Title: 1996: Prelude To Attitude
Running Time: 355 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: November 29 2021
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
This is our DVD review for WWE 1996: Prelude To Attitude. And it’s the latest DVD review for our site. So, let’s see what we think of 1996: Prelude To Attitude!
WWE 1996: Prelude To Attitude
The set kicks off with Goldust challenging Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Title at Royal Rumble 1996. It’s not a great match, but it does demonstrate the high controversy that Goldust was creating at the time. Next up is one of the first truly memorable Raw moments with Vader destroying then-WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart is, as one would expect, a great match and their best bout against one another. Meanwhile, Bret Hart vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley is a rare gem and a fun clash of two future Hall Of Famers.
Mankind’s Raw debut at The Undertaker’s expense would set up one of the greatest rivalries of the entire 1990s. As one feud begins there, another ends in the next match when Shawn Michaels takes on Diesel. Their No Holds Barred match was a shockingly brutal bout for the era, and a true indicator of what was to come. Conversely, Marc Mero vs. Helmsley from Beware Of Dog is a random inclusion. The same cannot be said for King Of The Ring 1996 and its two contributions here. Mankind vs. Undertaker is awesome, but even better is Stone Cold Steve Austin’s promo after defeating Jake Roberts. That segment really does kickstart the Attitude Era, or at least it lays the groundwork for it.
A segment with The Godwinns pouring slop on Sunny provides some mirth. Meanwhile, the six-man main event of International Incident is underrated and has its moments to shine. Disc two opens with a forgotten battle royal from Raw, albeit at a time when Nitro was crushing Raw in the ratings. Shawn vs. Vader from SummerSlam is enjoyable though arguably more famous for the behind-the-scenes aspect than the action itself. Better is Michaels’ chaotic WWF Title defence against Mankind at Mind Games. Elsewhere, Mero vs. Faarooq crowns a new IC Champion on Raw, while Austin’s rebellious persona builds as he injures Brian Pillman. Their subsequent gun angle really should be here, though, as it would set the tone for the years to come.
Survivor Series gives us two matchs, the first being an unmemorable elimination tag that nevertheless acts as Rocky Maivia’s debut. Considering The Rock’s fame right now, this is a justifiable inclusion. As is the classic between Bret and Austin from the same card, which is arguably the best match of 1996. Closing the DVD is a WWF Title defence between Psycho Sid and Bret, though it exists to enhance the burning Bret-Shawn rivalry. Nobody could have foreseen in December 1996 just how dramatic their hostilities would become in 1997.
This is a rollercoaster ride to say the least. When 1996 begins, the WWF is a family-friendly product that only very occasionally elves into edginess. As the year progresses, though, the tone of the programming clearly shifts. While on the surface it’s still a show for kids, there are clear attempts to capture the attention of adults. The increasing amount of swearing, the presence of middle fingers, a growing focus on sexuality and increasingly-strong violence are examples. Not to mention the intensity by the performers, with feuds feeling far more realistic as the year ends. Though 1997 is when Attitude really takes off, it’s absolutely a fact that 1996 plants the seeds for the movement.
Then we come to the matches themselves. Shawn Michaels has his best year ever in ’96, and some of his best bouts are on display. In particular, his battles against Owen Hart, Diesel and Mankind are must-see. Nevertheless, Bret vs. Austin and Undertaker vs. Mankind are also highly compelling. Not forgetting some memorable Raw angles and arguably the greatest promo ever from Stone Cold. I would say that if WWE DVDs were still 3-disc compilations, a third disc would have truly enhanced this collection. Having, say, the Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII, the Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam, the Pillman gun angle and a few more bouts would have made this the perfect snapshot of 1996 in the company.
Though there are a couple of notable omissions, this is still a terrific DVD collection. For a year that often receives criticism, 1996 was a pretty exciting time to be a WWF fan. And though WCW would nudge the WWF into second place by the summer, the Federation was still well worth checking out. And so is this DVD, with several classic matches and awesome angles. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that you buy this DVD to relive a crucial time in WWF/WWE history.
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
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