James Dixon: We start out with Triple H, Chyna and Billy Gunn sat in an empty arena while the crew are setting up, discussing what to put on this tape. Trips implies, well actually flat out states, that “Cheech and Chong” won’t be coming, referring to Road Dogg and X-Pac, who are seemingly smoking dope in the back. Oh, those pre-Wellness days. Trips uses a few minor swears while Billy agrees with everything he says like a good lapdog. Chyna says nothing, which suits me fine. After the intro, which is basically the DX Titantron video, Michael Cole refuses to be a part of the tape because he is such a corporate weasel and he doesn’t want to get into trouble. A wedgie soon changes his mind. We cut to highlights of DX’s past incidents with Cole, which is five glorious minutes of the little runt (and good lord has he piled on the pounds since then) taking a verbal and physical pounding. Delighted. Stop the tape now and this gets a perfect score.
Next we see how DX disrespect all levels of authority, with Sgt. Slaughter and Vince McMahon taking the brunt of the original DX’s verbal tirades. One of the highlights is a classic moment where Shawn Michaels and Triple H counter the excess spittle that exudes from Slaughter’s mouth like a garden sprinkler when he talks, by putting on helmets with visors and windscreen wipers. Less ingenious is the glut of puerile cock jokes that helped lead the way in reducing the WWF to a cacophony of smutty trash. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how fresh and exciting DX were at the time, but looking back it is all a bit silly. It is akin to kids swearing when their parents are not around because they can get away with it, only in this case the “parent” is encouraging it. We see various footage of Trips and Michaels getting themselves over at the expense of everyone else, with self-indulgent and overly long segments on Raw (such as playing an innuendo heavy game of strip poker) and burying the rest of the roster (including Shawn beating Davey Boy Smith at One Night Only in England).
Elsewhere, Hunter over-compensates a lot by bragging about the size of his member, which apparently is all the build-up we need for his match with Sgt. Slaughter at the In Your House: Degeneration X pay-per-view in December 1997. We see very brief highlights from the forgotten Ken Shamrock-Shawn Michaels match at the same show, though the assault from Owen Hart is unsurprisingly omitted. The story goes that Owen was to come back and work a program with Michaels as the hottest act in the company, what with him being the brother of one recently departed Bret Hart. Despite the potential quality of the feud, it was vetoed by DX, who didn’t want to work with him. In fact they didn’t want to work with anyone at all.
Michael Cole does what he does best by sycophantically telling Hunter how great he is, before talking some inevitable shite: “Triple H has always swaggered to a different drummer”. What does that even mean? It is just words for the sake of words. We get highlights of Hunter tussling with various WWF superstars, usually with the assist of a chair or the steel steps, as crazy Amiga-style video game music plays in the background. Oh, another reference to the size of his cock. Someone needs to ask Stephanie (or Chyna), but I wouldn’t be surprised if that thing looked like a roll of quarters. See, now even I am talking about his goddamn wang! Michael Cole tries to curry favour and avoid another wedgie by buttering up Chyna, but Triple H sees right through his reaming. Isn’t it strange how perceived worth changes depending on politics? Chyna was absolutely integral to the success of DX at first, but later profile DVD’s released by WWE would almost entirely omit her from the group’s history. Chyna highlights follow, which mainly involves nut shots. Too much sausage on this tape now.
We finally see Road Dogg and X-Pac, who are dicking around in the production truck and mooning, before we cut back to footage of Shawn and Trips baring their asses and everyone shouting “suck it”. Important moments in the rich history of pro-wrestling. You know, given Rick Rude’s love of exposing his ass during countless matches over the years, I am actually surprised that he didn’t do the same during his brief run as the DX insurance policy in late 1997.
While the overwhelming plethora of dick jokes soon grows tired, there are still some frankly hilarious moments to be had. One of my favourites has nothing to do with wrestling at all, and it is just throwaway silliness, but it pops me every time. The incident in question sees poor Jim Ross desperately trying to get an in-ring interview out of Michaels, who spends the whole time trying to make JR look at his crotch. When he doesn’t, Michaels changes tact and starts jumping in the air to bring the cock to the face instead. Juvenile and stupid, but very funny. To me at least. Things become somewhat more highbrow as 1998’s updated DX all take a piss on the Disciples of Apocalypse’s bikes. Oh great now I need to go…
…sorry about that. Oh, a random musical interlude with some highlights of everything except wrestling. Well jeez, we haven’t had one of those in about 12-seconds so sure, good call.
Finally, some wrestling! And what a good choice too, with Badd Blood the show and the first ever Hell in a Cell match the bout in question. Only highlights of course, because God forbid there be any matches on this tape, but what we see here is still gold. The match is a triumph, a real tour de force, and a match that every wrestling fan should see. Performances like this are the reason that the WWF officials and locker room tolerated Shawn and his ways in 1997. Everything from his big table bump off the cage to his supremely executed blade job to his incredible selling made this one of his greatest performances yet. Like I say, this is the abridged “movie cut” version, but still great to watch.
