WWE 'Attitude Era' DVD review: A stroll down Memory Lane

WWE has released another DVD and Blu-Ray of most pro wrestling fan's favorite era. The standard of these documentaries has become quite high, but can this new release meet those expectations? The answer is... not quite.

WWE has a great track record when it comes to its DVD and Blu-Ray releases. Their video department is the best in the business, and anyone watching can discern the passion and hard work which has been put into each project. In fact, the documentaries are often better than the actual weekly shows. A high standard has been set recently.

Unfortunately, WWE Attitude Era slightly misses the benchmark.

This is less of a historical documentary than it is a pleasant stroll down memory lane. Not that this is a bad thing, of course. Who doesn't love a nostalgic trip back into one of -- if not thee -- greatest era's in WWE history? It is hard not to get a little giddy when you hear D-Generation X's intro music hit. I truly loved every minute of the DVD.

But if you are looking for something new, this is not the place you'll find it.

The documentary section tends to be a bit convoluted and thrown together, instead of following any logical trajectory. It is book-ended by Vince McMahon's Dec. 15, 1997 promo introducing the Attitude Era -- which will forever remain one of my favorite promos of all time -- and when WWE bought out WCW. It is interesting that WWE considers these two points the beginning and the end of the Attitude Era. I think most fans would disagree with at least the starting point.

This is a McMahon produced show, though, and it makes sense he would want credit with ushering in the era.

Everything in the middle simply feels like a kid on a sugar high, running around a toy store, pointing at all the cool things he wants to play with. Instead of going year by year, or at least having some chronological path, the documentary is content to just point at a moment and ask the viewers, "wasn't that awesome?"

Again, this is certainly not a bad thing, because many of those moments were awesome.

But too often, was I left wanting more explanation... not just on what occurred, but as to why things occurred the way they did. There was no real depth devoted to any particular segment: D-Generation X gets 5 minutes; same with Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon; the entire Divas division gets the same amount of time as The Godfather and Val Venis. Moreover, the voice-over narration proceeds to tell us "WWE is famous for its long form storytelling", but fails to actually cite any examples to prove the point.

A single hour for an entire era is simply not enough time to cover everything. That being said, it is still fun as hell to watch.

The cast of talking heads do a great job in navigating the viewer. Mick Foley resumes his self-appointed role as the "Conscience of WWE." He was essential in some of the greatest moments of the era, so it makes sense why he is front and center. However, it's amazing how the man can say, without a single trace of irony, that D-X's sexual innuendos were over-the-line, when almost killing himself night-in and night-out is completely "kosher".

But that is a story for another day.

Road Dogg is used as a counter balance to Foley. He is a complete mark for the Attitude Era, but it comes off as a sincere love for the past. The viewer can tell he just had fun going out there and entertaining the audience, which is something lacking from a lot of present day wrestlers.

Mark Henry gets a good bit of airtime -- his rationalizing the transvestite storyline is amazing to watch -- along with Christian, Big Show, and Pat Patterson. Making small appearances are the likes of Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H, Jim Ross, John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL), and Stephanie McMahon.

Even Vince Russo has a blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo.

It is unfortunate, though, that Vince himself does not show up, or that the major players of the era don't get an opportunity to explain the thought processes behind certain decisions. For a masterpiece which goes in depth as to why and what things happened, see The Rise and Fall of WCW . Here, WWE was able to tell the story as an outsider looking in.

Unfortunately, that is not an option available here.

It is somewhat expected for WWE to lack the ability to provide a clear introspective. Too many holdovers are present to give a real look behind-the-scenes as to what is actually going on. There is a brief segment on the backstage politics which were rampant at the time, but it comes off as merely acknowledging their existence, and not much else. This was definitely an area where the documentary failed to provide any new insights, when it really should have.

The Attitude Era was probably the most entertaining time to be a pro wrestling fan, and the documentary does its best to bring back that excitement. It is certainly a fun trip through the good ol' days of sports entertainment. Is it a must buy? Eh, that is still up in the air. I certainly enjoyed it and don't regret getting it.

But mileage may vary.

The documentary is not up to par with what WWE usually puts out. The rest of the DVD acts as a "Best of" with plenty of matches and segments to keep you entertained. 90-percent of it is probably on YouTube, but it is always good to have it in one place.

Plus, with the settlement between WWE and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in place, we actually get to see the "Scratched" logo in all it's glory. Whether this is enough to justify the purchase, is up to each individual to decide.

At the very least, it is something to ask Santa Claus -- or Hanukkah Harry -- to get you for being a good little smark this year.

