A really, really easy way to piss off those knowledgeable about any subject is to create a "Top 10" list of any fashion (trust us, we know!). With the varying interests of supporters, as well as the inevitable exclusions, and knowledge on the topic, very rarely do opinions match up to a point. No matter how carefully constructed the premise is, there's always someone who's going to be furious, something that was unfairly excluded. So, with 'OMG! The Top 50 Most Incidents in WWE History,' of course this will be the case. Even the packaging for the product seems aimed at this inevitability, with a blurb stating that program will surely spark debate for some time to come.
I'd have to agree with that statement, for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad. Being a WWE lifer, seeing legends born and legends die, sometimes literally, before my very eyes, I certainly have my beliefs on the most shocking moments in the company's storied history. Are they all represented in this release? Not by a long shot. Do I agree with the people behind this release? Not by a long shot. This release is so heavy on manufactured controversy, and redundancy, that it struggles to get off the ground. Throw in questionable rankings for the high profile shockers, and you have a seriously curious basis for a release, leaving one wondering how this is the same company that rode the Attitude era, which is well, well represented here, to such success for so long.
In 'OMG!' (which is the shortened title for this set from here on out), the entire annuls of WWE history are delved into...only if they were perfectly captured on tape. There's not a single shocking moment that happened behind the scenes that would be a revelation to audiences, a shocking backstage fight, like the Sid Vicious stabbing incident in his WCW years. Every inch of this release happened on air, most of them on the live shows and cable broadcasts, rather than pay-per-view events, and the majority come from skits and promos rather than shocking in-match occurrences.
I'll admit, I really enjoyed seeing some of the events that have helped me hold the Attitude era in such high regard here. Without revealing too much about the lineup of this release, I will say that I greatly enjoyed how much attention was given to the stunt work of Shane McMahon, whose high profile bumps and bloody bouts led to plenty of moments that would have hardcore audiences chanting "holy shit!" Other events make you wonder how they were pulled off. The ring collapse featured in the Big Show vs Brock Lesnar Smackdown match does look pretty damned cool, yes, but how can it be considered so shocking when neither man even made an effort to get up and when half the ring literally fell to pieces while the back stayed intact? It was a great stunt, one of the many moments in WWE history when a staged event is pulled off successfully, and in doing so, works audiences into a stupor, into debate about how real an action is. Fans will most certainly understand the idea of "shoot" matches and interviews from the recent CM Punk story line (which had its potential squandered far too early, ruining all the good will and hype that the controversial comments created). And, no, nothing as recent as CM Punk's rant find their way onto this countdown.
In 'OMG!,' the countdown almost challenges its audience to come up with their own list, and considering how much time is wasted here on borderline "safe" content that is neither shocking or an "incident," it isn't hard. Let's start with all the bizarre omissions to this event, shall we? How about the high profile deaths of Owen Hart (at a live event televised across the world, no less) or Chris Benoit? What about the Brock Lesnar vs Bill Goldberg WrestleMania match that upset everyone due to the fact that both workers knew it would be their last match and didn't want to give it their all? What about the various rape and miscarriage angles? The D-Generation X segment with all the wrestlers in blackface? The crippling of Droz aka Darren Drozdov? The Val Venis castration via katana promo? The various McMahon infidelity/paternity stories? Zach Gowen and the abuse of the one legged wrestler via the company owner? What about a sequence where a wrestler was supposedly fed his own dog (Al Snow and the infamous chihuahua Pepper)? Or, better still, where in the world is Katie Vick? Surely the only ever necrophelia angle in WWE history would be mentioned, right?
