Shawn Michaels has been entertaining World Wrestling Entertainment crowds now for almost a quarter century since his entrance into the organization (with Marty Jannetty) as part of the high-flying tag team The Rockers. After the dissolution of the duo, Michaels evolved into a singles wrestler and the results have been marvelous, to say the least. While Michaels does travel and does house shows domestically and abroad from time to time, his matches, normally hard-fought bouts running upwards of 20 and 30 minutes, are fewer and further between, partly to rest a back that has had its share of troubles for the last 15 years. However, the WWE has added three recent matches to Michaels' already large video library and placed them into their current "Superstar Collection" series.
As far as the matches go, while they are scant compared to other Michaels discs, they include the following recent gems:
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (Judgment Day, May 18, 2008)
D-Generation X vs. Legacy (SummerSlam, August 23, 2009)
Shawn Michaels vs. Kane (No DQ Match - Raw, March 22, 2010)
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (Streak vs. Career - WrestleMania, March 28, 2010)
One of the things Michaels did once he injured his back some time back is that his once high-flying style became one that transitioned to endurance. His battles with fellow WWE star Bret Hart were legendary, to the point where there was a separate DVD
that covered their rivalry. And with the matches in this disc, they help show the more recent viewer that Michaels, despite his age and general bravado, has a reputation for being one of the hardest working wrestlers in the modern era. For older viewers, this serves as a reminder that while you may swallow the pill of Michaels' persona, it is worth it to see what he brings to the table.
The unfortunate thing about this disc is that these matches do that, but for me, they also remind me of just how great Michaels was at the peak of his powers. Look, the simple fact of the matter is that with this disc, Michaels has been the focus of six titles in the WWE video catalog, some of which have been previously examined by the
Don't get me wrong, the matches here are OK. Michaels' bout with the Undertaker to determine if the latter's unbeaten streak in WrestleManias will end (vs. Michaels' retirement) was fun to watch at the time, and remains so for the fact that the two have shared a locker room to get ready for events in the WWE for a couple of decades. And seeing the trust each has in the other to simply put on a good show is one of the reasons why sports entertainment remains as popular as it does. In a good portion of the recent shows Michaels has participated in, when he's on his matches remain the most enjoyable, and these are no exception.
As far as Shawn Michaels goes, while these matches may qualify as "Superstar Collection" material, by no means are they definitive. Hell, if this disc is representative of similar titles, it is almost an insult to his collective body of work, kind of like the Rolling Stones "GRRR!" album. It may be nice to enjoy, but really, you would be much better off listening to "Exile on Main Street," if you know what I mean.
1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for each of the matches, which was not a surprise. The image noise presented by the battalions of LED lights and the additional pyrotechnics bring some minor pixel issues into the fold during viewing, but the matches look about as good as they are going to look. They are devoid of edge enhancement and haloing, and the image is replicated naturally, without any other image processing. No surprises here.
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for the matches, and it sounds about as good as one would expect. The crowd sound makes for a decent immersive layer in all of the channels, though channel panning and directional effects are at a minimum, and the low-end stays dormant through the experience. Honestly I was not expecting a miracle and it was straightforward.
If the WWE is marketing Superstar Collection: Shawn Michaels as an after-dinner drink celebrating his career, I could get that. But on a disc that is matches only, it does not feel like it, which makes me wonder what his place in this series actually is. Moreover, if I can find these matches elsewhere (and I can), why shell out the money for this disc? Depending on how you answer this is your best recommendation for the title. For me, I'm skipping it.