WWE: John Cena, Word Life Released: 3/02/2004 Number of discs: 1 Running Time: 3 hours Introduction: In the summer of 2002, John Cena made his debut with World Wrestling Entertainment. He didn’t do much of note at least right away, but he would find himself in Main Events less than a year in to his run with the company. It was due in large part to him showcasing his talent for freestyle rapping and that allowed his career to take off. John Cena wasn’t the first person I thought of when it came to a DVD release, and he wasn’t the person I considered most worthy. That was before I even looked at the disc, so if you want to know if my thoughts have changed you’ll just have to keep reading. The Feature: I’m going to say right now that I don’t know a lot about John Cena and this DVD was my first real exposure to his freestyles and feuds. One thing became quickly apparent from the opening of the feature, however. This is not a look at Cena’s life or anything like that, it is a compilation of a number of his freestyles from the past year or so since he began doing them on Smackdown. I hadn’t ever caught any of his freestyles before not being able to watch Smackdown, and so I wasn’t sure when it started that I would enjoy this all that much. However, I found myself being captivated by the man’s talent for freestyles; I found them all very entertaining. This is the most important thing I can say about this feature. If you enjoy Cena’s freestyles that you see on Smackdown, you will absolutely love this. The feature is basically new clips of Cena which serve as introductions to a number of freestyles that took place in various feuds. We get to see him freestyle about Brock Lezner, Undertaker Vince McMahon and many others. You will also find battle rap segments where Cena had freestyle contests against Kurt Angle, Big Show, Rikishi, Spanky and Funaki. See his rap from Wrestlemania XIX, as well as his rap from the Smackdown that took place in Iraq. If however, you are looking for a history of his short WWE career, then you’ll have to look somewhere else. The feature basically is a chronicle of some of his feuds through the use of freestyle clips. We do get to follow Cena around his hometown and the recording studio in the clips that introduce each section, but other than that there isn’t any substance that will appeal to anyone that doesn’t much care for the freestyles. As for me, I really enjoyed the freestyles. It took a little while for me to really get in to this, but eventually I got hooked and the feature got my whole attention whereas at the beginning I was basically letting it play in the background. Chapters: 1st Rap, Brock, Undertaker, Wrestlemania, Battle Raps, The McMahons, Freestyle, Iraq As for a rating, this is the tough part. I’ve decided to give 2 different ratings to this feature. I’ll give it 1 rating for its informational content, and another for its entertainment value. Entertainment 8/10 Information: 1/10 The feature is primarily made up of Cena’s freestyles so your enjoyment level will depend on how much you like or dislike that aspect of his character. Extras: Whereas the Feature concentrates on the freestyles the extras section actually contains the payoffs to a number of these in the form of matches. *John Cena vs. Chris Benoit, Smackdown - Tournament Final 4/17/2003 (13:54) This match determined the top contender to Brock Lezner’s title at Backlash 2003. I enjoyed this match but I enjoy any match with liberal use of the knife edge chop. It’s not really the quantity of the chops, but the quality and these were vicious. *John Cena vs. Brock Lezner, WWE title, Backlash 2003 04/27/2003 (15:11) Before the match we get a video package setting it up which is nice for anyone that might have missed out on the feud. A random thought while watching this match, the way Michael Cole does commentary reminds me of Vince McMahon’s commentary. I’m not sure that’s a good thing though. *John Cena vs. Undertaker, Smackdown 8/7/2003 (21:21) This is a rematch resulting from their match at Vengeance. This match is a classic reason why I’m no big fan of Undertaker. He basically beats the piss out of Cena for 85% of this match and then loses by flukish circumstances and we’re supposed to believe that he’s a good company man for putting Cena over. *John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero, United States title, Smackdown 8/28/2003 (15:08) A fun match that the fans were in to being that it was in Eddie Guerrero’s hometown. I don’t care for the DQ finish but as it was a Smackdown match my gripe is a minor one. Cena does a beat down after the match getting even more heel heat. *John Cena vs. Kurt Angle, No Mercy 2003 10/19/2003 (18:25) My first observation about this match, the crowd going back and forth half chanting “Lets go Cena,” and the other “Lets go Angle,” is pretty cool. I loved this match! Plenty of near falls and I dug the finishing sequence of moves. *John Cena Before they were Superstars segment. Now we get a little more info on Cena’s background growing up, it covers his childhood through college and how he got in to wrestling. This is a great segment that makes up for the lack of this kind of stuff in the main feature! *Confidential segment, Outside the Ropes with Josh Matthews 11/22/2003 Asks Cena 10 questions related to rap and his influences and favorites and stuff. Nice piece but only worth checking out maybe once. *Behind the scenes of his YJ Stinger commercial from confidential 11/22/2003 I found this segment to be painful not because of Cena but for the guys that had no business talking like Cena that were talking like him. *Cena and Eddie Guerrero from Singapore 12/11/2003 A few hours later and already I’ve forgotten about this. *Cena’s battle rap from Baghdad Very nice to see Cena and the whole WWE entertaining the troops, the guy he raps against isn’t that good though. *Behind the scenes of his Smackdown magazine photo shoot from Confidential 11/22/2003 Not much of note here, watch once. Extras Rating 7/10, what’s here is really good and is really as good as it’s going to get for someone that has spent as little time in the WWE as John Cena. I give the WWE credit they sure do know how to load a disc up with extras. None of the extras are as memorable as those found on the Monday Night Wars disc, and there’s no real classic matches like there is on the Stone Cold Truth or Ric Flair disc. Really this is due to the fact that all of this is more current and so it can’t be expected to be like those other discs. The Angle match is probably the highlight though. Easter Eggs On the "Main Menu," select "The Chapters" and right click. You will be treated to a freestyle by Cena about Wrestlemania XX. On the first "Extras" page, choose "Main Menu" and left click. You will be treated to a funny segment with Funaki and Cena from Smackdown where Funaki tries, yet fails, to do a battle rap with Cena. On the second "Extras" page, choose "Behind the Scenes: YJ Stringer Ad" and right click. You will be treated to the actual YJ Stinger ad. Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this DVD. Like Cena himself said in the main feature, this is the first of many DVDs to come, and I’ve got a feeling that he’s right. When I buy a wrestling DVD, I ask myself if it has any replay ability, and in this case it absolutely does because I really love Cena’s freestyles and his match with Angle from No Mercy is a fine match. Recommendation: If you’re a hardcore Cena fan then you already have this disc. If your on the fence, and not sure that you care much for the freestyling but would like to get more familiar with Cena and some of his matches then you might want to consider this as the extras are very well done. I’m going to give this a mild recommendation because I’m sure as time passes better DVDs will come along for Mr. Cena, although really this one is pretty entertaining. If you love Cena, you’ve already got it. If you’re not sure give it a rent.