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History of the World Heavyweight Championship DVD Review

February 20, 2010   ·   0 Comments

This three disc set follows the lineage of the current World Heavyweight Championship. Although the title in its current existence was awarded to Triple H in 2002, its history stretches back through generations from its inception under the NWA banner, through the turbulent WCW days and into the modern era.

The documentary starts by talking about how wrestling is the worlds oldest sport, pre-dating biblical times. We are told the first world champion was crowned in the early 20th century and the legendary Frank Gotchs influence and legacy is highlighted. Ed The Strangler Lewis is the next legend that is mentioned, explaining how big a star he was in his day. The evolution of the shoot style match into a more worked style is gently touched upon while its never openly explained as we swiftly move on to the late 1940s and the NWAs formation.

The first champion, the great Lou Thesz, dominated the NWA for almost two decades and is the longest reigning champion. The documentary keeps rolling the legends out as Buddy Rogers, Jack Brisco, Harley Race and Dory Funk Jr. are highlighted as top champions, while most of these legends contribute to the documentary themselves with their comments.

The documentary mentions the Race / Flair feud in the 80s and progresses swiftly to the WCW 1990s, eventually seeing WCW break away from the NWA. It talks about how 90s TV led to shorter reigns and frequent changes and moves into Jericho being crowned the first Undisputed Champion and the re-emergence of the big gold belt around Triple Hs waist in late 2002. The last decades highlights of the titles lineage is shown as the legacy of the belt is discussed with contributions from Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, Triple H and CM Punk.

The matches start on disc one and they are legendary bouts from the NWA era starting with Buddy Rogers capturing the title in 1961. Other classic matches on this disc shows legends including Jack Brisco, the Funk brothers, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and Sting. I was surprised by how quick paced some of the earlier matches were and I felt guilty for my ignorance when I witnessed how good these older matches were.

Disc two shows matches from the WCW era featuring top stars of the 90s such as Ricky Steamboat, Lex Luger, Hulk Hogan, Vader, Goldberg and ends with a WWE-promoted WCW Championship match between The Rock and Chris Jericho during the Invasion angle of 2001. Very few of these matches are anything short of excellent. The big man vs. little man Vader vs. Steamboat match is beautiful story telling. Scott Steiner vs. Ric Flair is well put together and many of the matches on this disc are top quality matches that while not always remembered as classics, are fantastic matches to watch again.

The third and final disc is the WWE era version of the title – the World Heavyweight Championship. The list of wrestlers on this disc is as impressive, if not more so, than its predecessors. Matches feature Rob Van Dam, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Edge and Jeff Hardy. Watching almost all of these matches made me realise just how good WWE has been at times during the last decade. Many, including myself, are quick to criticise the modern era WWE and its matches but the matches shown on this DVD are exceptional back and forth, story telling, edge of your seat masterpieces. Watching Triple H vs. RVD from 2002 or Angle vs. Undertaker from 2006 is amazing and I cant believe I forgot how good these matches were. The last match on the disc shows the terrific Jeff Hardy vs. Edge ladder match from Extreme Rules last year where CM Punk spoilt the party with his Money in the Bank title shot following the brutal epic.

Once again WWE have exceeded my expectations with an interesting documentary and some amazing matches, shown not only for their historic value, but also for how good they are to watch again. As a keen historian – both wrestling and otherwise – I was really intrigued by this release but I figured the documentary would be interesting but the matches would be a mixed bag at best. I was unbelievably impressed with the quality of these matches with each disc having some awesome bouts while all give viewers a consistently high standard throughout. Not all the old matches are shown in their entirety but most are and the list adds up to an impressive 22 by my count. This all leads to an eight and a half hour triple DVD set that cannot be ignored at an unbelievable 17.99, available from SilverVision via the link below.

http://www.silvervision.co.uk/products/The-History-Of-The-World-Heavyweight-Championship-DVD-3-Discs.html

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