Friday, 15 December 2017

DVD Preview: WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

2017 was another monumental year for WWE. New Superstars became household names, dream matches became a reality, and the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown Live raised the level of competition in the world of sports-entertainment. Now, you can witness the greatest matches of 2017 in this exclusive collection! From the legendary first-time encounter between John Cena and Roman Reigns to the show-stealing WrestleMania match pitting AJ Styles against Shane McMahon and the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, 2017 left the WWE Universe wanting more!

Match Highlights:

Royal Rumble 2017 – January 29 2017
WWE Championship Match
AJ Styles (Champion) vs. John Cena

WrestleMania 33 – April 2 2017
Universal Championship Match
Goldberg (Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar

Payback 2017 – April 30 2017
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Great Balls Of Fire 2017 – July 9 2017
Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Samoa Joe

SummerSlam 2017 – August 20 2017
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Sheamus & Cesaro (Champions) vs. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins

No Mercy 2017 – September 24 2017
Raw Women's Championship Fatal Five Way Match
Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma

Hell In A Cell 2017 – October 8 2017
Falls Count Anywhere Hell In A Cell Match
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens

TLC 2017 – October 22 2017
“The Demon” Finn Bálor vs. AJ Styles

Plus much more action!

We like it because:

This is your chance to own the very best matches from one of sports-entertainment’s greatest ever years!

With Raw and SmackDown Live competing for brand dominance, the level of action and intensity was raised even further in 2017 – proof that the Superstars of WWE just get better and better!

And this collection has it all, from Royal Rumble and WrestleMania to SummerSlam and TLC!

Witness the dominance of Roman Reigns, the rise of Jinder Mahal, the numerous challengers to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship, and the phenomenal talents of AJ Styles!

Relive the reunion of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, the brutality of Samoa Joe, and the monstrous strength of Braun Strowman!

You’ll also see how it’s been another groundbreaking year for the women of WWE. The Women’s Money In the Bank Ladder Match is not just history in the making, but an incredible display of jaw-dropping action – plus there's even more from the Women’s Evolution!

Don’t miss out on this historic collection!

WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2017 will officially be released on DVD on Monday January 8 2018.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 8 December 2017

DVD Review: TLC 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 187 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: December 11 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

What happens when a one-match card suffers from outside factors forcing that bout to be cancelled? We found out at this year's TLC event, when the official reunion match of The Shield against a five-man army under Tables, Ladder and Chairs rules saw Roman Reigns removed for medical reasons with 48 hours' notice. This unexpectedly led to Kurt Angle - the Raw General Manager, whose in-ring WWE comeback was presumably being saved for WrestleMania 34 - being inserted into Roman's place (Daniel Bryan was also apparently considered, which opens up a whole bunch of questions to be dealt with another time).

As a result, the excitement surrounding The Shield reuniting was replaced by the shockingly sudden nature of Kurt Angle making a landmark in-ring return for the company. In addition, the same medical issues ruled out Bray Wyatt from facing Finn Balor. Instead of Sister Abigail facing The Demon, AJ Styles was brought in from a SmackDown tour in South America, meaning that Balor and Styles would be meeting for the very first time in a WWE ring. Needless to say, an entirely missable WWE PPV suddenly became can't-miss, and WWE has to be admired for going above and beyond to compensate fans who wanted to see The Hounds Of Justice battling as a united force.

Onto TLC itself: the card began with the main roster of Asuka opposite Emma. The match is enjoyable, though some complained at how much offence Emma had against the undefeated and seemingly-unstoppable Empress Of Tomorrow. In hindsight, this mattered little, though Emma not only lost the match but also her job just one week later in an unfortunate turn of events for the Australian blonde bombshell. We then get a pretty good Cruiserweight tag team match, as Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann put on a great performance opposite Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick.

Alexa Bliss' defence of the Raw Women's Championship against Mickie James is decent, with the veteran Mickie coming close to snatching the upset win and clinching the title. Enzo Amore's Cruiserweight Championship defence against Kalisto is unfortunately the poorest match of the evening; the chemistry just isn't there, and the finish is anticlimactic, partly due to Kalisto only winning the purple title 13 days earlier.

The dream match between Finn Balor (still in Demon attire) and AJ Styles lives up to the hype; though not quite a Match Of The Year contender, it is definitely on the next rung below, delivering some great action, and there is an excellent chance that the two men will collide again one day with an extensive build-up. Jason Jordan vs. Elias is filler, and it feels too much like a television bout to really grab the Minneapolis audience.

Finally, the TLC main event is ... bizarre. The novelty of Kurt Angle's return, him donning Shield attire, the weird line-up on the heel side (The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus, Braun Strowman and the suddenly-reappeared Kane), and the confusing nature of the match itself which sees Kane and Strowman have multiple bust-ups before Braun is sent off in a garbage truck, all make for a strange yet very memorable main event. It's hard to judge this one, other than to say that it is undeniably entertaining, and that few fans who watched the match live will forget it in a hurry.

Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox from the Kick-Off Show is the lone extra for the DVD (which incidentally is not part of a Double Feature set unlike every other solo-brand PPV this year, which is another sign that WWE could be scaling back on its supershows going forward).

Summing it up, then, TLC 2017 had the potential to be the worst WWE card of the year with a B-rate line-up, and then two of Raw's biggest names were removed from play. However, their replacements ultimately created greater anticipation and, certainly for Balor vs. Styles, superior action. Asuka's debut, a strong doubles match involving the Cruiserweights, a great Finn vs. AJ contest and a surreal main event all ensure that TLC 2017 ended up with more positives than negatives, and as a result, this is one of the WWE PPVs that I would suggest that fans should definitely rewatch on DVD.

Overall Rating: 7/10 - Respectable

Monday, 4 December 2017

DVD Preview: TLC 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

The Superstars of Raw head into one of the most brutal, jaw-dropping events ever - Tables, Ladders & Chairs. Kurt Angle returns to the ring to team with The Shield, AJ Styles battles Finn Bálor, and Asuka makes her debut in this incredible night of action!

Match Highlights:

5-On-3 TLC Match
Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman & Kane

Finn Bálor vs. AJ Styles

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. Mickie James

Cruiserweight Championship Match
Kalisto (Champion) vs. Enzo Amore

Asuka vs. Emma

Plus lots more action!

We like it because:

Not only is TLC one of the most anticipated nights on the WWE calendar, but this year’s event was nothing short of historic!

In one of the biggest surprises of 2017, the Olympic Hero and Hall of Famer returned to action in a WWE ring for the first time in 11 years. A last-minute replacement for Roman Reigns, Kurt hasn’t missed a step - and proves why he really is one of the all-time greats in a bone-crunching TLC match! Oh, it’s true!

As the trio battles the formidable fivesome of Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and Kane, the action has to be seen to be believed. But can two of the biggest monsters of all time - Strowman and Kane - really exist on the same team?!

The show also delivers a WrestleMania-worthy dream match-up, as AJ Styles comes over from SmackDown to face Finn Bálor. The result is a “phenomenal” display from two of sports-entertainment’s very best talents!

With more electric action and the WWE main roster debut of the undefeated, longest ever reigning NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, this is one not to be missed!

Don’t miss out!

TLC 2017 will officially be released on DVD on Monday December 11 2017.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 24 November 2017

DVD Review: WWE Double Feature: No Mercy 2017 & Hell In A Cell 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 381 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: November 27 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

The streak of inconsistent Double Feature DVD sets - with the Raw event generally offering value for money while the SmackDown show being sub-par - finally ends here with the latest release. That's because No Mercy delivers two major main event matches alongside some great action further down the card, whilst Hell In A Cell delivers what it promises with two exciting and memorable Cell encounters book-ending a decent under-card.

Starting with No Mercy, The Miz vs. Jason Jordan is a watchable opener, though Jason's attempts to gain acceptance from the fans as Kurt Angle's "son" take another hit here, both with the result and with the hostile reaction from the Los Angeles crowd. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt is okay but nothing special, but the opposite is true for Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus & Cesaro. Traditionally, the PPV rematch is inferior to the original, especially when the first encounter is a damn good one, but this is another absolute thriller between these four men, and it features Cesaro losing his teeth via a slingshot into the post in a pretty gruesome visual.

