Tuesday, 26 March 2013

WWE DVD Review - TLC 2012

WWE DVD Review: TLC (Tables, Ladders, Chairs) 2012

WWE's TLC pay-per-view event is one that has a tendency to deliver greatly with its match quality and results. Even the lack of blood can't affect the violence that many of the wrestlers bring to the ring when foreign objects such as tables, ladders and steel chairs become legal weapons. This year we were also treated to a few new faces, which helped create new feuds and elevate some often neglected mid-card talent. With CM Punk injured there was some re-jigging behind the scenes match wise, but perhaps it was for the best. WWE need his fresh and ready for his upcoming scrap with The Rock.

It was also nice to see the legendary Jerry 'The King' Lawler return to his commentary duties. Lawler seems to have recovered well after his near fatal heart attack (which occurred during a live raw show).

TLC kicked off with a very reasonable tables match for the number one contender spot for the WWE tag team belts. The duo of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara battled Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes in a fun battle. Cara is looking so much better in the ring now he is teamed up with fellow high flyer Mysterio. Rhodes Scholars on the other hand are a wonderfully fresh addition to the diminishing tag ranks. Rhodes and Sandow picked up the win after Cody caused Cara to plough through a table.

Your reviewer is not a hug fan of US Title holder Anonio Cesaro, but he can put together a pretty decent match with the right (talented) performer. The match however didn't really sizzle as much as we had hoped it would. Cesaro was able to overcome a few nice looking pin attempts by Truth and nailed a 'Neutralizer' to retain his gold.
Uk wrestler Wade Barrett has been making real strides in recent months to get one more big push for his WWE career. His match with Kofi Kingston here highlighted the fact that Barrett does have potential. Putting Kofi's Intercontinental Title on the line helped as well of course. Wade is a very good big man and has an aura about him, perhaps he will be William Regal's successor to the role of sterotypical British bad guy. Kofi did manage to fend off his European influenced assault and retained the belt.
Whether they are associated with Champion CM Punk The Shield were (and are) a welcome addition to the WWE roster. Their sneak attacks and N.W.O. Inspired storyline is something that may just inject some much needed adrenaline into the WWE product.
The match here was a TLC one and The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose) faced off against the formidable trio of WWE Tag Team Champs Kane/Daniel Bryan and the fastest rising star of the year Ryback. This match was a brutal, tough and well-paced affair. Working with such talented opponents The Shield team were on perfect form. What was nice was that amidst the weapons based fun and games, we saw some new faces get their hands raised (over some more established acts). This angle by WWE may just work out very well for all concerned. The Shield pulled off a rather good win, to continue their progression.
The Divas were up next, with Eve defending her title against (pre-show match winner) Naomi. Naomi did show some impressive in-ring ability here. It was of course always going to be Eve's night and here she did not disappoint. Eve retained her glamorous belt as predicted.
As explained before a TLC PPV should really feature some blood. But you know what sometimes the spilling of claret is not necessary. The World Heavyweight Title match between champion Big Show and challenger Sheamus was a real barn-stormer. Sheamus seems to bring something out in show that we have not seen in a while and perhaps Show himself has grabbed this opportunity to highlight how valuable he is to the company. The match was violent, hard-hitting and worked to both men's advantage. Shows win maintains his grasp of the belt and Sheamus' loss does little more than make him a man we will root for next time.
Next up we saw an interesting battle. This was Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre taking on Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and Brooklyn Brawler. This was a nostalgic match for veteran fans, as longtime jobber the Brawler (Steve Lombardi) returned to the ring. Lombardi is a familiar face to anyone whoo who watches WWE biographical or special edition DVDs. He often pops us as a talking head on such releases. Lombardi never won a major title, but he did elevate many superstars to the next level and his simple style made him a minor league star. Brawler got his chance to shine on PPV in Brooklyn (of course) and even picked up a rare win.

Love him or hate him John Cena is one of the few real stars the WWE have available to perform at present. His act may need polished and a break from his main event appearances would help things. But 
with no one else ready to fill his spot or shift as much merchandise this is a picture we will have to expect for a while, the one of Cena in the main event.

