Hosted by Taz, WWE: The Greatest Stars of the 90's is a documentary on arguably the best superstars of the 90's. The superstars that are mentioned and briefly covered are Shawn Michaels, Yokozuna(RIP), The Rock, Diesel(Kevin Nash), Owen Hart(RIP), Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Sting, Razor Ramon(Scott Hall), Undertaker, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Also covered are the Women of the 90's, Not So Great Stars of the 90's, and the promoters; Vince McMahon Jr., Eric Bischoff, andPaul Heyman. There are 16 matches featuring these stars picked from that era, along with vignettes and interviews.
Up to this day, I haven't met a wrestling fan yet who doesn't agree with the 90's as being the best era in wrestling history. There are reasons to support this opinion. WCW(World Championship Wrestling) acquired big name superstars from the then WWF(World Wrestling Federation). Eric Bischoff, a very intelligent and competitive man with a great mind for wrestling became the head guy of WCW. He needed more talent and found it by offering big contracts to already established stars from the WWF.
Once WCWbegan to gain rapid and heavy momentum. Bischoff challenged the WWF, by putting WCW's show Monday Night Nitro on around the same time slot as WWF's Monday Night Raw. In fact, a little bit earlier so he can give away the results of their show which was taped. This locked the two companies in a war, which saw both promoters, Vince and Eric, desperately trying to put the other out of business for a few years. Despite the bias nature of it, this is better explained on The Monday Night Wardocumentary.
The 90's may be most remembered for the birth of the upstart promotion ECW(Extreme Championship Wrestling). ECWgrabbed the wrestling world by the throat. Paul Heyman even compared ECW's impact on wrestling, with the impact Nirvana made in rock music. I fully have to agree with this. I'm from NY and I heard of this wild action packed wrestling company before they appeared on television in my area. ECW reinvented and brought a new style to wrestling. They are directly responsible for WWF's "attitude" era. I'm sure that I may not be alone when I say ECW made the WWE(World Wrestling Entertainment) and many other smaller promotions into what they are today.
ECW being the smallest of the major companies, was the biggest victim during the Monday Night Wars. They were victims because both companies raided their talent roster. This is better explained on The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary(which I highly recommend, even to non wrestling fans). Also, quite possibly the most important event in wrestling history took place in 1997, The Infamous Montreal Screw Job. All die hard wrestling fans are aware of this event. To those who aren't, I recommend looking it up if you're interested.
Now on to the subject at hand. Hopefully, I didn't get on anyones nerves with the brief background intro. The documentary does a very good job speaking on the superstars mentioned but it's not flawless. There are numerous clips and highlights speaking on the superstars influence, ring ability, and charisma. A few younger stars such as Beth Phoenix and CM Punk make their first documentary appearances. CM Punk is rather blunt on his feelings concerning Lex Luger, in regards to the Call to Action storyline. Other superstars make appearances but a lot of it is reused footage. Those who haven't seen every single WWE documentary to this point will benefit the most. I won't speak for others, but I look at it as being lazy.
Some of the best and newest footage happens to be on superstars who never had their own release; such as Razor Ramon, Owen Hart, Lex Luger, and Kevin Nash. Overall, the documentary is very solid, and fans of that era will more than likely enjoy the short trip down memory lane.
The match selections for the most part were some very good picks, with only about two average matches and one double dip. It's very hard not to feel mostly satisfied with this release. The matches are shown in their entirety, except for the televised matches. Those matches of course go into the commercial breaks. Most of the matches contain full entrances, but I'm still steamed after all this time, that the WCW matches didn't get the same treatment. There's only three of them and none of the matches have full entrances.
I'll break down the DVD's and match listings.
-This contains the documentary which is a little over two hours. The special features contains only vignettes and interviews.
Special Features Razor Ramon - Restaurant Vignette Undertaker Builds a Coffin For Yokozuna Bret "Hitman" Hart - New Generation Vignette Owen Hart Inside a Steel Cage Shawn Michaels Press Conference Before WM XI Hunter Hearst Helmsley - "Riff Raff" Mankind - "And God Created Mankind" Scott Hall & Kevin Nash - "Modern Day Gladiators" The Hart Foundation Reunites D-Generation X Reenacts the Montreal Incident The Rock Reads Steve Austin's Eulogy Steve Austin Remembers The Shockmaster
1)Madison Square Garden 11-30-91 Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair
For years there had been talk about these two finally meeting up, because they were the two biggest names in wrestling at the time, but I really didn't feel this match lived up to the hype at all. Still, there was some good ring psychology. Flair bumped and sold for Hogan, helping him to look a lot better than what he really was, until the screw job ending. These two would go on to have better matches in WCW, and this is one of the matches that shouldn't have made it. 3.25/5
2)Survivor Series 11-25-92 WWE Championship Bret Hart(C) vs. Shawn Michaels
Finally, this lost classic made it to DVD. This is their second one on one encounter with a title on the line. Call me crazy, but I actually feel this confrontation is better than their Iron Man match from Wrestlemania 12. They put together a clinic with some very good back and forth action with technical wrestling. This is definitely a match that should be seen. 5/5
3)King of the Ring 6-13-93 WWE Championship Hulk Hogan(C) vs. Yokozuna
This is another one of the matches I feel shouldn't have made it. They could have picked something else off of the same event. And a lot of fans were ticked off about this match to begin with, because it should have been Hogan vs. Hart. Anyway, this is the rematch after Hogan's incredibly cheap victory from the Mania of that year. This bout is far better because it's actually a match. In retrospect, I think they did a poor job putting Yoko over as an unstoppable monster heel, because the screw job ending to me rendered the characterization pointless. Still, it is somewhat entertaining. 2.75/5
4)Wrestlemania X 3-20-94 Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. Owen Hart
There have been numerous brother vs. brother storylines after this. However, I feel they all fall very short compared to this one. The drama was very well done and believable. It truly appeared Owen hated his brother. This match is just too good. Great in ring storytelling with Jerry Lawler's pro Owen commentary adding to it. The shocker ending was well pulled off and added a great deal to their rematch, which took place in a steel cage for the championship the following Summerslam. This match is also on Bret's "The best there is, The best there was, The best there ever will be" DVD set. 5/5
5)Superstars 4-13-94 WWE Intercontinental Championship Razor Ramon(C) vs. Diesel
Before they became the memorable tag team called The Outsiders and later formed possibly the greatest faction of all time the NWO(New World Order).These two were slugging it out over the IC title. This was their first one on one encounter and the crowd was heavily into this. Razor was well known to make all brawls fun to watch. He delivered some stiff shots and there was some good action. The match wasn't very long, but they put over the storyline convincingly, and would go on to surpass this bout the following Summerslam. 3.75/5
6)Slamboree 5-22-94 International World Heavyweight Championship Sting vs. Vader
These two have put together many great matches. Unfortunately, this isn't one of them. The match seemed too sluggish, and to me it never truly turned into anything special. Sting did display a great deal of strength, by delivering a standing suplex to the 450lb. Vader. 3.5/5
7)Royal Rumble 1-22-95 WWE Championship Bret "Hit Man" Hart" vs. Diesel(C)
This is their second one on one encounter for the heavyweight title. This match was better, because we saw a different and more aggressive side of Bret. The fans even boo'ed Brets dirty tactics. During this era, that was practically a heel turn right there. The match overall was very good with a few twist. The ending also set up another story line that would carry over to Wrestlemania, such as the "I Quit Submission Match" between Bret and Bob Backlund. 5/5
8)RAW 4-3-95 Women's Championship Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano(C)
The only women's bout on the DVD, and I'm not sure if they could have found anything better. These two were aggressive and they took some sick punishment. Someone actually took a german suplex outside the ring. The only real fault I find here is that both women did a poor job selling their vicious beatings. 3.5/5
Disk 3 Matches
1)In Your House 9-24-95 All Titles on the Line Diesel(World) & Shawn Michaels(IC) vs. Tag Team Champions Yokozuna & British Bulldog(RIP)
The stipulation here is: Should Michaels and Diesal win, they will add the Tag Titles to their own titles, and vice versa. However, the Bulldog is a sub for Owen Hart.
