Friday, 23 September 2016

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

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