I don’t know if anyone else has reviewed this yet but if they did I missed it, so I’m posting one. Keep in mind I has no money and thus only streamed the documentary portion online and thus can’t review any extras or matches that are on the set.
- Gotta admit, Trips gets the cool graphics
Like the most recent Austin, Edge, and Foley docs, this is far from the first DVD set dedicated to Paul LeVesque. But also like those three other stars, this set is the most candid and actually documentary-like set ever produced for him by WWE. Like the other three, all prior DVD’s had focused on the character, the personality, the onscreen history and persona. And like the other three, the newest one is about the actual man behind the character, and the life he’s lived to get where he is.
Paul LeVesque’s journey started like so many of these old warhorses of the business. Like most other guys who’ve been at this around or longer than two bloody decades, Paul was a wrestling fan since he was a kid. And this documentary tries to show him less as The Game and more as the ascended fanboy that he really is. While there are GOING to be debates about how much of this is genuine and how much is WWE spin, because it IS after all Triple H, the alleged bane of pushes and stealer of spots.
But a point I’d like to make before I continue is that the ONLY stories about Triple H powertripping backstage and burying talent to put himself over that actually come from anyone IN the industry are generally from low rung former employees whom most people agree were lacking in any real talent and are generally bitter about not becoming the next Hogan or Rock or Austin and blame it on Triple H. Most of these stories are actually fan theories, very few come from anyone who actually ever worked with Paul.
And they actually address that here, if in an indirect way, by pointing out that the way Vince and Linda tried to talk Paul and Steph out of dating was by pointing out that the moment everyone learned they were a couple EVERYONE would start accusing Paul of sleeping his way to success. But the doc makes a very good point of proving by the timeline of events that Paul, having been shunted to the bottom of the card as punishment for the infamous MSG Curtain Call, (as opposed to fired outright like others told Vince he should), Paul had already long since earned his way back and was busting his own ass to the top.
It will always of course be questionable to fans how much of his post “hooking up with Steph” success was truly fully his own doing and how much was being the Boss’ son in law, but the picture they paint in this doc is a reasonably sound argument in favour of the defendant.
Then again Paul forgot DVD’s didn’t exist in the late 80’s apparently when he was relating a story about representing his gym at some exposition and attempting to represent himself as well.
I also like the revelation that he was actually originally reluctant to get in a car with The Kliq because they were the established guys and he was a WWF Newbie, not knowing that DDP himself Dallas Page had called ahead to tell Kevin Nash to look out for him. Paul had made a good impression in WCW and left on good terms, impressing a lot of people who were used to everyone playing politics. It was also funny, (and more than a little sad considering Scott Hall’s life) to learn that what sold Nash, Sean “1 2 3 Kid” Waltman, Scot “Razor Ramon” Hall, and Shawn Micheals on inviting Paul into the Kliq was as the perfect designated driver since Paul never drank or did drugs.
That’s right, Paul was Straight Edge before CM Punk was out of High School.
The doc covers a lot of points in his life and career, shows what kind of dad he is, and generally shows that he has always had a brilliant mind for the business. Contrary to the afore-mentioned mostly fan-started stories of him burying people, the doc shows that Evolution was built on the idea of him giving two promising newcomers a leg up.
Even today it shows that Paul is a sponge, never afraid to soak up new knowledge, but having reached the point where he has plenty of his own to share. And share he does, with wrestlers talking about how often they’d be running through ideas for their current programs struggling to figure out one detail here or there and Paul would come in, ask them what the deal was, listen, say “okay well why don’t you try doing this this and this” and everyone else loving the idea.
Again, given the subject of this DVD, it’s open to anyone’s personal mileage how much of this stuff is legit and how much is PR Spin Doctoring, but if you don’t go into it overthinking it, or expecting a spinjob, if you just go in as a wrestling fan looking to watch a documentary and gain some insight to the inner workings, this is a pretty good DVD.
It’s not quite as good as Austin’s, or Edge’s, but it’s about on par with Foley’s.
The Undertaker out of character
And perhaps the most impressive thing about it is that Mark Calloway, AKA The Undertaker, famous for being one of the few guys in the business who can stone dead tell Vince McMahon “No, this is stupid and I’m not doing it” and not lose his job, an old school old hand who doesn’t take any bs and won’t stand for any bs going on around him, (for example can you think of any other non-blood relative who could MAKE Vince apologize to Bret Hart?), appearing on this DVD, out of character, and talking about the kind of man he thinks Triple H is. THAT is indeed impressive, either because his presence proves most of the negative stories about Paul are indeed bs themselves, or because Vince actually convinced Mark to lie, depending on which school of thought about Triple H you’re camped out in.
Me? I’m in the camp that thinks probably 95% of the anti-Hunter stories are bullshit with a 5% grain of truth, that for the most part he actually did earn most of his success the hard way, but that possibly now due to actually being one of the actual bosses perhaps pushes his pet projects a lot more than they need to be pushed. On the other hand, he’s set a focus on new talent, and combined FCW and NXT into the developmental promotion that WWECW should have been.
(And contrary to what my one man fan club thinks, as someone who watched ECW from near the beginning, yes, NXT IS a lot like the original ECW without the garbage matches. It has the same high energy interactive audience, the devoted “local indy promotion” feel, focuses on wrestling over too much frivolous distracting BS, and is geared more towards to lifelong hardcore fans than the casual fans. People forget that the real ECW wasn’t just tables and chairs and fire and balcony dives. There was a LOT of good old fashioned WRESTLING on that show.)
All in all it was a decently fun and interesting watch, and I’ll give it an 8.7 out of 10. Worth a watch, buy it if you’re a hardcore wrestling fan and must have everything, stream it if you’re a casual fan.
Tags: shawn michaels, triple h, undertaker, vince mcmahon, WWE