Disc 1 - Documentary - The Birth of Attitude

  • Entrance Music
  • D-Generation X
  • Austin vs. McMahon
  • Long-Arching Stories
  • Innovations
  • New Demographic
  • Critics
  • Expansion
  • Comedy
  • Wealth of Talent
  • The World Was Watching
  • Watershed Period
Disc 1 Extras:

  • Jim Ross interviews Goldust & Marlena - Raw Nov 3, 1997
  • Steve Austin Throws the InterContinental Championship Off A Bridge - Raw Dec 15, 1997
  • Soldier of Love - Raw May 4, 1998
  • Mr McMahon Presents Mankind with the WWE Hardcore Championship - Raw Nov 2, 1998
  • Jim Ross Interviews Triple H - Sunday Night Heat July 25, 1999
  • An Evening At The Friendly Tap - SmackDown! Jan 20, 2000
  • Mae Young and the Acolyte Protection Agency - SmackDown! Jan 27, 2000
  • "The Jug Band" - Judgment Day 2000
  • Triple H Trains Trish Stratus - SmackDown! July 27, 2000
  • Edges Totally Awesome Birthday - Raw Oct 30, 2000
  • The Rocks Message to His Hell in a Cell Opponents - Raw Dec 4, 2000
  • GTV
Disc 2

  • Mike Tyson Joins DX - Raw Mar 2, 1998
  • A New Beginning For D-Generation X - Raw March 30, 1998
  • Sable vs. "Marvelous" Marc Mero - Raw May 11, 1998
  • Nation of Degeneration - Raw July 6, 1998
  • Bart Gunn vs. "Dr Death" Steve Williams - Brawl for All Match - Raw July 27, 1998
  • The Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane & Mankind vs. The New Age Outlaws vs. The Rock & Owen Hart - Four Corners Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
  • Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart - Lions Den Match - SummerSlam 1998
  • The Rock vs. Mankind - Finals of WWE Championship Tournament - Survivor Series 1998
  • The Rock & The Undertaker vs. Mankind & Stone Cold Steve Austin - Raw Dec 7, 1998
  • Austin Gives The Corporation A Beer Bath - Raw March 22, 1999
  • The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin - Raw June 28, 1999
  • The Debut of Y2J - Raw Aug 9, 1999
Disc 3

  • DLo Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett - European & Intercontinental Championship Match - SummerSlam 1999
  • The Rock & Mankind vs. The Undertaker & Big Show - Buried Alive Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship - SmackDown! Sept 9, 1999
  • Stone Cold & Jim Ross vs. Triple H & Chyna - Raw Oct 11, 1999
  • Boss Mans Sympathy for Big Shows Dad - Raw Nov 18, 1999
  • The Wedding of Stephanie McMahon & Andrew "Test" Martin - Raw Nov 29, 1999
  • The Godfather & DLo Brown vs. Too Cool - SmackDown Jan 27, 2000
  • Hardcore Holly vs. Crash Holly - WWE Hardcore Championship Match - Raw March 27, 2000
  • Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero - WWE Championship Match - Raw April 3, 2000
  • Rikishi vs. Val Venis - Steel Cage Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship - Fully Loaded 2000
  • Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz - Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the World Tag Team Championship - SummerSlam 2000
  • Kurt Angle vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi - Hell in A Cell Match for the WWE Championship - Armageddon 2000
Blu-ray Exclusives

  • King of Kings Match: Ken Shamrock vs. Triple H vs. Owen Hart Raw - June 29, 1998
  • The Oddities w/ Insane Clown Posse vs. The Headbangers Raw - Sept 28, 1998
  • The Truth About Sammy Raw - Jan 18, 1999
  • The Unholy Union of Stephanie McMahon & The Undertaker Raw - April 26, 1999
  • The Rock vs. Val Venis SmackDown - Oct 7, 1999
  • Survivor Series Elimination Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane & Shane McMahon vs. Triple H, X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws SmackDown - Nov 4, 1999
  • WWE Hardcore Championship Match: Al Snow vs. Crash Holly SmackDown - June 29, 2000
  • The Hardy Boyz & Lita vs. Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero & Dean Malenko SmackDown - Nov 30, 2000
  • Chris Jericho & The Dudley Boyz vs. Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian Raw - Dec 25, 2000
  • These may actually be Best Buy Exclusive Extras for the DVD edition:
  • GTV - Al Snow & Head; Mae Young Gives Birth - Raw Feb 28, 2000
  • Lita vs. Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley - WWE Womens Championship Match - Raw June 12, 2000
  • The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz - Raw July 17, 2000
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