Photos courtesy: Fetch, Fremantle Media
This 4 disc DVD collection brings together the first ten episodes in WWE’s Monday Night Wars documentary series. It’s not to be confused with the WWE’s previous One-Disc documentary on the Monday Night Wars…although anyone who has seen that will recognise some of the same interviews popping up through out this.
For a lot of fans, the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars were the time when wrestling was at its peak. Certainly in teems of international consciousness, WCW were never higher that they were at this time and the WWE (eventually) sailed to heights that matched (if not surpassed) those of the Hulkamania era and would have seemed a long way away when they were initially taking their weekly beating by Ted Turner’s cheque-book. Which certainly wasn’t the same way that Vince opened up his cheque book in the early 1980’s.
Thankfully, although there is the obvious WWE bias to proceedings the documentaries do try to be fair to both sides. There are acknowledgements that WWE was passé when the New World Order hit and although WCW mistakes are perhaps lingered on a bit longer than WWE ones there is a pleasing notion that there was good and bad from both sides.
The ten documentaries are not as such a chronological look at the Monday Night Wars. Most focus on a theme, and take that theme through the era as a whole. The opener, The War Begins, is perhaps the odd one out in this respect as it takes a look at what started the Monday Night War and the evolution of both companies that led to this point.
From there we take another look at the rise (and fall) of the New World Order, the embracing of “attitude” and more in depth looks at some of the key players if the form of Stone Cold Steve Austin, D-Generation X, Mick Foley and Bret Hart. If you’ve seen the dedicated releases to these superstars that are already out there you will not learn very much new here. Frustratingly, there are also a number of occasions where clips, interviews and/or voiceovers are replicated from episode to episode. So, for example, you have to sit through the solemn “the World Wrestling Federation was behind the times” narration more than once.
Still, for fans of the stars involved, it is still a fun ride, with enough “new” talking heads to add a different perspective on old, familiar stories and times.
We’re clearly not in Ken Burns Civil War territory here. This is not an attempt to tell the story of the Monday Night Wars from start to finish. What it is though, is still very entertaining. By looking at some of the main and most important figures from the era and concentrating on what they brought to the table you get to see the wars from a lot of different sides. Things even end, on this set, with looks at Goldberg and the Cruiserweights, two WCW “innovations” that were not only a big part of their success but also things that the WWE could never quite get a handle on even when the war was over and they had them in their control.
Each episode is followed by short, never seen before, sit-down discussions with Triple H and Sting, hosted by the ever lovely Renee Young. These are designed to give the opposing viewpoints of the Monday Night War from both sides of the fence. Whilst, once again, longer terms fans will not learn much particularly new or earth-shattering, they are entertaining. And they do, once in a while, offer up previously unknown nuggets of information that will make you re-think what you thought you knew about the Monday Night Wars.
All in all, any fan who was deep in the thick of the Monday Night Wars back in the day will find much to enjoy here, whatever side you were on. Newer fans will surely enjoy the history lesson too. Minor quibbles aside, this is a great value set that is definitely worth watching.
The blu-ray version adds three bonus matches, some “raw” footage of DX’s “invasion” and some Nitro press conferences.
Format reviewed: DVD
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of WWE Monday Night War Vol. 1 – Shots Fired, which is available on DVD exclusively in the UK from Monday, August 10th 2015. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.