Friday, 30 September 2016

Brock Lesnar: Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. coming soon on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK

Image Source:
Fetch Publicity
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

Since day one, Brock Lesnar has conquered every obstacle in his path of destruction. He has claimed championships, taken opponents to Suplex City, and put an end to The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak. Witness Brock Lesnar’s greatest matches and moments and see why he lives by the mantra of EAT. SLEEP. CONQUER. REPEAT. Featuring 14 of “The Beast’s” biggest matches since his return to WWE in 2012, plus classic – and previously unseen – matches from his original run with the company and his OVW tenure before it.


Match Highlights:

Raw - January 28 2002
Non-Televised Match
Brock Lesnar vs. Mr. Perfect

SummerSlam 2003 - August 24 2003
WWE Championship Match
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar

No Mercy 2003 - October 19 2003
First Ever Biker Chain Match for the WWE Championship
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

SummerSlam 2013 - August 18 2013
“The Best” vs. “The Beast” in a No Disqualification Match
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar

WrestleMania 31 - March 29 2015
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Hell In A Cell 2015 - October 25 2015
Hell In A Cell Match
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

Plus more action, extras and Blu-ray exclusives!

We like it because:

There’s no one like Brock Lesnar in WWE. In fact, there’s no one like Brock Lesnar anywhere. He’s the world’s premier combat sports athlete, and this incredible collection shows exactly why he deserves his nickname of “The Beast”.

Longtime fans will be fascinated by footage of his early days in OVW and WWE, plus his meteoric rise to becoming the “Next Big Thing” – a period of exciting change for WWE and its next generation of Superstars following the immensely successful Attitude Era.

Since his return in 2012, Lesnar has been involved in some of WWE’s most brutal matches and moments, most of which you can see here. The set also charts his path of destruction since becoming “the 1 in 21” by conquering The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, which continues to this day.

As well as The Undertaker, Lesnar’s battles against John Cena, Triple H, and Seth Rollins are already the stuff of sports-entertainment legend – all essential additions to any WWE DVD collection!

Brock Lesnar: Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. will officially be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday October 17 2016.

For more information, click here.

Money In The Bank 2015

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 184 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: August 24 2015

(To read a full event review of WWE Money In The Bank 2015, click here.)

Money In The Bank has generally been one of the best WWE events each year since it began, and the 2015 show was no different. The DVD of the card is now available, and there are three major matches which make the sixth MITB PPV another memorable instalment. Since it took place days after the tragic passing of Dusty Rhodes, the show opens with a ten-ball salute, and later we get a very good video tribute to the American Dream.

In the ring, besides the Kick-Off Show bout between King Barrett and "King What's Up" R-Truth (which is here as a DVD extra), the action begins with the 2015 MITB Ladder match (Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Neville vs. Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler) which is a great start to proceedings, even if the match is a shade inferior to the 2014 MITB encounter. Nikki Bella vs. Paige is a good effort despite the screwy ending, and the Ryback-Big Show bout also has a questionable finish, although The Big Guy and The Very Big Guy make the most of their fairly short time before the conclusion.

John Cena's second match with Kevin Owens is superb; one of the best bouts of 2015, it is in my opinion the pick of their three great PPV encounters, and allows them to prove that their Elimination Chamber thriller was no fluke. The New Day vs. The Prime Time Players has a filler feel to it, perhaps because fans didn't expect a title change, so the outcome is a genuine surprise to the live audience.

The main event, another Ladder match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, is undoubtedly a strong battle that has some memorable spots, but it lasts way too long, coming in at almost 40 minutes. Take 10-15 minutes out of this, and have Ambrose either stay down from the series of brutal ringside powerbombs or take out that spot entirely, and the final result would have been a big improvement.

Nevertheless, it's still a worthy end to a really enjoyable event, which advances, instigates and concludes feuds to prepare WWE for the summer ahead, while delivering some great action. Not the best Money In The Bank show ever, but it's an eventful card which warrants a DVD purchase.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Thursday, 29 September 2016

John Cena: Word Life

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 186 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: July 19 2004

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when John Cena was the coolest cat in WWE with adult fans, particularly males, lapping up his every word. Yes, in 2003 and 2004, Cena was cooler than the other side of the pillow (Family Guy reference) and a real rising star, which is why WWE released this DVD of Cena prior to his permanent main event ascension.

Unlike most profile DVDs of the era, though, Word Life is based solely on showcasing Cena's rap promos. They would generally involve insults towards whomever is the target of Cena's wrath, a fair amount of swearing (Cena would usually allow the crowd to finish raps with a particularly naughty word) and some sort of references which wouldn't be acceptable in 2016 (although they shouldn't have been then either, if you think about it). In between are some in-character clips of Cena hanging out with friends and discussing aspects of what, admittedly, was a fairly short career at that point.

I'm not going to judge each rap one-by-one, because that would be silly. What I would say is that the content of Cena's raps would usually generate a big reaction from the fans, especially when the lyrics were a bit risqué, but to watch 15-20 or more in a row does mean that they lose their impact from a viewer's point of view. Certain people hated this DVD at the time for that very reason, and it does become repetitive, but there's no denying that if Cena were to go back down this direction in the modern WWE, fans would love it (as they did during his brief "throwback" raps in 2011 and 2012 when feuding with The Rock).

There are five matches included as DVD extras, which is the opposite to the usual WWE formula of a match-based DVD with bonus segments (of which there are some on this release, actually). Those scraps all come from 2003, meaning that Cena wasn't the polished performer that he would later become, but they are still entertaining on the whole. The biggest matches here see Cena face a pre-UFC Brock Lesnar at Backlash in a fairly disappointing battle and Kurt Angle in a great match from No Mercy. Of the other bouts, all from SmackDown, we see Cena take on Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and The Undertaker; surprisingly, the clash with Taker is probably the least entertaining of the three television matches, although I'm confident that if Cena and Undertaker do battle at WrestleMania next year, it will be a far better and more exciting affair.

Whether you enjoy this DVD or not depends on how much you like watching John Cena, or more accurately the "rapper" version of Cena. If you don't care for Cena then you'll obviously hate this release, but even die-hard Cena fans will have preferred a match-and-promo running order, because the main feature being based entirely on promos becomes a bit boring after a while, regardless of the occasionally controversial comments made on the mic by Cena. If you find it cheap somewhere, it's a decent watch, so long as you avoid the embarrassing and out-of-character promo Cena has to cut on Stephanie McMahon which makes him look like a goof, in an early sign of how shows would be booked to undermine talent in order for Stephanie to shine.

But as alluded to earlier, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the DVD is that, at the time, Cena was as hot as any WWE star and was often the reason why a lot of older fans wanted to watch WWE television. How times would change. If you want to relive a time when Cena had a cool and relatable gimmick, you may wish to watch this DVD, but it is definitely far from a classic release from the Ruthless Aggression era.

Overall Rating: 5/10 - Average

Monday, 26 September 2016

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2015

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 503 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: January 18 2016

And so we come to the most recent WWE PPV round-up collection, which (obviously) focuses on supershow action from 2015. The artwork is slightly generic, but the use of different wrestlers on each of the disc's menus emphasises the new talent which has risen up the WWE ranks, as well as the veterans who gave us memorable matches on PPV. And we get plenty of them here: 2015 was one of WWE's best years on Pay-Per-View ever from a match quality standpoint, and a great number of the really good encounters are here.

We have a host once again, this time being Corey Graves. There aren't any pre-match promo videos, but each PPV covered has a recap video showing most of the match highlights, which is a nice touch that should be repeated in future sets (although some don't half drag on). And whilst this DVD was released to the US market (unlike that of 2014), there was still no Blu-ray version, meaning that this collection once again exceeds the 8-hour mark, giving us more matches. Too many matches? I'll let you be the judge of that. Also, the on-screen watermarks are not present here, but strangely the frame-rates seem slower on certain DVD players for this collection, which I cannot explain.

Anyway, we kick off with what may have been the best PPV match of them all in 2015: a phenomenal Triple Threat showdown between Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Seth Rollins from Royal Rumble. Then, it's Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan from Fast Lane, at a time when the WWE fan base had just turned on Reigns following the calamitous booking of the Rumble match. WrestleMania 31 is up next, and whereas the 2012 set had a third of its running time taken up by Undertaker vs. HHH and Rock vs. Cena (including promo videos, the WM 28 footage took up around two hours of that particular DVD), the round-up of WM 31 goings-on lasts less than an hour here. But we still have Rusev vs. Cena, a respectable encounter, and the surprisingly violent Lesnar-Reigns main event which gives birth to the term "Suplex City" and has a very memorable conclusion involving Seth Rollins and the Money In The Bank briefcase. Funnily enough, the recap of WrestleMania only specifically spotlights one match (Lesnar-Reigns) and largely ignores Sting-HHH, Sting's first ever WWE match. Could that be because of the participation by the now-fired and black-balled Hulk Hogan? Hmmm ...