The storyline featuring Cena/AJ/Vickie Guerro has been fun (even if it does echo a recent ill-fated TNA one). This match between Dolph Ziggler and Cena was a curious entry too. Ziggler could have as easily cashed in his 'Money in the Bank' title shot, but instead he offered it up in a match with Cena. This was a ladder match to remember. Cena took some stiff shots, Ziggler was a bump-machine (in the style of Shawn Michaels) and the outside interference proved to be beneficial to the pair. Cena in a rare moment for his character stared at the lights for the ever-exciting Ziggler. AJ did prove to be the thorn in Cena's side, but this was really all about raising Dolph to the next level. After all if he can beat Cena, this man may just be able to win the big one.

On the Extras front the DVD has an interview with Dolph Ziggler only, Blu-ray owners will be able to witness an episode of Monday Night Raw, Slammy award presentations and some very nice matches.

RRP £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Blu-ray).
TLC 2012 is available now from all good retailers.
By Phil Allely

Sunday, 24 March 2013

DVD Review: The Best of WrestleMania 1-14

WrestleMania is of course the pinnacle of the WWE's pay-per-view calendar. The event itself has seen some of the company's best matches, feuds begin or end and it has featured a host of well-known faces. WrestleMania was the wrestling event that saw the worlds or entertainment and wrestling unite, it worked so well that the industry has never looked back.

Of course there are many DVD releases looking at the history of the PPV and they all will showcase the event well. But what is nice here is that this disc runs us through the pivotal events form WM 1-14 at a nice speed.

Matches are shown in well-paced segments. We also get to see some specially made talking heads (old and new). We also get to see the event grow and build up its reputation as a must-see wrestling show.

Along the way we see 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper face off against TV star Mr T in a boxing match, Hulk Hogan battle the massive Andre The Giant, Randy Savage become world champion and the rift between Savage and Hogan unfold.

What is nice is we also get to learn how having celebrity involvement helped the PPV build up its profile and we get to see many of them here too.

Told in a punchy style this DVD takes us on a swift and concise trip through WM's early days (as number 30 soon approaches). Watch out for the well-told scrap between Hogan and Ultimate Warrior for the title at Mania 6.

Watch out for early appearances by future champs Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart (amongst others). We also get to see some pretty recent interviews with them too.

The Undertaker's debut is here as well, we have to feel sorry for the legend that is Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka in that one. He did after all become the first man to fall to Taker's streak.

Sgt Slaughter's anti-American slant is featured briefly. There are also spots showing Undertaker wiping out foe after foe. Randy Savage's epic encounter with Ric Flair and we also see the rise of the next generation of WWE super stars.

This is where the likes of Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon came to the fore. Their ladder match was a genuinely exciting piece to view. We actually feel the pairs pain throughout.

There was also the highly anticipated and well told encounter between 'Bam Bam' Bigelow and former American footballer Lawrence Taylor.

There are also appearances by boxing legend Mike Tyson and other stars of stage, screen and more along the way too.

One curious aspect was the brawl between Roddy Piper and Goldust, which saw Piper strip his opponent down to a set of female underwear.

When you look back at the first 14 WrestleMania's you of course think of all of the above and the rich history they bring. The characters, the storyline's and the memories each installment brought with it.

Of course this was also the period which saw the WWE change and adapt to its surroundings. Here we met the Attitude Era up close and personal.

The Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart Iron Man match may be tough to view in full. But the edited version here is perfect.

The real highlight of this release is (your reviewers mate) 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin's rise as the ultimate tough guy of the WWE. His WM 13 battle with Bret Hart is iconic and brutal to view. This was the match that Austin became a legitimate WWE star. The ending is one of wrestling's most iconic.

To see Austin pass out in a pool of his own blood is amazing to see yet again.

We also see Undertaker battle fellow big men Diesel (Kevin Nash) and Psycho Sid (Sid Eudy). All of which fall under is undefeated streak remit.

WM 14 saw Kane face-off against his brother Kane. This was an amazing match and still is today.

Finally WM 14 offered up our friend Steve Austin's match with Shawn Michaels for the world title. The ending here was superb, guest enforcer Mike Tyson turning on DX leader Michaels and Austin standing victorious.

