Studio: WWE Home Video
Review by: Bill Jones
WWE Home Video has been on a role creating quality three-disc DVD sets for its top-tier superstars. The first discs usually feature some sort of documentary on their lives and wrestling careers, along with special features. The second and third discs of the collections compile matches and moments chronicling their in-ring careers. Though it strictly follows the formula, there are few candidates more deserving – with such good stories and matches – as Chris Jericho. But it unfortunately shows more than ever how WWE’s (understandable) decision to disavow Chris Benoit can affect the roster’s back catalog.
Not only does Breaking the Code follow Jericho’s wrestling career – from being a young upstart who promoters tried to saddle with a cowboy gimmick to his current role as an elder statesman of the business – but it also branches out into some of his other artistic endeavors, such as writing a book and touring with his rock band Fozzy. Maybe more importantly, it offers some great commentary (both in the feature and as alternate tracks) from Jericho that provides some insight into his mindset as a performer. For one, he’d rather be fired, dragged from the ring kicking and screaming to be remembered as a jerk than have a retirement match or farewell extravaganza.
Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho also benefits from the WWE acquisition of World Championship Wrestling, as it allows for the DVD’s producers to mine the back catalog of that promotion’s matches and moments to include some more Jericho classics. Even the extras in this set are highly entertaining, most notably in a 15-minute exchange between Jericho and Stone Cold Steve Austin that was never before seen by fans other than those in attendance following Monday Night Raw one evening. In one commentary, Jericho even explains his decision to switch from the Liontamer to the Walls of Jericho we know today.
The disc also includes a fantastic selection of matches, but anyone who remembers Jericho’s career knows that Chris Benoit played an integral role in Jericho getting hired by ECW. Instead, the DVD glosses over the fact with Jericho telling a story about how after waiting for awhile, he received a call from Paul Heyman. Jericho also had some absolutely classic bouts with Benoit, including a fantastic ladder match, but none of these are included in the set. No one can blame WWE for their decision to leave Benoit out of the home videos after his actions, but for longtime fans it will unfortunately still ring as an incomplete chronicle of Jericho’s career.
Still, Breaking the Code is another fantastic addition to the WWE catalog. Die-hard fans will love it, despite the omissions, and casual fans who have only caught Jericho post-Y2J era can stand to learn a bit about his earlier career and what caused the transformation of the superstar. It’s another must own for wrestling fans, baby!
For more info, wwe.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the DVD courtesy of the studio for review purposes.