Disc one doesn't end there, as we get Tyson Kidd and Cesaro against The New Day, which is good but has a slight filler feel to it. Reigns vs. Big Show, an unexpected treat under Last Man Standing rules, would have been a better way to end the first disc. Disc two opens with Payback's Fatal Four Way between Rollins, Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton, which exceeds expectations, before moving onto Elimination Chamber and the good yet occasionally confusing and overly long WWE Tag Team Title Chamber match (six teams were involved, although some entrants seemed to forget the elimination rules), and the terrific Cena-Kevin Owens match which made KO a major WWE player in one night (his first main roster match, don't forget).

Money In The Bank is featured next, and here I felt the producers made a mistake. Having both the MITB Ladder match and the Rollins-Ambrose Ladder match on this DVD feels a bit overwhelming; one should have been chosen over the other. I would have preferred the MITB match because, whilst not one of the best, it's fought at a fast-pace and doesn't last too long. Seth vs. Dean, on the other hand, is a bit of a chore to sit through: it has its moments and is undoubtedly a good match, but it lasts way too long, and features some frustrating lack of selling by Ambrose towards the end. We even get Seth's short post-match interview, meaning that the entire match presentation is nearly an hour long. Which is fine if the long match is a classic, but it isn't. You will enjoy quite a few spots from the battle, and both men should be credited for the effort they put forward, but the number of times that you'll be checking your watch during this will be high (or your phone; I check my iPhone for the time because, hey, I'm technology savvy! I wish.).

Rollins vs. Ambrose lasts so long that one needs a break before watching disc three. When you do resume your viewing, you get a pretty good Charlotte-Sasha-Brie 3-way in the first official match of the "Divas Revolution" (Stephanie McMahon is once again given the credit for this move, despite the efforts of the ladies being the true motivation), and another great Cena-Owens match, both from Battleground. I would have preferred their second, and arguably best, match from MITB here too instead of the overly long Seth-Dean bout, but you can't have everything, I suppose. We do get the brutal Undertaker-Brock Lesnar main event from SummerSlam, which is very compelling, and their surprisingly bloody and violent Hell In A Cell match to close the DVD on a high. In between, we get Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte in a decent match that is remembered more as a transition to officially kicking off the "new era" of women's wrestling in WWE, and Seth Rollins vs. Sting, which is cut short due to Sting being injured, possibly in a career-ending fashion (both Nikki-Charlotte and Seth-Sting are from Night Of Champions). Yes, Survivor Series and TLC are absent yet again, although neither show provided a truly classic match, although they did have their moments (Undertaker's 25th anniversary match, Sheamus cashing in MITB on Reigns, Roman going ballistic on HHH, Kalisto's insane Salida Del Sol off a ladder ... on second thoughts, where the hell are Survivor Series and TLC matches???).

This is a very good set; as noted earlier, 2015 probably saw more strong WWE supercard matches than ever before, and with NXT talent continuing to move up to the main roster, 2016 should prove to be even better. Therefore, a set highlighting the year's top matches and moments was always likely to be great, and so it has proved. The PPV recaps are a bit too long at times, but they are a cool addition, and as noted earlier, hopefully they will be used again in the future. The only big downside is that an hour is taken up by that Rollins-Ambrose Ladder match; it might sound like I'm being too harsh on that match, but it really is draining to watch on a three-disc collection!

It's interesting to see how the WWE roster has changed since the Best Pay-Per-View Matches DVD series began with 2009-2010. Veteran names like Shawn Michaels and Edge have retired, Rey Mysterio and Batista have moved on, and some slightly younger stars like Jeff Hardy and CM Punk being unlikely to return in WWE in future. Massive names like Rock and Lesnar have returned and, in Rock's case, he may indeed wrestle once again in the future (Lesnar will continue wrestling for WWE until 2018 at least, apparently). Other legends like HHH and Undertaker are still around, but only wrestle occasionally. After a troubled few years, the roster has been revitalised and one can now expect a very good match or an excellent one on almost every single PPV event, and on most TV shows too. This is thanks to the likes of The Shield, Daniel Bryan (whose future remains up in the air) and, more recently, Kevin Owens. And, funnily enough, John Cena is still WWE's number one guy when you really analyse the big picture, although as this set shows, he had more truly great matches in 2015 than probably the previous six years combined.

Of course, it remains to be seen what matches we'll get on next year's set, or even if we'll get another entry in the series, with the diminishing DVD sales and the continued focus on the WWE Network. However, if DVDs are still your thing and 2015 sounds like a good year of WWE action for you to relive, I would definitely recommend this compilation for you. Just try not to doze off during Rollins-Ambrose at MITB (okay, last one! It was a good match, honest!).

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 - Excellent

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2014

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 528 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: January 12 2015

The year 2014 was a turbulent one for WWE. On one hand, we had the rise of Daniel Bryan to championship glory at WrestleMania XXX, the continued ascension of The Shield members before and after their break-up, the re-establishment of Brock Lesnar an absolute monster, and the debut of Sting at Survivor Series. On the other hand, we had the initial outrage at Daniel Bryan's non-entry in the Royal Rumble match, CM Punk walking out the following day, the end of The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania XXX and other moments of frustration (such as the repeated delaying of the WWE Network launch in the United Kingdom). If nothing else, it was a very memorable year, and many of the year's biggest memories came on Pay-Per-View.

As we have seen previously, this DVD set brings us plenty of the best or most memorable PPV matches of the year. Like with previous sets, Survivor Series and TLC aren't touched, and one or two omissions are surprising, as I will explain. This set also has a thrown-together feel to it by the generic artwork and the lack of a host. However, because it wasn't released on Blu-ray (and wasn't released in the United States at all, strangely), the running time is longer, giving us more action and basically more bang for our buck. (Okay, "bucks" are American currency and wouldn't apply since it wasn't on sale in the US, but the expression still works, dammit!).

This set, the fifth to focus on WWE's PPV highlights, begins on a high with Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt from Royal Rumble; whilst slightly overrated, it is nonetheless a great opener to that show and this collection. You may not be shocked to learn that Randy Orton vs. John Cena from Rumble and Batista's RR win, both of which were s--t on by fans for different reasons, are not included here. So, we jump to Elimination Chamber and what was arguably the year's best WWE match: an outstanding six-man bout pitting The Shield against The Wyatt Family. Then, we have the Chamber main event inside the chain-link domed structure: Orton vs. Cena vs. Bryan vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Christian isn't talked about much these days, but as the evidence shows here, all involved put forth a great effort as a couple of storylines were advanced with WrestleMania in mind.

Speaking of WrestleMania, it was Daniel Bryan's night, and here we get his two major matches from that show: an excellent battle with Triple H to enter him into the main event, and the headline bout against Orton and Batista which tells a logical story and ultimately provides an extremely satisfying conclusion to an unforgettable WrestleMania. Even better, because the DVD includes some promo videos, we get the awesome promo video (set to Monster by Imagine Dragons) which encapsulates Bryan's rise perfectly. However, The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar - you know, the match where the Streak ended and which is already one of the most memorable moments in WWE history - is not here. Okay, so the match was a let-down, partly due to Taker suffering a concussion early on, but being such a shocking chapter in WWE's lifetime, surely we should have still had it on this DVD? Even a few seconds of clips showing just the finish and the post-match fan reactions would have been worthwhile. Oh, well. Similarly, a quick recap of Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and The Rock opening up Mania together in the ultimate feel-good segment would also have been appreciated.

Moving on to Extreme Rules for disc two, we get a Pre-Show match in this series for the first time with the surprisingly entertaining WeeLC bout between Hornswoggle and El Torito, which is enjoyable for everyone except vertically-challenged people, who may feel patronised by the overall match presentation. Big E vs. Bad News Barrett is basically filler; not sure why this is here, because it isn't particularly memorable. The same cannot be said of The Shield vs. Evolution from the same show; whilst a shade inferior to Shield vs. Wyatts from Elimination Chamber, this is still a gripping six-man match and provides the Hounds Of Justice with a real boost.

Next up, it's Payback, which treats us to Sheamus vs. Cesaro before their matches felt stale, and John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is a really good Last Man Standing match filled with memorable spots. Although we aren't shown footage as evidence until later on, Seth Rollins broke up The Shield after Payback, so the feud between him and Dean Ambrose runs into the Money In The Bank Ladder match which is next on the DVD. This MITB match is one of the best, in my opinion, partly because the rest of the cast seemed to have no chance of winning, so the action that we were treated to resulted in a much better bout than I was expecting. The second disc ends with a great Usos-Luke Harper and Erick Rowan clash from Battleground under Two Out Of Three Falls rules, and the Intercontinental Title Battle Royal from the same card which is pretty decent, but probably wouldn't be described as one of WWE's "Best Pay-Per-View Matches" in 2014.

