Many people turn their nose up at pro-wrestling, and have for a long time. I never quite understood the reason. Sure, they've made their cases about it being 'fake' or it being a stupid waste of time to fuel the fire of why they don't watch and talk badly about it, but I always try and state my piece on the matter and let them know that their negative opinions are jaded and wrong and to at least give it a chance to have fun with. After all, it's entertainment.
Yes, the matches are determined ahead of time with a winner already decided before the match even starts, but that doesn't mean they don't take real hits and falls, which they do day after day. It's just that these impressive larger-than-life athletes know how to give and take hits so that it doesn't cause severe permanent damage, even though it does sometimes, even costing these entertainers their bones, skin, or even their lives.
I truly believe if you give the WWE a chance with an open mind and actually have fun with it, you'll come to really enjoy what is show on-screen or in person. There is a reason why this business has lasted more than fifty years and is as strong as it ever was. And that brings us to this great documentary, 'The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment'. I'm sure if you asked one-thousand people who Michael Jordan was, they'd be able to tell you. And I'm willing to be those same one-thousand people could tell you who Stone Cold Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan is too.
This documentary showcases the very start of the World Wrestling Business until present day, with everything in between. The one flaw with this is that it is way to short. Running at about two hours, there is not enough time to really dive into the big moments and stories that have happened over the past fifty years. Ken Burns usually takes dozens of hours to tackle a subject, and I only wished that the proper amount of time was given here. While most of the greatest superstars, stories, and events are covered, here, each only receives a couple of minutes, then it's on to the next big segment.
This documentary is nominated be David Keith, who acted with Rowdy Roddy Piper in John Carpenter's 'They Live', and has provided voice over work for the company before. Some things that are included are the start of the business and the takeover by Vince McMahon. This also discusses the purchase of the WWE competitor WCW, and the first pay-per-view matches, tv shows, and Wrestlemania. A lot of the superstars are covered here too, highlighting some of the bigger matches that pushed WWE into the mainstream and created the cult and iconic status that it has today.
There are also some very sad moments, as the documentary goes back to that fateful tragedy in Kansas City where we lost one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. There is a second disc to this set that has fourteen matches and speeches from key moments in WWE's history, starting from 1977-2013. And yes, you will get the Andre the Giant vs. Hogan match here as well. This is a great documentary, however, we need at least eight more hours to properly cover then entire spectrum of the business.
'The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment' comes with a solid 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. There is a combination of vintage and new footage here, which is all up-converted to HD quality. The newer footage of interviews and matches from recent years look great with some well-defined detail that looks very sharp.
There is some minor banding in a few places, due to the crazy lights from the live shows, but it's nothing to write home about. The vintage footage has a nostalgic quality and has looks much softer. The colors always pop off screen during the newer segments, but in the vintage footage, things are muted. Skin tones always look natural despite the heavily tanned superstars and the black levels are deep and inky. As the footage varies from time periods, the image quality is consistent. This is a solid video presentation.
This release comes with a great Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix and does the job. Keith David's narration is amazing, and it sounds perfect on the center channel. He always comes in crystal clear and is always easy to understand. This goes for all of the interviews as well.
You won't get much from the surrounds until there is music playing or crowds cheering, which sound loud and robust from the surrounds. But other than that, this is a front heavy feature. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is wide. This is a solid audio presentation. Just don't expect big explosions or the bass to rumble the art off your walls.
'The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment' is a solid documentary that shows the entire universe of of the WWE, from its beginnings to present day. The only flaw is that with so much information and history, you can't tell it all within two hours. So while almost every key moment is discussed, you won't get more than a couple of minutes on each segment. The video and audio are good for this type of documentary with some great extras and matches. this documentary is more for the new fan, whereas a seasoned viewer of the WWE would be clamoring for a more in depth look inside their favorite company. But to have all of these classic and iconic matches on one disc is amazing. Recommended.