WWE’s new “BEST OF 2000s” DVD is a straightforward round-up of many of the decade’s top matches, stretching from January 2000 to June 2009. It spans the final year or so of the Attitude era, then takes us through the entire Ruthless Aggression period and culminates with the early days of the current PG era. Anyone who has seen the match listing will realize that all of the bouts have been previously released, which could deter a fair few from investing in this set.
For those who do, however, you’ll be rewarded with a ton of great action, as we’ll look through now.
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Some notes: this is a four-disc set, and with the lack of a Blu-ray, the DVDs are almost full to capacity, so the compilation comes in at a whopping 11 hours and 6 minutes (or 666 minutes, spookily enough). The set is rated TV-14, meaning that all of the blood and violence of these matches (the pre-2007 content, mainly) remains present. That said, there are some edits: in most cases, chairshots to the head are either shown from an alternate camera angle or cut entirely (there are a few seconds trimmed off matches one, two and four for this very reason). Instances of choking are also either shown discreetly or removed, although these are less noticeable. Lastly, although references to “the WWF” are audible and visible throughout, as they have been for a few years now, there are occasionally moments (but not often) when it sounds like some utterances of the initials are absent, almost as if the production team have mixed the original video footage with edited audio from more recent releases. Either way, none of these edits should hinder one’s enjoyment of this DVD; they’re just something that the eagle-eyed (or eagle-eared) viewers may pick up on.
Mick Foley hosts this DVD, and is occasionally joined by a variety of guests from the current roster along the way. Foley is sporting his old Commissioner T-shirt, and is based out of an office not unlike his ever-changing desk from his stint as a babyface authority figure in 2000. Mick pops up only occasionally to deliver links between matches, and he is pretty entertaining on the whole. It’s strange that on this DVD, Foley is much more humorous and reminiscent of his fondly-remembered first run as Commissioner than he was during his recent run as General Manager of RAW. Maybe that’s down to the scripting or lack thereof here (for instance, Mick delivers a funny one-liner early on relating to Buff Bagwell, which while inoffensive probably wouldn’t be used during a backstage segment on RAW).
I should also mention that, in many cases, the original pre-match promo packages are included as well. This adds a sense of importance to each bout, rather than the viewer approaching them cold, and many are very effective. No doubt the most fondly-remembered of these comes before Austin vs. Rock at WM X7, and the good news is that Limp Bizkit’s My Way remains the soundtrack for this extremely well-produced recap of their rivalry on the newly-released DVD.
Anyway, let’s get right into the matches!
WWF Royal Rumble 2000 – January 23, 2000
WWF Championship Street Fight
Triple H (C) vs. Cactus Jack
The set kicks off proper with the Street Fight between Triple H and Cactus Jack, an incredible battle which only integrates the more extreme weapons when necessary, as opposed to being rolled out willy-nilly, and a war which truly established HHH as the WWF’s top heel. One of the things I forgot until rewatching this DVD, and this match, was how then-heel announcer Jerry Lawler would cackle when a heel delivered a devastating move or weapon attack to a babyface, which seems bizarre in hindsight.
WWF SummerSlam 2000 – August 27, 2000
WWF Tag Team Championship Three-Team TLC Match
Edge & Christian (C) vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz
Next up is the original TLC match between Edge and Christian, The Hardyz and The Dudleyz. A classic stunt-show which inspired the likes of Money In The Bank Ladder matches, it came at a time when the company’s tag team division was at an all-time high for excitement, and few matches of this nature can ever compare to this incredible clash; perhaps only the sequel, TLC II from WrestleMania X-Seven (not included here), is in the same league as this one.
WWF No Way Out 2001 – February 25, 2001
Three Stages Of Hell Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H
Match three is, fittingly, the Three Stages Of Hell showdown pitting Stone Cold against Triple H. Obviously, the format necessitates that there be three different varieties of match (regular, No Holds Barred, Steel Cage), but it’s a testament to the talent of the two men that they could adapt to each stipulation whilst maintaining the same physical, brawling-style approach based on their deeply personal feud. Another high-quality match.
WWF WrestleMania X-Seven – April 1, 2001
WWF Championship No Holds Barred Match
The Rock (C) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Speaking of superb matches, The Rock’s WWF Title defence against Stone Cold from WM X7 is one of the greatest WrestleMania main events ever, capping off what even Mick Foley and co. agree was the best Mania ever. An absolute classic, the company’s two biggest stars put on one hell of a show, mixing wrestling and violence with excellent psychology based on Austin’s relentless desire to become WWF Champion. The ending, which sees Austin win after turning heel and aligning with Vince McMahon, remains a controversial booking decision to this day, but the match is absolutely outstanding.
WWF SummerSlam 2001 – August 19, 2001
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Booker T (C) vs. The Rock
After that epic war (which I consider to be a five-star match, even if other writers often do not), the last match on disc one between Booker T and The Rock for the WCW Championship from SummerSlam 2001 is a bit of an anticlimax. It’s still an entertaining match, but it doesn’t quite meet the sky-high standards set across the previous four encounters. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman constantly bickering is pretty fun to hear, though.
