Format: Three-Disc DVD
Studio: WWE Home Video
Review by: Bill Jones
“1995. $7 in my pocket. Thru blood, sweat and respect – I relentlessly chase greatness. This is who I am, this is what we do.” –Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, Team Bring It Strong
So reads the printed-to-look-handwritten inscription on the first foldout of WWE Home Video’s latest collection for The Rock, The Epic Journey of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, released just in time for his WrestleMania main event with John Cena more than one year in the making. It sounds like a good rags-to-riches story, but if the first DVD of the three-disc set is any indication, that’s far from true when it comes to The Rock.
Instead, The Rock’s story goes something like this — born the third generation of wrestling greats, went to college and excelled for awhile at sports, got into wrestling, proved charismatic, took hold of good opportunities at the right time, continued to excel, left wrestling to excel at movies, came back to wrestling, acted like he never left, continued to be a star.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. The Rock is one of the most charismatic performers the wrestling business has ever seen who peaked in the Attitude Era along with Stone Cold Steve Austin, had some classic matches (some of them with Austin) and moved on to other things. But it doesn’t exactly make for exciting documentary fodder. He never faced a potentially career-ending injury like Austin did (at least one that’s addressed here) or had to overcome some of the crazy obstacles others did. He remains one of the greats, but his story isn’t all that exciting. And his claims to never be leaving the business ring insincere when we only see him on television on rare occasion.
That said, two discs worth of great matches almost make up for it. There’s his dynamic debut at Survivor Series in 1996, a grueling ladder match for the Intercontinental Title with Triple H at SummerSlam 1998, the infamous “I Quit” Match for the WWE Championship with Mankind at Royal Rumble 1999 (which still seems incredibly brutal to this day), the excitingly scripted Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship with Kurt Angle and Triple H at SummerSlam 2000, and Rock vs. Brock from SummerSlam 2002.
It’s a solid collection, but it is a bit of a disappointment that a good chunk of the second disc is filled with moments (some not the greatest *cough cough* WrestleMania guest host) rather than other great matches from his career. And it’s hard not to feel like this collection was created to either capitalize off of The Rock’s return and/or create more interest in it. It’s a good set, but it could be a hell of a lot better, and this is by no means in the upper echelon of what WWE has offered recently.
For more info, wwe.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the DVD set courtesy of the studio for review purposes.