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McMahon (2006)

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:
Biography (Non-Fiction), Documentary, Sports, Sports & Recreation, Wrestling
Director:
Vince McMahon Vince McMahon
Starring:
Vince McMahon Vince McMahon
Lou Albano Lou Albano
André the Giant André the Giant
Kurt Angle Kurt Angle
Steve Austin Steve Austin

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

* * * * *
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Review by Chad
Added: October 02, 2006
Vincent Kennedy McMahon is the father of professional wrestling. Although the current owner of WWE (which was formerly known as WWF) may not have invented the "sport", he certainly transformed it from the "low-brow" entertainment fit only for those living in trailer parks into the billion-dollar business that it is today. When you think of pro-wrestling, you may not picture this man's face, but chances are good that whatever you do picture was created by him. Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, Andre The Giant, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Trish Stratus, Kurt Angle, and countless others either got their start under the McMahon umbrella or made their name by plying their trade in his company, so needless to say, a documentary on his life and career should make for quite the interesting two hour feature. Coupled with the fact that WWE have been on a roll when it comes to releasing quality DVDs in recent years, this one should have been an instant classic... right?

Well, sort of. You see, WWE has a great reputation when it comes to their DVD releases due to the fact that, for the most part, they tell it like it is and don't hold anything back. You want a recap of the original ECW? They've put out a fantastic documentary that will tell you everything that you need to know in a very honest, revealing, and entertaining fashion. Note the first adjective there: "honest." While that ECW release and the other fine offerings from WWE may have omitted some facts or given a bit of a one-sided view at times, they were, for the most part, honest about the subject at hand, and why shouldn't they be? ECW was, at the time, nothing more than a fond memory for wrestling fans, so digging up all of the dirt on the company was no problem for those in charge of the disc. When it comes to the documentaries focusing on one particular wrestler, well... nobody's perfect and most of these guys are semi-retired anyway, so what's the big deal with revealing some of their secrets? Nothing at all, of course, and we wouldn't want it any other way. However, when the documentary in question is about the owner of a company, and said company is the one producing the DVD, well... let's just say that some of the material found within is more than just a little one-sided and that some of it is full of downright lies.

For example, there's one segment which discusses WWE receiving a television slot on the Ted Turner-owned TBS channel back in 1984 prior to Turner forming WCW. McMahon contends that his show was doing so good on this channel that Ted Turner... well, Turner basically kicked him off the air. Now, I was only three years old at the time and I certainly wasn't watching pro-wrestling, but just hearing about that caused me to do a double-take at the absurdity of these claims. After doing a bit of research, it seems as though WWE bombed after airing on that channel. My question is, why weren't they more truthful on this, and if they couldn't swallow their pride enough to say "Yeah, our show sucked back then", why include this at all? It's not as if it were a huge deal in the grand scope of things, and hell, I'd never even heard of the whole fiasco until popping in this DVD, so I don't think that omitting this particular chapter would have hurt things. Let's not forget the whole XFL episode, which for those not in the know, was McMahon's attempt at establishing a football league. This tanked after just one season thanks to the fact that, to be blunt, nobody cared about it and nobody took it seriously. This is spun into a success story during this documentary in a segment which definitely had me scratching my head at the sheer audacity of these people for claiming such.

I just mentioned that if they weren't too proud of something and didn't want to tell the truth, then they should have just omitted it from the documentary. It's funny, then, that there are a number of pivotal moments in McMahon's career that are totally left untouched. For example, there's not a single mention of the early eighties, a time in which McMahon brought wrestling into the mainstream with the help of Hulk Hogan and MTV. If one had no knowledge of his career, one would get the impression that McMahon was born, he was an announcer for a while, and then it's 1998 all of a sudden. That's quite a gap, in my humble opinion. The very first WrestleMania, an event that would change the face of wrestling forever and was a huge gamble at the time is touched on for all of five seconds. These and many other points of interest are overshadowed here, and I really have to wonder why; it certainly wasn't that McMahon didn't want to come off as egotistical, as other chapters in the documentary blow that notion straight out of the water.

While I may have only focused on the negatives thus far in the review, I can't say that I didn't enjoy the documentary. There's a lot of good information to be found here, and reliving some of these moments (such as the Steve Austin vs Vince McMahon feud) was highly entertaining. There's also a good deal of information dealing with Vince's relationship with his family, and I found that the majority of that was interesting if not obvious ("Linda [Vince's wife] was uncomfortable watching him kiss a twenty-something woman on live television but ultimately had no problems with it"), but for the most part, the stories were told in such a way as to make the lack of new information forgivable. One piece of trivia that was news to me, however, was presented when Stephanie McMahon (Vince's daughter) revealed that while she was pregnant, Vince wanted to do a storyline in which it would be revealed that he was actually the father of this child. It just goes to show that nothing is sacred when it comes to earning a buck, but I have to admit that that outlook on life has led to some very entertaining television over the years.

Overall, it's worth a viewing for fans of pro-wrestling or WWE in particular. It's not the best documentary covering the subject that one could pick up, but it's certainly an entertaining release that probably won't let too many people down. 7/10.
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