By Phil Allely

Saturday, 16 March 2013

TNA Lockdown 2013 Review

TNA Lockdown Review 2013
By Phil Allely

In a perfectly pitched reveal/swerve TNA's Bully Ray not only won the World Heavyweight Championship, but proved that the long-running Aces & 8's storyline arc was well worth the wait too.

Ray's main event cage match with Jeff Hardy was a hard-hitting, back and forth affair. During the match Bully kept high-flyer Hardy at bay, unleashing solid shots on the champ. The match took a new turn when A&8's members hit the ring. Ray/Hardy joined forces to dispatch their collective foes. However things got interesting when Hulk Hogan and (Ray's wife) Brooke Hogan joined in the mayhem. During a scuffle with the Ace's Ray pulled off one of the best swerves in recent wrestling history.
He with an assist from his former tag team partner Devon nailed Hardy with a weapon to net himself his first World Heavyweight Title.
Post match Ray announced his true colours, as the President of Aces & 8's, shocking the Hogan’s and fan alike.

The event also offered up many exciting bouts. Some within the steel cage and the always entertaining Lethal Lockdown match was set to pit Team TNA against The Aces & 8's.

Kenny King successfully defended his X Division Championship. His opponents Zema Ion and Christian York were on fine form throughout. This opener did exactly what it should, it picked the viewer up and drew them into proceedings. King retained his gold after a well-paced finishing sequence.

The Joseph Park and Joey Ryan feud took a more comedy route next. Ryan and Park (Abyss) tried their best, but it never really gelled. Park overcame Ryan, to pull off his first ever TNA PPV win.

The Knockouts Championship encounter between Gail Kim and champ Velvet Sky was a short, but well-received affair. Kim's frustration with referee Taryn Terrell saw her slap the ref and fall to Sky whilst being distracted.

Robbie E and Robbie T then went toe-to-toe in a fun, but ultimately unexciting affair. Big man Robbie T's win was a well-earned one for the often underused Welshman.

There were fears that TNA Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode and Austin Aries title defence may not happen as rumours of Roode's contract situation unfolded. Thankfully all was good for all concerned and the match took place. Chavo/Hernandez were definitely the men to watch out for here. Roode pulled off the win for his team after all six men fought their way around the arena and traded some fluid exchanges.

The first cage match of the nigh saw Wes Brisco face former mentor Kurt Angle. The action was solid, but not spectacular. A ref bump and D-Lo Brown run-in allowed Aces & 8’s member Brisco to nab a surprise victory.

ACE & 8’s dominated the early stages of the always enthralling Lethal Lockdown match. Told well the action unfolded perfectly with the heel team having the numbers advantage for the majority of the scrap. Bischoff took the brunt of Team TNA’s assault. Things really kicked off when last man out Sting brought an assortment of weapons with him. There were some nice spots including a ‘tower of doom’ and Eric Young’s cage top elbow to win the encounter.

Team TNA’s celebrations over the Aces were short-lived of course, as the faction’s President was unveiled (Bully Ray) and he is now also the world champion too.

What this means for TNA we don’t know, but whilst one half of the Aces & 8’s storyline has unfolded, there are still many questions to answer. Its nice to see Ray & Devon back together, Ray as champ will freshen up the title picture.  Lockdown offered up some solid action, Lethal Lockdown, the tag team, X Divison and main event all delivered the goods, making it an above average TNA PPV.
 By Phil Allely

Phil Allely

Saturday, 9 March 2013

WWE DVD Review: Top 100 Raw Moments

WWE DVD Review: Top 100 Raw Moments

WWE's flagship TV show Raw celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has notched up over 1000 episodes along the way. It is also reputed to be the longest-running episodic TV show . That is no mean feat I am sure you will agree. Since it's debut Raw has been a must-watch show for wrestling fans young and old.

This 3 disc set offers us a countdown of the top 100 moments that have been compiled from those 1000 plus episodes.

Now I am unsure of who actually chose these moments, but they have chosen wisely on the whole. There are a few that perhaps seem odd choices and ones that you personally may not rate as highly. This is as always down to the individual viewer and not something to sway you from purchasing this set.

