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Running Time: 571 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 4
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: November 28 2011
Released in late 2011, this DVD dedicated to Stone Cold Steve Austin looked extremely appealing beforehand: a feature-length documentary on Austin’s career, a selection of his greatest matches (as picked by the great man himself) and a round-up of his most memorable promos and angles would all be included over the course of four discs. And, fortunately, the product lives up to the hype, resulting in an essential purchase for WWE fans new and old.
The documentary on disc one, as stated, charts the life and times of the Texas Rattlesnake, from growing up and getting his start in World Class Championship Wrestling, to his stints in WCW and ECW, to his amazingly successful run in the WWF/WWE to his post-retirement success (although, as a 2011 release, this does not cover his hugely popular podcast The Stone Cold Show, which debuted in April 2013). Along the way, many outside-the-ring incidents are covered, including his notorious firing from WCW boss Eric Bischoff over the phone, his neck injury problems, and his infamous 2002 walk-out from WWE. Interspersed are comments from his peers, ranging from Vince McMahon to Bret Hart to CM Punk and many others. The documentary, running 150 minutes in total, may cover a lot of familiar ground to long-time fans, but all the key subjects are tackled in-depth, there are still a fair amount of revelations, and Stone Cold is honest and forthright with his opinions, even admitting that his 1995 WCW firing was a blessing in disguise. Add to that plenty of archive clips, and a few extra stories outside of the main feature, and this documentary ranks as one of WWE’s best.
Discs two and three highlight 11 of Austin’s greatest, most famous or most important matches. Entries from WCCW and WCW serve as a nice interlude to his WWF adventures, from the Austin 3:16 debut after defeating Jake Roberts at King Of The Ring 1996 to his star-making Submission match with Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 to the classic Attitude Era bouts with Dude Love, The Undertaker and The Rock. The actual number of matches is slightly disappointing (although the Blu-ray includes a few more matches, including his final battle against Rock at WrestleMania XIX) and one or two could perhaps have been replaced with superior showdowns. It’s also worth noting that, had the DVD been released one year later, all the Attitude Era matches could have included the WWF scratch logo unedited (the ban on showing and referring to ‘WWF’ was lifted in 2012, the explanation for which would require too much space to cover in full here). However, these two discs remain a hugely enjoyable trip through Stone Cold’s back catalogue and serve as a great round-up of Austin’s most legendary collisions. And besides, the match selection was chosen by Stone Cold himself, so if he feels that the bouts included summarise his career most effectively, who can argue otherwise?
The fourth and final disc includes a suitcase full of Austin’s most memorable interviews and incidents. Hollywood Blondes promos in WCW and his famously brutal ECW interviews on WCW personnel are followed by a fantastically entertaining round-up of his WWF/WWE mic work, which covers his famous face-to-face with Iron Mike Tyson; his brilliantly executed angles with Vince McMahon as part of their legendary rivalry (the greatest feud of all-time, in my opinion); and his more comedic material such as Austin and Kurt Angle’s attempts to cheer up Vince during the WCW/ECW invasion through the chicken soup for the soul that is music provided by a guitar, a pre-Royal Rumble 2002 promo that perfectly encapsulates the “What” phenomenon, and a Highlight Reel from InsurreXtion 2003 where Austin, Chris Jericho and Eric Bischoff ad-lib in a very entertaining fashion. The Blu-ray contains more material, including Austin’s 2009 Hall Of Fame induction and his subsequent celebration at WrestleMania 25.
On the whole, Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line On The Most Popular Superstar Of All-Time is a more than fitting tribute to the legend that is Stone Cold. A hugely comprehensive documentary, a strong if slightly short selection of the man’s top matches and a massively fun look at his work outside the ring all combine for one incredible wrestling DVD package. If you already own it, re-watch it; if you don’t own it, buy it immediately; as a total package, it is arguably the greatest WWF/WWE DVD ever. And that’s the bottom line, cause Stone Cold said so.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10 – Classic