WWF WrestleMania X8 – March 17, 2002
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
Disc two begins with The Rock taking on Hollywood Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8. Of course, this match is more about the spectacle than the action, but what an incredible spectacle it is. Two iconic figures collide in front of one of the hottest crowds ever; the pop for Hogan’s Hulk Up truly is something else. Hence, the match is a lot of fun to watch, and even Jerry Lawler once said that this was his favourite match ever to provide commentary on.
WWE WrestleMania XIX – March 30, 2003
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
Shawn Michaels returns to WrestleMania next as he battles Chris Jericho at WM XIX. It’s another great match, Jericho’s personal favorite battle of his entire career, and the beginning of an amazing eight-year string of superb WrestleMania performances by The Showstopper. Listen out for Jerry Lawler taking a fair amount of time to discuss “the old lion fighting the young lion”, a comparison that he had just gone into extensive detail about during Rock vs. Hogan.
WWE SmackDown! – September 18, 2003
WWE Championship Iron Man Match
Kurt Angle (C) vs. Brock Lesnar
In terms of pure technical wrestling, the next match is the best of the entire set, as Kurt Angle defends the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar in a 60-minute Iron Man Match. The storytelling, execution, selling and conditioning – this is absolutely brilliant. It doesn’t rely on too many big spots or angles; instead, two fantastic wrestlers simply do what they do best, and despite the length of the contest, neither man slows down for a minute. Even better, this is the complete version of the match, with no commercial break interruptions.
WWE Backlash 2004 – April 18, 2004
WWE Intercontinental Championship No Holds Barred Match
Randy Orton (C) vs. Mick Foley
Disc two culminates with something completely different, but no less engaging: a No Holds Barred war between Randy Orton and Mick Foley from Backlash 2004. This was Foley’s first major singles match since 2000 (he had previously competed in a Handicap Match at WrestleMania XX, and was technically an entrant in the Royal Rumble), and he was determined to leave a lasting impression. That he did in a fantastic hardcore war, which he considers to be his greatest match, as does Orton, despite this being very early in his career. This match truly made Orton, as he proved he could hold his own against the Hardcore Legend and earns the clean pinfall victory.
WWE RAW – December 6, 2004
WWE Women’s Championship Match
Trish Stratus (C) vs. Lita
Disc three kicks off by spotlighting the WWE women’s division during the Ruthless Aggression era. The growth of WWE’s women’s division over the last few years, spawned by the success of those on NXT, has led some to forget about the impact that Trish Stratus and Lita had on the WWE product during their prime. This match from December 2004 is one such example, as the two ladies main-evented RAW to put on one of their better matches. Just try not to wince when Lita almost breaks her neck when diving onto Trish on the floor!
WWE WrestleMania 21 – April 3, 2005
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
Next up is one of my favourite matches ever, another absolute classic which sees Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels clash at WrestleMania 21. A true dream match which more than lived up to the hype, this was Angle’s best ever match in WWE in my opinion, and it’s definitely one of Shawn’s greatest battles as well. To me, whilst the action is topnotch, the selling by both men helps to make this one special (Shawn thinking that Angle is out cold, only for Kurt to spring up and trap Shawn in the Ankle Lock is tremendous), and is something that I feel is lacking from WWE’s product today.
WWE Vengeance 2005 – June 26, 2005
World Heavyweight Championship Hell In A Cell Match
Batista (C) vs. Triple H
Batista’s defence of the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H inside Hell In A Cell at Vengeance 2005 is next. The culmination of a long feud which had been brilliantly set up, most assumed that this would be the night when HHH finally defeated The Animal to reclaim “his” title. Instead, Batista earns an unexpected third win over The Game, and he does so in a hard-hitting, bloody battle which takes the violence to a level usually seen only in WWE matches involving Mick Foley. This third win really helped to make Batista, and it’s one of his true career highlights.
WWE No Way Out 2006 – February 19, 2006
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Kurt Angle (C) vs. The Undertaker
Kurt Angle pops up again to deliver another belter of a match, this time against The Undertaker from No Way Out 2006. Like Shawn vs. Angle, this match builds up slowly, steadily increasing the drama until the big moves kick in and the crowd becomes fully invested, not knowing which way this World Title match is going to go. Though Taker had put on some good matches with Randy Orton in 2005, this bout was a precursor to his own string of amazing WrestleMania matches which would begin the following year (although Kurt has stated that Taker wanted this very match to take place at a Mania, and with Angle going over too).