The high standards are maintained in the Fatal Five Way match for the Raw Women's Championship, which in my opinion is the best female match on WWE PPV so far this year, featuring a strong effort by all involved. Speaking of effort, John Cena and Roman Reigns graft in their first-time encounter, which despite a quiet early section lives up to the hype (such promotion included some savage shoot-style promos on Reigns by Cena). That being said, I still feel that this should have been saved for WrestleMania; sure, that was the selling point of No Mercy, but this is one of the very few matches that WWE has involving its regular crew which could credibly headline its biggest show of the year. Perhaps they'll meet again further down the road, but had this taken place at Mania, it would have had much more impact.

Moving on, Neville vs. Enzo Amore is a deliberately one-sided match with a shock finish, and the Cruiserweight Championship shenanigans would unfortunately lead to Neville walking out of WWE a few weeks ago (though the rumour mill suggests that he may be back fairly soon). Finally, Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman sadly ends the show on a bum note; it's not a bad match, but it doesn't generate half the excitement that their spots at SummerSlam (and even their promo interactions on Raw) created, partly because the structure of the match prevented this from happening. It feels more like a technical chess match than a battle of two monsters. I didn't agree with those who also felt this match could have main evented a WrestleMania, and on the evidence here, it's a good job that they didn't.

It's a shame, because Strowman had a ton of momentum heading into this card. And while I didn't seriously believe that he would dethrone Lesnar, I thought that the booking would have allowed him to put up more of a fight than he did prior to taking the loss. Hogan vs. Andre at WM III, this wasn't, and it regrettably ends the otherwise sparking No Mercy with disappointment. The Kick-Off Show match between the ever-entertaining Elias and the underrated Apollo Crews is included as a DVD extra.

Onto Hell In A Cell now (which incidentally features some great transitional graphic effects involving a skull), and we open things up with a tremendous doubles HIAC clash between The New Day and The Usos. It has a little too much comedy for such a serious stipulation at first, even given New Day's laid-back personalities, but it soon develops into a great brawl. Though I felt that their SummerSlam showdown was slightly superior, this is still an excellent way to end the WWE tag team feud of the year.

Next up, Randy Orton and Rusev compete in a proper match, making up for their incredibly short meeting at SummerSlam. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger is a respectable three-way for the United States Title (Tye was only officially added during the Kick-Off Show); it isn't particularly memorable, but it does allow Corbin to finally rebound from his week from hell during the mid-summer where he lost his Money In The Bank briefcase and then a SummerSlam match with John Cena. Natalya vs. Charlotte is just getting going when a DQ finish is pulled out, marking yet another PPV clash between two very talented ladies where the booking becomes a hindrance.

Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is a slight improvement on their previous PPV bout, but it's still average at best, and while I disagree with those who say that WWE has "ruined" Nakamura, his chances of winning the WWE Title against anybody not named AJ Styles take a major hit here. As does Bobby Roode's momentum, since his first PPV bout with Dolph Ziggler is run-of-the-mill, and with a finish (babyface Roode holding the tights) that doesn't benefit anybody. Ziggler was once the master of getting his opponent over; given this match and the Shinsuke bout from Backlash, those days seem to be long gone, though whether you blame that on Dolph or on WWE is a matter of opinion.

Finally, Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens collide in a Hell In A Cell match, set up by Owens and Shane's TV confrontations and KO destroying Vince (who is now 72, remember). It's pretty long, but it's better than Shane's Cell match with The Undertaker from WrestleMania 32, and it features Shane's hair-raising elbow off the top of the Cell. Most notably, though, a big surprise at the finish involving Sami Zayn creates a shock finale, and ends HIAC 2017 with a bang. Presumably because this match ran so long, the HIAC Kick-Off Show match between Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin and The Hype Bros has been cut.

Though the WWE landscape has changed dramatically since these two shows were held (and No Mercy, the least recent of the two cards, was only two months ago, with Hell In A Cell being only seven weeks in the rear-view mirror), this Double Feature set packs in a lot of action and some of the year's more memorable moments, making up for the low moments, and so this is a twin-disc DVD that I would recommend.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Friday, 10 November 2017

DVD Review: NXT - From Secret To Sensation

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 408 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: November 13 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

The second DVD release dedicated to NXT, From Secret To Sensation takes a different approach to the original Greatest Matches DVD. In this new compilation, we get a countdown of the top 25 NXT performers in history, along with more than a dozen matches from 2011 to 2017. I'm not sure whether the title is relevant, considering that we only get a basic run-down of the history of NXT (it would have been more appropriate if we were treated to a full-length documentary here), but otherwise fans should be excited at getting another home release on what is arguably WWE's most popular brand, at least amongst the die-hards.

Part of the reason for this is that the countdown feature is really enjoyable. It's a tried-and-tested formula, and we have actually just had a countdown on the 30 Years Of Survivor Series DVD. However, what differentiates this particular main feature is that we're shown the evolution of each performer during their time on NXT, which in many cases was pretty dramatic. For example, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks both showed up as plain performers with no distinguish features. They left NXT as The Lass Kicker and The Boss, two clearly-defined and unique characters with an appetite for stealing the show in the ring and with huge fan followings which have followed them to the main roster.

It's fascinating to see the likes of Bayley, Sami Zayn and Alexa Bliss during their earliest days in NXT. It's particularly notable to see Tyler Breeze begin his NXT career as the bland Mike Dalton, whose persona was nonexistent. Contrast that with Prince Pretty, whose selfie-obsessed character was a real highlight of NXT, and his current work alongside Fandango in the current Fashion Files segments on SmackDown. Add to that some cool comments from NXT performers past and present (even if we get some occasional kayfabe opinions), and plenty of archive footage, and you have a pretty compelling countdown programme, arguably the best of this nature that WWE has put out.

From there, we move onto the bonus matches. Up first is a real rarity, a clash between future New Day members Big E Langston and Xavier Woods from an NXT pilot show in December 2011, though it is on the short side. Next is Seth Rollins defending the NXT Championship against Corey Graves, though it came at a time when NXT tapings would be considered a separate world from main roster WWE, which includes a lack of storyline progression. For instance, Rollins had previously been a white-meat babyface champion, but without explanation on NXT TV, he was suddenly a heel as a member of The Shield.

Bo Dallas vs. Bray Wyatt is a decent showcase of both men, and it's now bizarre to see Bo in the babyface role. Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn is the forgotten chapter of their NXT feud, coming after Sami's first night on NXT but before their Match Of The Year contenders in August 2013 and February 2014; that being said, it's still a really good encounter. Then, Alexander Rusev puts in a strong showing against Dolph Ziggler, which likely boosted his odds of making the main roster the following year, and Paige vs. Sasha Banks is fun too, though the big moment comes after the match when Sasha turns heel on Paige, paving the way for her to become The Boss.

Adrian Neville and Tyler Breeze put on a fine battle in an early 2014 NXT clash, which fans are more than fired up for, and Bo's NXT exit against Big E (who had been on the main roster for ages by this point) is entertaining too. But the next match is the first truly great match on the compilation, as Neville, Zayn, Breeze and Tyson Kidd collide in a terrific Fatal Four Way clash from the first NXT TakeOver. A quick-fire win by Baron Corbin over then-jobber Elias is followed by a slow-burning epic between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor for the NXT crown, which predates their more famous battles in the summer of 2015.

Disc three opens with an outstanding NXT Women's Championship clash between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, the match that made me a real fan of NXT at the time. The subsequent Sasha-Charlotte battle is also very good, though it's a shame that Sasha vs. Bayley under Iron Man rules is nowhere to be found. What makes up for this is the inclusion of the superb Sami-Shinsuke Nakamura bout from TakeOver: Dallas, which may just be the best NXT match ever. Following this is the house show bout between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, which features great action prior to a title switch that very few saw coming (certainly not the fans in attendance, who go crazy when Joe earns the gold crown).

Bayley makes her only in-ring appearance against Alexa Bliss, shortly before both ladies left for the main roster; they put in a great effort, and this may be better than any of their main roster collisions this year. Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger at TakeOver: Toronto, in what is essentially a battle of the super-over entrances, and Asuka vs. Ember Moon from TakeOver: Brooklyn III (held less than three months ago) bring the DVD to a close. Asuka vs. Ember is particularly impressive, and at the time I was convinced that Moon would finally end Asuka's undefeated streak that night. Obviously, I was wrong.

I was disappointed that there are no tag team matches on this DVD, because NXT does doubles wrestling better than just about any other brand or promotion (or at least they did during the division's 2016 peak). The Revival alone had more than one classic match with both American Alpha and DIY, so it's unfortunate that none of these bouts made it in. It would have also been nice to see Finn Balor vs. Neville from TakeOver: Rival (an amazing contest), Zayn vs. Cesaro from the first ever TakeOver, and a couple of other vintage NXT contests which weren't on the original Greatest Matches collection. This leads me to believe that we will indeed get a full DVD documentary on NXT in around 12-18 months, likely featuring these matches and others, such as the upcoming War Games showdown in Houston.

Otherwise, though, this is a fantastic wrestling DVD. The countdown is a lot of fun, and almost every match has something to offer, with several contests being of a classic standard. I think it's a slight step down from Greatest Matches Vol. 1, but if you're new to NXT, or if you're a longtime fan of the brand wanting to relive some of its biggest moments to date, then you should really enjoy From Secret To Sensation.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 - Excellent

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

DVD Preview: WWE Double Feature: No Mercy 2017 & Hell In A Cell 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

The latest Double Feature DVD from WWE, combining two exciting Pay-Per-View events. From the Raw brand is No Mercy, headlined by the huge clash between “The Beast” Brock Lesnar and “Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman. And from SmackDown LIVE comes Hell in a Cell, which sees Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn do battle inside the demonic 20-foot steel structure.

Match Highlights:

No Mercy 2017

Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Braun Strowman

John Cena vs. Roman Reigns

Raw Women's Championship Fatal 5-Way Match
Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Emma vs. Nia Jax

Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (Champions) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro

Hell In A Cell 2017

Hell In A Cell Match
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon

WWE Championship Match
Jinder Mahal (Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Hell In A Cell Match
The New Day (Champions) vs. The Usos

SmackDown Women's Championship Match
Natalya (Champion) vs. Charlotte Flair

United States Championship Triple Threat Match
AJ Styles (Champion) vs. Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger

Plus even more action!

We like it because:

This is the most exciting Double Feature DVD from WWE Home Video UK yet!

No Mercy features two of the biggest clashes in recent history, with the epic collision between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman – plus the battle of generations between John Cena and Roman Reigns. It’s a historic contest that takes no prisoners. Can Cena prove he’s still the face of WWE? Or will he have to step aside for the hungry young warrior, Roman Reigns?

Elsewhere, the Raw women’s division puts on an incredible display the Fatal 5-Way match, while Rollins and Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Cesaro is a Match Of The Year contender.

The Superstars of SmackDown LIVE prove they can match Raw at Hell in a Cell.

The New Day vs The Usos brings a new level of brutality to WWE tag team competition, while there’s a shock ending to the Hell In A Cell match.

Don’t miss out!

WWE Double Feature: No Mercy 2017 & Hell In A Cell 2017 will officially be released on DVD on Monday November 27 2017.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 3 November 2017

DVD Preview: NXT - From Secret To Sensation

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

NXT – where WWE Superstars compete before appearing on Raw and SmackDown LIVE – is responsible for producing some of the greatest talents and most successful champions in WWE. Hear from current and former NXT Superstars themselves, as From Secret To Sensation counts down NXT’s 25 greatest Superstars. Includes interviews with NXT favourites like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Finn Bálor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, and more – plus some classic NXT matches!

Match Highlights:

NXT – January 2 2013
NXT Championship Match
Seth Rollins (Champion) vs. Corey Graves

NXT – September 11 2013
Paige vs. Sasha Banks

NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way – September 11 2014
NXT Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Adrian Neville (Champion) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd

NXT – March 25, 2015
NXT Championship Match
Kevin Owens (Champion) vs. Finn Bálor

NXT – July 15 2015
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks (Champion) vs. Charlotte

NXT TakeOver: Dallas – April 1 2016
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III – August 19 2017
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Asuka (Champion) vs. Ember Moon

Plus more action and Blu-ray extras!

We like it because:

Since Seth Rollins was crowned the first NXT Champion in 2012, NXT has been the hottest brand in the world of sports-entertainment – first as the industry’s best-kept secret, now as a hotbed of world-class action.

Counting down NXT’s top names, this exciting set proves just how much raw talent has passed through NXT – and why it continues to be THE place for the Superstars of tomorrow come to compete.

Most interesting is its behind-the-scenes look at NXT, with candid interviews from some of NXT’s most important superstars, many of whom have gone on to become champions on the main WWE roster.

It’s fascinating to see how some of your favourite WWE Superstars got their start – and which of NXT’s names will be future WrestleMania headliners.

It’s not just the story of individual superstars though. From Secret To Sensation is the story of the NXT brand itself, and how it has grown to become an integral part of WWE.

And this wouldn’t be a WWE home video release with incredible action, featuring some of the best matchups to take place in NXT rings over the last few years.

Don’t miss out!

NXT - From Secret To Sensation will officially be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday November 13 2017.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 20 October 2017

DVD Review: 30 Years Of Survivor Series

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 437 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: October 23 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

Survivor Series is the second longest-running Pay-Per-View event in WWE history, behind only WrestleMania. It was there when Hulkamania was running wild, when Attitude was all the rage, and when John Cena and Batista were establishing themselves as the leaders of the Ruthless Aggression era. Even today, Survivor Series has major significance, enhanced by major moments in recent years involving The Rock, Sting and Goldberg.

This latest DVD offering from WWE covers the three-decade history of Survivor Series, released just in time for the 31st instalment on November 19 in Houston. The main focus of this compilation is a feature lasting just over an hour, which highlights what are considered to be the 30 top moments in Survivor Series history (though the programme itself doesn't state this; the DVD box art does, though). This is followed by a series (no pun intended) of matches spanning the years 1988-2016.

Starting with the main feature: it's a quick-fire collection of matches, with the usual topnotch WWE presentation and production qualities. There is no host; we're just transported from one moment to the next. It's definitely a fun trip down memory lane as we go from #30 all the way to #1. I won't spoil the order of moments here, as it'll make this DVD less enticing if I were to do so. But suffice it to say that all of the moments that you would expect to be covered pretty much are, along with a couple of forgotten incidents from down the years. I will say that you won't be surprised by what the #1 moment is. (There is also a 31st moment hidden as an Easter Egg within the menu on disc one, and in this case, the use of "egg" is very appropriate if you know what I mean.)

Moving onto the matches: the ten-man main event from 1988 underlines the "Teams Of Five Strive To Survive!" tagline that the WWF was pushing at the time, though it annoyingly (but unsurprisingly) omits Jesse Ventura's commentary, making for a less enjoyable start to disc two. The highlight is how the Randy Savage-Hulk Hogan story is subtly moved along, particularly by Randy angrily pointing at Hulk afterwards for hoisting Miss Elizabeth up, which was deliberately ignored by the announcers to maintain the babyface status of both men. (That Hogan entered the ring as the team's main man, despite Savage being WWF Champion, may or may not have been a factor in the storyline too.)

Hogan pops up again next to face The Undertaker from 1991. At this point, Hogan is finally losing steam, and many fans cheer when Undertaker wins the WWF Title (though the highlight is the brilliant banter on commentary between Gorilla Monsoon and the late, great Bobby Heenan). The 1994 clash between The Bad Guys and The Teamsters exists primarily to set up the closing scene whereby Diesel and Shawn Michaels see their on-screen alliance crumble, but it's an okay match by 1994 standards. (Again, Gorilla Monsoon arguably steals the scene here, with his ridiculously high-pitched reaction to seeing pyrotechnics go off.)

Diesel vs. Bret Hart from 1995 is a fun No Holds Barred match, one which sees the debut of the Spanish announcer's table spot, and whilst far from being a nasty scrap, is as violent as a WWF match could get at that point. Shawn Michaels vs. Sid is good, with Michaels getting the John Cena/Roman Reigns treatment from the MSG crowd, a rarity in 1996. Disc two ends with Mankind vs. The Rock, culminating the 1998 Deadly Game WWF Championship tournament with a huge swerve, and the three-way top-liner from 1999 as Triple H and Rock face Big Show, replacing Steve Austin who had been ran down backstage earlier in the show.

Disc three takes us to 2001 with two matches. The Dudleyz vs. The Hardyz inside a Cage is good, but has been released a few times in recent years, whilst the six-way Women's Championship match is short and shows how much better the women's scene in WWE is today. From 2002, we get the short yet exciting Brock Lesnar-Big Show WWE Title match (hey, perhaps short brawls have always been Brock's specialty), with a finish that is never discussed in WWE today for fear of undermining the on-screen Lesnar-Paul Heyman alliance. We have to wait until 2009 for the next match, a ten-man clash which sees Kofi Kingston temporarily confirm himself as WWE's hottest young rising star (though with the success of The New Day, who's to say that Kofi may not get his main event solo shot again someday?). The subsequent 2-on-1 Divas Title match from 2010, pitting LayCool against Natalya, is brief and is hindered by Michael Cole's attempts to be a humorous heel on commentary, which only see him come across as a patronising bully. He should have studied the aforementioned Heenan for tips on how to pull this off successfully.