Disc three now, and it's onto SummerSlam, where WWE decides to focus on the mid-card for the purpose of this DVD. To that end, we get a rushed AJ Lee-Paige match, a well-executed yet not exactly classic Jack Swagger-Rusev bout (where the winner has their flag raised at the conclusion), and on a better note, one of the best Lumberjack matches that you are likely to see between Ambrose and Rollins; it descends into controlled chaos and is very well-received by fans in the Staples Center that night. Oddly, Brock Lesnar's mauling of John Cena en route to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from SummerSlam wasn't included (maybe the producers dislike Brock?), but their very compelling Night Of Champions rematch is here. Before that, we get two other NOC bouts: The Usos vs. Goldust & Stardust (a good match, but inferior to the Usos/Wyatts bout from earlier) and a very good showdown between Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. The DVD ends at Hell In A Cell once again with a thrilling Dolph Ziggler-Cesaro match, also under 2 Out Of 3 rules, and Cena vs. Orton in a HIAC match (which is good enough to overcome fan apathy at their latest PPV meeting; you may spit out your drink when the pre-match promo video seems to put their feud on the level of Ali vs. Frazier, which is a laughable over-exaggeration).

Although there's loads of action on offer and many of the matches are good, very good or excellent, the absence of Lesnar's two biggest bouts from the year (which he ended as WWE Champ, don't forget). And because Survivor Series and TLC are again omitted, we are denied the outstanding ten-man main event from Survivors that sees Sting's historic first appearance in a WWE arena, as well as the hard-hitting Ziggler-Harper Ladder match from TLC. Why WWE won't just delay the release to allow for this to be a true overview of the year gone by, I do not know. It's more inexcusable here because the US market didn't get it, meaning that a change to the format would have had a reduced impact. On the bright side, we do get nearly nine hours of action; and whilst the main DVD shows clips from matches not featured here (which WWE does not normally do on its home video releases), eagle-eyed viewers may spot a surprise at the end of the menu montage. Hint: think of a scary man with a lamb mask.

Summing this one up, the thing is: if you are interested in this DVD, there's a good chance that you may have already seen the supershow matches on offer, and if you have the WWE Network (which is about to finally launch in the UK, or so one hopes!), you can access the top 2014 PPV matches with a few button clicks. Also hindering the DVD is Lesnar's Streak-ending win over Undertaker and his SummerSlam annihilation of John Cena being excluded, and the inclusion of a fair amount of filler. However, there's still a lot of high-quality action here, and whilst there was no definitive Match Of The Year in WWE, most of the top contenders are on this compilation. Despite the longer running time, it's probably the weakest entry so far, but it is still a very entertaining round-up of a memorable year for WWE nonetheless.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Best Of WCW Clash Of The Champions

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 393 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: August 6 2012

Clash Of The Champions was the WCW equivalent of Saturday Night's Main Event. COTC was a major television special held a few times per year, showcasing top talent and major main event matches outside of the Pay-Per-View events like Starrcade and The Great American Bash. The difference between Clash and SNME was that the NWA/WCW roster was more inclined to go out and put on a great wrestling match compared to the more entertainment-based action (which I was a huge fan of at the time, by the way) you would find on SNME. Over time, the Clash would reduce in importance, but it was a key WCW occasion for many years.

This DVD, hosted by Dusty Rhodes, showcased more than two dozen of the most memorable Clash matches from its 35 specials, spanning 1988-1997. It's not a factor worth mentioning nowadays, but the DVD was delayed by several weeks in the UK due to apparent issues between Silver Vision and WWE. Whatever difficulties the two parties had must have been significant, because this would be the final year that Silver Vision distributed WWE DVDs for the European market; from January 1 2013, that task went to Fremantle Media.

Anyway, back to the review. Perhaps the most famous Clash bout is the main event of Clash #1, which opens this DVD: Ric Flair vs. Sting is a 45-minute classic (by the standards of the time, anyway), which automatically elevated the less experienced opponent and ensured that fans viewed him as a future World Champion. This was more crucial by the fact that Clash was conceived as a way to compete with the WWF: Clash was broadcast on the same night and at the same time as WrestleMania IV, and not only drew a high rating, but had a knock-on effect on the WM IV buy rate (I should mention that the WWF had already launched Survivor Series on PPV and the original Royal Rumble television special to compete with NWA PPVs Starrcade 1987 and Bunkhouse Stampede 1988, so this was a reaction rather than a new competitive direction by the NWA).

From the same Clash, we get a Tag Team Title bout between Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard and the combo of Lex Luger and Barry Windham. This and the subsequent Arn/Tully vs. Sting/Dusty match from Clash II illustrate how good a team Anderson and Blanchard were; think of the Revival on NXT today, and you'll find the blueprint set by Arn and Tully. After that, we get a fairly short Chain match between Ricky Morton and Nikita Koloff from Clash III, which has some eventful post-match shenanigans.

Strangely, the classic Flair-Ricky Steamboat 2 Out Of 3 Falls match from Clash VI is not here (the Flair-Sting opener does take up a chunk of disc one, admittedly, so a second lengthy bout may not be ideal, even though longtime fans of Clash will have been more than accustomed to long matches), so we jump ahead to a great Flair-Terry Funk I Quit match from Clash IX, rounding off what Ric's fans consider to be his greatest year ever in the ring. After that, we go to 1990 for a double-header to round off disc one: we get a brief match from Clash X between Mil Mascaras and Cactus Jack Manson, during which Cactus takes a sickening fall that sees the back of his head bounce off the concrete floor (read Foley's first book Have A Nice Day! for an interesting account of the details behind this contest), and a tag match pitting The Rock 'N' Roll Express and The Midnight Express from Clash XI, which I found to be disappointing by the standards of this vintage 1980s tag team rivalry due to some occasional, uncharacteristic sloppiness. (Incidentally, can you believe that the decade began with Rock 'N' Roll vs. Midnight and ended with Edge & Christian vs. The Hardyz? Wrestling changed so much in the 1990s.)

Disc two starts strong with a Lex Luger-Ric Flair match from 1990's Clash XII, with Flair unusually challenging for the United States crown. Both WCW and the Clash would take a dip in quality over the next few months, under the management of Jim Herd, and that comes across on this DVD: The Young Pistols and Tom Zenk against The Fabulous Freebirds from Clash XV in 1991 is alright but can't hold a candle to earlier matches here and has a contrived finish. The subsequent Battle Royal from Clash XVI, whilst a change in pace from other matches on this release, is even worse: there are notable botches, and some of the characters included are so bad that they actually made me laugh out loud when they were introduced. (Of note, Kevin Nash makes an appearance as Oz, a character that you should Google if you're unfamiliar with it; we also get one of Steve Austin's earliest WCW cameos.) Sting vs. Rick Rude from Clash XVII, which also appeared on the recent United States Title DVD, is better but doesn't last very long and is more of an angle than a match.

I can't clarify this because I wasn't regularly watching WCW at the time, but it appears that 1992 must have sucked for Clash Of The Champions (which is saying something based on the 1991 bouts that did make it in), because we have to wait more than 18 months for our next match, although thankfully the quality rises again with said match, a Two Out Of Three Falls match between The Hollywood Blondes and the combo of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson from Clash XXIII in June 1993. Flair is unbelievably over here, and the action is very good; not sure why the Blondes lost in two straight falls, even if the latter was on a disqualification, but that's WCW for you, I guess. The Blondes would be forced to split soon afterwards, to their genuine dismay, leading to the next match on the DVD, Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman from Clash XXV. Disc two ends with two matches from Clash XXVI, held in January 1994: Lord Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes for the Television Title and Sting/Ric Flair vs. Vader/Rick Rude. Bobby Heenan debuted as a WCW commentator on this Clash show, and he comes out with some priceless one-liners during both of these matches, especially during Regal vs. Rhodes.

The seeds of the new WCW were planted at Clash XXVII in June 1994 as Hulk Hogan made his first appearance in a WCW arena (to heavy boos, by the way). That segment isn't here, but disc three does kick off with Sting vs. Flair from the same show, which sets up Hogan confronting Slic Ric in the post-match. After a strong Austin-Ricky Steamboat match from Clash XXXII (which I believe was the match where Steamboat suffered a back injury that ended his career, save for a few appearances in 2009), we once again have a long wait for the next action, which comes from Hogan and Randy Savage taking on Flair and The Giant at Clash XXXII in January 1996. Yes, WCW had now changed a lot, but the biggest change was the introduction of Nitro four months prior. As a result, the Clash no longer held great significance, since Nitro was far more of a priority; for instance, the night before this particular Clash, in the same arena (MGM Grand in Las Vegas), Savage actually beat Flair to win the WCW World Title on Nitro. And yet this show was called Clash Of The Champions, so wouldn't you think ... never mind.

WCW had changed even more by August 1996, due to Hogan's stunning heel turn and the official formation of the nWo at Bash At The Beach the previous month. So, there's a weird vibe to Clash XXXIII as fans are adjusting - yet remain incredibly excited - about the new direction for the company. Strangely, whilst Hogan's contribution to that particular Clash is a DVD extra, three other matches from the same Clash are instead in the main feature: a short Madusa-Bull Nakano bout, an enjoyable yet also brief Diamond Dallas Page-Eddie Guerrero showdown and an intriguing yet confusing three-way tag between Harlem Heat, The Steiners and the team of Sting and Luger (which was a few weeks before Sting temporarily left WCW, only to return as the mysterious Crow character).

After that, we have a great Cruiserweight Title match between Ultimo Dragon and Dean Malenko from Clash XXXIV in January 1997; unlike many Cruiser matches from this era, the fans are well up for it, and go insane when fan favourite Malenko comes out on top. Nevertheless, the Clash felt as insignificant as ever since more would happen on a typical episode of Nitro than all of the year's Clashes combined by this point. This probably explains why Clash XXXV in August 1997 was the final edition, and we get two matches from the last Clash to close this DVD: a good Eddie Guerrero-Chris Jericho showdown and a decent DDP/Luger vs. Savage/Scott Hall tag match, followed by a belated birthday celebration for the nWo which ends with Sting looking on at the new World order whilst holding a vulture. What a weird end to the history of the Clash, especially since it appears that alternate audio is dubbed over this moment (that Sting's real nemesis Hogan wasn't present at the Clash for this angle emphasises how COTC was not at the top of WCW's to-do list by the summer of '97). It would be a lie to say that fans really missed the Clash when it went off the air because Nitro had taken the Clash formula (major matches and big angles on free television) and delivered more excitement than ever for WCW fans, every single week. But it's telling that in August 1997, WCW could afford to drop the Clash, and yet by August 1998, it was consistently losing the Monday Night War to the WWF, and just over 2 ½ years later, the company was a goner.

As mentioned earlier, Hogan's match from Clash XXXIII is here as a DVD extra, as he defends the WCW Title against Flair. It's weird to see a Flair-Hogan match where Ric plays the babyface and Hogan plays heel, but even weirder is how Hogan still Hulks Up, as if it were 1991 and the match were taking place in Madison Square Garden. This combined with the poor ending makes one wonder how Hogan's matches attracted such high ratings for WCW in 1996/1997, since many of his bouts had similarly frustrating outcomes. The other bonus match is The Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics from the first Clash, which starts as an unhinged brawl that seems years ahead of its time, only to suddenly turn into a regular tag bout. How strange.

Unusually, the two bonus matches on the DVD are different to the extra matches on the Blu-ray version. They are Flair and Barry Windham vs. The Midnight Express from Clash IV, Sting/Steamboat vs. Rude/Austin from Clash XVIII (ah, a 1992 match is in then!) and a Thunder Cage match pitting Dustin Rhodes and Sting against Vader, Mr. Wonderful and Barry Windham from Clash XXII. It's a reason for you to buy both the DVD and the Blu-ray, you see, since to have all the matches in your collection, you would require both (or the WWE Network, which has been launched since this was released and includes every Clash event in their entirety). Oh, those cheeky scamps at WWE.

Summing this one up, longtime fans of the NWA/JCP/WCW will love this DVD; there are plenty of high-quality matches, especially in the 1988-1990 period. The in-ring highlights are less frequent as the Clash goes into the 1990s, but selected Sting matches, DDP vs. Eddie and the Cruiserweight matches towards the end are well worth watching too. Not to mention that two of the most famous Clash matches ever - Flair vs. Sting and Terry Funk from March 1988 and November 1989 respectively - are included. It's a shame that the epic Flair-Steamboat showdown from April 1989 isn't here, and for unintentional comedy value if nothing else, I would have enjoyed reliving the Pillman-Guerrero match from January 1996 due to Bobby Heenan's genuine "What the f--k are you doing?" reaction to Pillman going off-script under his Loose Cannon persona and teasing that he would touch Heenan's legitimately injured neck. (By the way, this is on the Network, and is completely uncensored, despite that show having a PG rating on the Network.) But you can't have everything.

On the down-side, some of the action from the early 1990s is very hard to watch, and several matches on the final disc either have a phoned-in feel to them or they have annoying finishes. Mind you, they both embody their respective eras: the 1991 version of WCW was the pits, if we're being honest, and the mass interference during nWo matches was a big part of their appeal in 1996/7, as strange as it may see today. And since the Clash is (obviously) the subject of this DVD, these particular encounters almost had to be included in order to cover these periods of the Clash's history. Oh, and Jesse Ventura's commentary and Michael Buffer's ring announcements are dubbed over, which becomes bizarre when we can see them actually on-screen (in Buffer's case, we get full-on close-ups during certain ring entrances).

Although the Clash was never as memorable or as meaningful as its counter-part Saturday Night's Main Event, it nevertheless had a major role in the WCW calendar for almost a decade, and during its peak years, it was probably the best wrestling television programme that fans who appreciated the actual art of wrestling could find. Maybe WWE will live up to this legacy with its Clash Of Champions (what happened to the "the"?) PPV event on September 25, which promises several potentially great matches that would have been right at home on a Clash show back in the day, as the old-timers would say.

So, should you buy this DVD? If you have a fondness for WCW or you just want to watch some great 1980s wrestling, then this is a very good DVD to purchase. It isn't the best by any means, due to the quality drop-off on discs two and three, but there's plenty to savour for longtime fans, and it completes the WCW set, so to speak, if you already own the Best-Of compilations for Monday Nitro and Starrcade.

Overall Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

Friday, 23 September 2016

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2013

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 435 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: January 13 2014

Once more, WWE has released a compilation focusing on the year's best Pay-Per-View encounters (well, those of the first ten months, anyway; and the match choices are always those of WWE, meaning some fan favourite bouts don't get a look-in). Renee Young takes over hosting duties here, with PPV posters to assist her, erm, links, and the artwork has a slightly grandiose theme highlighting WWE's biggest names ... except for Brock Lesnar. That Lesnar isn't included is unusual, and perhaps emphasises how his star doesn't shine quite as bright as it should presently. We don't get any promo videos for matches this time, which is a slight dampener.

Onto the action, though, and we have CM Punk vs. The Rock from Royal Rumble. Whilst a fun match to watch, that part-timer Rock was chosen to end Punk's 434-day WWE Title reign PO'd the hardcore fans to a great extent, especially with John Cena winning the Royal Rumble to set up Rock-Cena 2 as the main event for WrestleMania 29 (I personally didn't have a problem with the decision, although the fact that the People's Elbow was the move to finish Punk off ruined one's suspension of disbelief). After that, Elimination Chamber (an underrated show, in my opinion) gives us John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus vs. The Shield, a watchable yet fairly pointless match with a surprising outcome (at the time, anyway).

WrestleMania 29 is up next, and we're treated to two of Mania's top battles. The Undertaker vs. CM Punk is an awesome match, probably the best WWE match of the entire year; it isn't quite as good as Taker's WM showdowns with Shawn Michaels, but it is a classic nonetheless. Rock-Cena 2 has been criticised for simply existing by fans, meaning that they would have you think this match sucks. However, it's entertaining and tells a logical story of Cena learning (or thinking he had learned) from his mistake the previous Mania against Rock. Overall, it's probably a better match than their original in Miami, despite the fairly subdued atmosphere and the over-reliance on finishing moves near the end. I can understand fans moaning about this rematch because their WM 28 meeting was supposed to be "Once In A Lifetime", but did anyone truly believe that, especially when Cena lost in Miami? Besides, if WWE has a match that sets records and has massive appeal, why wouldn't they stage a rematch? Granted, the build-up to their second meeting was lazy by WWE, but that's beside the point.

Disc two brings us to Extreme Rules with two matches: a better-than-expected Extreme Rules battle between hometown hero Randy Orton and Big Show, and an exciting Steel Cage bout between Brock Lesnar and Triple H. Their feud went on for far too long despite this only being their third match, but it's engaging nonetheless. The only downside is that the crowd was so flat for their second clash at Mania, which was very well-executed; had the audience at MetLife Stadium (which I was a part of) responded better, the WM showdown could have been fondly remembered, and probably would have been included here too.

The focus on big names is reduced for the next few matches, as we get a couple of Payback bouts and a Money In The Bank Ladder match featuring much of WWE's upper mid-card crew. Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel (replacing the injured Fandango) is decent and has a cool finish, but probably doesn't need to be here. AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn, however, was the best WWE women's match in many years, and Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio is unexpectedly brutal and sees a double-turn pulled off brilliantly. As for the MITB Ladder match: it's a platform for Dean Ambrose, The Rhodes Scholars, The Real Americans, Fandango and Barrett to shine, and it is a really good stunt show, although it's still weird that WWE would hold a match starring seven heels and no babyfaces (even if one competitor, Cody Rhodes, begins his face turn during this encounter).

