THE RISE AND FALL OF WCW – Documentary
These are some thoughts about the main feature on this DVD, as I have not yet had chance to watch all of the matches on the second and third disc as of yet. I really enjoy the WWE documentaries and think this is up there with the best. Personally, I’d have to say the ECW ‘Rise and Fall’ and the CM Punk and Edge career retrospectives are the two greatest, but this is a great addition to any fans collection. Covering the company from its early days as JCP and following it through to its extinction at the hands of the network and the McMahon family, it is as even handed as it could possibly be.
The WWE do have a tendency to avoid painting themselves as the villain or the aggressor in any situations where it could be considered they were and this documentary is no one-off in its view. It is however fairly evident that WCW were pretty much imploding through out their expansion and rise to the top of the wrestling world and as much as no one side of the story is correct, it would be accurate to say that it seemed to be doomed to fail. It is really exciting to see the first hand thoughts and opinions of people who were there for the long run and Dusty Rhodes endears himself to me even further as a man who was trying to do his best through a world full of backstage and corporate politics. The American Dream crops up reasonably often as a talking head and I really enjoyed his opinions, as one of the true legends of the wrestling industry who has done pretty much everything, he is easy to listen to and he explains his mindset through his ill-fated run as booker for WCW.
Its not all doom and gloom however and the companies more exciting moments are covered as well, really encapsulating some of the marks WCW made on the history of professional wrestling. The NWO is covered in reasonable depth, but is not in a way that will spoil the story lines completely. It was almost as if they had the plans to make the NWO DVD set in the back of their mind as they put this together. Goldberg gets a fair shout as one of the main stars during WCW’s boom period and it is really good to see his thoughts as he looks back. As someone who has stepped away from the wrestling world, Goldberg is a real anomaly as one of the few stars who isn’t dragging himself back into the limelight every five minutes for ‘one more match’. I was not a fan of his at the time however, as I was gripped by the high flying action that was best showcased by the likes of Rey Misterio Jr and Juventud Guerrera, the cruiserweight gets some coverage in this documentary and leaves me with baited breath hoping for an indepth set based around the WCW Cruiserweight division, it really can’t be that hard to slap together a three disc boxset and get it out there can it? (NB, there is a ‘High Flyers’ one available at the moment, but I’d love one specifically dedicated to the WCW days)
Personally I was gripped by the sections dedicated to the end of the companies existence. As someone who was a fan of WCW Worldwide on channel 5, watching until it was no longer shown. It was great to see how things such as David Arquette’s title run were received. Interestingly some of the ideas that were suggested as being signs of the companies ridiculousness were things I was really fond of when I was younger, whether it was Jeff Jarrett’s run as champion or the debut of the KISS Demon as a part of the roster.
The documentary has a decent run time and will be one I probably will go back to, it is a great crib sheet for one of the biggest companies of all time and gives a brilliant overview of their history. The fact that it manages to do so without access to one of the biggest stars of the brand in Sting is even more of a testimony to WWE’s great presentation style. I really would recommend this to anyone who’s slightly interested as it can be picked up from the likes of CEX for under a tenner and you really can’t say fairer than that.