It's onto 2011 next as we get another fairly short women's match between Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres, and The Rock's in-ring return alongside John Cena against Awesome Truth, which sees its spectacle make up for the lack of gripping action. There are yet more commentary capers here as Booker T hilariously calls The Rock "selfish" despite the babyface status of both, and in the next match from 2013 when Michael Cole is ripped apart by JBL for suggesting that The Shield had been around for years at this point, during a match which marked their one-year anniversary on the main roster. Still, the ten-man match is fun, and is most notable for Roman Reigns' sheer dominance, at a time when fans were receptive to such a notion (though, typically, Reigns was still a heel back then).

The DVD ends with the main events of the past two SS cards, which are very different. The 2015 top-liner sees Reigns and Dean Ambrose battle in another WWE Title tournament final, but they are not given enough time to deliver a great main event. The post-match scenes generate buzz via Sheamus cashing in Money In The Bank following a Triple H cameo, but it's too similar to the previous Randy Orton cash-in on Daniel Bryan, which saw the formation of The Authority, at SummerSlam 2013. Closing the DVD, though, is the 2016 headline bout which lasted just 86 seconds; however, Goldberg smashing Brock Lesnar in such a quick and decisive fashion was so shocking, so unpredictable, and yet so logical (Goldberg had been renowned for short, violent beatings of opponents back in his prime), that it was the most memorable finish since Lesnar ended The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania XXX, and ultimately set up a very entertaining feud between the two which culminated in a "proper" match at Mania 33.

This DVD set doesn't feature the best matches from Survivor Series history (neither of the 10-on-10 matches from 1987 or 1988, Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels from 1992, Bret vs. Austin from 1996, the WWF vs. Alliance main event from 2001, the first Elimination Chamber scrap from 2002, Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff from 2003, The Undertaker vs. Batista from 2007, Team Cena vs. Team Authority from 2014 and the men's Raw vs. SmackDown elimination match from last year are all absent in long form), nor does it feature most of the event's key historic matches in their entirety (Bret vs. Shawn from 1997, the debuts of The Undertaker and The Rock in full, Sting debuting etc). But that doesn't really negate what we do have here, which is a straight-forward and fun look back at Survivor Series clashes from down the years. And there are some great matches and significant moments on offer, from Diesel vs. Bret to Mankind vs. Rock to Goldberg destroying Lesnar.

Summing this up, this has a lot to common with The True Story Of Royal Rumble, released late last year. The key difference is that unlike TTSORR, which was a disappointment because it offered little insight into the Rumble event, this is simply about looking back on 30 years of Survivor Series memories, and it's a really enjoyable trek through the late 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and early-to-mid 2010s. A proper documentary would have been fascinating (the fact that Survivor Series was created to counter-act Starrcade, its Thanksgiving Night tradition for many years, a revisiting of Montreal, the Austin controversy from 1999, its regular use as a trigger for major WrestleMania storylines, the near-cancellation of the event in 2010 and more), but perhaps we'll get that in the future. (Incidentally, since SummerSlam is now the only Big-Four PPV not to get the full DVD treatment in some form, I expect we'll get such a DVD in 2018 or 2019.)

Overall, then, 30 Years Of Survivor Series acts as a perfect way to preview the final major PPV event of the year. With a fun main feature, an entertaining if unspectacular round-up of matches, and footage of almost every great or historic Survivor Series moment at some point throughout the compilation, it's a fine way to prepare for this year's SS offering in Houston. WrestleMania rightly gets all the attention, and Royal Rumble and SummerSlam are generally given a greater level of praise, but this DVD reminds you not to forget about Survivor Series, an event which has hosted and been plagued by controversies but has more often delivered much excitement and unpredictability to ensure that it should remain a WWE tradition for many more years to come.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Thursday, 12 October 2017

DVD Preview: 30 Years Of Survivor Series

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

On Thanksgiving Day thirty years ago, WWE's second pay-per-view event was born with a new twist. In the early days, teams of five strived to survive. Over the course of the next three decades, Survivor Series evolved into one of the greatest spectacles on the WWE calendar, where championship matches, iconic face-offs and unforgettable moments take place. Join us as we countdown the 30 greatest moments from 30 remarkable years of Survivor Series.

Match Highlights:

Survivor Series 1988 – November 24 1988
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hercules, Koko B. Ware & Hillbilly Jim vs. Ted DiBiase, Akeem, Big Boss Man, King Haku & The Red Rooster

Survivor Series 1991 – November 27 1991
WWF Championship Match
Hulk Hogan (Champion) vs. The Undertaker

Survivor Series 1995 – November 19 1995
WWF Championship No Disqualification Match
Diesel (Champion) vs. Bret Hart

Survivor Series 2001 – November 18 2001
WWF & WCW World Tag Team Championship Unification Steel Cage Match
The Dudley Boyz (Champions) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Champions)

Survivor Series 2002 – November 17 2002
WWE Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Big Show

Survivor Series 2011 – November 20 2011
The Rock & John Cena vs. Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth)

Survivor Series 2013 – November 24 2013
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) & The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Cesaro) vs. Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Rey Mysterio & The Usos

Plus more action and extras!

We like it because:

After WrestleMania only, Survivor Series is WWE’s second longest-running pay-per-view spectacular – and as this incredible 3-disc set proves, it’s an event rich with history!

And 30 Years Of Survivor Series counts down every historic moment: Andre the Giant’s earth-shattering win over Hulk Hogan at the inaugural event. Both The Undertaker and The Rock’s first WWE Championship wins. The controversial Montreal Screwjob. John Cena’s amazing recovering from neck surgery to become World Heavyweight Champion. The surprise debut of Sting. And Goldberg’s shock victory over Brock Lesnar!

From the days of Hulkamania and the Attitude Era to Ruthless Aggression and the New Era, this set examines one of sports-entertainment’s greatest legacies. It’s also action-packed, with over 15 full matches included, featuring the biggest and most dominant Superstars to ever compete at Survivor Series!

Essential viewing for all WWE fans!

30 Years Of Survivor Series will officially be released on DVD on Monday October 23 2017.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 6 October 2017

DVD Review: SummerSlam 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 267 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: October 9 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

There are two issues with SummerSlam these days. One is that it immediately follows an NXT Takeover show which greatly emphasises the in-ring product over sports entertainment. The second is that the show's four-hour length means that certain matches are guaranteed to come across as filler, which is why the overall reactions to recent SummerSlams has been mediocre at best.

The same response applied to this year's show, and the 2017 SS definitely isn't one of the greatest in the history of the event. However, there are still some topnotch battles and fun moments to be had when reliving the card, meaning that certain parts of the 30th annual SummerSlam are definitely worth checking out.

This doesn't include the underwhelming opening match, though, where John Cena doesn't leave second gear and Baron Corbin's nightmare week (having lost his Money In The Bank cash-in bout the previous Tuesday) ended with a defeat in a match that he had to win. I enjoyed Naomi vs. Natalya as the Queen Of Harts earned her second Women's Championship in style, even if the Brooklyn crowd seemed disinterested.

Big Cass' win over Big Show serves the purpose of giving him an, erm, big victory, though the match is not the best that I feel these two could deliver. Randy Orton's quick-fire defeat of Rusev is something different, but another potentially enjoyable match is denied as a result. Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks is pretty good, though, and the result is a pleasant surprise.

The Demon rises next as Finn Balor meets Bray Wyatt in a decent fight. Then, we finally get a truly thrilling match as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins challenge Cesaro and Sheamus for the Raw Tag Team Championships in a great doubles scrap (though Cesaro randomly running into the crowd to burst a beach-ball was the highlight of the match, and the entire show, to me).

Shane McMahon as special guest referee adds a new layer to the AJ Styles-Kevin Owens rivalry, which ends here having generally undelivered compared to what it could have been in the eyes of the fans. Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is predictably disappointing, and those who expected Shinsuke to tear it up here must now be wondering whether the 'old' Nakamura will ever make a return.

Fortunately, SummerSlam ends on a high note with one of the best WWE matches of the year. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe is a terrific brawl, a classic example of a four-way in a WWE ring, and a superb showcase of Strowman as an absolute monster. If you only watch one match from SummerSlam, this has to be it.

