The WWE have, by and large, done a pretty good job with their series of documentary productions. From focus points on newer superstars such as the Batista: I Walk Alone feature to retrospective looks to the past like Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology there have been more than a few entries that have made wrestling fans stand up and take notice. The history of wresting is, after all, pretty fascinating stuff - you don't even necessarily have to be a fan of modern 'sports entertainment' to appreciate these pieces. So when it was announced that the WWE would be shedding some light on the history of the nWo with the new nWo: The Revolution documentary, fans were rightly intrigued. These guys were the big time and their influence was felt far and wide during their time in the spotlight. Surely there had to be some great untold stories that would make for a fascinating documentary? Right? Right? No? Oh, okay then.
The nWo was a wrestling group that formed in the WCW league who operated more like a gang than anything else. Their schtick was that they were hell bent on taking over the league and as the nineties moved on, they became ridiculously popular and important to wrestling history. Given the 'name' talent that was involved with the movement, it's not surprising that to this day the nWo days are fondly remembered as highlights of nineties era professional wrestling.
Part of the problem here is that Scott Hall and Eric Bischoff are nowhere to be seen and Hogan's now all tied up in the TNA thing - so the core participants in the nWo are flat out missing and as such, we don't really get anything new here. Given that the history of nWo has been covered before, it would seem to be pretty important that, if you're going to go back to that well, you give fans something new. Some new interviews with those who were there, those who were involved and those who the key players went up against. We don't really get any of that, we just get a lot of rehashed and recycled footage presented in more or less the same context that it was presented before in releases like The Rise And Fall Of The WCW and especially on the nWo Back In Black release, among quite a few others. We get input from Matt Striker here and there, a few sound bites from Vince Russo and input from Bischoff... recorded in 2003 or thereabouts. Hogan's input suffers the same fate as does Bischoff's, a lot of this material is decade old.
Now the WWE can't be faulted for all of this. You've got to take into account that Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, Big Bossman, Curt Hennig, Brian Adams and 'Ravishing' Rick Rude have all passed away and obviously could not be interview. Scott Hall is still around and not involved in TNA but is in bad physical shape but there are still quite a few others that the WWE could probably have convinced to appear in this had they tried.
So with that said, are there any reasons to watch this? Well, if you're a diehard fan, yes. The input from Kevin Nash and Cody Rhodes is admittedly pretty interesting and nothing if not entertaining. Both of these guys have larger than life personalities and are pretty amusing in their own rights. Given that their thoughts here are put into context and fairly articulate at that, they save the documentary from being a complete waste of time. Nash offers up his thoughts on what was great about nWo and also about how it started to fall from grace, while Rhodes gives some enthusiastic input from a far more enthusiastic perspective, working in some great stories about his legendary father who was still involved in things at the time. Cody was a kid when all of this was going down and his enthusiasm for all of it is charming and infectious. Booker T, Syxx and Big Show pop up here to offer their thoughts as well and Vince Russo gets a couple of snippets here and there but it honestly doesn't amount to very much. Given that there are plenty of omissions here it seems that had more effort been put into this it would not have been hard to combine what is here with what was omitted to at least get this up to feature length but nope, it didn't happen and instead we get a fairly weak hour long pastiche that really just glosses over a lot of nWo's history making for a fairly big wasted opportunity.
All of the material in this collection is presented in 1.78.1 widescreen (with the fullframe material appearing windowboxed) and while some of the older clips are soft, all of the newer material looks just as fine as you'd expect it to. Colors are nice and natural and there are no problems with print damage, dirt or debris. Skin tones look good and there aren't any compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues to note either. All in all, it's a pretty standard WWE transfer - it's not reference quality, but it looks good enough.
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track sounds an awful lot like a stereo track but is of decent enough quality, though there isn't really all that much to it in terms of channel separation, nor does there really need to be. You can hear the interviews and narration on the feature just fine and there is no audible hiss or distortion outside of some of the older archival clips used in the documentary. The matches vary in quality here, just as they do where the video is concerned, meaning that the older ones don't sound quite as clean as the newer ones but there's nothing here to be concerned about, it all sounds fine.
There are a few bonus clips on the first disc that contains the documentary starting with Scott Hall's Nitro Debut, Nitro, May 27, 1996. Additionally you'll also find Kevin Nash's Nitro Debut, Nitro, June 10, 1996, a clip where Rowdy Roddy Piper Confronts Eric Bischoff, November 18, 1996, a clip where Hollywood Hogan Confronts Rowdy Roddy Piper, December 30, 1996 and last but not least, The nWo's WWE Debut, No Way Out, February 17, 2002.
The rest of the extras appear as a collection of bonus matches and are spread across the other two discs in this three disc set as follows:
The Outsiders Vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Sting & Lex Luger, The Bash At The Beach, July 7, 1996.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match With The Giant Vs. Hollywood Hogan, Hog Wild, August 10, 1996.
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match With The Outsiders vs. Harlem Heat, Halloween Havoc, October 27, 1996.
Syxx Vs. The Bounty Hunter, nWo Saturday Night, November 9, 1996.
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match With The Outsiders Vs. The Steiner Brothers, Souled Out - January 25, 1997.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match With Hollywood Hogan Vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper,
SuperBrawl VII, February 23, 1997.
Hollywood Hogan And Dennis Rodman Vs. Lex Luger And The Giant, Bash At The Beach, July 13, 1997.
Las Vegas Sudden Death Match With Diamond Dallas Page Vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage,
Halloween Havoc, October 26, 1997.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match With Sting Vs. Hollywood Hogan, Nitro, December 29, 1997.
No Disqualification Match For The WCW World Heavyweight Championship With Hollywood Hogan Vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Nitro, April 20, 1998.
Match For Control Of The WCW World Tag Team Championship With Sting Vs. The Giant, The Great American Bash, June 14, 1998.
Hollywood Hogan And Eric Bischoff Vs. Jay Leno And Diamond Dallas Page, Road Wild, August 8, 1998.
War Games Match To Determine The #1 Contender For The WCW World Heavyweight Championship With Team WCW Vs. Team Hollywood Vs. Team Wolfpack, Fall Brawl, September 13, 1998.
No Disqualification Match For The WCW World Heavyweight Championship With Goldberg Vs. Kevin Nash, Starrcade, December 27, 1998.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match With Goldberg Vs. Bret "The Hit Man" Hart, Nitro, December 20, 1999.
Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash And Scott Hall Vs. The Rock And Stone Cold Steve Austin, RAW, March 11, 2002.
There's a lot of good material presented on these two discs, with plenty of highlights representing a pretty good cross section of nWo history, but again, a fair bit of it has been made available on other DVD collections over the last few years so obviously how much this material is worth to you will depend on if you have a large portion of it or not.
There's a pretty nice collection of matches included here that are worth your time, though some have been released before and big time fans of the NWO will probably already have a lot of them through previous DVD releases. This leaves the feature documentary to make the set a must down. Does it deliver? Honestly, no. It's worth watching once but not something you're likely to go back to time and time again, it just doesn't go as in-depth as fans are going to want it to and it clocks in at only an hour in length. Rent it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.