Friday, 30 June 2017

DVD Review: Fight Owens Fight – The Kevin Owens Story

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 416 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: July 3 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

Depending on who you speak to, Kevin Owens is either the most entertaining wrestler of all-time, one of the best in-ring performers in the world today, or just some out-of-shape guy who would never have been hired in the good old days (cough cough, Vince Russo). In all seriousness, whilst some of the praise that Owens receives occasionally goes a little over-the-top (the man can do no wrong on Twitter, seemingly), there's no denying that he's one of the true highlights of today's WWE product. He's one of the reasons why NXT became such a hot brand, he helped Raw remained bearable during the shaky years of 2015 and 2016, and he's currently doing his bit to convince SmackDown fans to keep tuning in despite Jinder Mahal being the WWE Champion. Add to that his legacy on the independent circuit as Kevin Steen (namely, his legendary feud with El Generico, which came to WWE as Kevin Owens went to war with Sami Zayn), the fact that he still has many years left in the wrestling business, and the charisma and humour which made JeriKO one of the most entertaining WWE acts in years, and you have plenty of evidence to not only support Owens' popularity in spite of his heel status, but also to justify the release of this new DVD on the pioneer of the Pop-Up Powerbomb.

Fight Owens Fight opens with a documentary covering Kevin's life and times, from his extensive time spent on the indies to his NXT/WWE arrival to his key moments and matches since then. I never like to scrutinise a documentary to the nth degree (unless the feature demands it, such as the infamous Rise & Fall Of ECW), since it provides spoilers on revelations and comments which fans would not have known about. Instead, I'll quickly state that while a bit on the short side, the main feature should be very satisfying to KO fans, as it covers his pre-WWE adventures as much as one could expect (including his association with Sami Zayn/El Generico prior to joining WWE, which the announcers often refer to but never truly explain), as well as capturing his high points since coming to WWE in late 2014. Along the way, there are plenty of talking head comments from those who you would expect (Sami Zayn being an obvious example), as well as a few surprises too. And so ends disc one, with a captivating, entertaining and encompassing look at Kevin Owens' history to date.

Disc two includes plenty of bonus segments which weren't included in the documentary (I can't understand why these couldn't have been squeezed onto disc one, but I guess it's more important to have a short first disc these days). I do like that a few teaser segments were included from when KO arrived in NXT, since this was a fondly-remembered goodie that hasn't been used for WWE DVDs in a long time.

Then come the matches, beginning with Owens' NXT debut against CJ Parker from NXT Takeover: R-Evolution. Owens is a huge babyface here, though he would shatter NXT fans' hearts by assaulting new NXT Champion Sami Zayn at the end of the night, in a fantastic angle that capped off one of the best WWE shows of the entire decade (seriously). This led to Owens vs. Zayn for the NXT Title at Takeover: Rival, the second match on this DVD, which effectively makes Owens look strong yet evil while allowing Zayn to shine in defeat (one of Sami's best talents, paradoxically).

We then get two confrontations, one as Owens squares up to Sami during WrestleMania weekend, and the other as KO makes his surprise Raw debut by attacking John Cena, under the false assumption that he was answering the United States Championship Open Challenge. The two did meet thirteen days later at Elimination Chamber in a great match, the next on this DVD, and the finish perfectly puts Owens over in a major way on his official main roster debut (which, admittedly, didn't help when it came to having fans boo Owens, who was and remains a heel). Disc two closes with Owens capturing his first WWE title outside of NXT, as he takes on Ryback in a basic yet fun bout from Night Of Champions 2015.

Disc three kicks off with Owens battling Dean Ambrose under Last Man Standing rules in an entertaining brawl from Royal Rumble 2016, followed by two unreleased matches: a Main Event clash with Dolph Ziggler shortly after WrestleMania 32, and a house show tag team match ten days later pitting Owens and Triple H against Zayn and Ambrose (apparently, HHH competed on these shows as a replacement for The Undertaker, whose unusual absence from advertised international bookings was never explained). Around this time, the Owens vs. Zayn feud had properly restarted thanks to Sami's official promotion to the main roster, with their best WWE match coming from Battleground, the next bout included on this DVD. This particular match lacks in the selling department at times, but is otherwise a fantastic end to their rivalry, at least at that point.

Funnily enough, there are no matches or segments which see JeriKO teaming up. There is, however, a good focus on KO's singles adventures over the last few months, beginning with his Universal Championship triumph which was shocking enough, but came under the most surprising of circumstances against Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Big Cass in the best Raw main event of 2016, not only for the topnotch action, but for the hugely-unexpected ending (which some critics typically tried to tear down as being an example of a certain someone's ego taking centre stage). Roman would eventually feud with Owens, though no matches are featured here, and Cass hasn't had a title shot since; Seth, however, was Kevin's immediate foe, and the two had their best match inside Hell In A Cell, which is the penultimate clash on this compilation. Finally, we come to WrestleMania 33, where JeriKO imploded in the ring as Owens and Jericho go at it in a pretty good bout for the United States Championship.

There are a lot of Kevin Owens fans, so it's safe to say that this three-disc collection would already be considered a hit regardless of the content (which is a sign of a very real bias towards performers such as Owens - one writer described his Fast Lane battle with Goldberg as "excellent" despite it lasting just 22 seconds - but that's another story for another time). Nevertheless, even for those who may remain on the fence about KO, this is one of the better WWE DVDs you will watch this year. The documentary is very informative, honest and comprehensive, and the round-up of matches from the last two years underline how Owens has become one of the best and most important performers in WWE. Some may be disappointed that there are no matches included from Owens' independent days, but one has to be realistic (I personally thought the running time was a bit disappointing, not even reaching the seven-hour mark across three discs).Summing it up, this three-disc set is as good as one could expect for KO, with an entertaining main feature and plenty of strong matches covering a variety of situations, and I would assume that most Owens fans who see this DVD will feel the same way.

Overall Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

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