The DVD extras are the three Kick-Off matches. The six-man tag is hampered by taking place in front of an almost-empty arena, but Akira Tozawa vs. Neville is really good, and The New Day vs. The Usos is outstanding, somehow topping their previously exceptional clash at Battleground.

So, SummerSlam 2017 covers every spectrum on the quality scale, with some great matches, some good bouts, some average scraps and some major disappointments. The bonus matches elevate this to the rating below, as the main show seemed a bit of a let-down with only two excellent matches out of a possible ten. But it's still a really fun DVD to watch, as you will recognise when reliving the Biggest Party Of The Summer.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Friday, 29 September 2017

DVD Review: 1997: Dawn Of The Attitude

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 450 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: October 2 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

When analysing the history of WWE, previously the WWF (and the WWWF before that), a pivotal year is 1997. During that time, business was way down, and the company lagged behind WCW in almost every key area. However, a revolution was happening on-screen, and years of promoting wrestling to please the kids and bringing the families was being slowly replaced by a rebellious product which focused on entertainment via strong language, sexuality, bloody violence and more mature themes to the storylines. This would eventually lead to a massive boom period for the WWF and for wrestling in general, with 1998-2001 being the company's most successful years in history. Seriously, the word "ass" and the ever-so-frequent use of it made the WWF millions.

But most of this was still to come when 1997 began. At that time, traits of Attitude were being gradually introduced (Steve Austin swearing and flipping people off, slightly more violent matches involving the likes of Mankind, the sexual nature of Goldust's "psychological" tactics, and the infamous "gun" angle involving Austin breaking into Brian Pillman's home, during which Pillman said "fuck" live on the air, which almost got the WWF kicked off the USA Network), but it was still marketed as a family-friendly show. Throughout the year things would change, and as 1997 came to a close, the "new" WWF had arrived. A few weeks into 1998, Mike Tyson came on board to help promote WrestleMania, and subsequent angles along with other plotlines would bring about the success that Attitude is most remembered for.

This DVD is intended to provide an overview of that year. A round-table hosted by Renee Young (who is very good in her role as host here), the discussion involves Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, The Godfather, Ron Simmons and Kane as they reminisce and reflect on key events from the year within the WWF and, in some cases, their own careers. After some brief introductions, Young breaks down pivot points such as the rise of Steve Austin, the evolution of the Three Faces Of Foley, the Nation Of Domination, DX, Montreal and the edgier content in general. There are also smaller sections devoted to the likes of the divas (watching some of these clips is bizarre when compared to how WWE treat the females today) and presentation aspects such as the new Raw stage (the Titan Tron, which debuted on March 10 1997).

The tone is relaxed with plenty of wisecracks and a fair few amusing stories. If you're hoping for a ton of revelations, however, then this won't suffice. Obviously, the fact that this is a WWE production means that the tone does not stray too far from the party line (indeed, WCW is only mentioned in passing, despite their dominance in the Monday night ratings providing the greatest catalyst for change within the product, and ECW isn't mentioned at all, despite being a major influence on WWF Attitude). In fact, although the likes of Shawn occasionally touch upon the way things were, no official reason is ever really given as to why the WWF completely transformed its product. If you'd never heard the background details and relied solely on this DVD, then you'd assume that Vince McMahon decided to change the presentation of WWF programming for the hell of it.

This is still very enjoyable, though. The hour-long running time of the main feature flies back, and it comes across as a feel-good trip down memory lane. As noted, there are plenty of laughs to be had, and some intriguing anecdotes relating to how certain performers reacted to key moments. For instance, with the exception of the main players - Bret Hart, Shawn and Vince - we never really hear what the WWF wrestlers at the time thought about the Montreal Screwjob, so it's cool to get some different perspectives here. It's also cool to hear some insight on Shotgun Saturday Night which, when originally launched, was completely different from the likes of Superstars and Wrestling Challenge, and provided the first true look at what the WWF would be like with risqué elements incorporated into the branding of the show. So, this is still an enjoyable look back at a crucial year in WWF history, but just don't expect it to be as thorough a breakdown of behind-the-scenes events as Jim Cornette's Timeline storytelling with Kayfabe Commentaries was (and this, by the way, was an absolutely hilarious production and features the often foul-mouthed Cornette at his very best, so it's well worth checking out).

The rest of the DVD comprises matches from 1997 and a few angles. It doesn't appear as if WWE has gone down the route of choosing "unreleased" matches here; the second bout on this collection is the only one to have never been previously released. This means that there are a few glaring omissions, as I will explain. Nevertheless, the match selection provides a fine demonstration of how much the WWF changed in 1997, which is the main purpose of the DVD, and there are some spellbinding battles and exciting moments throughout discs two and three.

The first match is a bout that few would associate with Attitude: it's Sid vs. Shawn Michaels from Royal Rumble 1997 and, though it's no classic, it's enjoyable enough. It's also bizarre that more people attended this Rumble than they did for any WCW show, despite WCW destroying the WWF at this point in terms of business. Then, it's onto a hidden gem between Bret Hart and Mankind from Shotgun Saturday Night (one of the most intriguing shows ever when you consider the context of when it originally aired and in what form), along with a fantastic Raw clash between Owen Hart and British Bulldog to crown the first European Champion.

Next is a Steel Cage clash between Sid and Bret for the WWF Title just six days before WrestleMania 13, which is most notable for Bret's post-match tirade (during which the word "bullshit" made the airwaves, uncensored, more than once, at a time when kids were still the WWF's target audience). A humorous Owen acceptance speech for a Slammy Award that he didn't even win is followed by one of the greatest WWF/WWE matches ever, an incredible Submission match between Bret and Steve Austin. This is the match that featured the famous double-turn for Hart and Austin, and it's the match that some could argue reversed the company's long-term fortunes.

The two clash again in a Street Fight on Raw, which is more angle than match. By this time, the tone of the WWF product was changing, which is underlined by the next two parts involving Mankind. One is a gripping and emotional interview with Jim Ross (which introduced the world to Dude Love), and the other is a hard-hitting King Of The Ring final match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who had yet to evolve into the de-generate known as Triple H. Disc two ends with Bret Hart addressing his Canadian compatriots on Raw at the height of the anti-American angle which was a company first for specific crowds reacting to certain performers in a particular way (I bet WWE wishes they didn't have to put up with this so often nowadays).

The first two matches of disc three are familiar to collectors: Dude Love's debut alongside Austin against Owen and Bulldog, and a six-man Flag match (Bret, Owen & Bulldog vs. Austin, Dude & The Undertaker) which has been released far too many times. If WWE had to reuse a match from this rivalry, the Canadian Stampede top-liner would have been ideal. Following this is Shawn vs. Undertaker from Ground Zero, a forgotten brawl which has only been released a couple of times on DVD. That being said, at the risk of contradicting myself, their subsequent Hell In A Cell match was a ground-breaking classic, and it really should have been here for historical purposes.

It's disappointing that the DVD doesn't include either of the superb Bret vs. Undertaker matches from that year, but we do get the infamous Bulldog vs. Shawn showdown from One Night Only, as well as Austin's first Stunner on Vince McMahon, and the promo DX cut the night after the first HIAC match, which included footage of the Curtain Call and a subtle (okay, not so subtle) acknowledgement of backstage politics within the company.

By Survivor Series, the transformation was almost complete, evidenced here by Kane's debut match in a stunning scrap against Mankind. But it's the notorious Bret-Shawn main event featuring that double-cross (and Vince's "Bret Screwed Bret" promo, which isn't shown here) which would really trigger the Austin-McMahon rivalry (although I still maintain that this was unintentional), which would carry the company throughout 1998 and 1999 and contribute greatly to the boom period of the Attitude Era.

Austin vs. Rock from In Your House: DX is the last proper match, and though it's short, it's a great example of just how over Austin was, as he prepared to truly break through the glass ceiling and take his place as the WWF's main man. The DVD ends with two angles which can also be found on the Raw 15th Anniversary DVD: Sable wearing a potato sack and removing it to reveal, well, not very much (no, the kids weren't the target audience anymore!), and a Shawn-HHH "match" which is entertaining, though it ultimately buries the European Title that they are supposed to be battling for. Mind you, at least it wasn't the WWF Championship; 13 months later, WCW would learn what happens when you make a mockery of a World Title in the Fingerpoke Of Doom match between Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hulk Hogan.

