Case Number 21886: Small Claims Court


WWE // 2011 // 540 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // July 28th, 2011

The Charge

"What does it mean when he throws both arms in the air and starts prancing like a pony?"

The Case

For fans of pro wrestling, there's not much that gets the blood pumping like the spectacle of a cage match. Just the very suggestion of one opens up the possibility of a level of brutality that normal bouts just can't muster, and bring forth memories of body breaking acts of heroism that fans of the sport cannot get enough of. With that in mind, it's good to report that with WWE: The Greatest Cage Matches Of All Time, the WWE has put together one of their finest releases in a long time. Put simply: this, right here, is fun. Though some will doubtless find cause to gripe at the match selection, which is admittedly not as PPV heavy as one would like (and for obvious reasons you'll not see the awesome Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle match from 2001), the sheer diversity of wrestlers presented makes for an invaluable insight into the evolution of pro wrestling over the past three decades.

Restricting its match selection to those taking place in the steel cage (note: this does not include Hell in a Cell matches), WWE: The Greatest Cage Matches Of All Time includes matches from WWF/WWE, AWA, WCCW, WCW, and NWA.

The match listing is as follows:

Disc 1
* Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
Bob Backlund vs. Pat Patterson
Madison Square Garden, September 24, 1979

* Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
Bob Backlund vs. Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka
Madison Square Garden, May 19, 1980

* Steel Cage Match
Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko
Shea Stadium, August 9, 1980

* Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich
Christmas Star Wars, December 25, 1982

* Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championship
Ivan & Nikita Koloff vs. Rock 'N' Roll Express
Starrcade, November 28, 1985

* Steel Cage Match
Road Warriors vs. Michael P.S. Hayes & "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin
WrestleRock, April 20, 1986

* Steel Cage Match
Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody
Cotton Bowl Extravaganza, October 12, 1986

* Steel Cage Match
Midnight Rockers vs. "Playboy" Buddy Rose & "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers
Brawl in St. Paul, December 25, 1986

* Steel Cage Match
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
WrestleFest, July 31, 1988

Disc 2
* Steel Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Capital Combat, May 19, 1990

* Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
Ultimate Warrior vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
SummerSlam, August 27, 1990

* Steel Cage Match
Ultimate Warrior vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage
Madison Square Garden, January 21, 1991

* Steel Cage Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty
White Plains, New York, August 17, 1993

* Steel Cage Match
Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
SummerSlam, August 3, 1997

* Steel Cage Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon
St. Valentine's Day Massacre, February 14, 1999

* Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
The Rock vs. Triple H
Rebellion, October 2, 1999

Disc 3
* Steel Cage Match to Unify the Tag Team Championships
Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz
Survivor Series, November 18, 2001

* Steel Cage Match
Edge vs. Chris Jericho
SmackDown, July 25, 2002

* Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. Christian
Raw, May 10, 2004

* Steel Cage Match
Randy Orton vs. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Taboo Tuesday, October 19, 2004

* "Steel Cage Match"
Matt Hardy vs. Edge
Unforgiven, September 18, 2005

* Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Edge
Raw, October 2, 2006

* Steel Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Batista vs. Chris Jericho
Raw, November 3, 2008

* Steel Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
SmackDown, August 28, 2009

Just the merest glance through that list will reveal some legendary names, and from Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka to CM Punk, via Andre the Giant and The Rock, each and everyone is a crowd pleaser. It's also pleasing to see the WWE acknowledge the existence of other wrestling promotions by including matches from WCW and the NWA. Sure, the McMahon family may be pretty much the only player in the game now, but back in the day they were just one amongst a crowd. Don't forget: the likes of Ric Flair spent the best part of their careers outside of Vinnie Mac's pocket.

As someone who started watching pro wrestling in the late Eighties, and was a big fan of the Attitude Era, I was surprised that I found so much enjoyment in the Golden Generation matches. The chance to see The Ultimate Warrior deliver a quite frankly ridiculous promo with Mean Gene Okerlund (was he just making it up as he went along?), before taking on Ravishing Rick Rude offered an irresistible trip down memory lane. What's more, the matches themselves don't disappoint, although their entertainment value isn't necessarily down to the quality of the wrestling on show. On the contrary, the Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Mr. McMahon matchup is, to be frank, hardly a classic. But what this matchup shows -- as much as any -- is the ass-whooping Vince McMahon will take in order to keep WWE fans coming back for more. Even before the match officially gets underway Stone Cold has beaten McMahon senseless -- even taking him into the crowd to deliver a beatdown. The match also highlight that when the WWE's writers get it right, they can produce unforgettable moments, witnessed here when The Big Show makes his WWF debut as the match reaches its conclusion.

For the most part, however, the matches are worthy of their billing. Ric Flair is seen both in his prime and his later years, and delivers an exceptional match when pitted against Kerry Von Erich. With Michael Hayes acting as special guest ref, this match for the NWA world title flows beautifully, as the momentum shifts from one fighter to the other before reaching a fitting conclusion. Jump forward twenty-two years, and Flair is seen taking on the then up-and-coming Randy Orton. Say what you will about Flair, but he's undoubtedly one of the few genuine superstars in the business who will willingly put over a younger wrestler. Here he really gave Orton's career a boost, imparting his experience of the cage match to the younger man. Despite being old enough to be Orton's grandfather, the Nature Boy still puts his body on the line and, being all too aware of the fans expectations for a cage match, has no qualms about being cut open.

Thanks to pioneers like Jummy Snuka, a generation of wrestlers appeared during the Attitude Era that took high flying to the next level, and of these the most prominent were the Hardy Boys, and Edge (The R Rated Superstar) and Christian. Alongside the "hardcore" specialists The Dudley Boyz, these were wrestlers who were made for cage matches, as is evident in their matches on disc three. In particular the Matt Hardy vs. Edge matchup, which was built around a very real feud, sees the two men at the very top of their game -- and with regard to Edge in particular, that is saying a lot. It is, without a doubt, the best match in the set and combines all that is great about wrasslin'.

Unlike the current incarnation of the WWE, which is geared toward being a more family friendly form of entertainment, this release openly embraces the OTT violence and cursing that has plays no part in the current product. Superstars like Mankind, The Dudley Boyz, and Edge truly stand out with their commitment to putting on a show to entertain their audience with insane stunts that would break lesser men. Men like Ric Flair and Stone Cold Steve Austin embraced the violence of the cage match, and to see them in their blood-spattered pomp is something all wrestling fans should clamor for.

One final note: As is now commonplace on WWE releases, the "Attitude Era" WWF logo is blurred out in case the pandas sue.

Unless you count Josh Matthews' brief introductions, which I don't, the disc has no special features. Still, with such a solid, not to mention generous, number of matches included, it's hard to grumble that you're not getting your money's worth. Audio and video are both good, with early matches obviously lacking the pop of the more recent WWE HD broadcasts.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2011 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile
Studio: WWE
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 540 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb