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Running Time: 438 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: September 24 2012
When the concept for this DVD was announced, I felt it would be a stretch to provide relevant content that would also be entertaining over the course of three discs. A lengthy countdown with a chunk of old matches has worked many times before, but was this too small a theme to base such a release on? And how would the matches tie in with the theme, or would they be there just as filler? After watching the DVD, I was pleasantly surprised: yes, the theme is not the most appealing and, no, it is not going to win any DVD of the year awards, but it does provide a decent amount of entertainment that should make it worth your time.
The countdown is self-explanatory and follows the typical formula of short clips on each entry with comments from different talking heads. The order of moves shouldn’t ruffle too many feathers, and there is a wealth of archive footage on display as the moves span several decades and a few key eras in history. The comments, on the whole, don’t add a great deal but are inoffensive. Basically, I would summarise the countdown as fairly entertaining visually, and you should complete the sub-two hour feature in one sitting, but at the same time it’s unlikely that you’ll have the urge to watch it twice.
To be honest, I derived more enjoyment from the matches, which span from the 1980s to 2010. Before going through the bouts, though, I should point out that the matches are not listed within the inside cover of the DVD box or on any inserts within the box. This means that you would only know what matches are on this set by flipping through the menus or browsing online. It isn’t a deciding factor on whether to buy the DVD or not, but it is a source of annoyance for anyone who does buy it.
The matches then: it was only on reflection that I realised how most matches here included a memorable finishing move moment or were somehow based around such a move. That may be stating the obvious when discussing wrestling, where most matches end via a recognised finishing move, but it does prove that a little bit of thought did go into the match selection here.
The Jake Roberts-Rick Rude finisher match is fun but a little short; Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado is surprisingly exciting for a match of that era; and whilst Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund is a pretty good technical wrestling match, it is most memorable for Backlund’s post-match attack on Bret, which includes his famous “What have I done?” expression that was one of the most unintentionally humorous wrestling memories for me growing up as a fan.
The Outsiders vs. The Giant (and in a way Lex Luger) is highlighted by an insane Jackknife Powerbomb by Kevin Nash on the future Big Show: Mankind vs. Jerry Lawler is decent but a slightly odd inclusion; Too Cold Scorpio vs. Rob Van Dam delivers enough high-flying to satisfy fans of the original ECW; and the star-studded Hogan-Flair-Sting-Page WCW Title match, refereed by Randy Savage, has one or two strange moments but is still a nice finish to disc two.
Disc three enters the new millennium, and starts with three TV tag bouts that, whilst entertaining enough, feel a little bit like filler (although the first of these matches, held right before Survivor Series 2001, does have an ending with relevance to the finisher theme). The Rock vs. Goldberg is the most famous of the matches included here but is a slight notch below expectations at the time; Lita and Trish Stratus, meanwhile, provide a rare Divas main event on Raw, and one which did justify its top billing on that particular episode.
The DVD concludes with three multi-man matches from more recent times, all of which have their moments, but taken out of context may seem strange to some viewers (for instance, fans unaware of the HBK-is-broke storyline of 2008-9 will be baffled as to why Shawn Michaels deliberately loses to John Bradshaw Layfield in the Raw Fatal-4-Way). There are also a couple of bonus finisher breakdowns, and a segment from the AWA where Sgt Slaughter demonstrates the Cobra Clutch (but doesn’t let go; what a villain!).
In conclusion, The 50 Greatest Finishing Moves In WWE History is not quite as bad as some would have you believe; that being said, the countdown featured here is not exactly the most enthralling to be produced by WWE, and although the matches seemed more relevant to the DVD theme than I had previously thought, they still feel a bit random, with no truly must-see bouts included. So, I would rate this DVD as one from which you should receive some level of enjoyment, but it isn’t one which you absolutely need to own.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay