At SLAM! Wrestling, one of our goals has always been to bring you closer to your favorite stars. In doing so, we hope to make people realize that wrestlers aren’t like Spider-Man or Wolverine thrashing the crap out of evil doers in Marvel Comics. WWF superstars are flesh and blood human beings. They have wives, husbands, moms, dads and children at home who wince and cringe when they do those amazing feats that thrill us so. Caught up in the moment, we forget that sometimes…and we shouldn’t. Before They Were WWF Superstars is a thoughtful reminder of that fact.

One of the best WWF releases to ever hit store shelves, the DVD is an informative glimpse into the lives of several of the federation’s biggest and brightest stars. Kurt Angle, Mighty Molly, Bradshaw, Spike Dudley, Stacy Keibler, Billy Gunn, William Regal, The Hardy Boys, Lita, Edge and Christian tell us their life stories and how they eventually came to join the World Wrestling Federation’s talent pool. The producers didn’t stop there though. They also interviewed their friends and family. From them, we gain a new perspective of what type of people they are and what the superstars were like before they became celebrities.

To add icing to the cake, we are also fortunate enough to witness snippets from home movies, photos from the family albums and footage from the indie feds as well as WCW and ECW. The last item is the one that stands out. For once, the WWF doesn’t re-write history or erase it entirely. Lita is shown as ECW’s Miss Congeniality. Spike joining the Dudleys in ECW and Stacy Keibler’s winning of a WCW Nitro Girl contest are included instead of being glossed over as unimportant moments in their lives and careers. It is nice to see the federation finally acknowledging their superstars’ accomplishments beyond the ring ropes of the WWF.

The two most engaging stories I found were those of William Regal and Edge, Christian. Those who follow sports entertainment intimately are familiar with Regal’s true life story of joining a circus-like troop before hitting the “big time” in WCW. In Before They Were WWF Superstars, Regal takes us on a tour of Blackpool, England and the places where he first started wrestling for a living. His rough and tumble origins as a 17-year-old grappler are sure to have even those who love to hate his snotty character on WWF television, respect the man for all he has endured to get to where he is today.

Edge and Christian’s narrative is sure to hit home with many viewers. Growing up in Orangeville, Ontario, the two were die-hard fans as kids. On a trip back to their school, we see where they used to hold their own WWF wrestling cards as children. How they would use the stairs as the top rope, a table from the lunch room as an announcing desk and concrete walls as the ring ropes. It is a story that any lifelong fan can identify with as we all pretty much did the same thing driving our teachers and parents insane with worry. As with the Hardy Boys’ biography earlier on the disk, there is just something really special about watching someone defy the odds and live out their childhood dreams.

For all of its neat little tid-bits and captivating accounts, Before They Were WWF Superstars should be priority viewing as I can say from experience, getting to know some of the WWF superstars as people can change your perception of not only them but also the business as whole.

DVD Extras

  • Links to the separate profiles.
  • Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle in a Christmas sing-a-long on Raw.
  • William Regal’s return to the WWF. Reading Hamlet on Raw.
  • Bradshaw’s story about wrestling a bear.
  • Edge and Christian’s scary story about driving across a frozen Canadian lake.
  • Christian’s humorous tale about a collection agency hounding him.
  • Kurt Angle’s mom tells a story about her famous son.
  • More of the interview with Spike Dudley.