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Review of The History of the World Heavyweight Championship

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Review of The History of the World Heavyweight Championship

The History of the World Heavyweight Championship

© 2009 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This is the third DVD set the WWE has released to document the history of a championship. While the DVD sets for the WWE and Intercontinental Championships featured many classic must-see matches, both sets featured many matches available on other compilations. This set features only one match available on another non-PPV DVD and unlike the prior two, it also features a documentary. The matches on this set also cover several promotions and almost half-a-century.

The Review and Recommendation

Format of the DVD: The first disc features a one-hour documentary and several matches from the NWA era of the title. Disc two features matches from the WCW era of the title while disc three features matches since the rebirth of the title in 2002.

The Documentary: Usually I'm a big fan of these but the WWE dropped the ball on this one. It is very short, has a few errors, and takes some huge leaps of faith in order to make the claim that this title dates back to 1905. The best part of this documentary was the early part of the DVD when the era of Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt is discussed. I was disappointed that the short-lived reunion of the WCW and NWA in the early '90s wasn't discussed for more than a sentence as newer fans may be confused as to why the title was briefly very different looking than the one fans have been used to seeing since 1986.

Match Selection: The WWE did a nice job in picking entertaining matches that aren't on other DVD sets while also showcasing different eras of the title. My biggest gripes are that there is no Lou Thesz match on the set (which they might not have any rights to use) and that they chose a match where they cut Jesse Ventura's commentary.

Overall Recommendation: If you are just starting off your WWE DVD collection, I would get either the WWE or Intercontinental Championship DVD sets first. However, if you already have a large collection of DVDs, due to all of the repeats on those sets you might want to pick this one up instead. Either way, this is a very good DVD that is deserving of a place in your wrestling DVD library.

Matches on the DVD

For matches that are available on other compilation DVDs, I will note the DVD it is also available on in parenthesis and italics.

Disc One - NWA

  • Chicago 1961: 2 out of 3 Falls: Pat O'Connor vs. Buddy Rogers - This match set an attendance record that held up for over 20 years. That record was not broken by WrestleMania III as stated in the documentary. It was possibly broken by the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions in 1984, and was definitely broken by The Big Event in 1986.
  • Florida 2/11/69: Gene Kiniski vs. Dory Funk Jr. - Only the last few minutes of the match are shown and the video quality is very bad.
  • Florida 12/10/75: Jack Brisco vs. Terry Funk - This is highlights from the match and it features a weird '70s style technique where the action switches back and forth between regular and slow motion.
  • Florida 8/21/79: Harley Race vs. Dusty Rhodes - Another highlight video. It features Dusty talking to Gordon Solie about the match.
  • AWA SuperClash: Ric Flair vs. Magnum TA - This event was the high-point for the rival promotions of the WWE working together to try and stop the expansion of the WWE.
  • Great American Bash '90: Ric Flair vs. Sting - This match was Sting's return to the ring after missing several months due to a ruptured patella that happened the night he was kicked out of the Four Horsemen.
Disc Two - WCW

  • Clash of Champions XIV: Ric Flair vs. Scott Steiner - The two men were scheduled to compete in a War Games match against each other in a few weeks.
  • Great American Bash '91: Lex Luger vs. Barry Windham - This steel cage match was held to crown a new champion after Flair had left the company, not the following match which is what the documentary stated.
  • Baltimore 8/2/92: Vader vs. Ron Simmons - Sting was originally scheduled to compete in this match but was injured by Jake Roberts.
  • WCW Saturday Night 10/16/93: Vader vs. Ricky Steamboat - Jesse Ventura's commentary is edited from this match.
  • Halloween Havoc '94: Career vs. Career Steel Cage Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair - Mr. T was the special guest referee for this match. The post-match attack and unmasking of the masked man is not shown.
  • SuperBrawl VIII: Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan - Much better than their match at Starrcade a few months earlier.
  • Nitro 7/6/98: Hollywood Hogan vs. Goldberg (The Monday Night War) - This was the largest attended show in WCW history.
  • Bash at the Beach '00: Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T - Earlier in the evening, Hulk Hogan won the title when Jeff Jarrett lied down for him. Vince Russo then stripped the title from Hogan and went on a tirade that saw Hulk both leave and sue the company. None of that is shown.
  • No Mercy '01: The Rock vs. Chris Jericho - While the Invasion is usually lambasted by wrestling fans as being a failure, there were some great PPV events and matches during that era, including this gem.
Disc Three - WWE

  • Unforgiven '02: Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam - The seeds of Evolution were planted during this match.
  • Taboo Tuesday '04: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - Edge's current heel run began earlier in this show because he did not win the vote to get into this match.
  • No Way Out '06: Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker - This match was my runner-up for the 2006 Match of the Year. The 6-person tag team match at One Night Stand won that honor.
  • SmackDown 4/7/06: Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton - While both men were heavily tattooed during this match, both have since gone crazy with the ink in the past three years.
  • Armageddon '07: Batista vs. Undertaker vs. Edge - The only thing more devious than one Edge is three Edges.
  • Survivor Series '08: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho - It is amazing to think that only a few months earlier Cena's career was in jeopardy due to a broken neck.
  • Extreme Rules '09: Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Edge - Don't shut the DVD off after this match. There is a bonus match that takes place after this one ends.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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