Disc three takes us to SummerSlam, probably the best PPV event of the year, and we get two big reasons why: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar is a believable and gripping war, and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan is a thrilling, if slightly overrated, main event that has some huge post-match shenanigans which gave birth to what would become The Authority. Night Of Champions, in contrast, felt like a real B-PPV, as evidenced by the two bouts featured here: ADR vs. Rob Van Dam is good but not great and has a crap ending, and AJ vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi is average at best. Better is Cody and Goldust vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns from Battleground, with the careers of both Rhodes brothers and the job as NXT chief of Dusty Rhodes at stake; there's a nice old-school feel to the match, mixed with the modern fast-paced, all-action style of those involved (and Goldust once again turns back the years with his performance here).

Hell In A Cell once again rounds off proceedings, as we get ADR vs. John Cena for the World Heavyweight Title (in Cena's comeback from a triceps injury, which was meant to sideline him until 2014 but instead saw him return after just 2 ½ months), which is watchable but nothing special, and Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan inside HIAC for the WWE Title (which Triple H had put into "abeyance", a fancy word for vacating it), and with Shawn Michaels as referee. It sounds like a classic waiting to happen but, whilst it is a good main event, there is something missing to prevent it being world-class, as was the case for all Orton vs. Bryan matches in the autumn of 2013, for some reason. Unlike previous entries in this series, one does not miss Survivor Series or TLC being absent because neither cards were exactly classics; that being said, Orton vs. Cena at TLC unified the World Titles, so that would have been a fitting way to round off the spotlight on 2013 supershows.

As it is, this is another good look back at WWE on PPV. I would have liked to see Lesnar-HHH from WrestleMania, Punk vs. Chris Jericho (CM's return from an extended absence) at Payback and ADR vs. Christian (an excellent little match) from SummerSlam, but the truly essential supershow matches are all here. Punk's two matches with Undertaker and Lesnar are the in-ring highlights, although Cena's matches with Rock and Bryan are the two most important from a storyline standpoint. Elsewhere, there's some good action across the board, with only a few matches feeling out of place. So, 2013 wasn't really the best year ever for WWE on Pay-Per-View, but most of the supershow highlights from that period can be found here.

Overall Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2012

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 385 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: March 4 2013

The Best Pay-Per-View Matches series would continue on to cover 2012, one of the most memorable years in recent times for WWE. Two huge WrestleMania matches, the return shortly afterwards of a major star, the year-long WWE Title run of the Best In The World, the entertainment provided by Team Hell No and the arrival of The Shield were just some of the reasons why there's a lot to remember about 2012. Much of it happened on Pay-Per-View, and a lot of that is covered here. Scott Stanford is again on hosting duties, and the artwork is a nice nod to the old-school wrestling posters from the 1970s and before. What's more, some promo videos are again included to explain why certain matches are happening, which is always a good thing.

We begin as ever at Royal Rumble, with CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler. It's a good match, but it's overshadowed by Punk's feud with special referee/enforcer John Laurinaitis, in Big Johnny's only appearance on the DVD, incidentally. The upshot is, Ziggler looks a bit weak as Punk has him beaten several times before finally finishing him off. Next up, the World Heavyweight Title Elimination Chamber had the potential to royally suck, but it ends up greatly exceeding expectations, and momentarily makes one believe that Santino Marella could indeed become the World Heavyweight Champion. Disc one closes with the outstanding Hell In A Cell war between The Undertaker and Triple H from WrestleMania XXVIII, refereed by Shawn Michaels and containing enough drama and action to justify why most people considered this to be the best match of the entire year.

Disc two simply had to open with The Rock vs. John Cena; their Once In A Lifetime (ahem) clash from WM XXVIII had been hyped up for a full year, and whilst it isn't as bad as some people suggest, nor is it as good as those who call it a classic would have you believe, it does live up to the hype, and it comes off as WWE intended; that being, the biggest WWE match in years (there arguably hasn't been a bigger showdown since). Extreme Rules is omitted completely, which is irksome since that was one of the year's top shows (perhaps Brock Lesnar's mauling of John Cena in his comeback match would have prevented this set achieving a PG rating), so we move to Over The Limit for an unmemorable Divas Title clash between Layla and Beth Phoenix, and an enjoyable Christian-Cody Rhodes bout from No Way Out. Disc two ends with a strong CM Punk-Daniel Bryan No Holds Barred battle from Money In The Bank, although I would have preferred to see their superior, outstanding wrestling collision from Over The Limit than this one, which is very good but relies too much on where special referee AJ Lee's intentions lie.

Disc three kicks off with Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H from SummerSlam, which is far better than I remembered it being at the time (the crowd goes a bit quiet at some points, which is why some felt it came off badly when it was held, but it's nothing like the silence we've seen greet some more recent matches). Night Of Champions gives us two very good matches in Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (this is the Viper's only appearance on the DVD in what was a fairly forgettable year for him) and CM Punk vs. John Cena (the double-pin finish fooled a lot of fans into believing that Cena had indeed regained the WWE Championship). The set ends with Sheamus vs. Big Show for the World Title from Hell In A Cell, which would surpass expectations by a wide margin and end up being one of the best matches in Show's entire career. For those who say that Sheamus is dull and can't wrestle today, they should take another look at his efforts here.

Once again, Survivor Series and TLC are omitted and, once again, it is to the detriment of this collection. While Survivor Series wasn't a vintage show by any means, it did include the first appearance by The Shield, and their official debut match at TLC, under TLC rules opposite Ryback and Team Hell No, was outstanding and would have been a more-than-worthy inclusion here. As it is, though, the compilation wraps up at Hell In A Cell. Have I mentioned yet that this is a frustrating trend with the Best PPV Matches DVDs?

Based on what we do have here, though, this is another fine entry in the series. Taker vs. HHH is a classic, and there are at least another half-a-dozen matches that are really good or in some way memorable. That two of the year's best encounters (Punk vs. Bryan from Over The Limit and The Shield's debut at TLC) are not included knocks this down a peg, but one should thoroughly enjoy this look back at 2012 on PPV nonetheless.

Overall Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

Thursday, 22 September 2016

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2011

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 422 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: March 26 2012

The Best Pay-Per-View Matches series returned to DVD to cover the big encounters of 2011. This time, the structure was more logical by focusing on the year as a whole rather than a "season". The downside is that WWE chose to release this collection at the tail end of 2011 in the U.S. (meaning, the very beginning of 2012 in the UK), all of which meant that Survivor Series and TLC, the final two supershows of the year, were held too late to be covered in this DVD. This is a trend that has continued ever since, and hopefully one which WWE will end at some point; if you're recapping the year's best matches, you can't justifiably ignore two major shows that close the annum out.

That aside, the 2011 set is a very good round-up of top-drawer matches. Disc one opens with two great Edge matches: a singles battle with Dolph Ziggler from Royal Rumble, and an Elimination Chamber scrap (at the event of the same name) against Rey Mysterio, Kane, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre and Big Show. The Chamber bout in particular is excellent, and an example of how this match can still provide thrills and spills in a PG environment.

We head to WrestleMania XXVII for the next two matches: by most accounts, the 27th Mania was disappointing, but Rey vs. Cody Rhodes (featured here) is alright, and The Undertaker vs. Triple H (which closes out the first disc) is an incredibly dramatic battle; yes, it's slow-paced and it's more a collection of spots rather than a back-and-forth match, but it works, and it puts the Streak in the most jeopardy that it would ever be, prior to Brock Lesnar actually ending it three years later.

Disc two kicks off with a Ladder match from Extreme Rules between Christian and Alberto Del Rio for the vacated World Heavyweight Title, which is pretty good if not the most exciting Ladder bout that you'll ever see. Over The Limit is ignored altogether, which is annoying because Randy Orton vs. Christian from that show was one of the year's genuine best WWE matches. Capitol Punishment makes up for this slightly with a really good Rey Mysterio-CM Punk match, at which point the seeds were being sown for a certain wrestler to suddenly become the centre of attention (hint: he's Straight-Edge).

From there, it's off to Money In The Bank, which gives us a strong Raw MITB Ladder match involving Del Rio, Rey, R-Truth, The Miz, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and Alex Riley (remember him?). I personally would have preferred seeing the SmackDown MITB clash here instead, but it's still really good. And then we head to that card's main event to close disc two: John Cena (in his first appearance of the DVD, surprisingly) vs. CM Punk for the WWE Title, in front of a red-hot Chicago crowd. It isn't quite flawless, but it is an extremely compelling main event backed up by one hell of a storyline (the match is preceded by the promo video detailing the Punk-is-leaving storyline, the only time such a device is used in this particular set). This is one of the two most memorable matches of the year, alongside Taker-HHH, and the match and the wider storyline is a reason why many fans decided to start watching WWE again. If that isn't an endorsement, I don't know what is.

