The SmarK Rant For Triple H: The Game (DVD)


The SmarK Rant for Triple H: The Game (DVD).

– Drowning Pool’s version of “The Game” starts us off.

– Usual collection of rah-rah comments from the other guys in the promotion. Nothing of note said.

– HHH talks about watching wrestling growing up and idolizing Flair (the video guys helpfully insert a clip of Flair from like 1973 in there yikes). A clip of Smackdown, after the cameras, sees HHH thanking Flair for making him what he is today, and Flair nearly in tears as a result.

– Austin talks about HHH’s WCW days, and we get Terra Ryzing clips. Well, there’s your DVD value right there. Austin thinks that HHH was pretty good in the early days, but didn’t blossom until he broke away from the Clique. And yes, he called them that. The MSG video is shown.

– We see the “I am the Game” interview from Heat in 1999 that kicked off HHH’s new character.

– Mick Foley gives his “A bad guy has to believe what he’s doing is right” theory to sum up HHH’s heel run.

– Back to 1999, as HHH marries Stephanie and faces off against Vince at Armageddon. Man, Steph used to be a bad actress. Oh, wait, she still is.

– The McMahon-Helmsley Era begins, as Hunter regains the title from Big Show to a rain of green balloons. We really blow through things, as Mankind gets fired and then returns as Cactus Jack after taking the beating of a lifetime on RAW in a six-man. They get a little lazy, recycling the video package from Royal Rumble 2000 to sum it up.

– Mick talks about HHH facing a make-or-break situation against Cactus, in terms of being a main eventer. We skip to the Iron Man match and Shawn’s fruity bicycle shorts. HHH talks about a monster heel making a run in a traditional babyface territory.

– Kurt Angle doesn’t think HHH is a good person. This segues into highlights of the Angle-HHH feud.

– Summerslam 2000 sees Angle getting bounced from the three-way early due to a botched spot. HHH says that everyone in the back was freaking out and yelling complex instructions to Earl Hebner through the earpiece, but he and Rock kept it together long enough for Angle to make it back in. HHH gives kudos to everyone.

– Onto the subject of ring generals, of which HHH is apparently one. Nothing of note there.

– Wrestlemania X-7 suddenly comes, as we skip HHH’s gruesome death and miraculous recovery in November 2000 and head all the way to March. Undertaker gives kudos.

– HHH talks about doing personal appearances and the like. He’s a go-to guy.

– The Injury: He’d been pushing the engine too hard for a long time, and it cost him in the form of the quad tear. He thought it was just a really bad cramp, but then realized he was missing a quad muscle. The Walls of Jericho was “fairly uncomfortable”. The trainer is amazed that HHH actually knew what his own injury was. And indeed, they even have an alternate camera angle on the floor where he emphatically tells him that it’s a torn quad.

– HHH talks to James Andrews and we see the gruesome footage of the operation that aired on Heat. Or was it Excess?

– HHH talks about moving to Birmingham and rehabbing every day. The worst part: No UPN or TNN in the hotel room. So the WWF hooked up a satellite dish for him, complete with porno. (HHH gives the thumbs up here in a funny moment).

– He talks about the Vengeance commercial and how people got pissed off about false advertising. Apparently the ad campaign was based on James Andrews saying he could “possibly” make an appearance at the show.

– He talks about the big return at MSG on RAW in January. This kicked off a babyface run so awesome that they were forced to turn him heel six months later, lest all the other babyfaces in history get overshadowed by him.

– Royal Rumble 2002: HHH eliminates Kurt Angle to win and earn the shot at Jericho at Wrestlemania.

– Onto bodybuilding, which is his hobby outside the ring. He always liked the big muscular guys as a kid. No shock there. He talks about walking around at the Mr. Olympia contest last year gawking like a mark.

– Onto the shitty Steph breakup angle and the wedding renewal angle on RAW. I’m still hoping that the fake pregnancy storyline finishes high up in the “Worst Angle of the Year” awards voting.

– Onto the Chris Jericho feud, as we skip over the “follow the bouncing title shot” feud with Kurt Angle at No Way Out and the Lucy the Dog stuff and move to Wrestlemania X-8.

– Wrestlemania X-8: HHH squashes Jericho to win the belts. He feels they made the right decision to put the title match on last and thus keep the focus on the belts. They do their best with music and fast cuts to make the match into something exciting, but let’s get real here: It sucked. JR’s overselling of the match sounds ridiculous over the silent crowd.

– Stephanie leaves, and HHH talks about “smart marks who know everything” who legitimately hate her and want her off the show, but really she’s just a great heel and we’re all dumb. I’m shocked he would take that viewpoint. Oddly enough, he doesn’t mention their real-life relationship while defending her. I guess that’s why she returned from leaving forever three months later, as a supposed babyface.

– Everyone gives HHH another patented Verbal Blowjob of the Week (tm Ross Report) to remind us how great he is.

– HHH reflects on life and stuff to finish things off.

The Extras:

– First you get the Royal Rumble 2000 streetfight against Cactus Jack, with commentary by HHH and Coach. I skipped over this, but I’ll redo the entire Rumble PPV pretty soon and sub in that version of the match when I get to the main event.

– HHH’s debut match from 1995, against Buck Zumhoff on Wrestling Challenge. It’s letterboxed for some odd reason. Maybe covering up the old WWF logo. Hunter is like 200 pounds here, and he does stuff like leg lariats and a Diamond Cutter to finish. Well, that’s sure different.

– A sketch from MadTV that didn’t make the air, as Hunter meets Will Sasso, who proceeds to act like a huge mark. Pretty funny impressions from Sasso, actually, especially HHH’s Neanderthal interviews. I can see why they cut it, though.

– RAW is Love from 11/29/99, as HHH interrupts the Test-Stephanie wedding and changes his career path forever.

– And of course, the whole reason to buy this DVD, as HHH introduces Flair-Steamboat from WrestleWar ’89. The match is full and uncut. And it still rules. Unfortunately, the video is really soft for some reason – I have a Turner Home Entertainment master copy of the show, and it actually looks better on video. At any rate, that’s the only good thing on that PPV, so you might as well get this DVD instead, which is not only cheaper, but easier to find.

The Bottom Line:

Flair-Steamboat and the Rumble match are the ONLY reasons to recommend buying this thing. The actual program is REALLY boring, especially once it gets to HHH’s “inspirational” story of returning from the injury and feuding with Stephanie. There’s just nothing from 2002 worth making a video about. And all the really good stuff from 2000 is completely ignored – where’s the Last Man Standing match? The match with Taka from RAW? Highlights of the Iron Man and Backlash matches with the Rock covering longer than 10 seconds? THAT’S the really cool stuff, which was all compressed into about 2 minutes and a Mick Foley quote about him being a good heel, which was immediately followed by HHH talking about how great it was to be a babyface when he returned.

Anyway, if you’re gonna get the DVD, don’t get it for the HHH portion because I guarantee that you’ll be disappointed unless you’re fascinated by stories about bodybuilding, but definitely get it to check out the greatest match in North American history.

Both strongly recommended and strong recommendation to avoid, depending on which part of the DVD you’re talking about. How’s THAT for waffling?