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The Best Of RAW 15th Anniversary (2007)

DVD Cover (WWE Home Video)
Movie Connections:
Wrestling: WWE
> WrestleMania I (1985)
> WrestleMania 2 (1986)
> The WWF's Even More Unusual Matches (1987)
> WrestleMania III (1987)
> WrestleMania IV (1988)
> WrestleMania V (1989)
> No Holds Barred (1989)
> WrestleMania VI (1990)
> WrestleMania VII (1991)
> WrestleMania VIII (1992)
> WrestleMania IX (1993)
> WrestleMania X (1994)
> WrestleMania XI (1995)
> WrestleMania XII (1996)
> WrestleMania 13 (1997)
> ...Show All Connections?
Genres:
Sports, Wrestling
Director:
Vince McMahon Vince McMahon
Starring:
Steve Austin Steve Austin
Eric Bischoff Eric Bischoff
John Cena John Cena
Adam Copeland Adam Copeland
Nick Dinsmore Nick Dinsmore

8.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 30, 2007
When I was a kid, there were two constants in regards to my media choices: horror and professional wrestling. The latter started when my brother-in-law gave me a copy of the very first WrestleMania, and although we didn't exactly see eye to eye on a lot of things, we definitely shared a love for watching oily guys beat the hell out of one another (or at least pretend to) from that point onwards. Honestly, with a card consisting of Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy, Junkyard Dog, and Brutus Beefcake, who couldn't fall in love with this sort of over-the-top entertainment based on a single bootleg VHS? I'd immediately start watching the WWF's Saturday morning show religiously - this was back before they moved to Monday nights - and of course, once the show that is now their flagship started becoming the place where all of the important stuff happened, I added that to my weekly lineup as well. I'm talking about Monday Night Raw, of course, and this is a show that I basically grew up with: I never missed a show throughout the days of cartoon characters and steroid-abusing freaks, through the so-called "Attitude Era", or through what is now referred to as the "Modern Era." All good things must come to an end, however, and my love for this "sport" sort of died off a couple of years back, but when I saw this three-disc set announced over on Amazon, I just had to pick it up to relive the memories. It did not disappoint.

For starters, let's take a look at what we get out of this mammoth set, shall we? Actually, before getting to the list, I should point out that if you purchase this set at your local Wal*Mart, you'll get a bonus fourth disc which contains the entire first episode of Monday Night Raw (the section included on the standard first disc is just a portion of it). Say what you will about mixing wrestling fans with Wal*Mart, but that's one hell of an incentive to drop your money over there instead of on Amazon or eBay. Anyway, on to the lineup:

Disc One
*First RAW - January 11, 1993
*Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair Loser Leaves WWE Match - January 18, 1993
*Parking Lot Brawl - May 10, 1993
*Razor Ramon vs. The Kid - May 17, 1993
*Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty (Intercontinental Championship Match) - May 17, 1993
*Gorilla Monsoon Fires Bobby Heenan - December 6, 1993
*Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid (WWE Championship Match) - July 11, 1994
*The Search for The Undertaker - August 1994
*King's Court with William Shatner - January 9, 1995
*Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart - November 20, 1995
*Vader attacks WWE President Gorilla Monsoon - January 22, 1996
*A Touch of Goldust - May 27, 1996
*Pillman's Got a Gun - November 4, 1996
*Mankind vs. The Undertaker (No Holds Barred) - December 9, 1996
*Shawn Loses His Smile - February 13, 1997
*The Ninth Wonder of the World - February 17, 1997
*Original ECW Invasion - February 24, 1997
*Owen Hart vs. British Bulldog (WWE European Championship Match) - March 3, 1997
*Bret Speaks His Mind - March 17, 1997
*Flag Match (United States vs. Canada) - July 21, 1997
*Stone Cold Stuns the Boss - September 22, 1997
*Bret Screwed Bret - November 17, 1997
*Sable in a Sack - December 8, 1997
*Gold Meets Water - December 15, 1997
*Christmas with DX - December 22, 1997

Disc Two
*"Tyson and Austin!" - January 19, 1998
*DX Special Report - February 2, 1998
*Dumpster Diving - February 2, 1998
*Formation of the New DX (X-Pac Returns) - March 30, 1998
*Stone Cold vs. Vince McMahon - April 13, 1998
*DX Invades WCW - April 27, 1998
*DX Nation - July 6, 1998
*Zamboni 3:16 - September 28, 1998
*The Debut of Mr. Socko - October 5, 1998
*McMahon's Cement Corvette - October 12, 1998
*Bang 3:16 - October 19, 1998
*Mankind wins the WWE Championship - January 4, 1999
*Stone Cold Beer Truck - March 22, 1999
*Monster Truck vs. Town Car - April 19, 1999
*Mean Street Posse vs. the Stooges - May 10, 1999
*The Greater Power Revealed - June 7, 1999
*Y2J - August 9, 1999
*Rock: This is Your Life - September 27, 1999
*Bossman Sympathy - November 8, 1999
*What Happens in Vegas... - November 29, 1999
*Jericho not the new Champion - April 17, 2000
*Shane Purchases WCW - March 26, 2001
*Milk-o-Mania - August 20, 2001
*Triple H Returns - January 7, 2002
*Past Meets Present - February 18, 2002
*Worlds Unite: Bischoff Hugs Vince - July 15, 2002