Overall, Dawn Of The Attitude is plenty of fun, and does a decent job at highlighting the intriguing transition period between the kid-friendly New Generation and the adult-orientated Attitude Era. If you're looking for hard-hitting revelations or a true study into the WWF business practices of 1997, then you will be disappointed, but plenty of fun stories with a relaxed tone to the group discussion, combined with memorable matches and moments to prop the analysis of 1997 up, leads to an enjoyable DVD set that is worth watching.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

DVD Preview: SummerSlam 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

WWE’s second biggest show of the year and the biggest party of the summer ... it’s SummerSlam! Coming from the Barclays Center, the main event shakes the foundations of Brooklyn when Brock Lesnar defends the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe in a Fatal Four Way Match. And “The King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura gets his first chance at WWE gold when he faces “The Modern-Day Maharaja” Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. Plus much more!

Match Highlights:

Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns

WWE Championship Match
Jinder Mahal (Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. Sasha Banks

Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Sheamus & Cesaro (Champions) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Naomi (Champion) vs. Natalya

United States Championship Match with Special Guest Referee Shane McMahon
AJ Styles (Champion) vs. Kevin Owens

Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Bálor

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

Plus even more action!

We like it because:

Second only to WrestleMania, SummerSlam is one of the most exciting and hotly anticipated events in the WWE calendar, and this year’s edition was earth-shattering!

The Universal Championship Fatal Four Way is simply electric, with four of WWE’s most powerful Superstars demolishing each other for a chance to hold Raw’s number one title. Particularly impressive is Braun Strowman’s man-handling of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar – a moment that turns the “Monster Amongst Men” into an unlikely anti-hero!

But it’s far from a one-match show, as there’s incredible action from top to bottom!

Sasha Banks proves she really is The Boss as she tries to win her fourth Raw Women’s Championship. Baron Corbin challenges the veteran 16-time champ John Cena in a sizzling match-up. And Shinsuke Nakamura tries to overcome the odds by striking Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers wit his patented “Strong Style”!

There’s also major drama as Shane McMahon referees a heated grudge match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens over the United States Championship. Shane promises to call it down the middle, but anything can happen in WWE.

Also unmissable is the reunion of former Shield brothers Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, plus Finn Bálor unleashing the “Demon” on Bray Wyatt!

Be sure to pick up this historic night of action on DVD & Blu-ray!

SummerSlam 2017 will officially be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday October 9 2017.

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

DVD Preview: 1997: Dawn Of The Attitude

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

For the first time ever, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Ron Simmons, The Godfather and Kane sit together with host Renee Young and share their behind-the-scenes experiences during 1997 – one of the most unforgettable and influential years in WWE history. With a selection of matches and moments, witness the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the birth of D-Generation X, the summer of The Hart Foundation, and how The Attitude Era was created with one pivotal year in WWE history. Welcome to 1997: Dawn Of The Attitude. Also featuring The Rock, Undertaker, Psycho Sid, Goldust, Sable, Ken Shamrock, D-Lo Brown, The Sultan & more!

Match Highlights:

Shotgun Saturday Night – January 25 1997
Bret Hart vs. Mankind

Raw – March 3 1997
European Championship Tournament Final Match
Owen Hart vs. British Bulldog

WrestleMania 13 – March 23 1997
Submission Match with Special Guest Referee Ken Shamrock
Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

In Your House: Ground Zero – September 7 1997
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

Survivor Series 1997 – November 9 1997
WWE Championship Match
Bret Hart (Champion) vs. Shawn Michaels

In Your House: D-Generation X – December 7 1997
Intercontinental Championship Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin (Champion) vs. The Rock

Plus more action, extras, and Blu-ray exclusives!

We like it because:

There’s a reason 1997 is still one of the most talked about years in WWE history. It didn’t just transform WWE, but the entire world of sports-entertainment.

This special roundtable discussion pulls back the curtain further than ever before, giving insights into how it all went down backstage – and the superstars who would go on to dominate the Attitude Era.

There are fascinating stories along the way, such as how The Rock came up with his “Know Your Role” catchphrase, and what it was like behind-the-scenes before Kane made his epic debut in the first ever Hell In A Cell match. In addition, longtime fans will enjoy getting up close and personal with the legendary superstars.

It also delves into serious subject matters as they look at the fallout from the Montreal Screwjob and the real-life hatred for DX.

But it wouldn’t be WWE without some hard-hitting in-ring action – and this set boasts an incredible collection of matches. There are some Stone Cold classics – such as Bret Hart and Steve Austin’s WrestleMania 13 war – but also lesser-seen matches from Shotgun Saturday Night and Raw, which were just as important in changing the landscape of WWE.
A must-have collection for diehard fans, and an important lesson on the history of WWE!

1997: Dawn Of The Attitude will officially be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday October 2 2017.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 15 September 2017

DVD Review: WWE Double Feature: Great Balls Of Fire 2017 & Battleground 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 363 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: September 18 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

For the third time, the Double Feature PPV sets demonstrate which is the superior brand in WWE right now. The Raw show Great Balls Of Fire is a real thrill-ride (but not the Ultimate Thrill Ride; that was WrestleMania 33, remember?), whereas the SmackDown show Battleground is pretty poor. The way in which Raw has gained momentum and SmackDown has lost momentum since the Superstar Shake-Up is fascinating, and yet the evidence is clearly on show here, with big matches and star power carrying the red brand, whereas baffling pushes, strange booking and disappointing performances mostly define the blue brand.

Great Balls Of Fire starts with a decent battle between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. It's not the greatest match you'll see this year, nor is it backed up by a particularly strong storyline, but it's worth watching nonetheless. Next up is Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass as part of their well-booked divorce of sorts. Cass looks totally dominant here, which he needed to be if he is to succeed as a heel going forward. Up third is an excellent doubles encounter: a 30-minute Iron Man Match between Sheamus & Cesaro and The Hardy Boyz for the Raw Tag Team Championships. It favours storytelling and believable action over spots, which is refreshing, and the final moments are as dramatic as any finish that you'll see.

Sasha Banks' challenge for Alexa Bliss' Raw Women's crown is a little disappointing; the action is fine, but the finish sucks, if I'm being honest. The Miz' Intercontinental Title defence against Dean Ambrose is also underwhelming, at least compared to their longer and superior effort at Extreme Rules a few weeks earlier. Fortunately, things pick up big-time with the Ambulance match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman: this is an incredible match presentation, with some great brawling throughout leading to a surprise finish, and a memorable post-match angle that sees Reigns ram an ambulance with Strowman (who won, by the way) inside into an 18-wheeler truck.

The shenanigans from this continue into the abruptly-staged Heath Slater vs. Curt Hawkins match, for which we don't even see the finish due to the focus on Strowman. The only downside to this huge angle is that, within two weeks, it was essentially abandoned, though it did help move Braun even further up the card as a true monster. Finally, Brock Lesnar's Universal Championship defence against Samoa Joe could have benefitted from lasting a few more minutes, but it's still a gripping fight to see, and fans are on their feet throughout for this epic dream match. Overall, then, it's not without its flaws, but Great Balls Of Fire is a strong show that leaves a positive lasting impression on the viewer.

If only the same could be said for Battleground. It starts in grand fashion with a fantastic SmackDown Tag Team Title match between The Usos and The New Day, which is the underrated feud of the year in my opinion. But the show falls off a cliff from there, starting with Shinsuke Nakamura's disappointing clash with Baron Corbin. As things stand, Nakamura's main roster run is the let-down of the year, and despite what some fans may say, you have to put some of this down to Shinsuke; do you think WWE would tell him to basically wrestle in second-gear for months on end, as he has mostly done? Corbin wasn't an ideal opponent at this point, and the crap finish does nothing to help matters.

The problem with the subsequent Fatal Five Way to determine Naomi's next contender to the SmackDown Women's Championship isn't the action, but the fact that it's the fourth PPV running where the blue brand ladies are thrown into a multi-person affair, making this feel like incredibly lazy booking. It would have been better if Naomi had at least faced someone else (say, Tamina), but with the champion on commentary, it just feels second-rate. Speaking of which, AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Championship is a big disappointment, and the finish feels like something from Botchamania as something clearly goes wrong which leads to Owens becoming champion, mere weeks after AJ won the title on a house show at Madison Square Garden. In fact, Chris Jericho even admitted on a recent podcast that the finish was a balls-up, which is why AJ would regain the title days later by beating Owens and Jericho himself.

