Wednesday, 18 January 2012

WWE DVD Review: The Ladder Match 2 - Crash and Burn

WWE DVD Review: The Ladder Match 2 – Crash and Burn

By Phil Allely

This triple disc WWE release (available on DVD & Blu-ray) is the follow up to 2007’s highly enjoyable tribute to the ladder match concept. Whilst the first effort took us down the more well-known and (most likely if you are a real fan) already owned match-up route, this release offers up a nice blend of retro classics, recent scraps and some of the ladder match genres best bouts.

Hosted by Ladder match legend Christian this is a great DVD set for fans old and new. These matches are for the most part taken from the not too distant non-PG rated WWE era, meaning there are plenty of genuinely violent moments on display here.

These hidden gems of encounters are taken from the odd prominent Pay-Per-View event, but mainly they are from the WWE’s Raw TV show, making them ones less likely to have appeared on other DVDs available. There are also a few nice matches from Smoky Mountain Wrestling, WCW and even WWE feeder territory OVW.

On the match front we have some damn fine outings including Tracy Smothers versus the late great Chris Candido in a nice brawl, Mankind and the Rock brutalising each other on live TV over the WWE Title, Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon battling ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in a well-paced handicap scrap for control of the company, a rare and especially enthralling Hardys Bros/Edge/Christian high-spot fest and a pretty decent women’s match pitting Katie Lea (TNA’s Winter) against Beth Phoenix. These and the rest of the (21 matches featured) all show just how easy it is to make one simple gimmick stretch to a large number of exciting fights.

Of course throughout this three disc set we do get to see many instances of career-shortening moves and predicaments, as our amiable host clearly states these are not match for the faint-hearted or weak-willed. Violence and bloodshed is what this gimmick has brought to the table since its creation in the 1970s and will continue to do until the wrestlers involved exhaust all possibilities.

Ladder specific matches such as the TLC and Money in the Bank are now staples of WWE programming and are wheeled out sporadically to elevate a feud, end a storyline or hype up and event. This shows that even in this day and age this is something we still tune into and savour at its basest level. We all can’t resist tuning into to a car-crash style brawl and they don’t come any more like that than a ladder-based one.

The Ladder Match 2 – Crash and Burn is a very good highlight reel for the more brutal matches that the WWE, WCW, ECW and other promotions used to promote on a regular basis, it is also a nice look back at a period in the history of the wrestling business when the competing promotions all tried to outdo each other with better gimmicks, crazier stunts and so much more. The additions of modern less brutal meetings just goes to show that like everything there are always ways to deliver the goods within the boundaries given.

WWE The Ladder Match 2 – Crash and Burn is available now from

RRP £29.99 (3 disc DVD)/£34.99 (2 disc Blu-ray)

Running time 7hrs 10/8hrs 28

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