DVD Review: WWE WrestleMania XXX

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Image Source: Amazon

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 516 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: June 9 2014

The DVD content of WrestleMania XXX follows the same formula as previous WM DVD releases: the Mania event in its entirety, the 2014 WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony and a selection of extras related to the WM card. But is WM XXX a must-own DVD for WWE fans?

Beginning with the main feature, the 30th annual WrestleMania opens with a memorable segment involving WM host Hulk ‘Silverdome’ Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. This landmark interaction between the three icons is followed by the opening match, and part one of the show’s key storyline, as Daniel Bryan battles Triple H in a match to determine who will be added to the main event. Somewhat overlooked due to the context of the plot-line, this is a strong match and would have been WM worthy in its own right even if a title shot were not at stake. Bryan triumphs, but a post-match Authority attack puts his chances of leaving New Orleans as WWE Champion at jeopardy. Oh, no!

A short six-man won by the Shield against Kane and The New Age Outlaws feels a little surreal in hindsight, whilst the Andre The Giant Invitational Battle Royal gives a big hint as to who WWE does and does not value (or did and did not value as it may be) given that few of the many entrants were given ‘proper’ entrances. Cesaro surprisingly triumphs in a battle royal that exceeds expectations, and afterwards he seems to be the next breakout fan favourite in WWE – for 24 hours, anyway.

Next up was John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, another match that delivered more than expected beforehand, and was preceded by an awesomely spooky entrance for The Wyatt Family (accompanied by a live performance of their entrance theme). Cena’s victory was not welcomed by many fans, but that doesn’t reduce the entertainment of the bout. The presentation of the 2014 Hall Of Fame inductees is more difficult to watch with the knowledge that star inductee The Ultimate Warrior died just 48 hours later.

Then comes the bout that not only WM XXX but also the year 2014 will be most remembered for: The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, and the end of the Streak. Opinions remain divided on whether Taker going 21-1 was the right call, although the number of those in disagreement with the outcome continues to grow. Either way, few moments in wrestling history have elicited the same, stunned reactions like those provoked by the finish of this match, and watching it again doesn’t reduce the power of this moment at all (strangely I felt a very slight anticipation that somehow Taker would win when re-watching it on DVD; that doesn’t happen, however).

The Divas Title bout, while again a pleasant surprise, can’t possibly follow Taker vs. Lesnar (even as an opener instead to disc 2). The main event pitting Randy Orton against Batista and (“Yes!”) Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship does raise the fan’s spirits, though, and it is one more truly memorable moment from WM 30 when Bryan raises both titles high in a huge leading of the “Yes!” chant after finally winning and forever proving to be more than a B+ player.

The highlight of the remaining content, which concludes on disc 3, is the 2014 Hall Of Fame ceremony in its entirety. The inductees are Lita (inducted by Trish Stratus; it covers much of her career but is a bit long-winded, particularly when covering how she broke into the business); Jake Roberts (inducted by Diamond Dallas Page; this focuses less on wrestling and more on Jake’s personal problem and, whilst almost uncomfortable at times, is a gripping speech that proves how anybody can rebound from setbacks if given the proper support, as Jake received from DDP); Mr. T (inducted by his son; T’s speech has no reference to wrestling as it becomes a very long tribute to his mother, which becomes hilarious when fans chant “What?” and Stone Cold Steve Austin bellows with laughter”); Paul Bearer (inducted by Kane and with his posthumous induction accepted by Bearer’s two sons Michael – who sadly passed away himself later in 2014 – and Daniel Moody, and concluded with a rare, in-character HOF appearance by The Undertaker); Razor Ramon (inducted by Kevin Nash; this is rushed due to the overrunning speeches from earlier on, but does include a Kliq reunion); Carlos Colon (inducted by sons Primo, Epico and Carlito, who compares the induction with his previous run in WWE); and The Ultimate Warrior (inducted by Linda McMahon.

Warrior’s first live WWE appearance since 1996 was eagerly anticipated and his speech covers much ground, but most notably, it acknowledges what had been a rarely-noted family life, as Warrior places great emphasis on how life as a husband and father of two young daughters trumps any of his accomplishments in the ring. The speech is tinged in sadness when viewing it again, though, given that the legendary Warrior died just three days later (which the DVD strangely does not acknowledge; I expected a post-ceremony tribute screen for Warrior, as seen on WWE TV in the week following his death). Overall, the ceremony is always engaging, the line-up is strong and despite the sadness which surrounds Warrior’s induction in hindsight, it stands as a very entertaining Hall Of Fame ceremony which all long-time fans will enjoy.

Also included on the DVD is the pre-show WWE Tag Team Title four-team clash. For a pre-show match, this is really good and should have been found a place on the main WM card. The Usos win, but Cesaro officially turning on Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter after the match, setting up his battle royal win on the PPV, is the most memorable part of a highly enjoyable tag bout. The remaining extras consist of studio interviews and highlight packages which were used to promote the main matches at Mania and this Mania as a whole.

At the time, I felt that the 2014 edition of WrestleMania was a very historic and memorable show, but one lacking in a true WM match for the ages. On second viewing, however, the Bryan matches are high-quality, Taker vs. Lesnar is not without merit even though the action may not have lived up to the hype, and all other bouts are as good as could be expected or better (including the pre-show match), resulting in a WrestleMania that is a strong in-ring show in its own right. Add to that the meeting of three icons, the death of the Streak and Daniel Bryan’s major victory and you have one of the top five WrestleManias of all-time, in my opinion. With a consistently enjoyable Hall Of Fame induction ceremony and satisfactory (but by no means must-see) extras based around the key WM bouts, the content all adds up to an incredible release. Had it featured a Shawn Michaels-level classic, WM 30 may have been the most legendary Mania to date; but even without such a clash, WrestleMania XXX is an essential DVD for wrestling fans, for both historical and entertainment purposes. So, is it a must-own? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding