Judge Franck Tabouring is the world wrestling viewer champion: he just watched nine hours without a break.
It's the one belt every wrestler wants to wear…
In the world of wrestling entertainment, the World Heavyweight Championship is a very prestigious title, and those who at one stage in history were lucky enough to win and hold the belt are still today considered the best of the best. Hence, WWE decided to pay tribute to this popular, yet controversial, title by releasing WWE: The History of the World Heavyweight Championship, a three-disc set that gives viewers and fans an overview of how the championship was born and how it evolved over the years.
The heart of this collector's set is the first disc, which includes an interesting one-hour documentary that focuses on the very beginning of the World Heavyweight Championship. From the fame of George Hackenschmidt all the way to the rise and fall of the WCW, this informative piece covers pretty much everything viewers need to know about the existence of this golden belt.
The documentary starts at the very beginning, examining the influence of popular wrestlers such as Hackenschmidt, Frank Gotch (who beat Hackenschmidt), and Ed "The Strangler" Lewis, who emerged as the big wrestling star of the 1920s. Some of the sixteen chapters also cover the formation of the NWA and the crowning of a new champion, as well as the reign of Lou Thesz, the success of Buddy Rogers, and, of course, the star who became Ric Flair.
Besides telling viewers more about how many of the most successful wrestlers go started and how they influenced the industry, the documentary also examines the more controversial sides of the business, including the formation of the WCW, and its ratings war with the WWE. The final part looks at the WWE's historic purchase of WCW in 2001.
Diehard wrestling fans will probably know all there is to know about these athletes and the NWA, WWE, and WCW, but for younger folks growing up solely with the WWE, this documentary provides a simple, fast-paced, and well-structured insight into how wrestling took off and why and how the World Heavyweight Championship became so popular in the first place.
For those not interested in checking out the documentary, this three-disc set also includes twenty-two matches. Six of these are NWA battles, and highlights include a match between Pat O'Connor and Buddy Rogers, and a matchup between Ric Flair and Magnum T.A. The second disc focuses on WCW championship matches, and some of my favorite battles include the 1994 title match between Flair and Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc, as well as the battle between The Rock and Chris Jericho at No Mercy in 2001.
Disc Three carries seven WWE title matches between 2002 and 2009. The last match on the disc is the solid matchup between Jeff Hardy and Edge back in June '09. Another highlight of mine is the Triple Threat Match for the title between Undertaker, Edge, and Batista in 2007. Not all of the matches on this set are memorable or engaging, but most of them are decent enough picks for a collection focusing entirely on World Heavyweight Championship.
As far as the technical aspects are concerned, the older matches and footage obviously bear a poorer image quality than the more recent ones. That, however, is not a big issue. Same goes for the audio transfer, which also increases in quality as you work your way through the collection.
WWE: The History of the World Heavyweight Championship is yet another solid (and this time even informative) WWE set. Wrestling fans should add it to their collection. Just like the other entries in the series, these discs serve as a great reference to those trying to find specific matches that at one stage helped popularize pro wrestling.
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