DVD Review: Wrestlemania 22

What a night for the WWE. This year's Wrestlemania reminded us all why we pay extra for the event, and then begin the wait for the DVD. Unforgettable spots were so numerous, they could’ve opened the following night’s Monday Night RAW using nothing but clips from this pay-per-view. Its few downers were in no way enough to ruin the night, and the impressions left by some of the insanity will take years to slip from our minds.

Looking back, Wrestlemania 22 only had one botched match (excluding the pillow fight which does not earn "match" status), and it was short enough that it didn't have the chance to destroy the night like Brock Lesner and Bill Goldberg would a few years prior. As is the norm, the main event was not the best of the night. The two matches that let anything go proved why this is the Super Bowl of pro wrestling, and what these guys will do for the entertainment of their fans. Hats off to an enormously successful PPV that was well worth $50 on PPV, and another $30 here on DVD. (**** out of *****)

Note: For a full rundown, read the review written immediately following that nights festivities

Video quality has finally taken a turn for the better for a WWE DVD. While compression is still rough and highly annoying, it’s definitely been toned down a notch from other releases. Rapid movement no longer becomes a problem like it used to. Increased clarity reveals sharper detail than usual, and the blood is as red as it could be. The event has been preserved beautifully. (****)

Audio is usually a highlight, and this is no exception. It’s easy to hear fans taunting ringside in every speaker, something lost on a typical cable PPV stream. The 5.1 is used properly and to great effect. The crowd noise makes each match more involving, and someone being smashed into the mat reverberates as it should. Bass never seems to be as high as it could be from the WWE, though that probably has more to do with this being a live event than any DVD mastering issues. (****)

This three-disc set, housed inside a gorgeous flip case, has a decent amount of extras. Sadly, most are disappointing. Disc 1 only has vignettes and a18-man battle royal that occurred before the show went live on PPV. It’s a Smackdown vs. Raw scenario with an obvious winner.

Disc 2 only has three matches on it, and one of those is the abysmal Playboy pillow fight. That leaves plenty of room for extras, but in actuality, there’s little here of interest. Rey Mysterio gets an extended celebration, and Mick Foley undergoes stitching backstage after his unbelievably brutal encounter with Edge. These pieces are short, though nice compliments to the matches.

Two WWE.com exclusives are briefly featured including a post-show recap and a look at how the WWE took over Chicago to promote the event. The final extra is Saturday Night’s Main Event that aired on NBC a few weeks before the show. It was a huge letdown, especially with a card that had Shane McMahon and Shawn Michaels battle in a street fight. It’s a nice inclusion, though a totally forgettable event.

The final disc contains the full WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. On cable, fans were only able to see three wrestlers inducted. On DVD, all eight are given their proper due. While his death has been arguably pushed past the point of decency in storylines, the late Eddie Guerrero is inducted in a truly somber moment. This is the second year in a row the WWE has included this with their Wrestlemania DVD. They deserve praise for not forcing fans into buying it separately like they’ve done in the past. (**)

One extra not mentioned is the trailer for See No Evil, starring the WWE’s own Kane. Their promotion of this film, the first from the WWE’s new film company, has been unbearable. It doesn’t deserve to be mentioned here with the rest of the “extras” since it’s a blatant promotional piece (and they even wasted space on the back of the case to say it’s included).

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