WWE: WWE 24 – The Best Of 2020 (Cert 12)
2 discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 250 minutes approx.
Release Date: January 11th
To herald in the New Year, WWE Home Video has once again pulled four WWE24 documentaries from the WWE Network and compiled them for commercial release.
We start with R-Truth, a wrestler I have never really cared for, not in the least for his current run as a comedy figure with 24/7 title. It might surprise many fans to know that Ron Killings is in fact a twenty-plus year veteran, with an unusual path into wrestling.
Growing up in the impoverished suburbs of North Carolina, Killings was an aspiring rapper and to supplement his living costs, took to selling drugs, eventually serving a jail sentence. Whilst this isn’t explored with any forensic depth, Killings is candid about his criminal past, justifying his actions as a means to make something of himself.
It was inside where Killings met Jack Crockett, of the famous Crockett family who encouraged him to try wrestling. An emotional reunion with Crockett is shown leading to footage of K-Krush, Killings’ persona in NWA Wildside, before joining the WWF in 2000. They try to propagate the idea the rechristened K-Kwik got over with his rapping and athleticism, but in reality he didn’t, and was fired a year later.
Clips from TNA follow of heel Ron “The Truth” Killings and his NWA World Title win over Ken Shamrock in 2002, then to Killings returning to WWE in 2008, reborn as R-Truth. His peers put him over as the funniest man alive and we witness the embarrassing sight of Vince “dancing” with Truth backstage. This piece didn’t change my opinion of R-Truth the wrestler, but I do respect Ron Killings the man for turning his life around.
Next is Edge: The Second Mountain. As the man himself explains at the start, this was originally going to be a look at life post-wrestling for Edge, how he made the move into acting and being a family man. However, a cameo at the Summerslam 2019 pre-show made Edge wonder if he could return to wrestling, and after seeing many doctors, he finally got medical clearance and made his comeback at the 2020 Royal Rumble.
A mixture of looking back at the final year of Edge’s career and his forced retirement due to a neck injury and moving forward with a new lease of life, this piece runs the longest, and in some ways parallels elements of the recent Undertaker documentary in how it details a similar return to form. Like Taker, Edge trains with his wife Beth Phoenix, and a man he helped get into WWE, Dash Wilder of The Revival (now Cash Wheeler of FTR in AEW).
The curtain is pulled back wider than before to give us what is quite an inspirational piece, though it stops at the Rumble, which is just as well as it would only end with Edge forced back onto the injury list with a torn tricep from his Greatest Wrestling Match Ever against Randy Orton at Backlash, and not on the high point of his successful return.
Wrestlemania: The Show Must Go On is a slightly different recount of how the wrestlers handled the biggest show of the year by virtue of it being forced to relocate from an 80,000-seat stadium to the considerably smaller WWE Performance centre with zero fans thanks to the COVID pandemic.
It opens up with Triple H giving a pep talk to the wrestlers and crew informing them of this monumental change, then rolls back in time to explain how it altered the wrestler’s psyche after a year of build up. First is Rhea Ripley at the empty stadium ahead of facing Charlotte Flair, with a brief history of her journey from indie wrestler in Australia to NXT Women’s champion, a format repeated for Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre.
Kevin Owens bemoans how he was planning to jump off the big pirate ship prop in the stadium but had to settle for leaping off the Wrestlemania sign that barely fit in the PC. Speaking of jumping off things, also included is the clip of 75 year-old Vince jumping off a balcony onto a crash mat to show a nervous Gonk how easy it was.
In some ways, the slightest WM related documentary, yet refreshing from having a totally different narrative to drive it.
Finally, we end with Drew McIntyre: The Chosen One, some of this story already covered in the Wrestlemania episode. For us Brits, this will be such a resonant piece as Drew’s humble beginnings in suburban Scotland is a change from the usual glitz of the US based stories, not to mention 98% of the interviewees are Scottish!
No college football and other clichés, this is about a skinny lad with a love for wrestling who might not have even been born had his sick mother listened to doctors and aborted her child. Grainy footage of 15 year-old Dew Galloway backyard wrestling is followed by his training in Plymouth, which eventually led to his UK Indie run in Irish Whip Wrestling and ICW.
Drew’s first WWE run in 2009 is covered where Vince declared him The Chosen One, only to cut his legs off a few months later and saddle him with the lame 3MB gimmick. This led to Drew hitting the bottle, then hit by the one-two punch of his WWE release and his mother’s death. Footage of Drew’s triumphant return to ICW and subsequent dominance of the UK Indies follows whilst his two-year run in TNA has been erased from history.
After breaking his neck, Drew sobered up, returned to WWE as part of NXT and the rest of the story you know. Another candid reflection of the life and career of someone who has more of a story to tell than you’d expect, but this is a very real and emotional piece.
Four very different storied told, well made as ever, a little revisionist in the history in some cases but a worthwhile collection to seek out.
Smackdown Live – January 29th 2019 – US Title Match – Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. R-Truth
Wrestlemania 36 – April 5th 2020 – Falls Count Anywhere Match – Edge vs. Randy Orton
Wrestlemania 36 – April 5th 2020 – NXT Women’s Title Match – Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Wrestlemania 36 – April 5th 2020 – WWE Title Match – Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
Rating – ****
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