23rd Jun2013

‘WWE: The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Whilst many will decry the WWE for eating up and spitting out it’s wrestling opposition, leaving little-to-no competition on television, it has – in recent years – taken to recognising the history of wrestling and the legacy the company, and those companies it now owns, on modern wrestling. Gone are the days of ignoring the “competition” and in has come a respect to where the sport has been and where it is going. Some would say this is a direct result of TNA’s influence (that wrestling company have always acknowledged its rivals and its history), others will say it is inevitable given Vince McMahon’s need to keep making money by releasing DVD after DVD each and every month. Whatever the reason, the WWE have – at least in my eyes – been on to a good thing by putting out DVD and Blu-rays that take a look back at the history of the company, its stars and, with The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History, the rivalries that made the sport… and made careers.

There have been many conflicts throughout the years in the world of professional wrestling but only the twenty-five most extreme disputes make it into this Blu-ray – and what rivalries! Dating all the way back to the very earliest days of wrestling and the rivalry between Vern Gagne and Nick Bockwinkel, The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History takes in matches of the 70s and early 80s featuring Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard, Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher, Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper AND Randy Savage; the brutality of ECW in the mid-to-late 90s and matches featuring Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven, and Taz vs. Sabu; all they way up to the RAW years and the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon, The Undertaker vs. Mankind (and vs. his “brother” Kane) and Mick Foley vs. Triple H; and my personal favourite rivalry – the Dudley Boyz vs. the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian in not one but THREE epic TLC matches!

The twenty-five feuds on show in The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History span generations and wrestling styles. Of course fans will have their choice of the best 25 matches in wresting history but it’s hard to deny that this particular rundown features some greats. The order is debatable, the rivalries questionable, but the matches are not. Comprised of a three-hour presentation that sees WWE wrestlers, superstars and commentators talk about their favourite rivalries, this documentary also shows that not all wrestling rivalries are staged – in fact some of the great wrestling feuds were actually borne out of animosity in the locker room!

As if the fantastic three-hour documentary wasn’t enough, The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History release features over 5 hours of bonus matches highlighting the rivalries presented in the countdown, three of which are exclusive to the Blu-ray. Highlights of the matches include: Undertaker vs. Mankind at King of the Ring ’96; Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher at World Class Championship Wrestling in 1987; Taz vs. Sabu at ECW’s Barely Legal in 1997; and Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven at WrestlePalooza, also in 1997.

A timely reminder of what wrestling was about before all the money and all the “entertainment”, The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History is released Monday June 24th on DVD and Blu-ray from WWE Home Video/FremantleMedia. And it’s an essential purchase.

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