John Cena vs. Rusev in a Flag match isn't bad, but it's a re-run of a feud which had covered four supershows in 2015, and it reverts Cena, who rediscovered his edge earlier this year with shoot-style promos, into his former, bland, patriotic self. Plus, due to the stipulation, the outcome is very predictable. The same cannot be said of Sami Zayn against main roster newcomer Mike Kanellis, but the action is just average (which may explain why Kanellis hasn't featured on SmackDown very much since).

Finally, the Punjabi Prison match between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton starts very slow, to the point that fans soon turn on the match. Things improve as the match progresses, with The Singh Brothers taking some insane punishment, and a surprise appearance by The Great Khali forming a big part of the finish. But the stipulation lets the participants down here; take away the trap door stuff and it would have been easier to create drama but, with the four doors that required a minute of what amounts to non-action, plus the two bamboo cages making it hard for fans in the arena to see, and with Jinder not being the greatest champion from an in-ring standpoint (plus Orton not always shining in long matches regardless of the opponent), this match is likely to top Worst-Of lists at the end of 2017. There have been far worse matches this year, but when you consider all the factors, this is a fitting end to a damp squib of a PPV. It speaks volumes that this lasted more than four times as long as Lesnar vs. Joe from GBOF, yet that match was far better than this one.

For some reason, the Kick-Off Show matches from both cards (Neville vs. Akira Tozawa and Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English) are omitted; hopefully, this is a one-off, because otherwise these Double Feature sets would have no extras going forward. Also strange is that the Great Balls Of Fire song by Jerry Lee Lewis, used as the theme for the Raw PPV and is obviously the whole point of using that PPV name in the first place, is not included here. Note to WWE: if you're going to base a PPV name around a very famous song, make sure you can use it in all formats before giving it the go-ahead.

That aside, Great Balls Of Fire is by far the best of the two shows here. Great Balls merits a purchase on its own, whereas Battleground's opening contest is the only reason I would suggest to invest in that particular card. If I were ranking these separately, I would give Great Balls an 8 and, for Battleground, either a 5 or maybe a generous 5.5. With the two blended together, I've roughly gone halfway and awarded this set a 6.5.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 - Okay

Friday, 1 September 2017

DVD Review: WWE Unreleased 1986-1995

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 501 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: September 4 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

Following on from last year's similar WWE The Attitude Era Volume 3 - Unreleased, which featured previously unseen matches from 1996-2000 (not necessarily all from the Attitude Era, but you can read more about that in my review here), we now have a new release covering hidden gems from 1986-1995.

Hosted by Charly Caruso and legendary personality Sean Mooney, Unreleased is a straight-up collection of bouts which only the live crowd will have seen. No matches here had previously been televised; all of these were only seen by those in attendance. It's possible that some of these bouts were intended to be broadcast, but if so, they obviously weren't.

Anyway, there are so many matches included that I won't break them down, one-by-one. Instead, I'll provide overall thoughts by grouping the various bouts together based on participants, formats or their significance, whether it be for curiosity or other purposes.

Beginning with Hulk Hogan, he pops up a fair few times here. He teams with The Machines against Bobby Heenan, Big John  Studd and King Kong Bundy (he is Hulk Machine for this one), and as the compilation progresses, he teams with Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Brutus Beefcake, as well as fighting Earthquake and Ric Flair in singles action. He also inexplicably appears to rescue The Rockers from a post-match attack by The Powers Of Pain, bizarre because he had no on-screen link with either team at that point. Hulkamaniacs will enjoy seeing some unseen bouts from Hulk's career, though they largely follow the same Hogan formula as most of his matches did.

Savage appears frequently too, facing Pedro Morales, Andre The Giant (which is very poor, largely because it is so short), Ultimate Warrior (twice), Jake Roberts (as "Mr. Madness", basically Randy with a gimmick name to avoid disrupting his "retirement" stipulation) and Crush. As for Warrior, his first appearance here is actually as The Dingo Warrior, and once he becomes Ultimate, we also see him battle The Undertaker in one of the WWF's earliest Casket matches, as well as teaming with The Texas Tornado and even Bret Hart (in the latter bout, Hart does virtually all of the work before Warrior comes in to seal the win).

We also see WrestleMania previews and Mania rematches/fall-outs, like Andre vs. Studd, a Blindfold test run between Rick Martel and Jake Roberts, Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales, Bret vs. Yokozuna (during which Yoko randomly calls Bret "a son of a bitch", though few notice it) and The Colossal Connection vs. Demolition. There are plenty of tag bouts including established teams like The Rockers, The Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Legion Of Doom (their match with Demo' literally lasts seconds) and Money Inc. There are matches with special stipulations (Jeff Jarrett has Ladder bouts with British Bulldog and Razor Ramon, and Diesel meets Yokozuna inside a Steel Cage), alternatives to famous bouts (Bret vs. Bulldog, Hulk vs. Flair), feuds which weren't really resolved on television (Flair vs. Piper, Lex Luger vs. Ludvig Borga, Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect), and interesting teams formed for one night only (the most intriguing being Bret and Shawn teaming together in a 1995 bout).

Perhaps the most unusual part of this DVD concerns the inclusion of tryout matches. As well as an early Dingo Warrior bout, we see future stars competing under their original gimmick names, such as War Eagle (Tatanka), Earthquake Evans (erm, Earthquake), Brian Adams (the real name of Crush) and The Tazmaniac (Tazz, though he wouldn't be hired for many years). We also see two tag team tryouts with the winning teams having totally different careers: Kip Winchester and Brett Colt would become successful as The Smoking Gunns, whilst The Toxic Turtles ... didn't. It is clear from the mild camera set-ups, the use of on-screen timers and the general "warm-up" nature of these bouts that they were not necessarily intended for the live crowds, but they would have been of great interest to the decision-makers backstage: back then, especially, matches like this were crucial if potential stars were to earn a WWF contract, so it's cool to see a few featured here.

There are other bouts too starring Owen Hart, Sid Justice, Ted DiBiase, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jim Neidhart and more; there really are too many matches to properly analyse here. I will make special mention of the Piper's Pit angle featured, which happened days after Mania VIII. The focus is that The Brooklyn Brawler taunts Piper about his loss at that show, but the most memorable part is Piper saying "Half the WWF wrestlers are in a scandal". Acknowledging the ongoing steroid scandal in this manner, in front of a live crowd (even if it wasn't televised), is shocking, and is a reminder about how much things have changed since 1992; a WWE talent today would be fired on the spot if he/she acknowledged a massive company scandal on a live microphone without approval from the office. Elsewhere, the production is mostly good, considering what matches are featured here, though some have dodgy camera work and audio, and the links with Charly and Sean are decent, with a few funny inside references along the way (such as Mooney tossing aside a cardboard box with Tom Magee's name on it to a cartoon sound effect; Magee was a "star of the future" who was ultimately so awful that he was barely ever shown on television).

I have to mention that for all of the matches featured here - 45 in all - only a small number are actually any good. Some are pure squashes, some barely last two-three minutes, and many have disqualification/countout finishes which I normally wouldn't mind, but seeing so many in one go becomes frustrating as a viewer. That being said, these are/were dark matches, so they weren't necessarily designed to be classic matches, and the years covered here (1986-1995) aren't really renowned for athleticism and outstanding chain wrestling; even the 1992-1995 era, where Bret was on top, doesn't include a lot of actual great wrestling. Nevertheless, I would go as far to say that Bret vs. Bulldog is the only really good match on the entire DVD; there are a fair few adequate matches spread out across the three discs, but Bret vs. Bulldog is the only one which could be transferred to a PPV event and have fans raving.

But this era was all about showmanship and entertainment. And it must be noted that, besides the tryouts, fans are almost always reacting extremely enthusiastically to what they are seeing. The mere fact that they're getting to see Hogan, Warrior, Undertaker etc was good enough for them, and it's clear from the crowd reactions that they're having a great time. Those pops dwindle towards the end as the arenas get smaller and the popularity of the WWF was declining, but those who were on hand are still appreciative of what they are seeing. It's a far cry from the die-hard fans of today's WWE, where in some cases even first-class wrestling is less appealing to audiences than tossing around a beachball and chanting "We are awesome" (I'm looking at you, Brooklyn).

