‘A Legacy of Greatness’, the new WWE DVD focusing on the US Championship hits the shelves today (Monday 9 May 2016) and today we take a look at the set, letting you know what to expect from a boxset that boasts quite the extensive match list…
This latest release from WWE Home Video takes a look at the long and varied history of the US Championship. From its early years through its mainstay in the NWA/WCW to its place today in the WWE, this set spans over 35 years and takes in more than 30 matches from the inaugural champion Harley Race to modern day.
It is JBL that is given the reigns on this one as he sets the scene for what is to come on this set and showcases some of the greatest names in the business that have called themselves US Champion.
His role, however, is relatively limited compared to the hosts of other sets of this ilk. Instead of lengthy platitudes and sermons on history, this set focuses almost entirely on the matches and allows the great names that have held, and fought for, the US title to tell that story.
And boy does that work well.
It also starts with a bang with a match, sans commentary, pitting Ric Flair against Ricky Steamboat with Andre the Giant, of all people, as the referee. This bout from 1978 may not live up to the classics the pair would serve up regularly some 10 years later but does showcase that even back then they had an unmatched chemistry inside the squared circle.
That match sorta sets the scene quite well on the set generally as this set, unlike some others, has a very reasonable balance when it comes to events pre-WWE. In fact, around the first two-thirds of the set focus on matches prior to the US title become a staple of WWE TV.
From that Flair/Steamboat encounter we go the famous Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA Starrcade clash via Greg Valentine/Roddy Piper (but not their Starrcade bout). Blanchard vs Magnum is a classic and is worthy of inclusion on really any wrestling set. We then go to Magnum’s subsequent match against Nikita Koloff, the blow-off of a best out of seven series. It doesn’t hold up to the Blanchard steel cage I quit classic but it’s fairly fun, nonetheless.
Two Dusty matches follow – first against Lex Luger at Starrcade 87 then an unsurprisingly good match against Bobby Eaton. We then go to the only real negative point of the DVD for me and that being the fact we not only get just the one Barry Windham match but it’s one against the Junkyard Dog in a very typical JYD match.
Several Sting matches follow – against Lex Luger and Ravishing Rick Rude) before we return to Ricky Steamboat and the finals of the 1993 tournament against Dustin Rhodes. The final pre-Nitro, if you will, match pits Steve Austin against The Great Muta from Spring Stampede in another stellar encounter.
The quality drops a little here. The DDP vs Eddie Guerrero Starrcade 96 match is fine but it’s not as good as you’d have hoped while Rick Stein vs Booker T from WCW’s Greed PPV – their final ever PPV – is exactly how you would expect… There are a few others including Goldberg squashing Raven and a Curt Hennig vs Giant match – all from Nitro – and they are TV quality matches that add virtually nothing to this set.
The third and final section of this set focuses on the WWE US Championship. We start with the Kurt Angle vs Undertaker Raw match from late 2001 and run through to John Cena’s US open challenge and his loss with Albert Del Rio.
As for the BluRay? Well, it gives us another six matches. We get Dusty Rhodes against Ivan Koloff and Dustin Rhodes vs. Rick Rude in terms of non-WWE bouts and four WWE matches including a fine match pitting John Cena against Cesaro from last year.
Overall, this is a nice set. As match collections go this is very good with plenty of thoroughly enjoyable in-ring action to keep you interested throughout. I had hoped for more of a historical style look at the title rather than a stream of matches but this set certainly highlights the legends of the ring that have at one time or another been able to call themselves the US Champion.
‘‘U.S. Championship – A Legacy of Greatness’ is out today. It can be ordered – in the UK – from wwedvd.co.uk.