DVD Review: n.W.o. The Revolution

There’s no denying that the n.W.o. was a revolutionary part of the wrestling industry, and the very catalyst that not only fully ignited the Monday night wars, but also pretty much modernized wrestling as a whole and eventually brought forth the beloved Attitude Era in the WWE. And with this in mind, you’d think such an important group in wrestling history would deserve a documentary that really delves into the way things were, and how it affected the industry – but that’s not what happened.

n.W.o.: The Revolution is a disjointed, poorly structured documentary that’s set up to feel like an episode of E! True Hollywood Story. It’s noticeable right from the very start when a narrator is introducing the viewer to the group, and the impact they had on wrestling. It’s cringe worthy. One of the main problems, of course, is the fact that most of the group just isn’t around to talk about how it all went down. Most interviews are from the early 2000s, and Kevin Nash is really the only one who seems willing to open up about the highs and lows of the group. Really, if they’d just had Nash sit there and talk about the n.W.o. from the very beginning to the very end, this could have been one of the best documentaries in recent years; however, they only take snippets out of his interviews that leave the viewer hanging, and always wanting to hear more.

Normally this would be a good thing, as it’d keep you watching throughout to hear what he has to say next; however, that’s another major problem with this documentary: there’s no feeling of any proper timeline. For the first fifteen minutes or so, things are okay, as it talks about how Scott Hall went to WCW and how Nash did the same, and it quickly jumps to Bash at the Beach where Hogan infamously turned on WCW and his fans. Again, shades of E! True Hollywood Story shine through here, as the big leg drop of Hogan’s is paused in mid-air, and it fades to black, and jumps to people talking about Hogan turning. Do I need to see the leg drop happen? No. Do I want to see it, along with the reaction? Yes. Sure it’s available in the “Matches” section of the DVD; however, it’s just a huge point that should be shown during the documentary.

Getting back to the timeline complaint, after the turn of Hogan, this documentary turns into a jumbled mess of a story. Those interviewed (such as Matt Striker, Cody Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, Booker T, Billy Kidman, Arn Anderson…) keep talking about how “cool” the n.W.o. were, and how everyone wanted to be a part of the group. The story then talks about how the group rapidly expanded and the montage clips that help show this are horribly chosen, as The Giant (The Big Show) is shown being hit with a belt in one clip, and then joining the group in the next, only to being on the receiving end of a beat down a few clips later. There’s no correlation between clips and the story being told, and it’s visually unappealing.

Speaking of visually unappealing, the clips shown are full-screen, and while this can’t always be prevented, usually there are some nice graphics placed behind the screen so that those ugly black bars aren’t visible throughout. Not here! No, almost the entire documentary – interviews aside – has black bars on the side, and it just looks bad.

The story does have some high points, especially when Nash is talking, and also when Cody Rhodes gives some of his thoughts. Being the son of Dusty, who was a big player in WCW at the time, Cody gives his views of the n.W.o. from the perspective of the 11 year-old boy he was at the time, which is quite nostalgic. Of course, this also pretty much blends in with everyone else just blathering on about how “cool” it was to be in the n.W.o., but it’s still interesting at times.

As I stated above, Nash is the most interesting of the interviews, and I wish they’d just stayed with him and left it at that. He talks about how when they went to tape promos, Hogan just went on and on for four minutes straight, and that’s not what he originally envision the n.W.o. as with Hall. His honesty here is clear, and you can tell that Hogan either irked him at the time, now, or both. He also talks about the n.W.o. PPV Souled Out, and how it was a complete joke and made no sense, since the story went that they had their own referees for the PPV and yet the group still lost matches.

There are times when other interview subjects talk about how the story was being poorly done; however, things quickly go back to how “cool” the group was, before going back to how it was making things odd backstage, and then back to “cool!” It’s like they touch upon things that we want to know about, and simply leave it at that. Like the Sting storyline.

They take about five minutes to talk about how Sting was the salvation of WCW, and how the n.W.o. wanted to recruit him and kill WCW once and for all, and it quickly shows a few clips of Sting clearing house with the bat and flying up to the rafters. Then it cuts to Sting vs. Hogan for a few seconds, and Sting winning the World Title back for WCW. The crowd fills with WCW people who hold Sting up, and then that story is forgotten forever, and in the next clip Hogan has the title back and they’re talking about Dennis Rodman.

The documentary is 60 minutes long, and in the final fifteen or so they finally get around to talking about The Wolfpac. This storyline is basically made out to be the scapegoat of the downfall of the n.W.o. and it’s so briefly touched upon that it comes off looking like it was something that was around for a month and didn’t catch on. Everyone interviewed was badmouthing it, talking about how bad it did, and yet EVERY video clip shows signs for the Wolfpac, and tons of red and black Wolfpac shirts worn by fans. It’s also confusing because Sting is in the Wolfpac, and wasn’t he super WCW only man? Also, Hogan is in the Wolfpac at one point as well, and when did that happen? These questions are ones viewers may have but won’t get the answers to, because much like the rest of the documentary, it’s only a montage that tells the story. The final ten minutes quickly sums of the total failure of the n.W.o. 2000, which Bret Hart was going to lead before he got injured, and the arrival of the n.W.o. in the WWE, and how that was a shell of a story made to sell shirts.

