Csonka’s Favorite WWE Video Packages
Welcome one and all, it’s column time with Larry. Whether you’re a fan of the WWE product or not, one thing wrestling fans tend to agree on, when it comes to WWE, is that their team can make one hell of a video package. With that being said, I’d like to look at some of my very favorite WWE video packages in today’s column. As always, please feel free to share your personal list of favorites, and thanks for reading…
9. The Miz – WrestleMania 27: The main event of WrestleMania 27, as a “main event match” is essentially a failure. The match isn’t good, Miz gets a concussion and it is only there as storyline device to sell you on The Rock and John Cena. That is all well and good if your Rock or Cena, but the Miz gets boned in that scenario. The one thing I loved was Miz’s opening video package, Miz sitting in front of the bank of TVs like “The Architect” from the Matrix, watching all of his pre-star moments on Tough Enough, where he talked like he would be a star, juxtaposed against some of the greatest moments and stars in WWE history; dreaming that he would one day be there as one of the top stars, battling against all odds.
8. Kurt Angle – Desire ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay: The absolute best thing about this video package, and where it truly thrives as a storytelling device, is the fact that you didn’t have to watch one-minute of WWE TV to learn the story and get emotionally invested. This video tells you everything you need to know about Kurt Angle; hell if you announced he was returning to the ring in a few weeks, you could pull this out and use it as a way to build to his return and it would absolutely work.
7. Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker – WrestleMania 26: The WrestleMania 25 & 26 matches from Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker are two of the best matches in WrestleMania history, The fact that they came in back to back years and so late in both men’s careers; it was just a give to wrestling fans. Once again, if you did not watch one minute of WWE TV, this video package tells you the entire story and everything you need to know. Shawn lost in an amazing match at WM 25, and watched the rematch. Taker refused to Shawn went through conventional means to earn a rematch. That failed, so he snapped and essentially went off the edge in order to get what he wanted. In the end, Shawn got everything he wanted, but had to give up everything to get it, which he was more than willing to do, due to his obsession.
6. Triple H – Desire ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2: On May 21st, 2001, Triple H went down with an injury, an injury more serious than anyone would realize at the time. He and Austin were defending the WWF Tag Team Championship against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, he goes to make the save and his leg buckles and he finishes the match. What we learn afterwards is that Triple H tore his quad and that he will be out of action for a long time; missing the entire Invasion. One of the things I love about storytelling in movies is a great “training montage,” and the only thing better than that is a great sports comeback video. In a way this is a mix of both as we see all of the hard work, the journey to recovery as he transforms into beast mode. They played the hell out of this video, they framed him perfectly as a sympathetic babyface about to return, and it worked because his return in January at Madison Square Garden is awesome in terms of crowd reaction…
5. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks – Iron Man: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks is one of the best rivalries in NXT history, so it should come as no surprise that these two had one of the greatest videos ever made for them. The video not only does an absolutely tremendous job of framing both ladies in their roles, but also tells you about their history, Bayley’s battle to get to the top of the mountain and to show that she belongs. At heart, she’s a fan, a little girl living her dream who not only wants to prove herself, but that wants to make her mother pound of her. But while Bayley won and proved herself, the war was not finished and they had one more batted to fight, in a main event iron man match. This is a great storytelling video mixed in with a “training montage,” it told the story perfectly and set up the big math just as perfectly; it hit all the right notes.
4. My Sacrifice: One of the most popular video packages to come out of the Attitude era is the “My Sacrifice” video. There’s something simply iconic about this video, as I sat back to watch “My Sacrifice” for this, I am transported back to a different time. “My Sacrifice” seems to be able to capture some of the best moments of the era, while also making everyone featured come off as larger than life, like major stars. Add into that the way they layer the video with the lyrics at just the right times, it’s no wonder that so many people look back on it so fondly and wish WWE would produce one for today’s generation (and not the fan made one, no matter how cool it was). I want the awesome WWE production crew to put one of these together for today’s roster, there’s no reason not to.
3. WrestleMania X-7 – (My Way by Limp Bizkit) : In my opinion, the “My Way” video is right up there as far as iconic video packages from the attitude era. Even if you have an understandable hatred for Limp Bizkit (and who doesn’t; their attempted cover of “behind Blue Eyes” should have been enough to levy treason charges against them and have them deported), you have to love this video. Like other videos on this list, this is another one that does an excellent job of telling you a story of a feud leading to a match, and doing it so well that you never had to watch the TV to get it. You go back and watch the video, the way they sync the song and lyrics with the video is not only near perfection, but the sound bites from Ross & Heyman that are left in almost feel post produced, but in reality are just the real time calls being used to their fullest potential. And it leaves you with that haunting quote that should have been the clear giveaway to what happened that night. He told us that he needed to beat the Rock, and he did the unthinkable…
”I need to beat you Rock. I need more than anything you could ever imagine.” —Stone Cold Steve Austin
2. Ric Flair Presents a Look at WWE History – Lonely Road of Faith by Kid Rock: I think in the grand scheme of great WWE video packages that “Lonely Road of Faith” gets lost in all of the praise that “My Sacrifice” receives. And that’s understandable because “My Sacrifice” is awesome and for many, was the first great WWE video they saw. There is something absolutely beautiful as they show you the heroes and villains of the various eras, leading beautifully to they tempo and key change when enter into the Nitro era followed by the hard tonal change showing off the attitude era. The final stretch of he video is just amazing as they morph from era to era, including the run of champions and then Vince Junior fading out into his father. This is an absolutely beautiful look at the history of the WWE, and another video I wish would be updated through today. The video editing to match the music and video almost appears to be effortless, but again, that’s the awesome WWE production team at work.
1. Daniel Bryan – Monster: Out of everything on the list, this one has the biggest emotional attachment for me. From 2002 to 2009 Bryan Danielson put together a portfolio of amazing matches that you can stack up against any in ring great. He worked so many different guys, with some many different styles and through the years he continued to grow and evolve as a performer. For as good as WWE fans think Daniel Bryan is, minds would be blown if those fans that never saw his pre-WWE work, and if they would take the time to really seek out what made him such a cult ICON during those years. Bryan Danielson was an amazing in ring performer, and I always had hoped that he would get the chance, a real chance, with WWE. But I thought that would never come, he was too small for them, he wasn’t a “great promo,” he just didn’t feel like a fit. But then he got the chance. Not only does this video do a great job of telling Bryan’s journey to the top of the mountain, but considering the way thing folded, how plans changed and the most unlikely of champions being crowned was the story’s end, this feel like the biggest “we did it” ever; the fans loved and supported him, they rallied against the machine and the voices were loud enough to make a difference. It was a great moment as a fan of Danielson’s to see the victory, to see the reaction and be part of the rise of someone I had watched for so long. It was something I never thought would happen. But for Danielson, it was a culmination of a journey, one where he wanted to prove that he was not only the best, but that in the land of the giants and a world full of no, he said yes and proved that he could do it. Monster captures all of this so well. While the videos on this list are great, for me as a fan, this one just feels perfect when I sit back and watch; it connects with me on an emotional level more than almost anything else they’ve ever done.
– End scene.
– Thanks for reading.