WWE Unforgiven 2006 – September 17, 2006
WWE Championship TLC Match
Edge (C) vs. John Cena
Disc three ends by covering what is, to me, the best rivalry of the Ruthless Aggression era between Edge and John Cena. Their epic struggle had many twists and turns, and this DVD features arguably the best match of their original feud, that being the TLC clash from Unforgiven 2006, in Edge’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. Cena takes some pretty hefty bumps, which changed some people’s opinions on him at the time, as does Edge, who takes an insane FU off a ladder through two stacked tables at the finish. Look out for Cena accidentally choking Edge out for real during a ladder-assisted STFU.
WWE RAW – April 23, 2007
John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels
Many people believe that 2015 was the best year of John Cena’s career from an in-ring standpoint, largely due to his United States Championship Open Challenge, and that may not be true. 2007 was also a peak year for him as he delivered plenty of great battles. One of these kicks off disc four, with he and the master, Shawn Michaels, delivering what may be the best RAW match of all-time (on his 30th birthday, no less). Coming from London, England, nobody expected this match to trump their WrestleMania 23 battle, nor for it to last nearly an hour, but it did, and the UK crowd loved it.
WWE RAW – April 30, 2007
Edge vs. Randy Orton
A bit of a strange inclusion, next, as Edge meets Randy Orton just one week later on RAW. It’s a really good match, but it feels a little out of place compared to the rest of the bouts featured here, plus this has also been previously released (on the Edge set, “A Decade Of Decadence”). The psychology of two heels battling one another, and with both wrestling as heels rather than one working as a babyface for this match alone (although Orton is treated as a face by fans), makes this unique and entertaining, though, so it’s still well worth watching.
WWE No Mercy 2008 – October 5, 2008
WWE Championship Match
Triple H (C) vs. Jeff Hardy
We move into 2008 now, and Triple H defending the WWE Title against Jeff Hardy at No Mercy. Coming at a time when fans were desperate for Jeff to break through the glass ceiling and become WWE Champion, this match is a great one, with Jeff out-wrestling fellow babyface HHH for the majority of the clash but just being unable to get the win. As it turned out, this would not be the night for Jeff to achieve his dream, but it remains one of his very best WWE singles matches, and a reminder that 2008 was one of the best years of HHH’s career from an in-ring standpoint.
WWE WrestleMania 25 – April 5, 2009
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Even that match cannot compare to the one which comes next, though: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 25. You will already be well aware of this one, so I’ll keep it brief: it’s probably the greatest WrestleMania match, and possibly the greatest WWE match, of all-time. Despite Taker’s near-miss on the attempted topé to the floor midway through, which created a nervous few moments, the bout is unbelievable, and a must-watch for any wrestling fan. This set frankly wouldn’t have been complete without this match.
WWE The Bash 2009 – June 28, 2009
WWE Intercontinental Championship vs. Mask Match
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Rey Mysterio
It’s not the last match of the compilation, mind you. That would be Chris Jericho’s defence of the Intercontinental Championship against Rey Mysterio from The Bash 2009. Nevertheless, this is another tremendous match and, in any other year, it may have won Match Of The Year because it’s a great end to one of the year’s top rivalries. I loved Mysterio leaping from one rope to land on another for a springboard moonsault, and the finish is really clever too, based on Jericho’s desire to unmask Mysterio (which would have been permanent if Rey lost). A strong end to a pretty damn epic collection of matches.
The sticking point is the fact that all of the matches have been previously released, and quite a few of them have appeared on plenty of compilations (such as Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WM 25, which has appeared on at least five previous DVDs). Therefore, from the standpoint of a fan who would be more inclined to part ways with their cash for a DVD containing unseen or rare matches, it’s hard to suggest that you should buy this one. Then there’s the fact that all of these matches are obviously on the WWE Network, and they are pretty easy to find there.
If these are not issues for you, however, or if you are a die-hard collector, then I cannot recommend this set enough. There are so many classic matches spanning a plethora of top names, stipulations, scenarios and eras (Attitude, Ruthless Aggression, PG). Whether you were a massive fan of Stone Cold and The Rock, or if you favored the days of the original Brand Extension, or if you tuned into WrestleMania each year to see The Undertaker attempt to keep The Streak alive, this collection has something for everyone, and with a few exceptions, it contains almost all of the WWF/WWE’s most memorable battles from the early 21st century, and covers most of the decade’s biggest rivalries.
Hopefully, we may get similar sets such as “Best of 1990s” or “Best of 2010s” in the future, although I would suggest that there would be enough material to cover a sequel to this very set (which could feature TLC II, HBK vs. HHH from SummerSlam 2002, Ric Flair vs. Michaels from WrestleMania XXIV and more). It’s familiar material, yes, but judged on overall quality, it’s one of the best WWE match compilations that I have watched in a long, long time.
And that’s… FINAL!
What did you guys think of WWE: BEST OF 2000s? Will you be picking up the DVD set this week? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Get your hands on the new, 4-DISC WWE “BEST OF THE 2000’s” DVD…
– UK/Europe: Right now! Get your WWE 2000’s DVD right now here on Amazon.co.uk.
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