Shawn Michaels calls out Mike Tyson on Raw and the two square off and are about to fight, then Michaels rips Tyson’s WWF shirt off and reveals him as a member of DX. For me that was absolutely genius booking and the finest example of celebrity cross-promotion in wrestling that there has ever been, beyond Mr. T and definitely more effective than Lawrence Taylor. Tyson was a hot topic at the time and was still a massive enough name to draw people into the product, and he was aligned with a group that fit him and his mentality to a tee. The fact he is a huge wrestling fan and understood how the business works certainly helped a lot, and the momentum the Michaels-Austin-Tyson push had going into WrestleMania XIV was remarkable. This was at a point where the company could have tanked and many within the WWF structure questioned Vince paying a reported $3.5 million to use the unpredictable Tyson, but as often was the case, Vince’s risk was worth it and the rewards reaped were enormous. Without Tyson, things may have been quite different, and WCW may well have been the last man standing in the Monday Night Wars. Just think; Bischoff reportedly turned down the chance to use him. Chalk up another winning decision to the overrated Easy E. He fired Austin and Foley too, remember… Despite the end of the Tyson-DX relationship being a fairly sour moment in the group’s history due to Tyson’s “double cross” on them at ‘Mania, we still get shown the footage from the incident. I bet Shawn Michaels was worried about taking the post-match punch from ‘Iron Mike’, especially given his lack of popularity in the locker room at the time. If I were him, I would have been more than a little concerned about someone getting in Tyson’s ear.
Also at WrestleMania, Hunter defeated an unmotivated Owen Hart, and we see highlights of that here. The match is alright, though nothing special. I do enjoy the kicking that Chyna delivers to Sgt. Slaughter post-match though. The elaborate lengths that Chyna and Trips would go to in order that they disobeyed Slaughter’s edicts, always made for good entertainment. Despite not being in DX at the time, we get to see the dumpster match putting the New Age Outlaws against Cactus Jack and Terry Funk, also from ‘Mania. Even if we overlook the fact that this was pre-DX, why would you show it on a profile tape anyway? The Outlaws lost! No wait, they have decided to cut midway though and pretend it didn’t happen. Revisionist history is not a new thing in WWE! More Outlaws highlights follow, and at least the majority of the clips for these guys does involve wrestling matches and/or angles that make sense in the context of the shows they took place on. Quite frankly, as long as there are no more penis jokes, I am happy. I have already resigned myself to the fact that there will be little if any actual wrestling on here.
“Will you quit playing with your pussy!” scolds Billy Gunn to Road Dogg. Yeah Roadie, put X-Pac down! It wouldn’t be a DX highlight tape without seeing the invasion of WCW skits that the group did in 1998. I have seen these things hundreds of times and thus may be a little jaded to them, but there is still no mistaking just how ballsy a move this was from DX and the WWF. As a kid I was thrilled with seeing things like the nWo logo (on the side of a car) turn up on WWF television. Nothing like this had really been done before. With this being the VHS release from before the WWE became image obsessed and ultra-PC, the footage of DX “blowing up” the CNN Centre is left in. They then try and get various meetings with WCW officials, including X-Pac wanting to speak with Eric Bischoff because he didn’t have the balls to fire him face-to-face. Something like that seems like nothing now, but at the time it was phenomenal. DX end the segment by turning up at an arena that is hosting Nitro, and try to get inside. In (another) one of the dumbest business decisions he ever made, Eric Bischoff had them shut the doors. If he had let DX into the building and onto the show, the ratings would have been immense. It is unlikely that Vince would have let them go that far of course, but who knows? Maybe he saw it as potential free advertising for his product. None of them were leaving the WWF anytime soon, so what did he have to lose letting them do it? Sure, it would pop a rating for Nitro, but it would also bring everyone flooding back to Raw to see just what the hell DX were going to do next. For the record, if DX were around in 2013 and tried something like this, they would probably all be arrested for being terrorists.
We sign off from back in the truck, with Triple H telling Michael Cole that they are “so over” before Chris Warren plays us out.
Summary: It’s marmite. If you liked DX and their tomfoolery then you will probably think this is a must-have piece of merchandise, but if you found the Attitude era to be an affront to the rich traditions and history of pro-wrestling, you will inevitably hate it. Looking at things objectively, it remains a tough one to call. Some of the stuff here is definitely entertaining, but very little is actually shown in full, and the best bits are condensed into highlight videos set to music, lessening the impact be it a skit or a match. On the other hand, there is a lot that is just utterly horrible. I’m sure teenage males at the time got a good chortle out of Triple H referencing his dick at least three or four times per promo, but watching it back is almost embarrassing. I guess it is all in good fun, but certainly not good taste. If you are looking for wrestling or full angles/skits, you have come to the wrong place. If you want a few dozen music videos, some famous wrestlers saying some naughty words and the odd bit of quality entertainment, then this is your video.