WWE Wrestlemania 21 DVD Review

If WWE DVD's are anything, they're consistent. Not in the realm of special features mind you, but in video and audio quality, with the video seemingly ignored every time. Wrestlemania is usually the only big PPV DVD set of year, and they usually go all out. While not entirely the case this year, the inclusion of one feature is worth the asking price, especially considering they charged you separately for it last year.

The event itself was far from the best WM, just a decent "in the middle" entry that won't be remembered for much. Shelton Benjamin stole the show with an innovative maneuver during the ladder match that was enough to bring the crowd to their feet and made the match worthwhile. Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle put on the best bout of the night, almost without question. Hogan drew an incredible pop as he saved Eugene, Stone Cold was wasted on Piper's Pit, Mysterio and Guerrero were unusually sloppy, John Cena and Bradshaw put on a dull title match, and HHH vs. Batista had enough heat going for it to carry them. To see a full recap, you can click here. (*** out of *****)

The biggest issue with almost every WWE DVD is compression. Not surprisingly, this disc is no different. Fast movement (obviously a constant in pro wrestling) showcases the tiny artifacts, and that includes flash cameras and camera moves. Compression is around constantly, nearly ruining a few great moments. It's better than cable if your DVD player is hooked up with a better connection, but it's compression replacing the cable's static. (**)

If you've never been fortunate enough to be in an arena when Hulk Hogan comes down the aisle to "Real American," then this DVD is the closest you'll come. The 5.1 audio is immersive, loud, and the ever-so-important feeling of being there is captured. The crowd fills out each speaker. The high falls hit with impact. Entrance music provides the needed bass. The only complaint is that at times it sounds forced as all five speakers seem to be getting the same exact signal and it doesn't seem separated very well. (****)

Disc 1 only has enough room for the event, and even then, it spills over onto disc 2. To fill the extras space here, you can watch all of the hilarious Wrestlemania movie trailers individually, plus about three minutes of outtakes (Ric Flair had major problems with the provided animal). There are four match promotional spots, none worth your time, especially if they're hyping a match you already know the outcome of. The supposed "Career Highlights" of Michaels, Angle, and the Undertaker are basically the same thing as the latter, just extended.

Wrestlemania Week Activities includes the Raw vs. Smackdown battle royal that happened before the actual start of the event. Superstar Appearances is self explanatory, covering various autograph signings and promotional visits. The Hollywood Boulevard Event is a short look at the show they put on, obviously, on Hollywood Boulevard. Finally, Motorhead provides an instrumental version of HHH's entrance theme in the locker room.

The big extra here is disc 3: The Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. Since Spike TV aired only two segments, this is the only way to see it, and last year, they charged $20 for this privilege. Now it's included in its entirety, including Hogan's moment, which the crowd simply refused to be quiet for (in the best way possible). To see the Big Show break down into tears as the crowd erupts in a chant of "Thank you Hogan" is truly special, and it's worth the retail price alone. (****)

The WWE needs to find a new company to transfer their DVDs, or they need to space these events out better. The picture quality was acceptable for the first few years of the format, but it's a nuisance. If they want to release their usual monthly pay-per-views like this, go ahead. The least they could is try to make Wrestlemania special.

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