Obviously, longtime WWF fans who were watching the product during this time will be well aware of this and, therefore, they should gain a great deal of entertainment from this DVD. I can't imagine this being a collection which people would watch more than once, but it's fascinating as a longtime fan myself to see all of these hidden gems, from the one-off battles to the eye-catching tag team pairings to the previously-unseen tryouts. It's a great compilation for collectors, who will have plenty of bouts to add to the likes of classic old-school WrestleManias and memorable moments from Saturday Night's Main Event. Modern fans and those who watch wrestling for the wrestling will not be impressed; but if you're a longtime fan, a true collector, or you just want a healthy dose of nostalgia, then this is definitely worth owning.

Overall Rating: 7/10 - Respectable

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

DVD Preview: WWE Double Feature: Great Balls Of Fire 2017 & Battleground 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

The two latest pay-per-view spectaculars from the Superstars of both Raw and SmackDown Live are brought together for one epic double-feature. Raw’s Universal Champion Brock Lesnar defends his title against Samoa Joe in a hotly-anticipated showdown at Great Balls of Fire, while SmackDown’s WWE Champion Jinder Mahal resurrects the dreaded Punjabi Prison as he faces Randy Orton at Battleground!

Synopsis:

Match Highlights:

Great Balls Of Fire 2017

Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Samoa Joe

Ambulance Match
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Raw Women's Championship Match
Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. Sasha Banks

Raw Tag Team Championship 30-Minute Iron Man Match
Sheamus & Cesaro (Champions) vs. The Hardy Boyz

Battleground 2017

WWE Championship Punjabi Prison Match
Jinder Mahal (Champion) vs. Randy Orton

Flag Match
John Cena vs. Rusev

United States Championship Match
AJ Styles (Champion) vs. Kevin Owens

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

Plus even more action!

We like it because:

Almost a year after WWE divided its roster between Raw and SmackDown Live, the competition between the two brands to put on the most exciting show has never been better!

Raw puts on a dream match that most fans thought they’d never see take place in a WWE ring – Brock Lesnar battling Samoa Joe. What makes it even more exciting is their competitive rivalry building up to the match, with Joe showing unprecedented dominance over “The Beast”. And the much-hyped collision between the pair does not disappoint!

There’s also a serious Match Of The Year contender between Sheamus & Cesaro and The Hardy Boyz. It’s the kind of slow-burning masterpiece that fans will be talking about for years to come – a stunning conclusion to the year’s greatest tag team feud!

SmackDown Live tries to top Raw by resurrecting the Punjabi Prison for a brutal match between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton – and there’s a GIANT surprise at the end!

There’s more controversy in the US Championship match, as AJ Styles and Kevin Owens battle for dominance. Meanwhile, John Cena makes his long-awaited return to prove he’s still the most powerful force in WWE – but can he topple the also-returning Rusev?

Don’t miss your chance to own these two awesome events on one epic double-feature!

WWE Double Feature: Great Balls Of Fire 2017 & Battleground 2017 will officially be released on DVD on Monday September 18 2017.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

DVD Preview: WWE Unreleased 1986-1995

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Fetch Publicity

The following story is courtesy of Fetch Publicity ...

This is a three-disc collection of never-before-seen matches from WWE’s golden era and New Generation! Features action from legendary Superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man Randy Savage, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker!

Synopsis:

Match Highlights:

April 21 1988
WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Andre The Giant

April 3 1990
Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake

October 30 1990
Demolition vs. Legion Of Doom

August 19 1991
Casket Match
Ultimate Warrior vs. The Undertaker

June 30 1992
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart

April 6 1993
Intercontinental Championship Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect

July 26 1995
WWE Championship Steel Cage Match
Diesel vs. Yokozuna

We like it because:

This is a fascinating piece of sports-entertainment history, as WWE unlocks the vault to unearth some never-before-seen gems!

Longtime fans will be amazed by some of the matchups included, many of which were the stuff of legend in the early days of WWE – with showdowns and Superstar team-ups that never made it to TV!

Perhaps most fascinating are matches between Superstars that pre-date their more famous encounters. See Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Rick Martel compete in a blindfold match, months before they did at WrestleMania, while Bret Hart and the British Bulldog duke it out ahead of their classic SummerSlam bout.

There are rare appearances too: a rare sighting of Ultimate Warrior in his original “Dingo warrior” persona, Owen Hart competing in a match from 1988, and even ECW’s Tazmaniac stepping into a WWE ring. Also, tag teams you never thought you’d see: Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado, and even longtime enemies Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels!

And that’s not to mention all the long-forgotten Superstars, such as War Eagle, Mr Madness, and The Toxic Turtles!

A must-have collection for any true WWE fan!

WWE Unreleased 1986-1995 will officially be released on DVD on Monday September 4 2017.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 11 August 2017

DVD Review: WWE Double Feature: Extreme Rules 2017 & Money In The Bank 2017

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 344 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: August 14 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

In my previous Double Feature review for the Payback and Backlash set, I noted how the increasing quality of Raw and the declining quality of SmackDown became obvious when watching the Raw and SD PPVs respectively. The same applies to the next Double Feature set, the subject of this review, which covers Extreme Rules and Money In The Bank: ER has several matches of a high quality (and one match which is poorly booked, to be fair), whereas MITB has few notable moments from an in-ring standpoint, and generally feels second-rate.

Extreme Rules opens with an enjoyable if overly-long clash for the Intercontinental Title between Dean Ambrose and The Miz; contrary to the feeling that this was a never-ending feud, this actually marked their first of just two PPV meetings. Next, we get a basic mixed tag team match as Rich Swann and Sasha Banks battle Noam Dar and Alicia Fox; it's okay for what it is, but nothing more.

Next up comes arguably the lowest point of Bayley's main roster tenure as her rematch against Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women's Championship under Kendo Stick On A Pole rules is way too short and makes The Hugger look incredibly weak, culminating several months of questionable booking for Bayley. Better is the Raw Tag Team Championship Steel Cage clash between The Hardyz and the team of Sheamus and Cesaro: what I enjoyed about this feud is that, without sounding like a dated reference, it provides good old-fashioned and simple doubles wrestling, with the cage used effectively both for major spots and for the surprise finish.

Neville vs. Austin Aries under Submission rules for the Cruiserweight Championship is very well-worked, but plays before a seemingly bored crowd, perhaps because the ground-based submission rules negate the need for the high-flying action associated with the cruiserweight division (not that this has happened much since WWE revived the division last year, but that's another story). Finally, the show ends with an awesome Fatal 5 Way Extreme Rules match between Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt: it lasts nearly 30 minutes and features a ton of action, an unexpected outcome and all with high stakes (a shot at Brock Lesnar's Universal Championship at Great Balls Of Fire).

Money In The Bank, on the other hand, kicks off with a controversial MITB match for the women's division: Becky Lynch, Carmella, Charlotte, Tamina and Natalya. There was a huge outcry that a man (James Ellsworth) would be actively involved in the finish of this first, historic women's MITB bout, but the bigger disappointment for me was the action itself: they clearly grafted but, perhaps due to time, this doesn't come close to matching the pre-MITB expectations.

The Usos vs. The New Day is a really good tag match, albeit with a poor finish, and Naomi vs. Lana feels like filler at best and completely pointless at worst; it certainly does nothing to alter the perception that the SmackDown brand in general had taken a major tumble in quality since the Superstar Shake-Up. Nor does the Jinder Mahal-Randy Orton WWE Title rematch; it's slightly better than their previous bout at Backlash, but the finishes of both Jinder-Randy showdowns are too similar, again making this match feel a bit unnecessary.

Breezango vs. The Ascension is okay, and ticks the comedy box for the show, but still feels a bit out of place on a PPV event. Finally, the men's MITB match between Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler is the best match of the night, but slightly underwhelming overall (this contains the Nakamura-AJ face-off which was enjoyable on the night, but has since been treated as something akin to Jesus reuniting with an old friend upon another resurrection by certain hardcore fans).

The Kick-Off Show matches from both cards form the extras here: Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews, and The Hype Bros vs. The Colons. Both are entertaining enough, but neither bout is worth going out of your way to see in my opinion (sorry Zack Ryder fans).

Overall, then, as a complete package this Double Feature set is probably worth owning, but only if you adjust your expectations accordingly. Extreme Rules has a lot of worthy action, but Money In The Bank suffers from SmackDown's creative malaise which has seemingly crossed over into the ring, preventing some matches from reaching their full potential. The two main events and the Steel Cage bout are the best parts of this two-disc set, so they justify a purchase; however, if you're buying this solely for the Money In The Bank card, you may be disappointed as that show in particular is the weakest MITB PPV to date.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 - Okay