Wrong. It's really somewhat ridiculous the amount of omissions here, when a number of scenes are as mundane as they come. How many slots in a 50 point countdown needed to be filled with various vehicles being driven to the ring? How many more were about vehicles being destroyed in various entertaining manners? Why is it nearly every Stone Cold Steve Austin run-in, at the height of his infamy, is featured, in a few month long period when he wasn't allowed to wrestle due to a botched tombstone piledriver from Owen Hart, is shown, but not the injury itself? Why does this feature, which appeals to longstanding viewers, ignore the stories behind the story, instead playing every event at face level like it were real. The interview footage from the WWE superstars, in this regard, is a total let down, as not a single participant (and a large amount of current performers contribute thoughts on events found here) breaks the carefully manufactured, manipulated facade. They all treat every event, whether they were there or not, like it was 100 percent real, despite working in the business. Yes, it's interesting hearing the remarks of a wrestler who has had a pyrotechnics malfunction cause him pain in a focus on a similar incident, but when one is a legitimate accident, and another painfully obvious in its scripting, it's wrong that the machinated moments get the attention. Worse still, infamous moments like the Montreal Screwjob, the real defining moments of the company, are given the same amount of time as the more pitiful entries in this list.
'OMG!' would have had potential, if the company would have played it straight, broken character, and let fans in on the incidents, what led to them, and had real backstage thoughts and comments about them, from those involved. Instead, it's one big fluff piece full of questionable decisions and blatant nostalgia. Sure, Stone Cold was a huge part of the company's success, but not every single action or run-in from the bald headed superstar deserves a mention here. If this is how the company wants to be remembered, it deserves to be mired in mediocrity. Of course, the new gimmick of hiring soap opera writers will only ensure that another countdown list won't be too far away. I can't wait for John Cena's twin brother, who was in a coma for the last twenty years, to be the father of his children. I can't wait for the infinitely long list of Sanchos.
A disappointing feature, despite the fact that it features some good old, tragically late Brian Pillman goodness. Normally, the WWE can put together a really good historic compilation, to revive those old feelings and memories, but this is cheap nonsensical garbage pumped out to further the company's current missive than it is to give respect to the men who put it all on the line, and sometimes had to embarrass themselves on national television. This compilation needs more thumbtacks and less spraying of random liquid from fire hoses. You want a shocking incident? Show us a spot that has no real way to fake, show us real blood inflicted from a botched maneuver rather than rampant blading.
My OMG! Top 5 Annoying Portions of this Release countdown goes as follows:
#1: The fact that the same graphic and sound bit is used 50 damned times. No variation whatsoever. Same graphic, same sound. It's horribly annoying. They didn't just put it off to the side and start right in. No, this is a multiple second long painfully time wasting bit of excess.
#2: The rarity of contributions from those actually involved in any incident, despite the majority still being employed by the company in some fashion. The lack of comments from higher up wrestlers or behind the scenes workers, relegating most of the comments to what are known as "midcarders."
#3: The manner in which some sequences and "incidents" are almost identical to others, with a heavy focus on vehicular mayhem.
#4: The fact that some truly shocking, almost disgusting, often tragic moments that fans still remember are completely ignored here. Is "incidents" the new code for works? If so, how come the more infamous story lines are ignored?
#5: The fact that the title of this release is 'OMG!' Seriously, WTF? This should have been treated like a BFD, but what this is, IDK. Acronyms = LOL!
The Disc: Vital Stats
WWE Home Video presents 'OMG! The Top 50 Incidents in WWE History' on Blu-ray day and date with the DVD, on a two disc (both BD50) Region A locked set, housed in a standard non-eco case with no packaging frills. The random pre-menu content is all skippable, save for the "Do Not Try This at Home" disclaimers on both discs, which cannot be fast-forwarded through or skipped.
The DVD set is identical to this release, save for the fact that it is spread across three discs, and has four less full-length features/matches. This Blu-ray release has the entire countdown on one disc, and the extras spread out across both.
'OMG! The Top 50 Incidents in WWE History' is given the standard WWE treatment on Blu-ray: 1080i encode, AVC MPEG-4 encoder, 1.78:1 frame. That said, there is a very large amount of footage in this release that is shown in the 1.33:1 window that was natural to the company for many, many years, with a very finely defined set of pillarbox patterns.
