Without a doubt, one of the most controversial DVD sets of the year here as WWE comprised a list showcasing what they see as the Top 50 Superstars Of All Time. Now let me get this out of the way before anything else in that the selections for this set are really no different than their previous sets ranking superstars (Greatest Wrestling Stars Of 80's & 90's) in that it's always going to be controversial no matter who or how they rank the superstars because WWE will never come out with a list that pleases everyone because everyone has a different criteria & view along with the obvious case in that WWE will show a heavy bias towards talents that they created or are in their "good graces" against those who aren't for obvious reasons (such as the on-again/off-again relationship with Hulk Hogan who's currently TNA). Speaking of Hogan, he even said it himself that the list is nothing more than a "work" which at the end of the day, it is & you just can't take too seriously or think about too much because it is what it is with the fact being that the rankings on this list don't hold any relevance outside of this DVD set.
Now the documentary itself is hosted by Todd Grisham & has a short two min. profile for every 51 superstars (watch or read the list to see how they got that number) with various talents from the past & present giving comments on the wrestler with some of the comments being from old interviews & a few new ones. Throughout the presentation, you'll hear from: Paul "The Butcher" Vachon, Ronnie Garvin, John Cena, Gerald Brisco, William Regal, Jerry Lawler, Triple H, J.J. Dillion, Josh Matthews, Matt Striker, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Santino Marella, The Miz, Arnold Skalland, Antonio Anoki, Dory Funk Jr., Ted Dibiase Sr., Terry Funk, Shannon Moore, Gregory Helms, Chris Jericho, Edge, Jim Ross, Honky Tonk Man, Pat Patterson, Jim Brunzel, Christian, Michael Hayes, Gene Okerland, MLB star Wade Boggs, Ric Flair, Billy Kidman, H.D. Smith, Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan, Ken Patera, Hulk Hogan, Ron Simmons, Jim Cornette, Fabulous Moolah, Joey Styles, Billy Graham, Ernie Ladd, Sgt. Slaughters, Stephanie McMahon, Mae Young, Sensational Sherri, M.V.P., Steve Williams, John Morrison, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Harley Race, The Destroyer, ex-NWA president Bob Geigel, Rey Mysterio, Michael Cole, George Steel, ex-NWA referee Tommy Young, Greg Valentine, Roddy Piper, Bruce Prichard, Blackjack Lanza, Rocky Johnson, and Vince McMahon Sr.
WWE Womens Champion Fabulous Moolah vs. Susan Green - This was one of those matches that showcases how Moolah was able to sell & make her opposition look good as Moolah was on the defense for most of the bout. Green has a superior height different over Moolah & used it to her advantage with moves like Andre The Giant's body scissors into a "hot seat" atomic drop while Moolah had to cheat to get an advantage & take advantage of Green missing a critical move to get the win.
"MSG" June '75
Gorilla Monsoon confronts Muhammed Ali - This was one of the two most famous incidents linked to Monsoon's career as we saw what happened when Ali decided to step into the ring against Gorilla after a match leading to something we didn't usually see..."The Greatest" on his back & leaving the ring after he had enough.
Boxing Match: Andre The Giant vs. Gorilla Monsoon - "Gorilla Monsoon is the only man in the world to have wrestled Muhammed Ali & box Andre The Giant" is the phrase that highlights Gorilla's two most famous moments in his career & you get the second half of that statement here. The the video quality isn't real clear & the "match" itself isn't anything special past a few chuckles at watching how Monsoon was knocked out...twice.
[Andre The Giant]
WWWF Champion Billy Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes - This was the beginning of a series of battles between two of the most charismatic wrestlers at that time. Dusty just knew knew how to work the crowd and had them hot for every single thing he did while Graham tried to ground Dusty with headlocks & bear hugs. This was a good start to a classic series.
"MSG" Sept. '77
[The American Dream: The Dusty Rhodes Story]
WWE Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik - Before the match, you get a classic Iron Sheik "Iran #1" rant from him on the microphone. With the exception of a few punches & kicks, this was a complete dominate performance by Hogan from the minute he hit the ring to ending the year the same way he began it, dominating the Sheik for the WWE Championship.
"MSG" Dec. '84
Elimination Match: Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Junkyard Dog vs. Randy Savage, Harley Race, Adrian Adonis - This match was significant for a matter of reasons in that this was a WrestleMania III preview as the participants in the top 3 undercard matches went against each other here & this was Roddy Piper's last appearance in MSG before his retirement. It should also be noted that the manager Slick was on commentary for this match leading to some funny heelish comments towards Junkyard Dog. This was a fun six man tag that kept getting out of control with so many men getting involved leading to a double count out at one point between two participants but I was personally happy to see who the final participants were because it was a "dream match" I've always wanted to see but never knew it happened until now.
"MSG" Feb. '87
Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude - Almost 5 years before their more memorable series of matches in WCW series, they met here in what could come off more as a preview for those later encounters. This was a match that had it's good mix of technical wrestling such as Steamboat heavily working over Rude's arm. The pace picked up over time & towards the end had so many near falls that were just so close with Bobby Heenan making his presence felt from time to time including after the match."MSG" Dec. '87
AWA Champion Jerry Lawler vs. Curt Hennig - This isn't the famous match where Lawler beat Hennig for the AWA Title in Memphis but a rematch with Curt Hennig having Madusa (Alundra Blayze in WWE) in his corner. This was a nice match between the two with Lawler always having a limited offense but knew how to work with what he had while Curt worked over Lawler for most of the match & even resorted to dirty tactics like using Madusa's shoe at one point. Again, it was a nice match.
"AWA" Aug. '88
No Disqualification Match: Jake Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase - Along with the "No DQ" rule, Virgil was also banned from ringside for this match. Despite the fact that this was a No DQ match, they still wrestled a very technical match without having to resort to bending the rules to the point where the No DQ rule was almost unnecessary. Great storytelling here by both men with Jake Roberts working over Ted's arm with armbars & kneedrops while Dibiase applied moves like a swinging neckbreaker & piledriver to work over Roberts' previously injured neck.
"MSG" Dec. '89
WWE Champion Ric Flair vs. Bret Hart - This was probably the most requested match that WWE had yet to release onto a DVD set but you finally get it here. Don't know what else what to say except you got what you expected from these two in that it was a great technical match that went back & forth between both men who both worked over the legs including both men using a figure four at one point. For those who saw Bret Hart's DVD, keep in mind that is a part in this match were Bret dislocates his finger only for him to pop it back in place with Mr. Perfect giving a look saying "UGH, that was nasty." Bottom line, a lost classic that finally made it's way to a DVD set.
Empty Arena Match: WWE Champion The Rock vs. Mankind - This was Mankind's title rematch from the "I Quit" match at the Royal Rumble a week earlier & was a halftime special during the Super Bowl. This was the first ever Empty Arena match in WWF history and is a glorified "Falls Count Anywhere" match as it should also be noted that Vince McMahon did the commentary for this match. For those who saw any of their matches from this feud knows exactly what to expect here as you had entertaining moments from The Rock's taunts (even throwing Mr. Socko in a kitchen oven, taking phone calls & coming onto a woman in the middle of the fight) to Mankind being his usual "goofy" comedic self at times to the point where he lost one of his boots. But more importantly as you would expect from a "falls count anywhere match", they went anywhere & everywhere from with hardcore brawling...ringside area, the arena seats, the kitchen, catering area, the outside loading dock, and even a private office using anything they can get their hands on in the process including a couple of things that would bring a new meaning to the term "food fight." This was one of the most entertaining matches that you'll ever see in your life.
"Halftime Heat" Jan. '99
[Mick Foley: Hard Knocks & Cheap Pops]
WWE Champion Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin vs. The Rock vs. The Undertaker - This took place before the Armageddon PPV that would see all four of these men participate in the only 6 man Hell In A Cell match. On the previous RAW, Kurt Angle formed an alliance with Triple H & Rikishi to take out Austin & Taker & Rock so Kurt was singled out by all three right from the start before it eventually broke down into every man for himself with everyone involved having a confrontation at one point before the other two members of the upcoming Cell match made their presence known but it was a fun TV match for what it was.
"SmackDown" Dec. '00
Undertaker & Kane & Hardy Boyz vs. Steve Austin, Triple H, Edge, Christian - This happened the week before the Backlash PPV with all the members of both teams having issues with members of the other teams in some way, shape, or form within the past month or more and it should be noted as well that this was early into the notorious "heel" Austin run of 2001. I don't know how else to describe or describe this match as anything else but a wild brawl as the action wasn't able to be contained most of the time with everyone fighting in the ring or on the floor with the action starting off hot & never slowing down with the main story here of how Kane's injured arm continued to be worked on & punished throughout the match.
