Title: The Greatest Cage Matches of All Time

Format: Three-Disc DVD

Studio: WWE Home Video

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

Over the years, the most popular way to settle a heated rivalry in wrestling has been the cage match — the idea being that it keeps others from getting involved and the competitors in close combat, while creating the illusion of a match that is much more brutal than the common bout. But frankly, I’ve always felt that they’re a little boring.

When the rules allow for escape (they’ve fluctuated over the years from wins only by escape, to pinfalls and submissions inside the cage), either through the cage door or over the top, it always felt to me like the person running away from the fight shouldn’t be the one winning. Outside of that, the matches are just confined, and aside from the heightened potential for blood, I’ve felt most superstars can better entertain by having the ability to leave the ring as well.

And as evidenced by three discs worth of cage matches from over the years in this collection, there are only so many times you can watch a guy start to climb out but be stopped by his foe and stay entertained by that. The mechanics of the match are just inherently disappointing. That said, the collection presented here by World Wrestling Entertainment includes many of the most classic cage bouts around, so devotees will find plenty to love. Also, despite the company’s new PG direction, the blood stays with the unedited nature of this set.

And there are highlights. The sheer spectacle of Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko at Shea Stadium is a wonder to behold. The Rock and Triple H deliver a classic bout, and guys like Chris Jericho, Edge, Batista and Christian find ways to get creative with their matches to keep things interesting for fans. That’s not to mention a number of solid tag team bouts inside the steel confines.

But again, there are also a lot of duds. While they may not be terrible matches in and of themselves, watching many of these cage matches on the same discs only serves to reinforce the point that there just isn’t enough variety of creativity in the storytelling of the matches to be truly entertaining. The Greatest Cage Matches of All Time is an apt name, as the collection is a solid one, but that’s assuming the wrestling fan actually enjoys a “good” cage match.

For more info, wwe.com

Pads & Panels received a copy of the DVD set courtesy of the studio for review purposes.