Of course, there are a few bright spots, and those who are nostalgic may get a kick out of seeing some of the things that go down; however, don’t be expecting it to be in any well-structured order, or delve deeper than the first layer of any particular story. The fact that WCW started nabbing up any A-list or B-list celebrity to pimp out their product is touched upon; however, it never goes much deeper than that. While many viewed these moments – such as Jay Leno wrestling Hogan – as a joke, they’re more praised by those being interviewed than they are laughed at. Bischoff taking a more vocal role in the business, as well as the backstage knowledge that he was pushing those close to him more than the talented ones is spoken of even less. This is as thin as they get when it comes to documentaries about the wrestling industry, as it never pushes the boundaries and gives insight into such an interesting time in wrestling.

I think there’s a great n.W.o. documentary that can still be made, as this is more an hour long promo about who the group was, and why it was cool to be a part of them. Had Nash been allowed to talk open and honest for 60 minutes, then this could have been quite an interesting piece. Of course, it would have been one-sided; however, he seemed to be willing to flat out say that giving wrestlers creative control was a bad idea in hindsight, and thus it looks like he’d be willing to take his share of the blame if it came to that. Hogan, on the other hand, is shown only a few times, and each time he comes off as pompous sounding as ever, which likely won’t come as a surprise to most.

Of course, there are two sides to every WWE release, and while the documentary portion of n.W.o. The Revolution comes up short; the additional matches and interviews are where the nostalgia will really kick in for most and lead them to purchase it.

The WWE is usually at the top of their game with DVD releases, but this time they dropped the ball as far as aspect ratio goes. The black bars on the side of the screen are extremely annoying, and are easily taken care of with a simple graphic that the WWE is usually on top of. Here, however, they’ve chosen to bypass that step, which leaves everything looking extremely dated, including every match on the second and third DVDs. The audio quality is solid however.

Disc 1 Extras:

There are a handful of extras found here, most of which are touched upon throughout the documentary. They’re shown in full here, though that also includes “full screen” as those black bars continue to haunt us all throughout the set.

Scott Hall’s Nitro Debut
Nitro – May 27, 1996

Kevin Nash’s Nitro Debut
Nitro – June 10, 1996

Rowdy Roddy Piper Confronts Eric Bischoff
November 18, 1996

Hollywood Hulk Hogan Confronts Rowdy Roddy Piper
December 30, 1996

The n.W.o.’s WWE Debut
No Way Out – February 17, 2002

Disc Two:

There are plenty of matches to be found here, and they’ll likely bring back a lot of memories for those who grew up watching WCW. Those who are new to the era and are looking to learn about the n.W.o. for the first time will likely enjoy most of the matches here, though they may be thrown off by just how oddly paced some of them end up being.

The highlight here, of course, is the first match, which shows Hogan’s turn in its entirety.

The Outsiders vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sting and Lex Luger
Bash at the Beach – July 7, 1996

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
The Giant Vs. Hollywood Hogan
Hog Wild – August 10, 1996

WCW World Tag Team Championship Match
The Outsiders Vs. Harlem Heat
Halloween Havoc – October 27, 1996

Syxx Vs. The Bounty Hunter
n.W.o. Saturday Night – November 9, 1996

WCW World Tag Team Championship Match
The Outsiders Vs. The Steiner Brothers
Souled Out – January 25, 1997

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Hollywood Hogan Vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper
SuperBrawl VII – February 23, 1997

Hollywood Hogan and Dennis Rodman Vs. Lex Luger and The Giant
Bash at the Beach – July 13, 1997

Disc Three:

The third disc is an odd mash-up of matches, some of which work, and others that don’t really make sense. Take for instance the decision to not include Sting Vs. Hogan at Starrcade, and instead put in a rematch for the World Title from Nitro, which was short and mediocre. This is truly bizarre, as the Starrcade match was so much more meaningful, and actually fit into the documentary story. There’s also a lot of Wolfpac/Bret Hart era stuff here, which is odd considering that it was barely touched upon during the doc. Two of the matches also involve Goldberg, who wasn’t even mentioned at all.

Las Vegas Sudden Death Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage Vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Halloween Havoc – October 26, 1997

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sting Vs. Hollywood Hogan
Nitro – December 26, 1997

No DQ Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Hollywood Hogan Vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Nitro – April 20, 1998

Match for Control of the WCW World Tag Team Championship
Sting Vs. The Giant
The Great American Bash – June 14, 1998

Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff Vs. Jay Leno and Diamond Dallas Page
Road Wild – August 8, 1998

War Games Match to Determine the #1 Contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Team WCW Vs. Team Hollywood Vs. Team Wolfpac
Fall Brawl – September 13, 1998

No DQ Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Goldberg Vs. Kevin Nash
Starrcade – December 27, 1998

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Goldberg Vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart
Nitro – December 20, 1999

Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock
RAW – March 11, 2002

While the documentary isn’t engrossing and barely skims the surface of the behind the scenes thoughts of the n.W.o. at the time, or anything that happened because of them outside of the ratings boost, it’s something that certain fans will definitely want to watch due to the nostalgia alone. While it’s not a great hour, there’s still some interesting points that really make you wish they’d gone another direction with it. The matches are a mixed bag as well, with nostalgia really playing a part in whether or not you want to relive these moments.

WWE Home Video Presents n.W.o. The Revolution. Featuring: Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Cody Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, Sting, Lex Luger, Booker T, The Giant, Macho Man Randy Savage, Eric Bischoff, The Rock, Bret Hart, The Big Show. Running time: Aprrox. 7 hours. Rating: PG. Released: November 6, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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