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WWE: The Road Is Jericho — Epic Stories & Rare Matches From Y2J (DVD Review)

25 Mar, 2015 By: John Latchem

$24.98 DVD, $34.96 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Chris Jericho.

World Wrestling Entertainment’s home video compilations have been offering a peek at the pro-wrestling business that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago. But the cartoonish characters and storylines of the 1980s gave way to a grittier attitude in the 1990s, coinciding with an era in which fans could turn to the Internet to learn exactly what was going on behind the scenes.

And yet, such increased access to the secrets of wrestling didn’t diminish fandom, it transformed it. Fans appreciated the exhibition of athleticism, while absurd storylines and gimmicks once intended to be taken seriously became more like a knowing wink. By the 2000s, the transformation of pro-wrestling from sports to sports-entertainment was complete, a transformation increasingly reflected in he programming output of WWE.

Nowadays, there’s almost no attempt to hide the fact that pro-wrestling is scripted, which is one of the defining features of Road Is Jericho. The seven-hour program offers the veteran WWE superstar front-and-center discussing the ins and outs of his career, including his early days in the ECW and WCW.

A skilled in-ring technician, the cruiserweight Jericho is a likely future WWE hall of famer after a career that saw him defeat both The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin on the same night to be the first man to unify the sport’s major world titles. Here, cameras follow him on the road with his band, Fozzy, with a deceptively simple framing device for the archival matches that constitute most of the running time. The audience is invited to join Jericho in his limo as he rides from one venue to the next, recounting his career path along the way. He pops up in-between matches for a few minutes to introduce the next chapter of his career.

This is essential viewing for Jericho fans in particular, and perhaps even pro-wrestling fans in general who enjoy learning about how the business works (Jericho’s definition of the “WWE style” is especially amusing). And the matches aren’t bad, either, pitting Jericho against the likes of John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Rey Mysterio and many more.

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