Everyone's views are obviously subjective, and in the case of the question "who is the greatest wrestler of all time", everyone will have their own. In my opinion, that honor goes to The Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels. Was he the biggest draw or even the most charismatic? No, but when he stepped through those ropes nobody could touch him. I've never seen a wrestler who could go out there and outperform every single other person on such a consistent basis like Shawn Michaels did. There's a reason he has so many monikers like "The Show Stopper", "The Main Event", "Mr. WrestleMania" and even "Mr. Hall of Fame." Nobody comes close to Shawn Michaels, and I feel nobody ever will. Gathered on this collection is a testament to why Shawn earned the nickname, "Mr. WrestleMania."
Included on the set is a brand new interview with the man himself. The interview is cut up between 1 - 5 minutes segments where he discusses each match on the set. He briefly talks about a few of the following topics... Deciding to retire after WrestleMania 25 because he felt he could never top that match, Coming back after a 4 year hiatus and wondering if he could still perform at the level everyone expected, The "Shawn Michaels wrestled a latter" joke, His feud with Bret Hart, not being liked backstage for numerous reasons, What it was like going into WrestleMania as Intercontinental champion, and much more.
There is one glaring omission on this DVD set that I should probably touch on since this is Shawn's WrestleMania anthology and that is the triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Shawn, Triple H, and Chris Benoit. This is a 5 star wrestling match that should have been included on this set, and to make matters worse, every Benoit match will be available on the WWE network, so that makes it's exclusion that much more ridiculous. I realize what Chris did was absolutely 100% unforgiveable, but why punish the fans who want to watch certain matches of his? He was one of the best technical wrestlers of all time and his personal life actions will never take that away from him. If you don't want to watch the match, then don't watch it, but we should at least have the choice.
The matches included on this set along with my brief comments on each are...
1. The Rockers (HBK, Marty Jannetty) vs The Twin Towers. For the first few WM's of HBK's career, he was the filler match (or the Popcorn match as Shawn describes it.) The match is only about 5 minutes, so they didn't get much time to work. A lot of punches were thrown by Shawn and Marty, with a lot of power moves by the Twin Towers. It was wayyy too slow paced. 1 star out of 5.
2. The Rockers vs The Orient Express - A bit better than the previous match but not by much. Another filler match that had quite a bit of stalling, and it lacked a proper finish. Watch their Royal Rumble match from the same year for a much much better match. 1.5 stars out of 5.
3. The Rockers vs Haku and The Barbarian. I was worried that this match was going to fall under the same formula as the first 2 matches on the set, surprisingly I was wrong. The Rockers take on a team larger than them, but surprisingly this match is a well paced exciting match up with The Rockers hitting a lot of their high flying moves while Haku and The Barbarian tried to keep them grounded. 3 stars out of 5.
4. Shawn Michaels vs Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Championship. Shawn's first singles matchup at WM was a shaky one. It's a decent match but the lack of time and the odd finish took away from the match. Had it been given 15 minutes instead of 8, it could have been great. 2 out of 5 stars.
5. Shawn Michaels vs Tatanka for the Intercontinental Championship. A solid match from start to finish, HBK was the heel (bad guy) Intercontinental champion going up against the undefeated fan favorite. It does have a sloppy finish, but the 18 or so minutes leading up to it was an underrated classic. 3.5 stars out of 5.
6. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon - Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. A lot of people joke about this match that Shawn went out their and wrestled a latter. This is the match that "made" Shawn Michaels, where everyone knew he would be a future star. This is one of the best latter and matches in general to this day. It also features the iconic image of Shawn splashing Ramon from the top of the latter. 5 stars out of 5.
7. Shawn Michaels vs Diesel for the WWF Championship. Despite being the heel, at this point every one knew how damn good HBK was, and they cheered him on throughout the entire match. The match also featured several celebrity appearances like Jenny McCarthy and Pam Anderson. 3.5 stars out of 5.
8. Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart - 60 minute Iron Man match for the WWF Championship. One of the most famous matches in history of the WWE. Never done before, Shawn and Bret went out there and put on a wrestling clinic for 62 straight minutes. It's one of my favorite matches due to seeing my favorite wrestler finally get what he deserved. 5 stars out of 5.
9. Shawn Micheals vs Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship. Going into this match, Shawn was THE guy, he worked his ass off and alienated pretty much all of his friends backstage to get to this point. Shawn will be the first to admit how much of a jerk he was at the time and 2 months earlier, karma finally caught up to him. During a match with The Undertaker, Shawn took a fall over the top rope and shattered several discs in his back. To go out there and wrestle Austin, who was red hot at the time and was poised to be the next top guy, was astonishing. Even more so, in true Shawn Michaels fashion, he was able to have a classic match. Every single move Austin hit you could see the amount of pain on Shawn's face. This would be his final match for over 4 years. Mike Tyson is the special guest referee. 4 stars out of 5.
10. Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho. Shawn's first WrestleMania in 5 years had a lot of expectations to live up to, and his match with Jericho delivered on every single level. They had a near 25 minute instant classic that will go down as one of the best WrestleMania mathes ever. 5 stars out of 5.
11. Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle. One of the contenders for best WrestleMania match of all time. This was a dream match for tons of people (myself included) and it gave me everything I wanted as Wrestling fan. 30 solid minutes of back and forth wrestling, high flying maneuvers, false finishes and 2 of the best performers to ever step through the ropes. 5 out of 5 stars.
12. Shawn Michaels vs Vince McMahon - No Holds Barred match. An all out brawl that was essentially 20 minutes of Shawn just beating the hell out of Vince, Shane McMahon and the Spirit Squad (current WWE wrestler, Dolph Ziggler was actually a member) with anything he could get a hold of. Ladders, tables, trash cans, kendo sticks, and more all come into play. 5 out of 5 stars (in terms of a brawl, not a quality wrestling match.)
13. Shawn Michaels vs John Cena for the WWE Championship. It's not a secret that people are pretty mixed on John Cena, but when he's in a big match he typically delivers. Michaels and Cena I always thought had terrific chemistry and here is no different, they went around 25 minutes in a fantastic matchup. This would be one the last times Shawn ever challenged for a world title as this portion of his career was aimed at helping the next generation. 4 out of stars.
14. Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair - Career Threatening match. A the time one of the more emotional matches due to everyone knowing this would be Ric Flair's final match (he has since come out of retirement.) What better way to go out on the grandest stage of them all against Mr. WrestleMania. For as old as Ric Flair is, Shawn was able to get a terrific back and forth contest that went over 20 minutes, that had one of my favorite endings to a match. It's interesting to note that Shawn cracked 3 ribs 5 minutes into it and wrestled nearly 20 more with the injury. 4 out of 5 stars
15. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker. This for me might be the greatest match of all time. One of the most intense matches even if in the back of your mind you know the outcome. They made you believe Michaels actually had a chance to end the streak. The match was over 30 minutes and included some of the best wrestling out there, extraordinary false finishes (as Jim Ross proclaimed "My god! I just had an out of body experience!") I watched this live and had goosebumps throughout, I can't say anything more than the fact that matches like these are why I'm a fan of the sport. 10 out of 5 stars.
16. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker - Career vs The Streak. The story here was that Shawn came so close to ending the streak that he felt he deserved a rematch. Taker said the only way that would happen is if Michaels would put up his career. At this point, Michaels was ready to retire and put this chapter in his life behind him to spend time with his family. There was no way to top their WrestleMania 25 match, but they sure as hell made a bid to do so. It's as close to a perfect retirement match you could ever have. 5 out of 5 stars.
Video and Audio
For audio The English 5.1 track was very clear. No noticeable distortions at all during the commentary or the fan chants.