So what can you expect here? Well first off each moment is presented nicely with a short introduction by either someone involved in that moment or a figure in the wrestling industry who it touched in some way.

It may be hard to believe that it has been 20 years since Raw became part of our staple wrestling diet, but where would we be without it?

These moments do indeed capture a plethora of the WWE's finest moments. There are shocks, laughs, emotional scenes and some outrageous events here. Each one will ring a bell in your mind and some even warrant a replay or two.

Your reviewer was especially pleased to see this 100 moments list feature a nice mix of old school footage alongside more modern ones.

So watch out for 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin at his peak, DX in full on comedy mode, Santino and Kozlov having a tea party, Mae Young get powerbombed and the Stephanie McMahon vegas wedding. We are also treated to Bret Hart's return to the WWE, Edge's emotional retirement speech and we even get to see some stars from the now defunct WCW and ECW make their WWE debuts.

These moments may not be a definitive guide to the show that is Raw, but they do give you a broad view of just what this programme has meant to millions of fans over the last two decades.

Extras wise we are offered the entire 1000 episode of Raw, which of course features a wonderful mix of new talent with some ring legends.

Blu-ray buyers will get an extra 6 Raw moments and a 90 minute Legend Roundtable show on the subject of Raw. This features Jim Ross, Road Dogg and many more superstars.

WWE Raw Top 100 Moments is available now from www.wwedvd.co.uk and all good retailers.
RRP DVD £29.99/Blu-ray £34.99
By Phil Allely

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

WWE DVD Review: Survivor Series 2012

WWE DVD Review: Survivor Series 2012

CM Punk tries to survive the combined might of John Cena and Ryback in the main event of the WWE's newest DVD release of 2013. Here is what I thougt about that main event and the rest of the card.

The WWE may now be the only major wrestling company to run monthly Pay-Per-Views (as TNA have perhaps wisely opted to reduce their output to four a year, with 3 hour special events filling the gaps), but not too long ago Vince McMahon and Co. did just the same. Back then (in the good old days if you will) the company produced four big PPV events. One of which was November's hugely popular Survivor Series.

Heavy Metal music has its 'big 4' of course and wrestling does too, Survivor Series was joined by Royal Rumble, WrestleMania and Summerslam in winning the WWE new fans and it is still doing so today.

2012 sees the format changed slightly however, The traditional style five-man team encounters that featured heavily for many years have been pushed back to one or two per PPV and perhaps that is indeed a good thing. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing and the WWE have realised that here. One well told SS match can far outweigh numerous sub par efforts after all.

Anyway I digress from the matter at hand here, what exactly does this DVD release have to offer wrestling fans old and new?

Well first up the (already mentioned) main event sees CM Punk defend his WWE Championship gold in a triple threat match alongside not only John Cena, but the monster of a man who (many feel) he robbed of the belt.

What you have to remember here is that this is Punk at his most cunning and crafty. This was a man defending not only his championship, but also his year long title run too.

Elsewhere we get a lively traditional style 'Survivor Series' match-up. This featured Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, David Otunga, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett) versus Team Foley (Team Hell No, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston and The Miz). This is a great example of how a booker can bring ten different athletes into the ring and offer each their chance to shine. It is also good to see Mick Foley back in the company.

We also get to see Irishman Sheamus attempt to wrestle the World Heavyweight back from his successor Big Show. Show seems to be in synch with The Celtic Warrior here and that makes for exciting viewing.

The Divas get a look in as champion Eve tackles challenger Kaitlyn. Many knock the division, but these ladies are indeed talented and make the most of their short ring time on PPV.

R-Truth challenges Antonio Cesaro for the United States belt in a decent scrap.

And the company's high-flyers get a chance to shine too. With Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio teaming up to battle The Prime Time Players. Cara may have failed in some ways as a solo performer in the WWE, but he is now more than suitable as a partner to Mysterio. They do indeed compliment each other in the ring nicely.

Survivor Series 2012 was a card that featured many more hits than misses match quality wise and it was also pivotal in many ways in relation to storyline progression as well.

The PPV is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

RRP £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Blu-ray)

Extras: (DVD)CM Punk and Paul Heyman Share their thoughts at the event. (Blu-ray) Raw highlights Nov 12 2012, Smackdown highlights Nov 26 2012, Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero accuse AJ Lee, Ryback Vs Brad Maddox, Kane & The Miz Vs Team Rhodes Scholars, CM Punk Vs John Cena, Miz TV with Team Foley and Randy Orton teams with The Miz to face Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio.

By Phil Allely

Rob Van Dam Interview Highlights

The Shining Wizards Podcast is featuring an interview with Rob Van Dam. Here are somehighlights from the interview.

Training with the Original Sheik: He was there almost always, in fact he didn’t like us to train without his presence. Which we did once in a while, especially more once we reached a certain level, where we understood the basic fundamentals, and at a certain point his nephew Sabu could teach us and it was only like 3 or 4 of us. It was a real personal, family like atmosphere, some other guys would come and go, but they never stuck around, our training was so stiff. We just got taught how to manhandle each other, squeeze each other and try and pin each other. That was the way we got trained, it was a really stiff style. That’s how we broke in. The Sheik was always besides the ring when he was there, once in a while he would get in the ring to really try and drive a point home. Usually the ring was outside, depending on the location, but i remember a lot of times it was in his backyard, and we would be working out in the ring and he would be in a chair soaking up some sun with some suntan oil all over him.

Having Second Thoughts on being a wrestler: I am sure there were, I don’t remember them happening during training. There were a few points early in my career when I thought, jeez what am I doing? I should be in college preparing for something else. I don’t have what it takes to make it. That certanly happened. I remember one time early on, in my career, it was 91, I had my 21st Birthday at a wrestling show in Jamaica. And we wrestled at Coney Island amusement park in Kingston and we had like 3 shows there over 3 nights. It was an awesome deal and a great experience, for me to travel somewhere like that, just everything about being there. The island, the feel, the reggae music. I had second thoughts then, I wrestled this dude named Mark Starr , and I did something, cause I was green at the time. I don’t know what it was, he just took it to me, and ended up PowerBombing me 3 times and pinning me. This was my first match after doing interviews for newspapers, and everything. I was pretty upset about it, and I had to check my gut later on that night, and fight down some thoughts of possible resentment, or regret. I had a scholarship to college. What the hell am I doing here? I don’t fit in with these guys. I hate these guys. During training, training was stiff, your sides hurt from hitting the ropes when you start and you have bruises on them. Let alone hitting the mat, I always went home with headaches. At that point I don’t remember ever doubting my choice. Not until I got into the actual business world of it.

On other wrestlers taking liberties on him when he first started: Oh sure, thats just part of the coming up. Thats part of what you do. You’re at a disadvantage, because you’re just trying to do the right thing. It’s not like it’s an all out fight in the street where you just wanna like take the guys eye ball out and leave him laying there with a punch to the throat or something. You’re trying to be respectful to him and the business. And you’re trying to gauge the whole ratio between entertainment and the physicality thats going on. So when you’re young and green like that it defiently happens. It’s not like an all out challenge, its about using tools against you that you don’t even know, they can use yourself against you at that point. Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but it happens. I remember one time in Japan, when I first started wrestling in Japan. I was young and green. I wore this happy coat like it was a karate gi. It was actually what japanesse wear when they get out of the bathtub, so they must have thought I was an idiot. I tied a black belt around it, and I had electric tape that I put around my ankles for some reason. For whatever reason, I thought I was getting support out of that. So they would kick the sh## out of me. Kawada would make it a point of not reacting to when I was kicking him, and then he would kick the sh## out of me and at first I really took offense to it, then it really fired me up. Made me want to give back, then I realized, thats what he wanted, thats what the match needed. Out of respect to him, you had to lay it in to him, or he can’t react to it. He was at that level. That really helped me step up my game. It was years later, that I was stepping my game up too much for most americans.

