For the third consecutive year, the WWE Home Video brings together some of the best episodes of WWE 24 into one collection on DVD with WWE 24: Best of 2020. Once again four make the set-list along with a bonus match related to each documentary.
Disc 1: R-Truth and Edge: The Second Mountain
Unlike any of the other episodes on this set, the R-Truth one isn’t really one that is here to look back on a specific event, talk about a memorable return or even mark the moment that someone reaches the top of the WWE mountain. This one appears to exist simply because someone thought it would be fun to take a look into the life and career of R-Truth. As someone who can remember his days as K-Kwik, I can certainly say it’s probably long overdue.
It’s much more of a mini-career retrospective than most of the other documentaries in this series at large. We see footage from Truth’s Football (not soccer) career and his dreams of becoming a famous rapper; he candidly admits to drug dealing which he justified as the only way he could afford to pursue a career in music at that time (though now, of course, he realises just how much of a non-justification that was. Inevitably he ended up in jail but a chance meeting with Jack Crockett (of the Crockett NWA family) really did change his life. Crockett saw something in him and promised him a job in wrestling when he got out. Their reunion is a touching moment of the documentary.
Earning $20 a week (or so he says) in his early days, Truth moved from the Pro Wrestling Federation to NWA Wildside (where AJ Styles saw him and was immediately impressed). From there he hit what he thought was bigtime with WWE and he was assigned to the Memphis Championship Wrestling development territory. He was on the verge of quitting, mainly due to homesickness, when Road Dog happened to overhear him rapping during his entrance and put in the word to the office that he had just found his new tag team partner.
His first run wasn’t to last, however. Road Dog was fired and then a year later Truth was gone. He admits it was a very low point but Jerry and Jeff Jarrett were just starting up a new promotion and they liked what they saw. For once, the TNA story is not ignored. We even get footage from the promotion, including his NWA title win over Ken Shamrock.
Eventually, Truth returns to the WWE. We see his returning vignettes, his feud with John Cena (including the debut of Little Jimmy), him and Miz going up against Cena & The Rock at Survivor Series 2011 and, of course, his recent 24/7 shenanigans. Perhaps most interesting is the backstage footage of Truth with Vince McMahon. It’s clear that Vince loves the guy. And this popularity extends across the dressing room. Hell, he even cracks Brock Lesnar in that now-famous Rumble hype spot.
All in all, this is an entertaining look at Truth that doesn’t pull punches on the difficulties he faced on the way to getting where he is today. And it shows that Truth is just as infectious a personality away from the ring as he is in it.
The Second Mountain apparently was originally supposed to be a look at Edge post-wrestling when it was announced. Talk about good timing…
His original retirement from around the time of WrestleMania XXVII is covered;
What he thought was “normal” pain (another indication of just what wrestlers of all breeds go through sometimes to even get to the ring) proved to be a lot more serious and although he got through his match on that card a trip to the doctors confirmed the worst. He had to walk away from the only thing he had wanted to do since he was a kid. Still, at least he had walked away being the World Champion at Mania.
From there Edge turned to more conventional acting. One episode of Haven turned into 40, amongst other projects but he was still in pain. Even when further operations meant he was now pain-free, wrestling was still off the table and he couldn’t even enjoy watching. Slowly but surely (doing a podcast with Christian and working with him again on a WWE Network series) Edge was drawn back in and realised he could still enjoy watching and was able to take a trip to the performance centre.
Fighting scenes on the show Vikings were a step forward but even then he didn’t think a wrestling comeback was possible. An angle with Elias at Summerslam weekend in Toronto changes nothing either, although that seemingly did pique the interest of AEW (not named here, of course). Out of loyalty to Vince, he relayed their offer to him and once WWE doctors cleared him, the return of Edge became a reality.
We see Edge training for his return, candid footage of him with his wife Beth Phoenix and their children and even Dash Wilder stepping into the training ring to help Edge along. From there it’s his return at the Rumble and all that surrounded that. It’s stirring stuff.
