World Wrestling Federation – The Best of RAW Vol. 1 (1999)
(WWF Home Video)

Given the WWF's mid-90s surge in popularity, it was only a matter of time before they released a "best of" tape so the neophytes in the crowd could finally "get it" (the tape even says on the back, "This tape contains humor some people don't 'get.'")

I, myself, would have preferred a Best of Mick Foley's Bodily Injuries (hell, I'd even take a "worst of" tape for that one), or at least a Best of RAW When It Was Getting Pummeled by Nitro (Undertaker vs. Undertaker!). What the organization did churn out was Best of RAW Vol. 1. This is good because it presupposes a Volume 2, and so forth.

The tone for the video is set as soon as you pop it in, with a little segment with Nostradamus predicting that Vince McMahon will bring about the destruction of the world, ending with his wife giving him a chair shot and saying "Bet you didn't see that coming either, you old bastard!" This isn't even part of the video, but is just an ad for the WWF.

Then, after a few ads for other tapes in the WWF Film Library (which it should be called), you get to the beginning of the presentation, and are dismayed to discover that it's hosted by Michael "King" Cole. The first segment centers on Stone Cold Steve Austin, going back to about 1997 and the history of his feud with Mr. McMahon. And because this is a videotape, they let you see naughty signs held up by the crowd.

Then it shifts to The Rock in his original babyface run with The Nation of Domination, with a clip of him and all the gang beating up on Faarooq. It's refreshing to see Faarooq in his pre-Acolyte days, before you're supposed to believe he's big, fierce, ex- football player who happens to engage in dark rituals.

After that segment they focus on The Undertaker, but they don't really deal with his history in the WWF, pretty much starting with the first appearance of Kane on the scene. They go through various highlight clips and end around the time 'Taker came back and formed the Ministry of Darkness.

The next scene is way too long and completely unnecessary because it's about Sable, Marc Mero, and Jaqueline. As a reward for sitting through that, you get to watch the bit on the formation of Degeneration X, which they kind of glaze over so they can show the extended clip of DX in a military jeep go invade WCW.

After that, they finally get to Mick Foley, but if you've seen Three Faces of Foley, there's nothing new here.

This is followed by a hilarious bit with DX parodying The Nation, with a bit of Owen Hart thrown in for good measure. You get a little more glazing with the Val Venis/Kaientai feud and then the tape starts showing some of its better clips, like when Austin, disguised as a doctor, attacks Vince in the hospital and performs what is, as far as I know, the only depiction of sodomy ever in a wrestling program. They also show him dumping concrete into Vince's Corvette, which is cool when the windows shatter.

The tape ends with an Emmy® award-winning performance by both Shane and Vince McMahon, when Shane stands up to him.

The tape is pretty dull, but watchable. It jumps around the past two years haphazardly, and the transitions are quite poor. It should show more, and better, clips. Of course, a lot of the great moments in the WWF happen at pay-per-views, but enough happens on Raw to fill up a long tape.

Thankfully Cole mentions Volume 2 at the end, which is sure to feature plenty of historic segments, like the one where Commissioner Shawn Michaels appears at Austin's side on the Titantron, says he'll consult the WWF rulebook, reaches off the screen, and "mistakenly" pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels, he and Austin visibly intoxicated the entire time.

Review by Baby Doll