Using his Martial Arts Kicks in Wrestling: When I was training with Sabu, one time in the backyard. It was just Sabu and I, no Sheik. We were talking about a move. Which I still use today, in fact a form of that, is when I kicked Abyss and knocked his teeth out about a year ago. Sabu said you’re a martial artist, you should be able to control anything. I said it would be cool to jump off the second rope and do a flying spinning back kick, but I don’t really know how to do that without killing you. He said try, and I was like if I do it Bam, I can’t imagine it not knocking your head off. Sabu said, just try, and if you knock my head off, then try and pull back next time. I said, that sounds crazy, and he said just do it. So I bounced off the ropes and I kicked him so hard, he had to eat through a straw for 2 weeks. I felt really bad, but sure enough, he was back and wanted to try that kick again.

Training With Sabu: I think that our like minded opinion of what was entertaining and what was exciting to see that helped us really get along at that stage. I was acrobatic, mostly from showing off on a diving board or trampoline. And at that point I was kickboxing, so I was able to show Sabu how to do some backflips and stuff. He had a crazy way of doing it, it looked wild. It worked for him, and he was teaching me, arm bars, arm drags, stuff i needed to add to my repertoire. And we both really liked the same wrestlers, when we watched TV. We were drawn towards the same style. We both enjoyed someone who was considered a high risk flyer. It made an impression on people.

WCW: December of 92 to May of 93. Bill Watts hired me, through Ron Slanker. He was a promoter at the time, the same promoter who had given me the name Rob Van Dam. The first promoter to look at me, when I was 20, not old enough to drink, he saw me in USWA. Ron Slanker was there to visit his son in law, Tex Slazenger. He told me, not only that he was going to be running shows in Tampa, at the Sportatorium, and that he wanted my info and he would like me to come down there. He also told me, I would be World Champion someday. He said I might be wrong about you kid, but I wasn’t wrong about Curt Henning, I wasn’t wrong about Savage, he named a couple of guys. He said I have got this feeling about you. He was the first person to put that confidence in me that made me feel like, ya know I don’t know if I am better then a bunch of the other guys in the dressing room or not , but I am going to go for it like I am and see what I can get out of it. So Ole Anderson took over from Bill Watts in WCW, February of 93 when I did my first tour with All Japan. WCW wrestlers wrestled for New Japan which was the competition. I had this previous booking in All Japan in 92, so when I went to work for Bill Watts he said, go ahead do the booking. When I came back he was gone, and Ole had taken over. And I didn’t have that interest from him that I had from Bill Watts, he was putting me down, I was either getting beat on a regular basis or I was having dark matches giving guys tryouts. And I was young and green, but I still had enough self worth and business sense to decide to leave against the veterans wishes. They said I was crazy to leave, I was on TV and I have only been working a couple of years. I went and worked Independents, and made a lot moremoney doing that. And I also wouldn’t advise some of you young green kids to go the route that I did. I have no regrets, I walked away from every single company that I worked for until this point, with the exception of the USWA. I left WCW, I left WWE twice, I left All Japan, I left ECW, and fact is, I never regretted it.

Not being booked for the 1st ECW PPV: I am sure there was a reason. I don’t know why I wasn’t booked on the 1st ECW PPV. It wasn’t my job to make the matches. That was Paul Heyman’s. I am sure when he put the card together, he had a reason for not putting me on it, and I took offense to it. So I entertained the first offer that Eric Bischoff put on the table to go to WCW.

How ECW Countered the WCW Offer: He knew that things were looking like I may be going to WCW. The fans believed it, the internet reports believed it. Paul had a great idea, he said, what if we could use this momentum and capitalize on it and put the entire spotlight of the industry on you. I said what are you talking about. He said, what if everyone is expecting you to go to WCW, and we announce that you are going to Monday Nights where you belong, and we pull a switch. What if I can get you on WWF TV. And I was like, what the hell are you talking about. He is telling us, how Vince and him hate each other, how WWF wants us to die, cause we are in there backyard. I had no idea, they had a working relationship the whole time we were running, till I watched that DVD documentary, that was my first proof. He denied it all along the way. I said yeah, that sounds awesome, I am an opportunist and I could go to WCW, which by the way, the idea was to put me under a mask and make me the Mortal Kombat character, Glacier. I wasn’t wanting to do that, and I ended up not doing that. That wasn’t the entertaining part of the offer to me, it wasn’t the gimmick, we were talking numbers and stuff. Went to WWF TV while still working for ECW, which to the best of my knowledge hadn’t been done. I am all about jumping fences and breaking records and finding ways to put my mark on history, and I thought this was a great way to do it. On WWF TV I was a heel, and when I went back to ECW I was a heel because they thought I worked for WWF.

