Monday, 16 February 2015

Shawn Michaels: Mr. WrestleMania

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 507 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: March 17 2014

When you think of WrestleMania, you are likely to think of Shawn Michaels, the man who stole the show on the grandest stage of them all so often, and with such spectacular performances, that he would eventually be referred to as the aforementioned Mr. WrestleMania. This DVD combines all but one of his WM bouts (the WM XX main event is omitted for obvious reasons) with a new sit-down interview with HBK as he discusses each match or situation with his typical honesty and candour.

Michaels' comments are definitely worthwhile, but the strength of this DVD lies in the match quality. His early matches reflect his then-inexperience on a major stage, but are still amongst the best bouts on those particular cards. These includes tag team matches as The Rockers against Big Boss Man and Akeem (their classic theme song is sadly overdubbed here), The Orient Express and Haku and The Barbarian, and singles bouts against El Matador and Tatanka.

The turning point, of course, is his all-time classic Ladder match against Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X, which delivered more thrills and spills than any WWF bout in history at the time. His WM XI clash with Diesel isn't remembered as fondly but is still a strong outing. The WM XII Iron Man showdown with Bret Hart, in which he wins his first WWF Title, is a matter of taste in terms of whether you enjoy it or not; it is a very good wrestling match if a little overrated, but you are best to put aside a specific sitting for this sole match given its length. The WM XIV match against Stone Cold is an enjoyable start to the Austin Era, but at the time seemed like the Showstopper's last stand.

Fortunately, Michaels managed to return to action in 2002 and soon began to enhance his already-iconic legacy with his greatest matches yet. His WM XIX meeting with Chris Jericho is simply awesome. His WM 21 clash with Kurt Angle is even better, and personally I think this is the greatest WrestleMania match of all-time. Showdowns with Vince McMahon, especially, and John Cena deliver excitement on different levels, and Michaels' diving elbow on Vince at Mania 22 is insane for so many reasons (that the victim was 60 years old at the time is one).

Having attended WM 24 live, I can tell you that his match with Ric Flair was an emotional roller coaster which is met by the huge crowd response that it deserves; Shawn's "I'm sorry. I love you" superkick on Flair to win and seemingly end his career is probably the most emotional moment in WM history (the Randy Savage-Elizabeth reunion at Mania 7 is a close second). The DVD ends with his two phenomenal WM matches against The Undertaker. The WM 25 clash is remembered by many as the better match, but as a spectator at WM 26, I have a particular fondness for the rematch, which was a classic in its own right that ends Shawn's career on the highest of highs.

The majority of the matches here are exceptional and even the lesser bouts are good, and Shawn's comments are relevant and engaging. If you already own most WM events on DVD then this may be a tough sell, but for any other WWE fans, you should own this: it is a truly great wrestling compilation that pays tribute to the one and only Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels.

Overall Rating: 9/10 - Outstanding

No comments:

Post a comment