There was no real storyline behind this. This stipulation came out of nowhere, and it was predictable even then. Still, it was a very fun match, but Yoko and Bulldog really didn't seem to be cohesive. The match does earn points for how it ended. It is also worth mentioning that Bulldog had a grueling match with Bam Bam Bigelow(RIP) earlier. 4/5
2)In Your House 2-18-96 #1 Contender for the WWE Championship Owen Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
This match was riding on Michaels "head injury" somewhat. Some weeks prior, Owen laid Michaels out with a stiff kick behind the head, and he threatened to do it again. They wrestled a good back and forth match that saw Owen try to knockout Shawn. I liked the way it played out with Owen trying to get the clean win, even though he was the heel going in. Overall a very entertaining match with some comedic spots. 4.25/5
3)Summerslam 8-16-96 WWE Championship Shawn Michaels(C) vs. Vader
During Michaels first heavyweight title run, he took on a few big men, with Vader being the biggest of them all. For a 450lber, Vader kept up with Shawn pretty well. However, this really shouldn't be a surprise for those who are familiar with the big man. This was an excellent match with numerous twist, and anyone could have won this. Overall, I think this was one of Shawn's best title defenses. 4.75/5
4)Summerslam 8-3-97 Steel Cage Match Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
This feud began at the King of the Ring and ended here in style. I enjoyed the story telling in this match. A couple of times the match could have ended by escape, but one superstar felt he had to teach the other a lesson. This was a very good match, with an ending that was shades of "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco. These two would go on to feud off and on, and deliver a few classics for the next three years. 4.25/5
5)Nitro 8-4-97 WCW Championship Hulk Hogan(C) vs. Lex Luger
Hogan was in full heel mode as the leader of the NWO. I believe this was the pinnacle of Hogans career. Hogan was the ultimate heel at the time and he kept wrestling so much fun to watch. The match was ok with Hogan dominating most of it. The out of the blue ending seemed to be a joke to me. To prove how much of a joke it was, Luger dropped the belt back to Hogan only five days later. 3.25/5
6)Summerslam 8-30-98 WWE Championship Stone Cold Steve Austin(C) vs. Undertaker
These two would continue to feud, but this stands as one of their better encounters. It stayed one on one and they got a lot of time to put on a very good match. Some very good story telling, with Austin utilizing moves he normally wouldn't. He chose to go the technical route, even though he's mainly a brawler, simply because he couldn't out brawl Taker. There was also a pretty good table crash late in the match.The ending was also very believeable considering how the story was told. 4.75/5
7)Halloween Havoc 10-25-98 United States Championship Sting vs. Bret "Hit Man" Hart(C)
This was during Bret's heel turn and Sting was a member of the Wolfpac. I was never too crazy about Bret as a heel. Most of his matches weren't of the same quality, as when he was a face, trying to prove he was the best. This match is proof. However, the match wasn't bad though. It was well put together and the ref was taken out in creative fashion. Just don't come into this expecting the usual clinic these two would normally provide. 3.25/5
8)Fully Loaded 7-25-99 Strap Match Triple H vs. The Rock
For those who don't know. A strap match is when two wrestlers are tied to each other at the wrist, with a ten foot long strap. It can either be a chain, rope, or leather strap. In this case it's a leather strap.
This match also had a no DQ and falls count anywhere stipulation. The winner was guaranteed a title shot at Summerslam. Triple H and The Rock just had that "it" factor. 9 out of 10 of their matches were magic and this is another one. Lots of action and they delivered some hard shots with the strap. The no DQ rule was used to full effect and the outcome put over another story line that would carry over into Summerslam between The Rock and Billy Gunn. However, Triple H and The Rock would go on to deliver some classic bouts. 4.5/5
WWE: Greatest Stars of the 90's is a very good release overall. Could it have been better? Of course, it could have been much better. I feel there were more than 16 standout stars for one thing. I also feel the matches could have been evenly split between promotions, plus several more added, and since WWE also owns ECWfootage, a few of their superstars could have been added as well. Raven, Tommy Dreamer, "The Franchise" Shane Douglas, & The Sandman were great stars of the 90's and deserved to at least be mentioned.
I think this release will mainly appeal to most fans of that era. Hardcore ECW fans may look down heavily on this release with good reason. So to them, I recommend this lightly. New wrestling fans who aren't familiar with the 90's, I recommend this release along with the Monday Night Wars, Rise & Fall of ECW, and Forever Hardcore. These four documentaries will keep you entertained for many hours, plus give you a history lesson and show you how great wrestling really can be. The 90's isn't considered the golden era for nothing.
Pros: -Nice documentary, very good match selections
Cons: -Not enough WCW matches, no ECW matches, doesn't contain full entrances
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May 22, 2011
Jun 15, 2013 08:21 PM UTC
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The 1990s may have been the most turbulent decade in the history of sports entertainment. The biggest fight of the era was not in the squared circle, but rather between rival companies WWE and WCW, and survival was at stake. Like any good match, it saw its twists and turns, particularly when WCW brought WWE to its knees, winning the Monday-night ratings battle for more than 80 consecutive weeks. While WWE eventually prevailed, the real winners of the war were fans who got to see birth and rebirth of some of the biggest stars and factions in the history of sports entertainment. The Greatest Stars of the 90s profiles 15 of them. Hosted by SmackDown announcer and former ECW champion Tazz, the 3-disc set is packed with matches, interviews, comedy, and more.