The Rise & Fall of WCW

Monday Night Mayhem DVD Review
The Rise And Fall Of WCW”
Produced By World Wrestling Entertainment
Written By: “Wild” Bill Brown

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Content: 8.5

Decades of wrestling history originating from the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States are once again retold to the wrestling world in this latest DVD release by World Wrestling Entertainment. From the starting points of the promotion by Jim Crockett Sr. in the early 1930′s, to his son (Jim Jr.), & then Ted Turner, this three-disc set of how it all started & ended (with World Championship Wrestling) is another interesting look at wrestling history. In this version, we get some very interesting sides of things from a decent panel, as well as some older comments from past interviews, in regards to their thoughts on World Championship Wrestling & all the controversy within the company. We go from the great days of wrestling through handshakes & trust and ended with all kinds of backstabbing & frustration. This is your chance to hear the latest stories many years later as to why & how World Championship Wrestling thrived, but then ended in a huge swirl of controversy. This is your look through the story of WCW, as well as viewing bonus features & twenty selected matches.

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Audio/Video: 9.5

Incredible Dolby Surround sound & music inserts, combined with well heard panelists & solid camera work, the production values of WWE Home Video is always beyond outstanding. All the matches selected were from the WCW library, and the WWE makes the most out of preserving the production & displaying solid video from their purchased assets. Even the older stuff from the ’70′s & ’80′s are clipped & presented in clean crisp video.

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Bonus Features: 8.0

These are at the end of disc one after the story of WCW is told. You will get the following extras which are not much, but somewhat interesting. There is nothing to really brag about in these choices.

*Lost In Cleveland (Cactus Jack vignette)
*Bill Watts Defends Himself
*Spam Man
*The Origin of Goldberg
*Bischoff Gives Away RAW Results

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What’s On The DVD’s?

These are the documentary chapters:

Jim Crockett Promotions
Georgia Championship Wrestling
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Black Saturday
The Expansion
Crockett Sells To Turner
Greatest Talent In The World
New Management
Bill Watts Era
Bill Shaw Hires Eric Bischoff
Hulk Hogan Arrives
Nitro Debuts
nWo
Cruiserweights
Goldberg
WCW Ratings Champ
Celebrities
Goldberg vs. Hogan
Mistakes Begin
Vince Russo
A Corporate Merger
McMahon Buys WCW
Legacy Of WCW

 

The first disc tells the story starting from 1933 & Jim Crockett Sr.’s style of promoting professional events of all types. We are guided through the Mid- Atlantic days, Georgia, & Vince’s takeover which he called the perfect “1-2 Punch.” Then we see the acquisitions of Jim Crockett Jr. gobbling up many of the NWA territories & the UWF. Crockett was all about making money, all about spending money, & then realized in 1988 that he all of the sudden millions behind in his own money & had to sell the company. But within this we are told about the birth of TBS & Ted Turner’s fondness for professional wrestling, and how Vince McMahon and himself joined & ended their relationship on the network. Many things are dated very accurately, but once again this is where something like this is so big & can be talked about for hours, but by twenty-five minutes in we are past how Starrcade’s was changing the business & all the other key elements of the NWA, and we are instead discussing Ted Turners WCW.

 

In the beginning from what was NWA to now WCW, the group was more-or-less looked at as changing from a Carolina’s group to a Global promotion. The players in the group were great, but the leadership was undoubtedly terrible. We are given the rundown of WCW presidents & bookers and what each one brought to the table, but ultimately shown how each one failed at survival. The list seemed endless of failures & departures, until finally Eric Bischoff was shockingly given his very own opportunity to go to war as the company’s head. With the acquisitions of Hulk Hogan & other big name stars, as well as running head-to-head on Monday nights, this began the turnaround, and gave the Ted Turner owned company a huge lead over their once superior competitors. Through all the sellouts/rises in revenues, many mistakes, & changes behind-the-scenes were being made which started to unsteady the now tall WCW structure. So through all the surprises, the cruiserweights, live Monday Nitro’s, Bill Goldberg, & celebrity appearances, we now have bigger contracts, more ego, Vince Russo, & wrestlers being held back from upward mobility. At this point, we are now focused in on the bad things there were happening like Kevin Nash ruining the streak, Jay Leno, David Arquette, a Pay-Per-View event running over its time limit, & a one finger World Title change in front of nearly 40,000 pissed-off wrestling fans. Hulk Hogan’s last WCW appearance was also shown, as Vince Russo & Jeff Jarrett double-crossed the World Champion (Hulk Hogan) in front of a live paying audience. Time Warner at this point was trying to wash their hands of professional wrestling, and these types of things going on & substantial millions of dollars in the red ultimately led to the sale of this company…and to none other than Vincent Kennedy McMahon. To say all this is portrayed fairly is a huge misconception, because it never ever could be in a quick two-hour rundown. There are also plenty of panelists, but we all could only wish there could have been more of these people for discussion. Selected for this DVD release to tell their stories are the following:

*Jim Ross

*Vince McMahon

*”The Nature Boy” Ric Flair

*Jim Crockett

*David Crockett

*Dr. Harvey Schiller

*Dean Malenko

*Mike Graham

*Chris Jericho

*”The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

*Bill Goldberg

*Magnum TA

*Barry Windham

*”Cowboy” Bill Watts
*Rey Mysterio

*Michael “P.S.” Hayes

*Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

*Shane Helms/The Hurricane

*Ron Simmons

*Road Warrior Animal

*Scott Hall

*The Big Show

*Arn Anderson

*Eric Bischoff, Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, & Hulk Hogan are also included from older interviews

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The Matches:

The matches are fantastic towards the start of the DVD, but towards the end of the WCW promotion you may be scratching your head as to why they would select the choices they have made for these two remaining discs.