"RAW" April 01
Edge & Triple H vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho - This was a preview of the upcoming Judgment Day PPV with the underline story being the underline friction between Triple H & Edge. This was a match full of non-stop action with both teams actually working well together with some standout moments like how one feud ended up in into a fight through the crowd while another one in this match took a hard chair shot to the face. This was a fun TV tag match.
"SmackDown" May 02
Eddie Guerrero vs. Big Show - As eluded to my the announce team, this was a rematch from No Mercy months earlier & Eddie still looking for revenge for Big Show tossing him through a windshield of a low rider before that event with Show adding an extra incentive for himself stating that he would quit if he lost. Show dominated early with his heavy showcasing of power even catching Eddie in midair off the top rope while attempting to punish his arm. Eddie was able to use his speed against Show & even doing a bit of his "lie, cheat, steal" tactics with a ringside wrench & even catching Big Show with a DDT from the top rope. This was a good main event for TV.
"SmackDown" Apr. '04
World Champion Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton - P.O.D. performed Rey Mysterio to the ring as Orton attacked Kurt with the belt right from the start with Angle responding with not only a german suplex on Orton but another one on him & Mysterio at the same time before giving an assist to Rey lifting him up in the air for a top rope frankensteiner allowing Rey to take control as he was able to roll through a sunset flip attempt into a knockout kick followed by a head scissor takeover however Angle was able to counter an attempted 6-1-9 attempt into the anklelock & later catching Orton in the anklelock with the referee distracted both times as he kept deliver impactful german suplexes & an Angle Slam that sent one challenger over the top rope only for each man to come back with a big move from Orton's RKO to Angle's top rope belly to belly suplex & Rey delivering a 6-1-9 around the ring post before it came down to come man being able to "divide & conquer" long enough to get the victory. This was what a triple threat was designed to be in that it was non-stop action from all three men delivering one big move after another with each man looking like they had a chance but the major downfall of this (depending on how you want to look at it) is that this match was under 10 minutes when you would expect more from a World Championship match at WrestleMania.
[Rey Mysterio: Biggest Little Man]
John Cena & Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker & Batista - This match was set under very unique circumstances in that both tag teams were comprised of a champion & his challenger for the upcoming WrestleMania while Michaels & Cena were also the current World Tag Team Champions as well. We all know that we can depend on Undertaker & HBK to give us a match of the night while Cena & Batista have bad reputations for being champions "who can't wrestle" but I'll go on record as to say that I wouldn't call this a lost classic but definitely delivered a quality performance from all men involved with Cena & Batista stepping up their game to keep up with the veterans including Cena doing such moves as a leg drop for the top rope & his old "throwback." Again, a great tag team match that was often forgotten about until now.
No Way Out 07
World Champion Edge vs. Undertaker - Edge finally made it into the WrestleMania main event that various people (myself included) felt should have been his years ago & I guess WWE learned their lesson from last year in putting the Undertaker title match on last since he usually delivers...and this was no exception. Edge worked on Taker's back throughout various parts of the match with the match getting better & better as time went on with a couple of near falls that would have had you convinced that he was actually going to lose. Justice was served after what happened close to a year earlier as Taker regained his championship from Edge thanks to "that choke hold" (Devil's Gate).
Other matches feature 3 NWA Championship matches including Lou Thesz vs. Argentina Rocca, Harley Race vs. Terry Funk, and Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. (the last two were joined in progress). In the end, I already gave my feelings on the "rankings" of this list but I was just happy to see profiles & comments on certain wrestlers that you don't really hear about much anymore (Killer Kowalski, Georgous George, Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino, Freddie Blassie) along with some of my past favorites (Ted Dibiase Sr., Rick Rude, Jake Roberts, Terry Funk). The matches were a real highlight here too as we didn't get any repeats from recent sets while also getting some lost classics (FINALLY! Bret's first championship win), forgotten matches (like Piper vs. Savage in the six man tag), & rare moments from their vault (Monsoon vs. Ali) which is always welcomed. Overall, I liked the presentation they gave us & the rare matches that were fun to watch for the most part so overall if you can get past the entire "rankings" then this is something I would recommend for a viewing.