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

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.