$1,000 Challenge Match
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A.
NWA World Championship Wrestling — June 15, 1985   

A great look at Magnum, who would have been the future in the NWA if it wasn’t for a tragic automobile accident.

Sting, Lex Luger, & Barry Windham vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon)
The Main Event — April 3, 1988  

This was a hot six-man tag from the first-ever broadcast of “The Main Event.”

NWA United States Championship Match
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes vs. Barry Windham
The Great American Bash — July 10, 1988

Windham was a hot heel…Rhodes was a top face. This contest saw Ronnie Garvin getting involved.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
“Chi-Town Rumble” — February 20, 1989

A classic…perhaps one of the best WCW matches you will ever see.

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette)
Wrestle War — February 25, 1990

Tag team wrestling at its finest. Watch the inserts on the theme music though, which will anger the purists out there during their introductions.

NWA United States Tag Team Title Match
The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys
WCW’s Great American Bash — July 7, 1990

The Southern Boys were a very underrated team that always worked well with The Midnights.

WCW World Tag Team Title Match
The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger
WCW SuperBrawl — May 19, 1991

Booked at the time as a dream match between four of WCW’s most popular wrestlers.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sting vs. Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race)
WCW’s Great American Bash — July 12, 1992

These guys always had some brutal matches that told a great story. This contest was another version of that.

WCW International World Heavyweight Championship Match
“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Sting
WCW Spring Stampede — April 17, 1994

An interesting match, and Rude really worked his butt off here.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/Sensuous Sherri) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/Shaquille O’Neal & “The Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart)
WCW Bash At The Beach — July 17, 1994

A sold-out crowd, a PPV record, with huge revenue. This was the start of “The Hogan Era” in WCW.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. The Giant
WCW Monday Nitro — April 29, 1996

A match that shocked many, with a rare title change.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko
WCW Clash Of The Champions XXXIII — August 15, 1996

High-flyer vs. Technical expert

War Games Match
Team WCW (Sting, “The Total Package” Lex Luger, “The Nature Boy” Ric Fair & Arn Anderson) vs. Team nWo (“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & a Mystery Partner)
WCW Fall Brawl — September 15, 1996

Of all the War Games through the years, this was probably the worst one to choose from.

WCW United States Championship Ladder Match
Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero
nWo Souled Out — January 25, 1997

Weird selection as well. The NWO Pay-Per-View was not that great.

WCW United States Championship No-Disqualification Match
Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
WCW Uncensored — March 16, 1997

Great work by the cruisers again.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match (“Title vs. Mask”)
Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
WCW SuperBrawl VIII — February 22, 1998

This was during a time when Bischoff apparently was trying to unmask each of the luchadors one after the other.

WCW Unified World Tag Team Title Match
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Outsiders
WCW SuperBrawl VIII — February 22, 1998

Can’t understand how this made it here. Pretty much just shows a Scott Steiner heel turn & has no other purpose.

Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman
WCW Bash At The Beach — July 12, 1998

A huge mainstream media match. Thank God they didn’t pick the other match with Jay Leno.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page
WCW Halloween Havoc — October 25, 1998

This is the match where the Pay-Per-View ran too long, and as a result, many WCW paying customers never got to see the end of this match until Monday Nitro the following night.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Booker T vs. Lance Storm
WCW Monday Nitro — August 7, 2000 

This was the last match on the DVD…This one, a Nitro match. While decent, plenty of fans (including myself) will probably not understand why this one was chosen. Seriously, there are hundreds of other matches we all wish we could have seen here.

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The Verdict:

While a great story, certainly not the most accurate. There are some strong points made & interesting comments heard, but if you are looking for the entire version of what happened through all those years, you’re just never going to get it with the WWE owning the assets of the company. This was enjoyable, yet very frustrating to watch, but that kind of sums up the WCW story & the way it really was for the most part anyways.  

****

Overall Recommendation:

It was the biggest story in the history of wrestling. It was the end of the wrestling war after many decades of battle. Here is the story of the group that fought up & out until the year 2001. You owe it to yourself to find out as much as you can about wrestling history, and “The Rise And Fall Of WCW” by World Wrestling Entertainment will certainly be a great watch for any viewer out there. Despite much incompleteness, due to the nature of this particular topic, these three DVD’s/discs are strongly recommended.

****

Final Thoughts:

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair comes to mind as the only man besides the Crockett’s, who were there from the early stages right through the very end, and being involved in this project was a major plus. Eric Bischoff not being specifically interviewed with newer material this time around takes away from this story, but that is in no way any fault of the WWE, as Eric was unwilling to participate & share any of his stories for us…and rightfully so. A few other names perhaps should have been interviewed for comments I suppose, but I guess we can’t get everything we want.

Overall Rating: 8.7

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This DVD was reviewed By “Wild” Bill Brown. This DVD was reviewed By “Wild” Bill Brown. Visit the official website, Facebook, & MySpace pages of The Mayhem’s official DVD reviewer at www.BBrownVideo.com, www.Facebook.com/BBrownVideo, & www.MySpace.com/BBrownVideo.