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WWE: Most Electrifying Man… Special Edition | The Rock 25 – DVD Review

This Four Disc DVD set takes a look at the Rock’s wrestling career from 1997 to 2013, with disc four’s look at 2011 to 2013 being the addition from the previous release of the set back in 2008.  It runs as a compilation of matches (plus promos as extras) with some brief biographical interludes in-between. It’s mainly out to celebrate “The Rock 25”, celebrating his 25 years since his debut!

Disc 1 starts with a look at the Samoan dynasty in professional wrestling before starting off match-wise with Rock’s first ever WWE gold as he takes on Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the Intercontinental Title on Thursday Raw Thursday from February 1997.  On a show more (in)famous for Shawn Michaels losing his smile this is bland, not-really over (unless fans booing the hell out of him counts) go-lucky babyface Rock.  So it’s not very good.  He has solid enough mechanics but it’s fair to say neither the character or the act of Rocky Maivia amounted to very much.  For once a wrestling injury had an upside, as if Rock had stuck around and continued in this vein he would be nothing but a footnote in wrestling history. The Rock 25

Things pick up once Rock returns and goes heel with the Nation of Domination.  Raw matches from the spring and summer of 1998 against Owen Hart and Triple H aren’t masterpieces but they show how much Rock’s confidence grew.  To the extent that a back to babyface turn was inevitable.  That came slamming to a halt at Survivor Series 1998.  The tournament for the vacant WWE Championship didn’t exactly present us with a raft of classic matches but storyline wise it was WWE at it’s best (some illogical booking aside, if we are being really picky) as Vince swerved Mankind and the fans by helping Rock become the chosen one and the new World Champion.  The Rock 25

His rivalry with Mankind was certainly a memorable one and although we miss out the match at the Royal Rumble (perhaps as well with all those unprotected chair shots to Mick Foley) we get the St Valentines Day Massacre Last Man Standing match and the ladder match on Raw which brought the feud to an end.   Disc 1 ends with the WrestleMania XV main event between Steve Austin & The Rock which whilst very good is arguably the weakest (relatively) of their Mania trilogy. 

Disc 2 takes us to babyface Rock again but this time the fans are 100% behind him.  Whilst none of the trio of TV matches that kick this disc off (a steel cage math with HHH, a WWE Tag Team Title match between The Rock & Mankind and The Undertaker & Big Show and a No Holds Barred match with Kane) are classics it is nice to see matches beyond the usual PPV ones that we see ad nauseum on collections. 

We skip WrestleMania 2000 because history is made there when the babyface doesn’t win the Main Event for the Title and instead get the Backlash 2000 match between Triple H and The Rock where our man finally lifts the WWE Championship again.   We also get the match from the following night’s Raw where Rock clashes with Shane McMahon in a steel cage match. As I’m no fan of Shane in the ring we’ll leave that one there. 

From there we skip to 2001 and a good match from No Way Out as Rock takes on Kurt Angle followed by Rock’s victory at Summerslam that year over Booker T to win the WCW Title.  The disc rounds off with a  very good match from Royal Rumble 2002 against Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Championship. 

Disc 3 kicks off with one of the greatest WWE spectacles of all time, WrestleMania X8’s Icon Vs Icon match with Hollywood Hulk Hogan.  I don’t care what anyone says.  If you understand the business to any great degree you have to acknowledge this as one of the greatest WWE moments of all time.  The atmosphere is electric and as an example of how to work the crowd with the merest of glimpses this is a match that all aspiring pro wrestlers should be looking too.  Who cares whether it would get “five stars” or not?

From there we see a good triple threat match from Vengeance 2002 as Rock takes on The Undertaker and Kurt Angle, a fun July 2002 Raw match against Eddie Guerrero and finally the hugely entertaining third Mania match between him and Austin from WrestleMania XIX. 

The disc rounds off with sixteen Rock promo’s as “extras”.  Even to this day it’s amazing to see how effortless it seems for Rock to have the entire audience in the palm of his hand. 

Disc 4 looks at his return to the WWE in 2011.  We kick off with the announcement that he will be the WrestleMania guest host that year before skipping to Survivor Series and the “Never before…Never again” match which sees him team with John Cena to take on The Miz and R-Truth.  After that the two partners have a “once in a lifetime” clash at WrestleMania XXVVII in a match which it has to be said isn’t very good.  Not even the atmosphere can save that one.  Rock has an interlude with CM Punk at the 2013 Royal Rumble in a match for the WWE Championship which again isn’t that good (Rock is clearly out of ring-shape) before WrestlMania 29’s rematch between Rock and Cena rounds things off. 

Looking at the Rock’s career it might be a fair statement to say that he was never really about the “great matches”.  As this set shows he did have a number of those but more often than not it was the charisma and connection with the crowd that set him apart.  That’s why WrestleMania X8’s match with Hogan really was special.  It was the two greatest crowd manipulators in history going at it.  And even if Hogan ultimately proved that night that he was THE greatest at that side of things even he couldn’t parlay his wrestling career into the genuine Hollywood mega-stardom that The Rock did. 

Anyone who was watching WWE at the time The Rock was in his pomp will find much to enjoy and look back on.  Those newer fans who arguably know Rock more as a movie star than a wrestler will also find much to enjoy here as well.  This set proves that “The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment” was more than just a catchphrase.  It was the truth. | 9 out of 10.

Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment which is out Monday 15 November on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.

Matthew Roberts
"Who's your daddy, Montreal?" - Shawn Michaels
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