Monday, 28 September 2015

Brothers Of Destruction: Greatest Matches

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 92 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: September 1 2014

With the wrestling world still in shock over the end of The Undertaker's undefeated Streak at WrestleMania in the summer of 2014, WWE oddly chose this time to release a DVD on Taker's occasional partnership with his on-screen partner Kane. This DVD (the first to use the new WWE logo, by the way) feels like a budget release due to its single disc and short running time (although I do like the colourful, drawing-style artwork), but it still remains fairly entertaining and watchable.

Rather than beginning with their unforeseen union in 1998, or the odd bout from the next few years, we begin in 2001 with the duo beating Edge & Christian for the then-WWF Tag Team Titles on SmackDown! from April 2001. This was during the weird phase where Steve Austin had just turned heel despite The Rock then quickly leaving to film The Scorpion King, which combined with the end of The Monday Night Wars meant that wrestling was beginning to drop off in interest and popularity from this point onwards. Still, the match itself is alright and typical of the final few months of the Attitude Era.

Next up is a confusing Tables match with The Dudleyz from Raw a few months later: the referee is down when Bubba Ray Dudley is put through the wood, yet the result goes the way of Taker and Kane. Around this time, Undertaker's then-wife Sara is at her husband's side via the stalker storyline, the villain of which (Diamond Dallas Page) gets involved here. It's only little over a week timeline-wise before the next encounter, as the brothers dethrone Sean O'Haire and Mark Jindrak for the WCW Tag Team Titles on SmackDown! (By the way, although the featured stars were the same, there was a clear distinction between Raw and SmackDown! at this time, and both were vital parts of wrestling viewing schedules; when was the last time that the casual fans could say that in modern times?)

We then see one of the most one-sided bouts ever held between well-known performers as Taker and Kane destroy DDP and Kanyon in a cage to unify the two sets of Tag Team Titles at SummerSlam 2001 (the last three matches were all part of the Invasion storyline, incidentally). This and an embarrassing Raw win for Taker's not-exactly-Divaesque wife Sara over Page the next night finished the creepy-in-hindsight stalker tale.

Oh, and Taker is in his biker phase for all the matches so far on the DVD, and Rollin' by Limp Bizkit has been overdubbed. Not a surprise, but still annoying since all but one of the 2001 bouts are unreleased up until this point. It's also worth noting that despite his popularity, Undertaker was being heavily criticised for his performances in the summer of 2001 with many calling for him to retire or even be released from his contract. I think it's fair to say that history has proven those fans to be incorrect. In fact, I'll bet most of them were amongst the many devastated at the end of the Streak.

We then wait five years before the next bout, by which time Taker is the Phenom again and Kane has been unmasked. They face MVP and Mr. Kennedy on a 2006 SmackDown which is fun (I loved the final shot where Kennedy somehow shares a hearse with Taker), but their initial meeting a few weeks earlier should have been here too since that marked the BOD's first teaming for half a decade.

We then get a match I had completely forgotten about from a 2008 SmackDown as the big men take on two bigger men in Big Daddy V and Mark Henry, before the DVD ends with a decent ECW doubles clash against John Morrison and The Miz (the night that Mike Adamle became ECW colour commentator, and soon to be the worst commentator in wrestling history).

The Blu-ray has four bonus matches: two from 1998 against Stone Cold partnerships with Billy Gunn and The Rock (there should have been at least one of these on the DVD, partly since the packaging advertises as such), the Backlash 2001 main event against Austin and Triple H, and the six-man with Daniel Bryan against The Shield from the London Raw in April 2013, which is probably the best bout on the whole disc.

This DVD is definitely one for the diehard fans of Undertaker and Kane. The matches are all worth watching (besides maybe the SummerSlam encounter) and are relatively short, but none are really that good and, as such, the DVD won't appeal to those who buy a few releases per year. It's a nice DVD to have and to fill time, but it's not one that I envision selling in record numbers (some might throw in an inside joke there considering the featured performers but I won't). If you do cash in on this, I would suggest buying the Blu-ray instead since there are four more matches, with two being rare and the other two being the best of the compilation.

Overall Rating: 5.5/10 - Above Average

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