Welcome back to another review, today once again it is the turn of WWE that I turn my attention to! Firstly I apologise for this review being a bit late, as with my interviews my personal life has taken over and I was away for the first part of this week so I only received this release when I got back.
Today it is the form of 1997 : Dawn of the Attitude, this was due out a few weeks before it’s actual release date over here but a disc error meant the release got pushed back. WWE have been pumping out a lot of these old school sets as of late with the 90’s the focus such as the Unreleased set we reviewed a few weeks ago and for someone who never watched wrestling in that period, it already gains some points as I always say it’s more of a history lesson as a result.
This set though was better than expected, it wasn’t just a ton of matches slapped onto a set like usually a set like this would be it is mainly a roundtable like the WWE Network specials are which includes Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Ron Simmons, The Godfather and Kane.
Hosting it was Renee Young who I am a big fan of as she knows her stuff as was demonstrated in this case using terms alongside structure to the different conversations and is there despite them being friends as almost a mediator so the conversations don’t go on too long and also to lengthen certain portions and she is the best by far if your talking about people who are not wrestlers in order to host this set.
In terms of the roundtable, these are the sorts of features that really peak my interest as I am all about the history side of wrestling and really hearing what they have to say about certain parts of it all and just overall delving deeper into certain storylines and moments that define the sport. Mostly it was about how the attitude era came about and they spoke in depth about different subjects (without giving too much away) like Steve Austin and the Rock, Mick Foleys’ Three Faces, how women were presented, DX, Montreal as well as some interesting stuff that was less massive but that I didn’t know about as a result.
Overall if you want an hour of chat with a lot of anecdotes thrown in and the wrestlers themselves putting their side of the story across, I would definitely recommend this set and don’t get me wrong this isn’t the best release WWE has ever put out with the documentaries trumping them for sure with the Macho Man one probably being my favourite of recent memory but what it still has is a nostalgic feel and in a schedule full of PPV’s and compilation sets it is a breath of fresh air. It reminds me a lot of the Kayfabe Commentaries sets but instead of it being one person it is multiple people and so I hope they do multiple sets as a result of different years that have defined WWE.
Of the matches, you get the likes of Psycho Sid vs Shawn Michaels from Royal Rumble ’97 which despite not being a brilliant match was still a good watch and the fact Shawn wins the belt in hometown when nowadays it is not the case really shows why it is on the set and it is a great addition in that respect.
Next up we get Bret Hart taking on Mankind in a match that was Unreleased before being on this set from the show they discussed on the set Shotgun Saturday Night. The match is good and I love the venue as considering the way WWF was mainly portrayed at the time it makes a massive difference and is a great match to have on the set.
Following this we had British Bulldog vs Owen Hart which if you have never seen it is probably one of the best matches ever to be on RAW. It’s just a simply stunning wrestling bout between two of the best of that time who sadly were taken away from us too soon.
We kept up with the RAW feel with Psycho Sid taking on Bret Hart for the WWF Championship in a Steel Cage match which was a very good contest and considering this was only 6 days before WrestleMania it really adds a sense of intrigue that potentially Sid might lose his belt which you wouldn’t get on RAW today neither would you get the swearing which for the most part is bleeped out.
The match before that was one of the best RAW produced but the next one was one of the best Mania matches of all time featuring Bret Hart and Steve Austin which is excellent and has Ken Shamrock as special guest referee. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a must watch.
Following that we got another glimpse of two of the biggest stars of the era with another Hart vs Austin encounter from RAW which is a scrap after their In your House mach which is a good watch despite it not being particularly a match but it is an early example of what RAW is there for and so is a good addition.
Following that we got our first glimpse of Triple H on the set in his Hunter Hearst Helmsley guise. It was the start of a brilliant feud with Mankind and goes to highlight how many good feuds and stars this era went onto make.
The final part of the set starts off with Dude Love’s debut as Steve Austin’s tag team partner which despite Austin being a real bad guy and very good at that, they worked very well together and it goes to highlight that Mick Foley wherever you turn in this era was a massive part of it all and this is a real example.
Following that we had the Six-Man Tag Flag Match from RAW including Bret, Owen and The British Bulldog vs Austin, Dude Love and Taker which is a good enjoyable match but one that most people have seen especially if you watch and review alot of WWE DVD’s with past matches on them like I do but still a good watch.
Another match with Undertaker followed that which is from In Your House 1997 which is brilliant when he faces off against Shawn Michaels which despite being largely forgotten is the big catalyst for their feud and their even better matches at Hell in a Cell and Royal Rumble and despite it not being a massively big match reliant on wrestling, I like these sort of contests where it is more of a straight up fight then a proper match.
A brilliant match from One Night Only in the UK in 1997 where Shawn Michaels defeated the British Bulldog on home soil for the Erupean Championship in a brilliant match where the crowd play a massive part and is definitely worth a watch. As you can tell the set relies massively on a few big names which shows how much they mattered in this period and Shawn and Bulldog were two of them for sure.
Kane’s debut match follows that from Survivor Series which is also brilliant and goes a long way to making Kane into the monster that he has been for years as Foley being one of the best of all time goes out of his way to perform some stunning bumps to show this and it is something Foley isn’t praised enough for I would say.
Another match was from the same Pay Per View. It was the one which everybody has probably seen in the form of Bret vs Shawn in the infamous Montreal Screwjob which is a moment most people remember even if your not really a big wrestling fan. Despite the ending this is a brilliant match and really goes a long way to establishing Mr McMahon as the vindictive heel we all know him as today and this was definitely the start of it.
The last two matches follow this between Steve Austin and Rocky Maivia (the Rock) and Shawn vs Triple H, Austin vs the Rock despite being short is really entertaining and almost the start of them becoming as big as they were while Shawn vs Triple H is completely different as it is more an angle and goes to almost bury the European Championship in an over the top fashion which is a good entertaining way to end the set.
Rating 8/10 – One of the best sets WWE has produced this year by far. I have preached quite a lot recently about how with the advent of the Network, the WWE Home Video part has to change and be more than just matches and this shows just that with a good mix of both with a set I would definitely recommend.
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