Disc three starts strong with Randy Orton vs. Christian (at last, one of their matches!) under No Holds Barred rules from SummerSlam, which aside from a subsequent Cage match on SmackDown brought an end to what was the year's best rivalry bar none. After that, the match quality begins to dip as we see Mark Henry challenge Orton for the World Heavyweight Title at Night Of Champions; it plays to Henry's strengths (no pun intended), but it's the weakest match of the DVD up to that point. HHH vs. Punk from NOC is here too, and is a very good, wild brawl, although it gets a bit overcrowded with interference and shenanigans, and the result (a HHH win, with no real follow-up) is one of the reasons why Punk would leave WWE for real in 2014.

The standard takes a nose-dive when we get to Hell In A Cell. A generally mediocre event, it gives us two matches, neither of which are particularly worth watching: Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix, in the days when the word "Diva" was of greater importance to WWE than actual female wrestling talent, is lifeless and loses the crowd when Kelly practically cries due to the pain of a submission hold (what the hell?). Cena vs. Punk vs. ADR is okay, but it's a match held inside a Hell In A Cell rather than a Hell In A Cell match, if that makes sense; although the finish makes use of the structure, this really didn't need to be inside that massive cage. (The post-match scenes involving Awesome Truth are fairly memorable, though.) Lastly, it's Henry vs. Big Show from Vengeance; in fairness to the slow, cumbersome giants, the match is better than expected, and the finish (which I won't spoil here, even if the DVD cover for that actual event did indeed spoil what happened), whilst recycled, allows the DVD to end on a high note of sorts.

Other notes: Scott Stanford provides hosting duties, and the box art looks like it has had some effort put into it this year. Again, I wish WWE would have delayed the release to cover Survivor Series and TLC; TLC had plenty of memorable moments, whilst Survivors saw Punk begin his 434-day WWE Title reign at Alberto's expense, and the teaming of The Rock and John Cena against Miz and R-Truth. Partly because of that decision, one would never know from watching this DVD that Rock vs. Cena was a huge part of the WWE landscape in 2011 as they expertly built very slowly to their WrestleMania XXVIII clash the following year (although Stanford does give a slight reference to that match as the DVD ends).

With the exception of there being no Orton-Christian match from Over The Limit here and the lack of action from the year's final two PPV events, the title of this collection is pretty accurate, as all of the year's most exciting, memorable or important supershow battles are here. Some choose to remember 2011 for Cena vs. Punk at Money In The Bank; for others, it's Undertaker vs. HHH; and a few might remember the less credited matches such as the World Heavyweight Championship clash from Elimination Chamber. Whatever the case may be, this is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of action, which maintains a strong standard across the first two discs and has some surprises, twists and turns during some of the less fondly-remembered matches. If you want to relive WWE in 2011, this is a very good set to watch.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 - Excellent

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2009/2010

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 356 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: August 16 2010

Considering the importance of major supershows to the WWF/WWE, it's surprising that it took so long for them to begin a regular DVD series focusing on the top PPV battles of a given period. Nevertheless, the first such collection covered the 2009/2010 season, which means Backlash 2009 to WrestleMania XXVI in this case. Future editions of the series would take a more logical route of simply covering the year from January onwards. This meant that some events would be strangely ignored - but we'll cover that in a future review.

Anyway, on this DVD, we kick off with an outstanding Last Man Standing (that sounded weird) clash between John Cena and Edge from Backlash, which was their final major showdown against one another. After that, we go to that card's opening match, a fun Jack Swagger-Christian battle for the ECW Title. Then, we have a Judgment Day main event between Edge and Jeff Hardy which is far better than people give this credit for, and this being so different to the Cena LMS bout, yet with both still being of a high quality, illustrates just how damn good Edge really was. (By the way, many of the matches included here have their corresponding video promo packages shown beforehand, which is a nice touch.)

Extreme Rules is strangely omitted from this collection, but the next match is still a treat: Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship from The Bash is a genuine classic, and has plenty of innovative spots and a clever finish, considering the Mask vs. Title stipulation. Closing disc one is a Six-Pack Challenge from Night Of Champions, where Kofi Kingston and company put on a pretty good effort in the face of what amounted to neglect from the WWE creative team on the Raw side at that time.

Disc two only has four matches, but they're all worth watching. We stay with Night Of Champions for an entertaining Triple Threat clash between Randy Orton, John Cena and Triple H in a rematch from WrestleMania XXIV. That it was held when all combinations of this trio had been overdone to death impacted the good work that went into matches like these (and Orton vs. Cena was only just resuming, as we'll see shortly). SummerSlam gives us two fantastic matches: Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler is as good a PPV opener as you'll ever see, and the first sign of Ziggler's true potential, whilst Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk under TLC rules is a great main event featuring another insane Swanton Bomb by Hardy. (Unfortunately, the post-match surprise return of The Undertaker isn't included, which is a shame.) Then, co-host Michael Cole talks absolute b-ll-cks when he suggests that the far too long-winded and largely uneventful Orton vs. Cena feud of 2009 was one of the greatest rivalries of all-time, although their I Quit match included here from Breaking Point is very compelling and was the highlight of their lengthy saga from this particular year.

Disc three begins with DX vs. Legacy inside Hell In A Cell from the event of the same name. Although it's a dramatic affair and tells a logical story, one can't help but feel that all of the good work done by Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase is undone within moments by Triple H and his attempts to prove his superiority (certainly not the first time he has committed such an act). Next up, we have the 14-man clash from Bragging Rights which is okay but nothing more; admittedly, the audience looks stunned by Big Show's betrayal near the end which meant that the match did leave an impact (although it shouldn't have been that big of a surprise; it's the flip-flopping Big Show that we're talking about, after all).

The opening 10-man encounter from Survivor Series 2009 (Team Miz vs. Team Morrison) is an enjoyable showcase of younger talent at a time when such a thing was a rarity in WWE, but it's not exactly the best Survivor Series match ever; it's arguably most memorable for Sheamus accidentally kneeing referee Scott Armstrong in the back of the head, causing Armstrong to be concussed and sit out the remainder of the match (to their credit, the official switch was handled so effectively that few will have noticed, besides WWE replaying the moment of painful contact). Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin for the ECW Title in a Ladder match from TLC is an underrated gem, despite some occasional botches. Some observations on this match: the entire front row of the hard cam-side of the ring appeared to be empty (this was the opening match of that PPV, to be fair), and someone hilariously shouted to the then-bleach blond Benjamin "Your hair looks like you've been stung by a bee!"

The running time must have been a concern for the producers at this point, because as we enter 2010, the only contribution from Royal Rumble is a very short Michelle McCool-Mickie James match, and Elimination Chamber isn't covered at all. So we jump ahead to the final match on the DVD, but it's a belter: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, the main event of WrestleMania XXVI, Streak vs. Career. Having attended this one live, I can tell you that this was awesome; as a matter of fact, it's one of the greatest matches in WWE history. To follow their outstanding WrestleMania 25 effort with something equally as awesome, and even more dramatic and important (Michaels would never wrestle again, as per the retirement stipulation), makes this a monumental encounter which hasn't been topped in WWE since, and a fitting way to end this collection. Also included are some comments, mostly in-character, about certain matches, and a few extra bouts are thrown in on the Blu-ray.

Some additional notes: the box art seems very generic, as do the menus; they feel as if they were knocked up by somebody on Paint. Surprisingly, John Cena isn't highlighted at all on the cover, unless you count his arm dragging Randy Orton (look at the picture and this will make sense). And whilst the links by hosts Michael Cole and Matt Striker are kept short, they're still a bit annoying, especially the awful dialogue by Cole to try and segue from a Striker practical joke to the comedy provided by DX. Finally, Batista doesn't appear on the main DVD at all (he is included on the Blu-ray), which is weird; sure, he left WWE shortly after this DVD was released, but Jeff Hardy had departed for TNA by this point and he is featured fairly prominently.