Disc Three
*"The Rock" Concert - March 24, 2003
*Kane Unmasks - June 23, 2003
*Musical Chairs with Eugene - July 5, 2004
*Evolution Turns on Randy Orton - August 16, 2004
*Are you ready for some wrestling? - November 22, 2004
*Batista Turns on Triple H - February 21, 2005
*Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels (Gold Rush Tournament Match) - May 2, 2005
*John Cena Drafted #1 to RAW - June 6, 2005
*Edge / Lita Wedding - June 20, 2005
*Shawn Michaels turns on Hulk Hogan - July 4, 2005
*Jericho is Fired - August 22, 2005
*Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Iron Man Match) - October 3, 2005
*A Stone Cold Homecoming - October 3, 2005
*Eric Bischoff Trial - December 5, 2005
*Edge / Lita (Live Sex Celebration) - January 9, 2006
*DX Impersonates Shane and Mr. McMahon - June 26, 2006
*Edge vs. Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship) - July 3, 2006
*Edge vs. Shawn Michaels (Street Fight) - January 22, 2007
*Shawn Michaels Returns! - October 8, 2007

That looks like a lot of material to sit through, and truthfully, it is: the set boasts a running time of just under nine hours (not including the aforementioned bonus disc), so fans certainly have a lot to look forward to here. The material is presented in chronological order, so watching it from beginning to end is almost like watching the history of the company unfold before your eyes. That is a good thing for both the casual fan and for those of us who watched this stuff live back in the day, and let me tell you, there was more than one moment to be found here that I absolutely loved reliving. Granted, there were moments and events that I wish they had included and others that I felt could have been left out, but with an archive consisting of fifteen years worth of weekly programming, some allowances have to be made in that regard.

Some of the material on here is presented with pop-up boxes that give a little detail about the segment we're watching (the events that lead up to this particular moment, trivia about the event, etc.), and although I've seen some complaints about this in other reviews, I have to admit that it didn't bother me in the least. Sure, some of the information presented in these is common knowledge to the fans, but there were some that truly set the stage for the segments at hand and added some genuine insight to the material. Do they make the disc? Of course not... but they certainly don't break it, either.

As an added bonus, most of the material is presented in its complete and uncut form. Now, I say most as some of the actual matches were trimmed and some of the events were presented in a music video fashion, with the best - or worst - example being Shane Purchases WCW, an event which has to be one of the biggest moments in wrestling history. I could agree with some of these editing decisions - after all, who needs to see HHH's entire promo before watching X-Pac's grand return - but there were some that were just downright stupid. However, the majority of the material is presented in its entirety, a fact which definitely put a smile on my face.

Note that I said "most" of the material is presented in its complete and uncut form. Yes, one thing that did bug me was that some of the material found here was censored or bleeped out. I understand that they have to blur out the old-school WWF logo for legal reasons, and I'm fine with that; we've seen that on every other release from the company, so to expect any less from this one would be silly. What bugged me the most was the fact that the profanity is bleeped out (most notable in DX Special Report and Bret Speaks His Mind). You see, Bret Speaks His Mind was a notable moment in wrestling history due to the fact that Bret Hart did a profanity-laden promo on live television, a promo which was honestly otherwise unremarkable. To make this set a true "best of" collection, this should have been presented in its original uncensored format, and if not, it could have been left off altogether. The same deal applies to the DX Special Report; this is a segment that revolved around the profanity, and without it, we're left with a segment that should never have been included in this set.

There are also a couple of trims made to the content, as I caught at least three of them without even looking for them. Let's see... in Stone Cold Beer Truck, the blooper in which Steve Austin attempted to drink from a high-powered beer hose was nowhere to be found, and the moment when the cameraman accidentally showed a little too much of Lita's boobs to the home audience during Edge / Lita (Live Sex Celebration) was also cut out. The Christmas with DX segment is also censored (we don't get to see their thong-covered asses - take that loss as you will), and while I'm not exactly a huge fan of male asses, censorship in any form just bugs the hell out of me... especially when one considers that it aired uncensored on cable television. This may be a minor gripe, but in the days of "unrated special edition director's cut" releases, it's sad to see that a company is still voluntarily censoring their own releases.

Still, with these minor gripes and observations aside, it's one hell of a collection, especially considering the price tag of a measly twenty bucks. I would have been pleased with the set even if I had purchased it for fifty, as it truly is one of the WWE's best releases to date. If you're a fan of the product, or if you - like me - loved it at one period or another, you definitely need to pick this set up. Again, there were certain things that I felt should have been included that weren't, but this is a damned fine history of the show that will certainly please anyone who has ever considered themselves a fan. 9/10.
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cky2kendall #1: cky2kendall - added 12/30/2007, 07:04 PM
This pretty much sounds like the best DVD WWE have released besides from The Rise and Fall of ECW. Wonder when it will be out here in the UK.
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