Sunday, 19 June 2016

WWE Live In The UK: November 2012

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 328 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: February 25 2013

Much had changed in WWE by the time that the November 2012 UK tour took place. NXT was being operated out of Orlando, far away from big arenas and without a never-ending "Redemption" theme. Main Event had debuted in the US (it wouldn't air in the UK for a very long time), but despite initial involvement from key players, soon evolved into another Superstars-esque filler show (this is Vince McMahon's philosophy, incidentally). Most notably, though, Raw was now three hours long, which as many current fans will tell you, is a big hindrance in being able to put together a consistently entertaining show. At this point, though, the three-hour running time was still a novelty, and it wasn't as big an issue as it would be in future years.

As obvious as it may sound, the only difference on this DVD at least with Raw being three hours was that it was longer. By that, I mean that we just receive an extra 40-45 minutes of content rather than there being better or longer matches and segments. Therefore, it probably isn't a big surprise for me to state that the Raw taping on this DVD isn't exactly a classic episode.

We get a decent tag team main event as CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler battle John Cena and Ryback, who at this point had more momentum than anyone on the roster. Sheamus vs. The Miz is alright, as is Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston (in their third meeting on a November UK taping in a row!), and a six-man tag which pits Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and R-Truth against Antonio Cesaro and The Prime Time Players is watchable, but much of the show is run-of-the-mill. An extended Brad Maddox interview (to explain why he cost Ryback the WWE Title at Hell In A Cell) is delivered poorly, and the John Cena-AJ Lee "love scandal" storyline had already grown tiresome by this point just two weeks in (perhaps it's because of the poor acting involved by most, or because it wasn't the least believable). Jim Ross joins Michael Cole on commentary which helps (Jerry Lawler would return from his heart attack-enforced absence the next week), but the show feels lightweight. By now, the UK fans have largely taken to cheering the heels just because they're heels, which never helps. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the segment where Vince McMahon switches the line-ups for two top matches at Survivor Series because, allegedly, it was done on the fly and Vickie Guerrero, who was involved in the angle, had to ad-lib the segment because it was pretty much unplanned. This also apparently upset Mick Foley because he was involved in the storyline, but he only found out that the match he had a role in had been changed when he watched Raw as it was airing in the US.

With no NXT, the Tuesday night show in this case is actually SmackDown, as for some reason it aired on a different night in the US on this occasion. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio is a really fun Falls Count Anywhere match, probably the highlight of the DVD, and Big Show teaming with Wade Barrett against Sheamus (who was a very popular babyface at this point) and William Regal is good too. Elsewhere, Main Event has a strong Sheamus vs. Barrett match, and Superstars is the usual, although the ending to Justin Gabriel vs. Tensai seems botched. Finally, we get two bonus matches: Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior from SummerSlam 1992 and The Rock vs. (the boney jabroni, to quote Rock) X-Pac from Capital Carnage 1998. As a side note, UK DVDs were now being released via Fremantle rather than Silver Vision, which means a new style of packaging for the box art, the discs and the on-screen menus (the 10-second loops of the Raw theme is annoying as hell).

It's by far the longest Live In The UK DVD to date, although it isn't quite the best. It has some pretty good matches and, combined with the two bonus bouts, this is a pretty good release. That being said, this was at a time when the product wasn't exactly at its peak, although things would improve for the better a few weeks later with the arrival of a certain faction known as The Shield. They would play a key role in the next round of UK tapings, which I will document in the April 2013 review.

Overall Rating: 7/10 - Respectable

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