Those gripes aside, I felt that this was a really good compilation. If you own all of these events on DVD already, then this will be an unnecessary purchase, but even if you do, it's nice to have most of the season's top matches in one straightforward collection. There are some matches that you could argue deserve to be here, and likewise there are some questionable inclusions. But given the criteria to include a wide range of performers and match types, then this is as good a set as you could expect. And with plenty of memorable matches, not to mention that the DVD ends with a bang, this is a great advertisement for the WWE product from 2009/2010.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 - Excellent

Saturday, 17 September 2016

SummerSlam 2016 coming soon on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

The summer belongs to the New Era! For the first time ever, the newly-created WWE Universal Championship is up for grabs when “The Demon King” Finn Bálor goes toe-to-toe with “The Undisputed Future” Seth Rollins. In a battle between Suplex City and Viperville, Brock Lesnar takes on Randy Orton in a match “15 years in the making”. In a rematch from WWE Money in the Bank, AJ Styles and John Cena look to up the ante to see who is the better man. The rivalry between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler heats up even further when they face off for “The Lunatic Fringe’s” WWE World Championship. The WWE Women’s Championship takes the stage when champion Sasha Banks defends her title against Charlotte. Plus much more as the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown Live turn up the temperature at WWE SummerSlam!


Match List:

Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton

WWE World Championship Match
Dean Ambrose (Champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE Universal Championship Match
Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor

John Cena vs. AJ Styles

WWE Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks (Champion) vs. Charlotte

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (Champion) vs. Apollo Crews

WWE United States Championship Match
Rusev (Champion) vs. Roman Reigns

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (Champions) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Enzo & Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens

Natalya, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Bella vs. Becky Lynch, Naomi & Carmella

Plus more action, extras and Blu-ray exclusives!

We like it because:

It’s WWE’s second biggest event in the year and a major landmark moment in the “New Era”.

SummerSlam not only crowns the first ever Universal Champion, but is stacked with the hottest young talent that WWE has to offer and the future of sports-entertainment – Finn Bálor, Sasha Banks, Enzo & Cass, Kevin Owens, Apollo Crews and Becky Lynch to name just a few.

There’s also a captivating battle between two of WWE’s most formidable veterans – Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. They are two Superstars who trained together, climbed the ranks at the same time and notched up multiple championships, but have never faced each other on PPV. What happens between them is one of the most shocking and controversial matches in WWE history.

Check out a genuine match of the year contender as John Cena and AJ Styles find out who truly is “face that runs the place”. It’s a sizzling, heart-stopping encounter between two Superstars at the absolute top of their game.

In fact, the action is electric from top to bottom, with every Superstar pulling out the stops to make this an unforgettable night – and the biggest SummerSlam in the event’s 28-year history.

A must-have for every WWE fan!

WWE SummerSlam 2016 will officially be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday October 10 2016.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Battleground 2016

Image Source: Fetch Publicity
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 192 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: September 19 2016

(To read a full event review of WWE Battleground 2016, click here.)

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

There was a danger that Battleground would have been a forgettable PPV, coming as it did just days after the Draft and right before the Raw and SmackDown rosters were officially re-introduced, meaning that much of the PPV card involved matches and storylines which could go no further beyond the show, with so many wrestlers assigned to opposite brands. However, the show succeeded due to a number of memorable matches and moments, and you can now relive the card on DVD.

For those who haven't seen Battleground, I won't spoil the identity of Sasha Bank's mystery partner in her battle against Charlotte and Dana Brooke, but it is a nice feel-good moment and the bout itself is a good one. It feels like forever now since The New Day took on The Wyatt Family, although Xavier Woods gets a rare chance to shine as part of his fear of Bray Wyatt, and Rusev vs. Zack Ryder is okay, albeit nothing special. Next up, we have an outstanding bout between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn which draws a line under their feud (for now). It wasn't quite the Match Of The Year, in my opinion, due to some slow periods early on and noticeable non-selling towards the end, but it is still a strong encounter and unquestionably the best on this particular PPV, as well as a fitting way to close a rivalry that we are told will probably never truly end.

Natalya vs. Becky Lynch is competent but suffers from a lack of audience interest; The Miz vs. Darren Young, on the other hand, is no different from a typical television match and has a bog-standard finish. The crowd is brought back into the show with John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass battling The Club in a pretty good six-man tag team match, with Enzo delivering a typically hyperactive and insult-heavy promo beforehand. Randy Orton's comeback appearance on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel has its moments, with Jericho in particular proving why he is a master on the microphone and a general entertainment factory. Finally, the all-Shield main event for the WWE Title - Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns - is a worthy headline attraction with a surprising outcome; it isn't the classic that fans who had waited years for this match will have hoped for, but it is very good, and I am confident that one day, these three will find a way to battle in a triangle match again, perhaps on a larger stage.

Since Battleground was another PPV to surpass the 3-hour mark (although it wasn't as long as the previous event, Money In The Bank), there are no DVD extras here, and certain segments between matches are either cut short or omitted entirely in order to squeeze this show onto one disc. If it is the plan for all future PPVs to go beyond three hours, then WWE needs to start releasing these cards on two discs so that fans are not missing out; otherwise, they could just go and watch the PPV events in retrospect on the WWE Network, where the entire cards and their respective Kick-Off Shows are included in full. Hopefully WWE will work out a more effective strategy that gives fans a reason to choose DVD releases of supershows over Network transmissions, but with rumours stating that only Raw cards will get a home video release in the new Brand Extension era, that could be easier said than done.

Despite this, though, if you're a collector, then you should buy Battleground 2016 on DVD. It boasts an excellent match, a strong main event, several decent bouts elsewhere on the card and some memorable appearances/returns, without spoiling the identity of those who make a cameo. It's also a chance to enjoy the last night of WWE action before the New Era truly began with the implementation of Brand Extension #2.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Thursday, 15 September 2016

WWE Tagged Classics: Austin 3:16 Uncensored, Three Faces Of Foley,Chris Jericho: Break Down The Walls and Kurt Angle: It's True

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 252 Minutes
Certificate: 18
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: September 17 2012

One of the final entries in Silver Vision's much-loved Tagged Classics series was its most packed release yet, as no less than four retro documentaries, all from the Attitude Era, were brought together on one set. The quality varies between each one, but there's a hell of a lot of entertainment to be found across the quartet of Attitude content.

Beginning with Austin 3:16 Uncensored, this 1998 VHS was the second release on Austin's career, and is based around a sit-down with Jim Ross. Austin is largely in character here, although his kayfabe answers are hardly insulting to one's intelligence. As the title suggests, Austin's language - which includes ass, b--ch, b-----d, bulls--t and one use of motherf--ker - go entirely uncensored, which was actually a selling point in 1998 (and would be in the modern PG climate, to be fair). The hour-long feature only recaps Austin's adventures from the first four months of 1998, but this does include his pre-Royal Rumble Stunners on much of the roster, his Rumble win, his confrontations with Mike Tyson, his showing in the eight-man tag at No Way Out Of Texas, his first WWF Title win at WrestleMania XIV and his clash with Dude Love from Unforgiven of that year.

This is a really entertaining profile of Stone Cold during part of his peak on top of a red-hot WWF. The downside is the short timeline; had this extended to cover Over The Edge (where Austin and Dude had a classic rematch), more of his incredible feud with Vince McMahon, his rivalry with The Undertaker and more, this would have been a fantastic feature. As it is, it's a fun snapshot of Austin's reign atop the WWF, but you would need to watch other Stone Cold features for the full story of his rise to the top and the reason why he became so damn popular. It is fun, though, to hear Austin say partially in character, and probably partially in truth, that he disliked how Shawn Michaels would brag about not laying down for anybody.

Three Faces Of Foley is more comprehensive in showcasing Mick Foley's highlights thus far in the WWF, as of summer 1998. They include Mankind's initial feud with The Undertaker, the in-depth interviews between Mankind and Jim Ross from 1997, Dude Love teaming with Austin in the summer of 1997, Cactus Jack's WWF debut against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the infamous Hell In A Cell war with The Undertaker from King Of The Ring 1998.

Foley explains each situation out of character in a conversational manner to The Hardy Boyz, who at that point had yet to make their mark in the WWF. There's also trivia notes and funny stories, such as one from Ric Flair's 40th birthday party (Foley jokes how Flair was already 40 back then, which would have been 1989). There's also clips from the brutal King Of The Death Matches tournament, which Cactus participated in (and won) in Japan in 1995.

The Foley feature is a good one, but even better is the Chris Jericho documentary, Break Down The Walls. An early example of the in-depth career retrospectives that are now a WWF/WWE trademark, this covers Jericho's first year with the company in great detail: his iconic debut in August 1999 (and the story behind his Millennium Clock), his Jerichoholics, his feud with Chyna, his battles with Chris Benoit and his great matches opposite Triple H from 2000. As well as comments from other wrestlers (such as The Rock, Edge and Christian and Triple H), we get a brief history of his pre-WWF adventures (although references to his WCW run are omitted), a tour of his house and a feature on his band Fozzy (at this point, Jericho was maintaining the gag that he had Fozzy frontman Moongoose McQueen were different people, despite the obvious similarities).

This is an excellent documentary for Jerichoholics, and is good enough that it would probably convert non-fans into Jerichoholics. Fortunately for Chris, his star would only continue to rise in the future, and many years later, we would get an even better documentary on Jericho's career in 2010 (Breaking The Code).

