Pruett's Quick Blog: Sometimes I watch things - Reviews and thoughts on WWE '13, C.M. Punk's DVD, and the NWO DVD
By Will Pruett
Saturday, November 10 - 2:00 P.M. (CT)
WWE has been barraging their more hardcore fans with appealing products in the last month. Out of the people that regularly read this site, I'd imagine that 95% of them decided that all three of the products discussed here are must buy items. I'm here to help you out and tell you what rocks and what you can pass on. It's chill. You can thank me later.
WWE '13: This is the big ticket item of this blog. Buying a new game that you know will be replaced in a year is always challenging. If you bought last year's game, you're probably wondering if this year's is worth the upgrade. Last year's release often felt like a clumsy combination of the previous special features. It was pretty, but it wasn't exceptionally enjoyable.
This year's game has one killer feature that I haven't been able to put down. That feature is Attitude Era mode. Instead of the Road to WrestleMania, this game allows you to play through 1997-1999. It's pretty amazing in execution. The stories align almost perfectly (aside from some missing characters that may be making pornographic films at the moment). The attention to detail is beautiful (the colors of the wrestler's tights match the video of the same incidents). This is the gem of this game.
I started watching wrestling obsessively in 1997. The chance to play through these memories and relive my childhood has been great. I'll play this mode many times over. It makes this game worth buying, even if you have last year's.
C.M. Punk: Best in the World: This is probably the most anticipated WWE DVD release this year and it delivers in a fairly nice way. It isn't a game-changing DVD. It isn't a revolutionary format. It is just an almost perfect execution of WWE's standard documentary format.
It's only closest competitor (in the standard WWE Documentary) is Steve Austin's DVD from last year. Punk is honest all through this release. You learn things about him you never knew you wanted to. It reveals who he is (or at least who he wants you to think he is). The documentary on this almost feels too short, but then there is a deluge of bonus features in the same format of the documentary to occupy another two hours.
Punk's release is especially worth purchasing for Blu Ray buyers. I've enjoyed this one a whole lot and will be enjoying it for years to come. It's the easiest of these three products to recommend.
NWO: The Revolution: This is where things get less than good. I'm a documentary guy. When I buy these WWE releases, I am hoping for a great main feature. Matches are awesome, but I can find plenty of matches on WWE's website (or other sources). I want to be told a story about an era. This documentary is pretty awful at that.
Strike one is it coming in at just over an hour. It's a super short overview of the NWO. There's almost no substance to it. I'm not asking for a four hour festival of long-windedness, but a solid two hour feature is pretty standard from WWE. Three hours even would have been acceptable.
Strike two for this release is the sheer amount of recycled interviews. The main players for the NWO were Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Eric Bischoff. Of those four, only one was available to record new interview footage. Nash was fun to watch in the new footage, but even half of his footage was recycled. This felt like a mash up of the Back in Black, WCW, Best of Nitro, and Monday Night Wars releases of the last few years.
The people that were interviewed are almost as odd as the people that weren't. The documentary is dominated by Billy Kidman (who has put on some weight), Cody Rhodes, and Matt Striker. None of the voices that carry serious weight in wrestling history are featured (Jim Ross). One of the most surprising aspects is the small clip of Vince Russo. I'm sure he said more than WWE placed on this documentary, so why not include it?
The third strike for this documentary is the length of time it allots to the end of the NWO. When the black and white split into the red and black, then reformed, then broke up, then became the silver and black, and finally ended, it took about two years. This is given less than five minutes in the documentary. Nothing about it is explained. The stories are hardly told.
The bonus features on this disk are great if you find yourself craving a WCW fix. The best among them is a Blu Ray exclusive. It is the Legends Roundtable on the NWO and it is actually better than the documentary itself. Skip the DVD. Get the Blu Ray. This is the only thing on this feature that matters.
Final thoughts: This is the time of year when WWE releases things and we eat them up. Most of the time they're pretty decent. The video game is great this year. The Punk DVD is amazing. The NWO DVD is easily skippable. There is still the Attitude Era release that has to come out. It probably won't be as good as the video game, but it might be buy-able. Start making your Christmas lists now, kids.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this blog all the purchasable things! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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