When I set out to review the WWE’s latest DVD release on Stone Cold Steve Austin I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I had been disappointed by some of the past WWE releases. It always seemed liked they were missing something. The interviews would be too short, there would be few promos or vignettes, or the majority of matches offered were all ones that had appeared on a number of other WWE releases. So with the WWE promoting this DVD as the “Definitive Steve Austin Biography”
I placed the first disc of Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time into my Blu-ray player with the hope that finally that is exactly what I would see.
What I found quickly allayed any worries I had, including an enthralling two-and-a-half hour documentary, and a collection of Steve Austin matches, promos, and vignettes from throughout his career.
The documentary was extremely thorough covering every era of Austin’s career including, for the first time, his career prior to WCW. The documentary consists of a very lengthy interview with Austin, interspersed with comments from a plethora of past and current wrestlers, managers, and owners including Vince McMahon, The Rock, Triple H, Paul Heyman, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Percy Pringle, Dutch Mantel, Arn Anderson, Bret Hart, Christian, The Miz, CM Punk, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler. Out of the various comments I felt that the ones made by Bret Hart added a great deal to the overall documentary, particularly his comments about the piledriver that Owen Hart botched on Austin at the 1997 SummerSlam.
For the most part almost every subject from Austin’s career is talked about, but there were a couple of exceptions. While Austin discusses his heel turn at Wrestlemania 17 and his alliance with Triple H and Vince McMahon afterwards, what many consider the climax of that storyline in which he and Triple H faced off against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit was not talked about most likely due to the WWE’s continuing desire to eliminate any mention wherever possible of Benoit. Also, Austin doesn’t directly address what he thought of the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline of 2001 in which he played a major role.
One wrestler’s commentary that I wish had been a part of the documentary because it would have been very insightful about Austin’s initial period in the WWE would have been Ted DiBiase. However, these are at best minor quibbles and don’t detract from truly one of the best and well-rounded documentaries that the WWE has produced so far.
Some of the matches included are a 1994 WCW Saturday Night match in which Stunning Steve Austin teamed up with Ric Flair to take on Sting and Ricky Steamboat, the 1996 King of the Ring Final against Jake Roberts, the Submission Match at Wrestlemania 13 against Bret Hart, the WWE Championship Match at Wrestlemania 14 against Shawn Michaels, the 1998 Over the Edge No Disqualification Falls Count Anywhere Match against Dude Love, the WWE Championship Match against the Undertaker at the 1998 SummerSlam, and the Wrestlemania 15 and 17 WWE Championship Matches against The Rock.
What was a great treat was the alternate commentary by Austin and Jim Ross for Steve Austin’s Wrestlemania 13, 14, and 17 matches. However, I couldn’t help wishing that WWE had decided to include the two alternate commentary tracks that were recorded by Austin and The Rock respectively for the Wrestlemania 15 DVD, especially in light of Austin’s comments during the documentary that he doesn’t remember all that much about that match. Also, while I enjoyed Austin’s 1998 Over the Edge match against Dude Love it has been included on several other WWE DVD releases and it would have been better to include one of the many other matches he had against Mick Foley.
The promos and vignettes consist of over 26 different ones, but out of those, only one is from Austin’s time with WCW, while three others are from his time with ECW. It would have been preferable to have a bit more of the promos from that part of Austin’s career prior to WWE. Of course, the majority of the promos and vignettes are from 1996 to 1999, several of which have never been released on DVD before.
One thing to note though is that the Blu-ray version has four extra matches including the 1999 Triple Threat Match between Austin, the Undertaker and Triple H, a 2001 Raw Match against Kurt Angle, the 2001 Triple Threat Match between Austin, Kurt Angle, and Rob Van Dam, Austin’s last match against The Rock at Wrestlemania 19, four extra promos, a segment where Austin answers Twitter questions, a 2003 post-Raw taping with The Rock, Steve Austin’s WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and Austin’s appearance at Wrestlemania 25.
I have to give WWE full credit for ensuring that this DVD lives up to its billing. If you have someone in the family that is a wrestling fan this would make the perfect holiday gift for them!