If you are, or ever were, a fan of Edge this is must-see stuff. By the same token, if you are simply a fan of professional wrestling this is also a must-see just to appreciate what Edge had to go through to get back in the ring.
The extras on Disc 1 are a US Title match between R-Truth and Shinsuke Nakamura from a January 2019 Smackdown and Edge’s singles match return against Randy Orton from WrestleMania (which for was me overdone, but it one hell of an effort from both men).
Disc 2 – WrestleMania: The Show Must Go On & Drew McIntyre: The Chosen One.
I remember my reaction when reading that 2020’s WrestleMania was going ahead in the Performance Centre. It’s probably nothing compared to what the talent though as we start this one with Triple H holding court with them at the PC.
There’s a look at the announcement a year earlier that the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa would host the event before moving to four weeks or so before the event when Rhea Ripley is walking around the same stadium shooting footage to hype her match with Charlotte Flair. If nothing else it shows that even at that late stage there was some internal hope that the event could still take place as planned (to some extent). One side effect of that was the production crew only having 14 days to transform the PC into something Mania-like.
From there we take a look at Drew McIntyre as his promotional trip to the UK is cut short so that he can safely (legally) return to the US. He admits that he was upset that his big Mania moment was not going to happen as envisioned, but soon reminded himself that there were bigger problems out there in the world. John Cena pipes up to talk about the challenges of “cinematic” matches and we get some nice footage of that one being filmed.
Edge talks about returning to singles competition in front of no fans, Braun Strowman admits he’d driven home as he wasn’t booked for a match until Roman Reigns dropped out whilst Kevin Owens says that whilst it’s a “different” Mania, it’s still Mania. The Gronk (groan) is shown and we see the now-famous footage of Vince showing him how to take a bump.
The crew featured already go through their matches at Mania and it’s interesting to see how they react and what it means to them. We end with footage of fans watching at home and reacting to the show as well as closing comments from most of the people we’ve seen featured. Even if it proves not to be a “one-off” like we would have hoped at the time, this is a fascinating look back at a very strange but memorable Mania.
Things round off with Drew McIntyre – The Chosen One. It covers a little of the same ground that his parts of the WrestleMania one did but it’s a lot more detailed. There’s a quick recap of his first run with the WWE before we get to hear about his childhood and his dreams of becoming a WWE superstar. There’s plenty of footage from his days on the independent scene in the UK including his times with Sheamus before he’s spotted at a tryout by Johnny Ace and gets to go to America. Culture shock ensues but Drew progressed to the main roster remarkably quickly, even if it was a case of too much too soon.
Still, a Mania match with Taker was in the offing as well as a Money In The Bank win. Neither, obviously, came to pass at the time. Personal issues took their toll and before he knew it he was gone. In hindsight, he admitted that maybe he had to fall all the way down in order to be able to climb back up. There’s footage of his return to the UK scene but whilst success seems to be coming back to him he was still facing some personal issues with drinking. Eventually, with the help of his wife-to-be, he gets his life back on track and returns to the WWE/NXT. There’s no real mention of his years in TNA.
He quickly gets on top in NXT and then moves to RAW. We ignore the early missteps and jump to the Royal Rumble 2020 where Drew obviously won to book his match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Again there’s some thematic duplication from the Mania documentary re no fans/Covid etc but there’s a lot more depth too with his family being able to share in his crowning moment.
All in all, it’s another fantastic documentary from WWE. Drew’s real-life story, his triumphs and failures, make for fascinating viewing and also make it really easy to get behind him as a performer. In a very weird year, Drew certainly made his mark in the WWE.
Extras on this disc are again two matches, both from WrestleMania. Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair is a good effort (whatever the qualms with the result) and Brock Lesnar Vs Drew McIntyre is exactly what it needs to be.
As a package, this features four cracking documentaries and is well worth a watch for any WWE fan. 9 out of 10.
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of WWE 24: Best of 2020 which is out Monday 11 January on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON