Monday, June 16, 2008

The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment 3-Disc Set

Disc 1:
1) Rocky Maivia vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Raw 2/13/97) – 5
2) The Rock vs. Owen Hart – 4
3) The Rock vs. Triple H (Raw 6/22/98) – 4
4) The Rock vs. Mankind (Survivor Series 98) – 5
5) The Rock vs. Mankind – Last Man Standing Match (In Your House) – 6
6) The Rock vs. Mankind – Ladder Match (Raw 2/15/98) – 5
7) The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (WM 15) – 5

I tried to like the first match but it came off a bit flat. You could clearly tell that Hunter was having to control the match because Rock was still green. The inside cradle for the surpise finish was nice. I really liked the end because Rock was selling great and it came from out of nowhere. The next two bouts were throwaway Raw bouts with contrived endings, most notably in the Owen match where Chyna hits Owen with a bat where the padding is so obvious Stevie Wonder could see it. Having just watched the Rock/Mankind “I Quit” match days earlier, I was really interested to see how their other matches were. Needless to say, as as you can tell by the scores, I was a little disappointed. In the first bout from Survivor Series ’98, where the whole show was a one night WWF title tournament, you could tell they were gassed as they had both worked three matches prior to it. There were a few wild spots that bumped up the score. Off the top of my head there was Rock pounding Mankind with steps and a chair and Mankind jumping off the apron to deliver an elbow to Rock who was on one of the announce tables. The last man standing match was interesting because they were trying to do stuff that they hadn’t done in the “I Quit” match the month prior, which is the main reason I gave it the score I did. Not because the match was quality just because they were trying to be different. The ladder match from the next night was on par with the match from Survivor Series as they were obviously hurting from the night before but they did their best and then I saw Big Show run down and chokeslam Mankind off a ladder. Finally, the match with Stone Cold was typical of main events of the attitude era with three ref bumps, brawling outside the ring, and interference from Vince. Rock’s selling of the stunners was kinda cool but outside of that nothing made it really memorable but it was acceptable and holds a place in my heart because WM 15 was the first pay-per-view show I ever ordered.

Disc 2:
1) The Rock vs. Triple H – Steel Cage Match (Raw 7/5/99) – 5
2) The Rock & Mankind vs. The Big Show & The Undertaker – 3
3) The Rock vs. Kane – No Holds Barred Match – 5
4) The Rock vs. Triple H (Backlash 00) – 5
5) The Rock vs. Shane McMahon – Steel Cage Match – 4
6) The Rock vs. Kurt Angle – 5
7) The Rock vs. Booker T – 5
8) The Rock vs. Chris Jericho – 6

The cage match with Triple H was decent. The story behind it was that HHH cost Rock the WWF Title at the King of the Ring so their having a cage match to settle their differences. The only memorable thing from it was HHH eating some serious cage after a slingshot. The tag match was very bland and the only thing I remember from it is ‘Taker walking out on Big Show halfway through thus allowing Rock and Mankind to win the tag titles. The match-up with Kane was from a Smackdown episode in December 99. There were a few bumps and brawling early on but the match was over in almost five minutes. Another match with Triple H and yet another epic fail follows the Kane match. You could tell instantly that the focus would be on the story and not on the wrestling the minute Shane McMahon came out as the referee. The match itself was pretty good aside from the story. There was a sick double rock bottom spot on the spanish announce table and the crowd was super hot. Stone Cold runs out to help Rock fight off the McMahon-Helmsley regime and Rock wins the title which sets up the cage match with Shane. Again, the story got in the way of the match which dropped the score a point. Patterson and Brisco were interfering as was HHH so yeah. The Angle match was from No Way Out 2001 and featured the most random spot ever when Big Show came out and chokeslammed everyone about halfway through the match. Aside from that and a completely botched finish by the ref, the match was top notch, although those two things hurt the score. The Booker T match was fun but you could tell that Booker was still trying to get used to the WWF style as opposed to the WCW style. Some decent stuff and Rock wins the WCW Title in a completely forgettable moment. Lastly, the match with Jericho from Royal Rumble ’02 wasn’t quite as good as I remember it being but I still liked it enough to put it in the recommended range. They kept a good pace and unlike the other title matches on this disc there was minimal interference, except from Lance Storm and Christian, and only two … count ‘em two … ref bumps. Jericho uses the old feet on the ropes trick to get the win.

Disc 3:
1) The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan – 7
2) The Rock vs. The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle – 7
3) The Rock vs. Eddie Guerrero – 5
4) The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (WM 19) – 4

The final disc kicks off with the Rock/Hogan match from WrestleMania 18. While the actual work in the match may not have been the best, the crowd was absolutely eating everything up which helped the score. Rock’s selling for Hogan’s limited offense was great, teasing the win with Hogan hitting the big boot and the legdrop was great, and the crowd was on the edge of their seats. The triple threat match was excellent. All three guys were working their asses off and Angle was bleeding a gusher. The all hit each other’s finishers (ex: ‘Taker hitting the Angle Slam) in order to try to put each other away. A lot of craziness and a whole lot of fun. The match with Eddie is totally random but was a lot better than I though it would come out. They kept up a quick pace and there was a really smooth spot where Eddie counters a rock bottom into a roll-up. Finally, there’s the match with Austin from WM 19 which was Austin’s last match. You could clearly tell Austin was hurting something awful as Rock controlled the majority of the match. The finish saw Rock hit three rock bottoms and each one, judging by the reaction of Austin’s face, hurt more and more.

Overall, this was a fun set to watch. A lot of TV matches were featured on here that I have no memory of and the pay-per-view bouts were fun to watch as well. The third disc is also littered with Rock’s best promos and one-liners so feel free to check those out as well.

1 comment:

Brian said...

scott keith, who've you claimed as one of the more negative critics out there, had this to say about the Backlash '00 bout you gave a 5 to:

"Kudos to everyone involved because this was a magnificently crafted piece of professional wrestling drama and the kind of thing that made the Rock into the biggest wrestler ever. If they could pull this off with John Cena no one would ever boo him. The chinlock in the middle kind of slowed it down, but the booking paid off a million different storylines, and anything that nearly has me jumping up and yelling all those years later deserves every bit of praise I can heap on it. I daresay that from an entertainment standpoint this might be one of my favorite matches of all-time. Oh yeah, I went there. ****3/4"

wow.. - were you guys watching the same match? - now i need to see this!