I grew up with pro-wrestling. AS a young child, I remember fondly watching WWF every weekend and seeing colorful characters like Jake the Snake Roberts and The Big Bossman. In the early 90s, my love of wrestling had grown to where I would follow things pretty closely; when the mid 90s hit, there wasn't a week that passed that I didn't watch every WWF and WCW program on the air. The WWF Attitude Era was must see TV for me; Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were favorites; on the WCW front, I was torn between the now, led by a heel Hulk Hogan (in my opinion one of the best moves in his career) and the embodiment of old school wrestling, Ric Flair. WWF would prove the victor by keeping things exciting and unpredictable, by as the early 00s rolled around, Vince McMahon had bought his competition, WCW and ECW, and things would never be the same.
I quickly lost my love for watching the sport and felt things would never be the same. In early 2006, I happened across Raw on TV and decided to see how far things had changed. I was happy to see the storylines had slightly improved, there were still performers giving it their all, but it was still a shadow of its heyday. I casually follow the WWE, mostly for the brief moments were true athleticism is allowed to shine, but rarely do I see much that reminds me of the "good old days." Is it because I'm now an adult and I'm finally seeing how childish the business has always been? I don't think so.
If there was one tradition the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars kept going, it was solid tag-team wrestling. Fans had a good variety to choose from: tradition like "The Hart Foundation," high-flyers in the form of The Hardys, and main-event talent from the original D-Generation X. However, like all good things of that era, tag-team wrestling became forgotten as the years went on and McMahon was the only show in town.
Now, tag-team wrestling seems to only be brought back to add life to one-on-one feuds, or to hype a product (i.e. Smackdown vs. Raw 2009). While there is a very small tag-team division active in the WWE, it largely takes a backseat to the main event game. Hopefully this new three-disc retrospective of the division, "Allied Powers: The World's Greatest Tag Teams" is a glimmer of hope that making the division credible again is a possibility.
I must sadly report though, the presentation format of this collection is sadly lacking, compared to a "Greatest Stars of the..." or "Monday Night Wars" disc. There is no all encompassing documentary on the first disc and then tons of matches making up the final two discs; instead, the WWE decided to have the most notable (at the time) tag-team on TV host, The Miz and Morrison, a program ala the recent Macho Man disc. Unlike that disc's hosts, Matt Striker and Maria, Miz and Morrison instead use the program to showboat their own antics. It loses it's charm over the course of the nearly nine-hour running time and I found myself very tempted to skip their intro segments.
Luckily for the fans, full matches make up the majority of the content. Each match is preceded by an annoying Miz and Morrison segment, then a short video package highlighting the team rolls, before the full match gets going. The biggest problem I had with this format, is not so much the style of presentation, but the mish-mashed structure. There is no rhyme or reason as to why certain teams appear in certain places, and the choice of presenting the Legion of Doom last, going as far as to proclaim they were "saving the best for last," is likely to anger fans of the Hardys who show up early on disc one, or the Fabulous Freebirds who follow the Hardys. I would have preferred a chronological look at teams instead of the randomness that makes up the final product.
However, the quality of the matches far exceeds the sub-par presentation. I have a lot of respect for the person who chose the Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki from an old WCW Japan Supershow to highlight the Steiners. It showed the brothers in their primes and will likely shock modern fans that only know Scott as the unintentional comedy show of recent years. My only complaint is ECW teams are ignored, save for the Dudley Boys, but even then, only their WWE runs are featured. It wouldn't have killed them to highlight an Eliminators, RVD and Sabu, or Impact Players match, as all three teams are worthy of going down in history as memorable and important to their company.
The video quality is standard of what one would expect from a WWE presentation. The matches are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The quality of the footage varies with the best looking stuff coming from WWF/WWE events as well as mid-90s WCW. Some of the stuff WCCW or AWA isn't as pretty, but by no means does it detract from enjoying the matches. There are some notable digital artifacts present through some of the footage, likely a result of the matches being transferred from tape.
The program is presented with a lone English Dolby Digital track, but don't expect much more than the same sound quality you would get from a TV presentation. Like the video quality, the sound varies by source, but the majority of the matches are aurally clear and well mixed.
The WWE is generally kind in terms of bonus features, and this disc is no different. The extras are all relegated to disc two and feature a decent collection of memorable promos and interviews with the bigger teams in history. It's a fun walk down memory lane and highlights the teams were not only gifted in the ring, but also on the mic. It would be criminal for me to no to mention the classic music video "Badstreet, USA" from the Fabulous Freebirds is featured and is just as goofy as you remember.
While I would say the WWE dropped the ball big time when it comes to presentation, like many classic releases, the match quality speaks for itself and is the bulk of the package. Fans are going to enjoy the walk down memory lane, while non-fans are going to see that tag-team wrestling hasn't always been a sideshow, C-rate attraction. Recommended.