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The Attitude Era
on 23 January 2013
The Attitude Era is WWE's first comprehensive effort to address that glory period of then-WWF wrestling from 1997-2000 outside of the occasional clip in an anniversary product or superstar-specific collection. It comprises an hour-long documentary and just under six hours of promos, interviews and matches from those years (with another 70 minutes' worth on the Blu-ray edition), and ticks just about every box for things you could hope to find, from hardcore championship bouts to career-launching promos and beyond.
Given the wealth of archive footage presented, it's not really fair to say the documentary on Disc 1 is the main feature. If anything, IT is the extra, providing some level of context to the hours of matches and whathaveyou presented elsewhere. Still, it's a fitting and suitable testament to the many highs (and grudgingly accepted lows) of the period that appeared to change pro wrestling forever. I say `appeared' because the state of WWE's product now is further away from the ideals of the Attitude Era than we could have predicted, even as recently as 4-5 years after it ended. Still, during '97-'00 at least, it showed no signs of stopping, and welcomed an older audience with profanity, crudity, sexuality and violence. This was the time that I got into wrestling, and looking back over the whole period over Christmas it holds up pretty well, but it is doubtless romanticized by fans unhappy with modern output, and some of the documentary's interviewees are quick to point out that for every genius idea like Hell In A Cell there was a dud like Brawl For All, and Road Dogg is adamant that despite his participation (and proliferation) way back when, there's no way he'd let his kids watch it now. An hour may seem a little slight, and I'd definitely had welcomed more comments, but it's best to let the footage speak for itself, and that's where the set really shines.
It's great to see so many of what could fairly be called forgotten wrestlers so comprehensively acknowledged. Steve Blackman, Val Venis, D'Lo Brown, Crash Holly and their brothers and sisters in grappling formed a large part of my enjoyment of the show, and that WWE could easily have filled this set - and I do mean filled it - with footage of Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker and others and instead levelled the playing field to include the lower- and mid-card is really appreciated. That said, you'll still get your share of the big dogs.
Another great facet of this set is the choice of footage in the extras. Owing to WWE's commitment to library material, an awful lot of the most famous moments in Raw history are already available on disc, even moreso here in the UK thanks to Silvervision's Tagged Classics program which has kept every PPV from this period in print as well as several Best Of Raw sets not available so easily in the US. Thankfully, a great deal of the extras are from Raw and Smackdown and don't overlap with previous releases. These range from classic matches, or at least matches that typify the Attitude Era, to promos and the general idiosyncrasy of the performers. Boss Man fans will be glad to know his poem about Big Show's recently deceased father is presented intact. Ex-WWE performers haven't been slighted either, so don't worry about Kurt Angle, Chyna or even...sigh...Jeff Jarrett being excised for their sins: all are present and accounted for.
One thing I'm sure a lot of potential buyers are worried about is the blurring of the WWF 'scratch' logo and censorship of any mentions by wrestlers or commentators of that name due to the WWF/WWF lawsuit from a decade ago. Though I know nothing about the specifics, those restrictions no longer apply to WWE's output, so there is not one instance of the logo or the name blurred or bleeped throughout the entire set, thankfully. Another concern I'm sure some have is over the level of adult content, given the nature of WWE's current PG output. Never worry - the smut and violence is presented unaltered (so no black-and-white for instances of bleeding), but maybe keep this one away from your kids, hmm?
In all, if you've been waiting for a set like this for years instead of going out and buying all the PPVs from the Attitude Era, you'll not be disappointed, and even if you have, the TV-exclusive extras, documentary and overall presentation (I mean, WHAT a cover...) should justify a purchase anyway. It's one of the best WWE sets in a long time for this sort of material, and coming after the great documentaries from that past two years continues their roll with home video output. The simple lesson being imparted here is if they give us what we want, we will buy it and they will make more. A final note: the set, on either DVD or Blu-Ray, is cheapest if bought direct from the manufacturer, Freemantle Media, who like Silvervision before them are offering free UK delivery and pre-release date shipping. Just a thought.
In an effort to keep the page as short as possible, I've not put these in a vertical list. If it helps make it any easier, each clip is separated by a semi-colon: hyphens only separate match-type and participants. Note that all extras are in standard definition.
Disc 1: Jim Ross Interviews Goldust & Marlena; Steve Austin Throws the Intercontinental Championship Off A Bridge; Soldier of Love; Mr. McMahon Presents Mankind with The WWF Hardcore Championship; Jim Ross Interviews Triple H; An Evening at the Friendly Tap; Mae Young and the Acolyte Protection Agency; "The Jug Band"; Triple H Trains Trish Stratus; Edge's Totally Awesome Birthday; The Rock's Message to his Hell in a Cell Opponents; GTV
Disc 2: Mike Tyson Joins DX; A New Beginning for D-Generation X; Sable vs. "Marvelous" Marc Mero; Nation of De-generation; Brawl For All Match - Bart Gunn vs. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams; Four Corners Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship - The Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane & Mankind vs. The New Age Outlaws vs. The Rock & Owen Hart; Lion's Den Match - Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart; Finals of WWF Championship Tournament - The Rock vs. Mankind; The Rock & The Undertaker vs. Mankind & Stone Cold Steve Austin; Austin Gives the Corporation a Beer Bath; WWF Championship Match - Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin; The Debut of Y2J
Disc 3: European & Intercontinental Championship Match - D'Lo Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett; Buried Alive Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship -The Rock & Mankind vs. Undertaker & Big Show; Stone Cold Steve Austin & Jim Ross vs. Triple H & Chyna; Boss Man's Sympathy for Big Show's Dad; The Wedding of Stephanie McMahon & Andrew "Test" Martin; The Godfather & D'Lo Brown vs. Too Cool; WWF Hardcore Championship Match - Hardcore Holly vs. Crash Holly; WWF European Championship Match - Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero; Steel Cage Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship - Rikishi vs. Val Venis; Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the World Tag Team Championship - Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz; Hell in a Cell Match for the WWF Championship - Kurt Angle vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi
If you buy the Blu-Ray, you'll also get the following exclusive extras:
King of Kings Match - Ken Shamrock vs. Triple H vs. Owen Hart; The Oddities w/ Insane Clown Posse vs. The Headbangers; The Truth About Sammy; The Unholy Union of Stephanie McMahon & The Undertaker; No Disqualification Match - The Rock vs. Val Venis; Survivor Series Elimination Match - Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane & Shane McMahon vs. Triple H, X-Pac & The New Age Outlaws; WWF Hardcore Championship Match; Al Snow vs. Crash Holly; The Hardy Boyz & Lita vs. Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero & Dean Malenko; Chris Jericho & The Dudley Boyz vs. Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian