The People’s Column: It’s All in the Video

Every fan has their favorite things about the wrestling product.  Some people love nothing but in-ring action.  Some people happen to love the promos that are used to set up matches.  Some people even love really lame backstage skits (although I feel like those people would never read this).  There is something that I love about wrestling more than almost anything else, the video packages.

A quick note: today’s column is a Youtube extravaganza. I apologize if that is inconvenient for you. This is simply one of my favorite things and I wanted the opportunity to celebrate the awesomeness of WWE’s videos. Also, I have been noticing more of these as I watch old Wrestlemania matches in preparation for my trip to Wrestlemania live this year.

The WWE employs many different types of video packages to get their stories across.  There are the packages that begin pay per views.  There are the packages that set up individual matches.  There are also the packages that don’t necessarily fall into either of those categories, like the awesome Royal Rumble one that has run for the last two years.  There are also the packages that involve history.  Wrestlemania often begins with a video package with the superstars discussing the history of the show and how much it means for them to be on it.

The reason that I love these packages are because they often do a better job of promoting the match itself than the individual performances on a show can. By stringing together the greatest hits of a rivalry they leave out any unfortunate moments that happened along the way.

A great example of this is the Cena-Orton package from Bragging Rights this year.

Bragging Rights: Cena-Orton

This video took an often maligned rivalry and made it look like one of the greatest of all time.  It is actually weird to see a pay per view main event happen without a video package to precede it (as was the case at TNA’s Bound for Glory 2009).  Fans have become accustomed to seeing these packages.  As an added benefit, they also allow the crowd a little bit of time between matches to cool down and relax.

One of my favorite video packages in history was the opening to Backlash 2004.  This revolved around the Wrestlemania XX rematch and “Lightning in a bottle.”

Backlash 2004

This video made this seem like the most important rematch ever.  It also was a more artistic outing that the WWE usually goes for.  They gave this package a central theme, which has made it stand out more over the years (I recognize that the video quality here is awful, but this is the best I could find).

As I mentioned earlier, the Wrestlemania video packages always turn out to be amazing.  I love the way the WWE puts over their biggest event of the year by making it feel special from the very beginning.  A couple of the best are Wrestlemania XIX and 24.

Wrestlemania XIX

This package really did not set up the stories of the evening.  It didn’t rundown the matches you would see or show you each wrestler hitting their finishers.  It simply told you that this event would be special and allowed you to anticipate the moments that would be created.

Wrestlemania 24

The Wrestlemania 24 package was very different from the XIX package.  It still put over the event as the most important event of the year.  It also included a look at the stories and rivalries going into the event.  On top of those two things, this package also gave us a common theme to those rivalries, “A lot can happen in a year.”  The WWE really out did themselves in putting this together.  They showed the importance of what would be on the line that night.

The anticipation of a great video package often drives me to order pay per views (I know, I’m that lame). When I see something like the Undertaker-HBK packages from the last two years, I get all sorts of excited for what the final product will look like at ‘Mania. Of course, I had to include the video that inspired this column in the first place:

HBK-Undertaker Wrestlemania 26 Promo

The area above all else where WWE shines is in promoting individual matches with a video. Their use of music in this one is probably the finest artistic choice that has been made in one of these packages. Of course, if you are talking about videos for actual matches, the Rock vs Austin video packages from Wrestlemania’s X-7 and XIX are absolutely amazing. They are set to two terrible songs by one of the worst bands ever, but somehow the WWE takes all of that sucktitude and makes it a quality performance. Honestly, these songs make the videos work, even though on their own the songs suck.

Rock vs Austin: Wrestlemania X-7
Rock vs Austin: Wrestlemania XIX

Now I feel that I have rambled about video packages more than anyone should. Please, let me know what your favorites are. Throw down some links in the comments or even start a thread in the forum. Speak out and let your voices be heard! Until next week, peace.

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