Lastly, It's True focuses on Kurt Angle's first year in the WWF. We see his introductory vignettes, his debut against Shawn Stasiak from Survivor Series 1999, his European and Intercontinental Title wins, his 2000 King Of The Ring triumph, his love triangle storyline with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and his first WWF Title win over The Rock at No Mercy 2000.

Unfortunately, this is the weakest of the four features here, because it's produced from an in-character standpoint. Angle maintains his on-screen persona rather than acting normal, and the contributors maintain that he's arrogant, unlikeable, nerdy etc. A few minutes of this approach may have been sufficient, but a full hour is too much; and whereas Austin's real-life character mirrored his on-screen persona (making the kayfabe approach more acceptable for his feature), Angle on TV and Angle off TV are (mostly) very different. This is still enjoyable, but not as much as the other profiles on this set. Making matters worse, the WWF/WWE has yet to release another Angle compilation (although TNA did release Kurt Angle: Champion in 2008).

Overall, though, this four-part Tagged Classic is a great trek through the Attitude Era, and at times a fascinating glimpse into how much the WWF/WWE, and their home video/DVD releases, have changed since 1998-2000. If WWE ever allows John Cena to say "motherf--ker" completely uncensored on a future DVD, I will be very surprised (but totally amused, nonetheless). If you loved the Attitude Era, you'll really enjoy this two-disc set.

Overall Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

Friday, 9 September 2016

United We Slam: The Best Of The Great American Bash

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 430 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: July 14 2014

Similar to the WCW PPV compilation released a few months earlier, United We Slam (hosted by Dusty Rhodes in his own unique, at times confusing yet ultimately entertaining way) is a straight-forward collection of matches from the history of The Great American Bash. The artwork of the DVD is quite nice and somehow fits with the theme, and I liked the minor touches, such as the fireworks going off during transitional scenes. The DVD does not cover the WWE years (2004-2008, or 2009 when the event was simply renamed The Bash), which is probably a good thing: few fans want to relive the abomination that was the Concrete Crypt, or the excitement of the original Punjabi Prison match (I jest).

Anyway, TGAB actually began in 1985 as a tour of Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA wrestling shows held in the summer rather than a stand-alone card. Some were filmed, and some were not. Of those that did make it onto camera, we get some worthwhile action, as the DVD opens with Ric Flair defending his NWA World Title against Nikita Koloff, following a spectacular helicopter entrance for The Nature Boy. Dusty and Larry Zbyszko provide new commentary for this match, which becomes bizarre when Dusty openly states "I don't care about this match". Better is The Rock 'N' Roll Express challenging The Andersons for the Tag Team Titles in 1986, which is your typical logical and well-executed doubles outing from the mid-1980s NWA that has your classic 1980s post-match hand-slap by Rock 'N' Roll, to celebrate their, erm, non-victory (by the way, Dusty and Larry commentate on this one as well; it's worth remembering that both had announcing experience from the Nitro era of WCW). Next, it's a Flair vs. Dusty Cage match from 1986, but this has clearly the version that we had on Dusty's own DVD, released in 2006, because it has commentary from Rhodes, Steve Romero (who left WWE years ago) and Mike Graham (who passed away in 2012, nearly two years before this DVD was released). It's always amusing to hear Dusty mention his "belly-welly" though, so I'll give them a pass on that.

Then, we're taken to the first (or one of the first; the timeline is confusing) War Games match from 1987, which sees Dusty, Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering battle The Four Horsemen and JJ Dillon in a great brawl; it makes one wish for the return of War Games in the modern era, although most followed the basic same formula and weirdly enough, the match usually ends around five minutes after the final participant enters, which nowadays would have fans shouting "Refund!" Anyway, the first disc concludes with The Road Warriors battling Sting and Lex Luger in 1988, as a part of the Bash tour but not as a part of the Bash PPV, as the show made its Pay-Per-View debut that year. Confused? Never mind. The match is alright, and we have Dusty and Larry commentating once more, with Larry randomly mentioning that he once saw Hawk slap some guy in an airport. (By the way, original match listings for this DVD had the inclusion of a Dusty/Sting vs. Road Warriors match from Starrcade 1988, which would have made no sense; fortunately, it was an error by those reporting on the DVD rather than an inexcusable mistake by the producers of this collection.)

From there, disc two brings us into the PPV era, and to the 1989 Bash, often considered one of WCW's greatest ever shows. Two reasons come on this compilation: a Sting-Great Muta clash, which is a little on the short side, and an intense Flair-Terry Funk main event, with the four aforementioned names having one hell of a post-match brawl (this would set up a tag match at Halloween Havoc later that year). Although it's a familiar match, Flair-Sting from 1990 had to be included for historical value, and it's a very good match in its own right. The 1991 Bash is skipped over, possibly because many considered it to be a dire show (even though Luger-Windham from that event made it onto WCW's Greatest PPV Matches), so we go directly to 1992 with a double-header: an entertaining tag match pitting Rick Rude and Steve Austin against Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham (the presentation of the match ending is handled clumsily by WCW), and a very enjoyable main event between Sting and Vader which has a shock outcome.

For some reason, WCW abandoned the Bash tradition in 1993 and 1994, but the card was resurrected in 1995. That being said, the Bash felt like a B-show for the next few years judging by the absence of certain key players, although '95 did feature a Ric Flair-Randy Savage clash. Flair-Savage opens disc three, but whilst entertaining, it's clear that Flair had passed his prime by this point; the match can't hold a candle to the earlier Flair-Funk showdown. The year 1996 is represented by a short yet momentous angle that saw The Outsiders attack Eric Bischoff (the great Dean Malenko-Rey Mysterio Jr match from the same event is a notable absentee), before we're taken to 1997 and a wild clash between Diamond Dallas Page and The Macho Man. From the same card (but held earlier that night), we have an awesome cruiserweight battle between Psychosis and Ultimate Dragon, which benefits from a hot-as-hell crowd, making a nice change from the WCW audiences that would generally sit in silence for most of the high-flying clashes.

After that, we have three 1998 matches: Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr and a dream tag match pitting Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart against Randy Savage and Roddy Piper. All three are worth watching, but they still have a slight filler feeling to them, as none are really classic encounters. Perhaps this is partly to cover the gap left by the DVD not including any matches from 1999, held at a time when WCW was firmly on the proverbial slippery slope (the most memorable part of that event was probably Sting supposedly being attacked by a bunch of dogs, which says it all really). That being said, the DVD closes with two matches from 2000, when WCW was even further in the s--t, and the booking of the final two bouts emphasise why: a needless betrayal on DDP (the third in as many WCW PPVs at the time on poor Page) and other interference overshadows the action in his Ambulance match with Mike Awesome, and a Jeff Jarrett-Kevin Nash main event is highly overbooked (the wealth of interference does provide us with perhaps the only appearance by an unmasked Rey Mysterio on a WWE DVD compilation), and ends with the ridiculous-in-hindsight Goldberg heel turn on Nash. One could say that turning its only true remaining babyface superstar into a villain was the moment when WCW entered the point of no recovery, but that probably came a month later with the Bash At The Beach 2000 fiasco. I know Goldberg loathes Vince Russo for switching him into a bad guy for no reason, and you wouldn't want to disagree with Da Man, right?

Anyway, the Bash ended along with WCW after that, but WWE brought back the Bash name in 2004 for its annual SmackDown PPV each summer. Unfortunately, the 2004 Bash was atrocious, and the 2005 Bash wasn't much better. The 2006 Bash was a slight improvement, and with all brands contributing, the 2007 and 2008 Bash cards at least provided some memorable moments. But after "Great American" was dropped, the 2009 Bash marked the end of the tradition, besides a one-night return for a random 2012 edition of SmackDown, which was hosted by Zack Ryder (don't ask). And so marked the end of The Great American Bash, unless WWE brings it back again (which it might just do, since we're apparently getting 19 PPVs a year in this Brand Extension II era).

Summarising the DVD, then: it's obvious to say, but if you were a die-hard fan of JCP/NWA/WCW, then you'll get a real kick out of reliving the matches and moments which formed the legacy of The Great American Bash. Newer fans will get a good education of why the event meant so much to fans of World Championship Wrestling, too. But I felt the WCW's Greatest PPV Matches set was superior (as it should be, when you think about it), as it boasted several matches that were true classics, whereas on this DVD, the action only reaches the "Outstanding" mark on one or two occasions; and whilst the spectacle of nWo-era WCW is always fun to watch back, the two 1997 bouts are arguably the only two really good encounters on the final disc. Nevertheless, if you're a longtime fan, you'll probably enjoy this DVD, and if nothing else, you'll get a chuckle from the random yet endearing comments made throughout by the late, great American Dream.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good