set that came out a few years ago counting down the top 100 moments from that program, so I was looking forward to this one as well. I think it’s fair to say I got what I expected; a solid release that was put together pretty quickly.
The Top 100 countdown runs around 3 hours, 30 minutes, making up Disc 1 of the Blu-Ray and Discs 1 and 2 of the DVD. The 1000th episode of Raw runs around 2 hours, 20 minutes, with a 6 minute making of as a bonus feature. The Legends of Wrestling Roundtable Blu-Ray exclusive feature runs 1 hour, 50 minutes. The DVD/Blu-Ray is rated TV-14. Oddly, the WWF logo is blurred during one of the moments on the countdown, but remains unblurred throughout the rest of the set.
“Tyson and Austin! Tyson and Austin!”: The Countdown
If you’ve seen any of WWE’s recent countdown features, you should know exactly what to expect from this set. I watched this countdown in 2 sittings, and was able to breeze through each half pretty quickly. I think the WWE did a good job in choosing which moments to include. I am expecting that there will be a lot of complaints about too many “recent” moments, but people need to realize that the last quarter of Raw’s history ranges from 2008-2012. To spread things out evenly, about a quarter of the moments should come from this time period. Of course, it isn’t totally balanced, with the Attitude Era deservedly getting the most attention, but they did a good job balancing the different eras of Raw. Only one moment on the entire countdown, “Tea Time with Santino”, was a moment that I hadn’t even heard of. That one probably didn’t deserve a place on the list. There are other little quibbles I may have with the ranking, but overall I was fine with it. I was glad to see them put the “Pipe Bomb” so high up on the countdown; this was a very important moment, even if we can’t look at it in hindsight just yet.
The countdown does run very quickly through each moment, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the plus side, it’s pretty easy to sit through since it moves so quickly. We don’t really get to see too much of the different moments, though. I did enjoy the choice of only interviewing one superstar for each moment; you get a nice story being told for each. We really don’t get to see much of the moments, though. Of course, I had no expectations that the complete clips would be included (the set would probably have to be 6 or 7 discs for that), but I would have liked a little more. Again, it’s still a fun countdown, but probably not something I will revisit often.
“Didn’t There Used to be More of Us?”: The 1000th Raw
I’m going to guess that most of you have already seen the 1000th episode of Raw, so I’m not going to go into too much detail about it. Since most of the matches were pretty short, I’m not going to do my usual match ratings. I’ll just say that, for the most part, they are pretty good, but nothing special. From a nostalgia standpoint, this episode of Raw was incredible. The opening montage video alone would make this worth the price of admission! From DX, to the APA, to Mae Young’s son, everything about this was just perfect. I think this DVD/Blu-Ray is worth the price just to own this episode of Raw. I’m sure I’ll be revisiting parts of it quite often, especially the promo between The Rock, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan.
The brief “Making of Raw 1000” bonus feature, although short, is awesome. Granted, it’s basically an extended music video, but we get a ton of access to seeing what goes on backstage during a taping of Raw. Really cool stuff, a lot of which has never been seen before. Seeing all the legends hanging out eating dinner was probably my favorite part.
Blu-Ray Exclusive Feature
“Oh, You Didn’t Know?”: The Legends of Wrestling Roundtable
For those clamoring for some type of documentary on the history of Raw, you actually got one on this Blu-Ray, in the form of this Legends of Wrestling roundtable. Although it’s an exclusive, this ends up being the highlight of the Blu-Ray as a whole. I learned a ton of things I didn’t know about the history of Raw from hearing Gene Okerlund, Jim Ross, Road Dogg, Michael Hayes, and Pat Patterson relive its history. I’m not going to go into detail about any of the particular stories they tell, but you get to hear some great stories about both Raw’s beginnings and particularly the Monday Night War and the Attitude Era.
Interspersed throughout the roundtable discussion are a few clips from Raw’s history, a lot of which are shown in full. This was another nice bonus, since we didn’t get any complete clips as part of the countdown. While the choices here seemed fairly random, it still was nice to get some included. The highlight is probably DX impersonating the Nation, even though that was just released on the Attitude Era set. Overall, this is the real selling point of the Blu-Ray, and it’s a shame it wasn’t included on the DVD as well, because it really should have been the main feature, with the countdown as an “extra”.
“It Was Me All Along!”: Closing Thoughts
This is certainly one of the shorter reviews I’ve written, and I don’t think that is just a coincidence. Overall, this is a decent DVD/Blu-Ray, but was clearly put together very hastily. The fact that one of the moments on the countdown still has the scratch logo blurred is telling; this was put together as quick as possible as a companion piece to Raw 1000. Because of the inclusion of Raw 1000, I do think this DVD/Blu-Ray is a must own, but if your main excitement is for the countdown, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Sure, it’s a fun nostalgia trip, but it doesn’t really add much to the conversation.
If you are on the fence between picking up the DVD or Blu-Ray, I would easily recommend you spend the extra $5 on the Blu-Ray. As I mentioned above, the Legends of Wrestling roundtable is the best part of the Blu-Ray, and really should be treated as the “main feature” along with Raw 1000, with the countdown simply being viewed as an “extra”. Although it’s not going to make anyone’s Top 5 lists at the end of the year for DVD’s, this is still a solid release, and I’m just happy my wish of getting Raw 1000 on Blu-Ray came true.