WWE – Best Of 2000’s (Cert 15)

4 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 666 minutes approx.

I hope you have your pinches of salt ready as WWE Home Video presents another compilation of matches under the “Best Of” umbrella. On this occasion, they attempt to pick out the best matches that took place in the first decade of the millennium – no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination.

Such a list is always going to be subjective, not to mention open to repetition regarding the bona fide classic matches and the wrestlers featured, as well as being a tall order considering the sheer wealth of material to choose from. Obviously, some matches are exempt from selection due to a certain Canadian being involved, a shame as they would have been preferable alternatives to some of the choices.

Hosted by Mick Foley, reviving his Commissioner role from the turn of the decade, he is joined by current wrestlers to add, well, very little really. On Disc One, Mick is joined by Enzo & Big Cass, the most interesting thing they reveal is that Cass was at the 2000 Royal Rumble PPV, seated right at the very back of MSG. After flying solo on disc two, a rather camera shy Charlotte Flair sits in with Foley, unsure if she should be in character or not – joking naturally one minute then kayfabe heeling her father the next.

Finally on disc four, It’s Bayley is Mick’s final guest who adds little beside being typically perky. Wasted opportunities really, especially since these links were few and far between to add any insight, meaning or indeed gravitas to the presentation, and the comedy was inconsequential at best. Ironically, Mick did crack a prescient gag about being fired by the time this DVD came out, which, in storyline terms, he was!

But it is the wrestling that is the star attraction so let’s look at what is on offer. I should point out in advance that while the blood has been left intact, unprotected chair shots to the head have been replaced with crowd shots or cut completely, but these matches are available on countless other releases in their full uncut glory.

The first disc features the following matches:

Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – Royal Rumble 2000

TLC Match – Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz – Summerslam 2000

Three Stages of Hell Match – Triple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – No Way Out 2001

The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestlemania X-Seven 2001

Booker T vs. The Rock – Summerslam 2001

As you can see, two appearances apiece already for Stone Cold, The Rock and Triple H (and not the last for him because nepotism). The first two matches are legendary, the Three Stages of Hell match is often overlooked but hasn’t quite stood the test of time and The Rock vs. Booker T is well, just okay. They are a few other matches that could have replaced this one, but this one has marquee name value.

Disc two boasts this line-up:

Hollywood Hogan vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania X-8 2002

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho – Wrestlemania XIX 2003

Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar Iron Man Match – Smackdown! 2003

Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley – Backlash 2004

Again, the first two matches should no need introduction and the Foley vs. Orton match is another one that gets forgotten, but is one of Orton’s better efforts, long before he turned into the soulless, dull robot he is today.

The real gem here is the Angle vs. Lesnar Iron Man Match which was a TV match thus was subject to commercial breaks, leaving only 40 minutes fit for air; this version is the complete uncut 60-minute match! If this has been released in this form before I haven’t seen it so if you are like me, consider this a major highlight of the collection.

Onto to disc three which showcases these bouts:

Trish Stratus vs. Lita – RAW 2004

Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania 21 2005

Hell in a Cell Match – Batista vs. Triple H – Vengeance 2005

Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker – No Way Out 2006

TLC Match – Edge vs. John Cena – Unforgiven 2006

Trish vs. Lita was the historic first time the woman main evented RAW and the match where Lita did THAT perilous dive. Angle vs. HBK is another classic, which cannot be said for Triple H vs. Batista. Angle vs. Taker may be the sleeper match on this disc (even I’d forgotten about it) while Cena’s first appearance on this release sees him being booed out of Canada, a young Roman Reigns was presumably watching somewhere with aspiration in his eyes.

Finally on disc four:

John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – RAW 2007

Edge vs. Randy Orton – RAW 2007

Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy – No Mercy 2008

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – Wrestlemania XXV 2009

IC Title vs. Mask Match – Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio – The Bash 2009

Unlike the Iron Man Match, the hour-long TV match between Cena and HBK hasn’t been restored so you’ll have to make do with the truncated broadcast version. Edge vs. Orton is another match that slipped my memory as did the Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy bout which is just fine at best. No sell job necessary for Taker vs. HBK although it probably should have closed this collection, good as the Y2J vs. Mysterio match is.

The overriding cavil with this release is that, like many greatest hits music albums, it offers little new and really only appeals to the absolute diehard fans or the curious neophyte. Some matches have to be included but there is only so many times one can see them listed on a commercial release.

With four discs and 11 hours of material this is a tidy collection to have but, match quality aside, nothing about it screams “essential” when so much of it is readily available ad infinitum.

 

Rating – ****  

Man In Black

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