Published on July 24th, 2016 | by Chris O'Connor
U.S. Championship A Legacy Of Greatness Blu-ray Review
Summary: Professional Wrestling remains a male soap opera. All the thrills and spills, name calling and spectacle of rivalries old and new.
U.S. Championship A Legacy of Greatness is an over the top, spandex clad “slobberknocker”! The W.W.E. is the most well known professional wrestling organisation in the world (formerly the WWF but a law suit for that abbreviation with the World Wildlife Fund forced the change to World Wrestling Entertainment (rather than Federation)). As much as U.S. Championship A Legacy of Greatness is about the title belt, it is also very much a history of professional wrestling.
The disc opens with our host John “Bradshaw” Layfield setting up the origin of the belt (and some odd camera choices with JBL continuing to look dead forward as the camera films him from the side). So we are taken back to the original champion Harley Race and told that some of those early matches were not filmed… but there is footage of a rather important match, Ric Flair Versus Ricky Steamboat… with guest referee Andre The Giant! This match not only shows how far wrestling has come but also how far recording technology has come.
The story continues and it’s easy to forget these days just how wrestling and the leagues promoting it have evolved. From small town attractions (centering predominantly around the Carolinas) to the bigger names of the WCW (Ted Turner’s big spending foray into the wrestling world) and the McMahon fronted WWF/WWE. As the matches progress through the years we can see the evolution of the spectacle of wrestling. Matches get faster, wrestlers get more acrobatic and some of the more “extreme” aspects of modern wrestling start to show up. Somethings however don’t really change much at all… national rivalries always seem a popular way to polarize the crowds. With names like The Iron Sheik, The Russian Nightmare Nikita Koloff (who naturally fought the U.S. favourite Magnum T.A. during the height of the Cold War) and Rusev to name a few.
The smack talk and posturing is almost as important as the actual matches themselves and naturally this disc set gives us a reasonable helping of that. Fighters taunting rivals, managers big mouthing their “clients”. Professional Wrestling is, at it’s heart, larger than life and just wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t.
I’m going to give a possible spoiler here so if you are a die hard fan of wrestling and believe it’s as truthful as a politician’s campaign speech then stop reading here!
Many years ago now (about 17 or so to be more specific) a friend of mine decided he wanted to try professional wrestling (we had frequently watched the matches on Foxtel at his place)… so he found a local training group who also handled promotions. I went along with him and for the first few weeks we trained to be “Professional Wrestlers”. He actually continued and went on to compete in the local promotions and made quite a name for himself (if you have been a fan of the local wrestling you may know him… Steve Frost). I bowed out primarily due to either my asthma or not being fit enough to last long in the ring (take your pick)…. but I trained long enough to learn the monkey flip and what it’s like to be hoisted by your co-wrestler, up over their head and down on the ground.
You do take solid bumps… but watching wrestling these days (after now being more of a viewer of my guilty pleasure of MMA) there are just a number of things that stick out like a sore thumb. If you don’t want to break the allure of the “realism” of wrestling… don’t take much note of the way arms and legs are supposedly put in holds/submission moves… or you will tend to find that the direction the wrestler is “applying pressure” is very similar to the way the limb bends normally (ie no real chance of harm). Having said that… these guys are extremely athletic and remain impressive for what they do. Long periods of time being highly physical and throwing each other around the ring. There is a lot to be impressed with.
So the bottom line here… if you are a fan of wrestling or if you are interested in the historic evolution of Wrestling over the years… this is a great set to get… it comes in at around 8 hours so you get a good amount of value here and if you love to watch grown men throw each other about and leap through the air… you could do much worse than this.