Of course, since this compilation release combined modern high def footage, controlled environment high def interview footage, and various grade historical WWE footage, it's tough to accurately gauge the look of the show as a whole. Naturally, the older footage has much lower detail levels; the older it gets, the hazier the picture. Additionally, artifacts, significant chroma fringing, and stairstepping are the norm. For this review, the score in this section is not being dinged or penalized for presenting the footage the way it has always been and will always look. The fact that it is presented in its natural aspect ratio alone is a win for fans. The show opens with some older footage cropped to 1.78:1, but in the actual countdown, once that begins, that's old hat.
The interview and modern high def footage is good, but falls victim to the same ol' flaws that keep troubling WWE home video releases. The 'OMG!' icon and window border suffer from significant aliasing and jagged edges, while the numbers given to each clip, all 50 of them, feature a screen that has the appearance of insanely bad banding artifacts. The fact that the degree of these pronounced/stepped color changes move ever so slightly is enough proof that it was not intentional. Additionally, the numbers themselves look absolutely awful in motion, as they rotate ever-so slightly.
The interviews are pretty good looking, but have their issues. I loved the amount of detail and character in faces, and even the smallest, silliest things are captured. Imagine the ridiculous haircut on Tyson Kidd, the stupid little single spike on his head. Now imagine seeing the tips of those hairs and tiny strands that don't conform proper. It's detail like this that you never see on television or even most photos, so it's great to see here. Black levels are strong and natural, skin tones are appropriate. However, interlacing does rear its ugly head consistently, and aliasing in clothing can be a bit much. Wade Barrett's shirt isn't as much of an issue, its pinstripes doing a minor pulse, but Evan Bourne's shirt has a much tighter pattern, and the issue is far more pronounced, appearing like it were making waves. That's not good.
The audio for 'OMG!' surprised me. I saw the typical Dolby Digital 5.1 track rating and got myself ready to be majorly disappointed, but wow (or, dare I say, OMG)! This track has some huevos behind it! The theme song to this release, which you hear a good 50+ times throughout, hits the rears properly and has nice little bass hits here and there, and the initial banner has some slight movement to it, but that's not where I found the best audio to be found at. Rather, in random segments, background music will pump through every speaker, making sure classic mono or stereo footage doesn't just grow stagnant and boring, with some borderline thunderous bass coming through at times, as well as a constantly engaged set of rear channels. Prioritization is never an issue, as vintage footage, modern interview comments, and this random music integration all mesh coherently. It's really rather slick! Few Dolby Digital tracks are worthy of this score, but this one most definitely deserves respect!
The lone issue I had with this track was the random feedback and buzz that could be heard sometimes behind interview participants, most significantly behind Jim Ross and Chris "I was just released from the WWE but still am featured in their new release talking up their product" Masters. This random buzz can be heard before and while they speak, and is a big enough concern to warrant a warning. This release could have sounded so much worse, though, that if this is the only issue, I think we're all money ahead. It's not a consistent enough issue to further knock down the score. Good job, WWE!
Disc Two: Bonus Matches (HD, 153 min) - More goodies! More goodies!
What defines an "incident" in the eyes of the WWE? If this release is any indication, it has to be something that can be replayed without threat of lawsuit, something that can generate money. 'OMG!' doesn't quite capture the truly shocking moments in WWE history. Far from it. In fact, it's a rather repetitive countdown that was shamelessly thrown together by some intern working to get his hands on some unwashed Divas garments for his "personal collection." There are so many poor choices in this countdown, and that's not an opinion, it's an unbiased fact. The ugly side of the business is all but wiped out, and we're left with more cutesy than shocking moments here.
On the bright side, this release does contain many full length matches and promos from spots featured on this countdown, so it's not a total loss. In fact, the supplement package on this release is astoundingly awesome. If anyone is considering buying this release, they should do it for the extras.