Monday, May 3, 2010

Viva La Raza
Directors: Kevin Dunn
Distributor: WWE Home Video
Released: 11/08

Featured Talent
Batista, John Cena, Michael Cole, Edge, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Chavo Guerrero Sr., Vickie Guerrero, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Chris Jericho, Jerry Lawler, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jim Ross

The Good
The Cheating Death, Stealing Life documentary is a sound production by the WWE and one that compliments this DVD set nicely. This one is of the matches-with-commentary DVDs, but instead of the featured star talking, it is the opponents, family and friends of the star. While one could definitely make a case for numerous matches that are not on this one (many of significance are on the aforementioned DVD), this three-disc set includes a great variety. In a set like this, there needs to be a story of a star's career through a series of matches and this does that fairly well. Luckily, there is so much fascinating family footage that is able to spice things up in a way that WWE documentaries often lack. It seems that much attention was given to showing Eddie Guerrero's greatest strengths as a worker. Basically, he could do it all. This has everything but lucha libre from Mexico, but it has plenty of lucha-rific stuff with Rey Mysterio Jr., Psychosis, Juventud Guerrera and Ultimo Dragon. It throws in an awesome match with Shinjiro Otani to demonstrate Guerrero's ability to work the Japanese style and puts over that style in a way you may not expect to hear on a WWE DVD. The key is getting over Eddie's worldly experience and then tying that to his WCW run as a cruiserweight and ultimately his WWF/WWE run where he worked a wide variety of opponents doing matches with more backstory and gimmicks. While the pay-per-view matches are often the ones with the time to be of better quality, there are eleven TV matches featured on this that a great additions to a collection. 

The Bad
While this seemed like a distinct and strong DVD output, it was not without some flaws. So much of Eddie Guerrero's heritage is lucha libre and for there to only be a tidbits of a single lucha match (the 5-star Los Gringos Locos-Hijo Del Santo/Octogon match of legend) is a travesty. That aside, the matches used on this are acceptable choices, although some of his best are not on this particular DVD set. The lack of Chris Benoit in the story is sad, but not surprising. It is just so bizarre because of how dramatically Guerrero's death affected Chris Benoit and that close friendship is simply brushed under the rug. Members of Eddie's family have some good input, although Chavo Sr. seems to ramble and be almost nonsensical at times. Then there is Jerry Lawler talking about “uncle” Hector, who is actually Eddie's older brother. But that's a laughable error on par with all the audio snippets of Steve “Mongo” McMichael from the Nitro days.

The Rating: ****


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