Wrestling Jerry Lynn: Every time that we wrestled we clicked right away. Since the first time we wrestled each other. Because of that, he has been one of my favorite guys to work with, and has produced my favorite match. If you had never seen an RVD match, I would show you an RVD/Jerry Lynn match to impress them. Including the last match that I had with him, a few weeks ago ,awesome match, everything was just great, everything a wrestling match should be. A kind of match, that not only the fans, but the boys in the back know that they wouldn’t survive one of those matches, everything so physical and everything was just there. I would put that match up against any of the matches we have had. Big loss to the business with Jerry Lynn tapping out.

His thoughts on weather Vince wanted the ECW Brand to be successful in WWE: No, No. I think that his ego was more important to prove that WWE was superior to ECW, then it was to try and do business. I think the king wants to be the king, and wants any competition to be visibly destroyed and devalued so everyone knows the king is the king.

His feelings on how the WWE was using RVD: I thought that the caliber of wrestlers that I was working with was great. I was in there with Main Event guys, the top stars of the industry, most respected wrestlers in the world. To be in there with them, and to be able to do some of my stuff, of course sometimes I felt held back. At Different times I was able to still show off, like when I had the hardcore title. Which is what I am out there to do, impress the people with my style, my way of doing things. My unique perspective of a fighting style that I can show with this world of entertainment. I was cool with it, but I was frustrated with the politics. But I didn’t have higher goals then where I was at, I didn’t have it in my mind, screw all these guys, I should be the one with the belt, I should be the one making the most money. I never had that in me. In fact, I never thought, and still don’t think I would have ever been World Champion had I not, personally changed the entire playing field in order to make that a possibility. By bringing back ECW, and spawning a 3rd brand and needing me to represent it. None of that would have happened without me, and my passion and desire for that, so otherwise I really didn’t think I would be wrestling main event single matches against the Undertaker and Steve Austin. I was cool with that, and I was starting to see how much more money they were getting then I was getting, and then I didn’t feel like we were on equal terms like we were in the fans eyes.

Injuring Triple H during the 1st Elimination Chamber: That was the only night that Vince McMahon ever called me, to tell me Hunter was ok. He knew I was concerned for a lot of reasons. I was visibly upset about it. I knew that it was a real big deal, and I never want to hurt anyone anyway. This was something, that was an accident. I wasn’t comfortable jumping off of there, it wasn’t my idea to do it. Just being off like that, BAM. Yeah and its Hunter, it wasn’t good, and they wanted me to know they understood. Vince was super cool about it.

Rumors of having heat about busting people open: When I came in, no one knew how to take the Van Daminator. I split open Booker T, Raven, Steve Austin, Test, everybody. The internet was going crazy with it. I had a match with Kurt Angle, and he got busted open, between the chin and the lip, I hit him with a leg drop on the table, and boom he was busted open. And when I was walking back, I passed Vince, and I said, Oh Vince, sorry about your boy, and Vince said, well next time he will learn to turn his head.

On Concussions: Its a very physical job. I am part of the Brain and Spine donation program through Chris Nowinski. I am part of that program, I am one of those people that have received hundreds and hundreds of concussions. Even now its like once every couple of months. I hit the back of my head, Bam, my equilibrium is off,or the sound is off and everything is in slow motion. You don’t even know when you’re watching, you think you’re in the know, but you don’t know. For me, I feel like I still have it together. I feel like I am in the minority. My friends and I talk about this, some of them are MMA Fighters, Football Players, a lot of these guys have had a lot of concussions, and some of them tell me, they know they have long term damage due to concussions. It surprises me how many of my friends have that and live with that. Weather its headaches, or dizziness, or fogginess or they lose their train of thought. They tell me they relate it to concussions, and me, who has had so many concussions, I thank my lucky stars that I am able to still feel like all the damage is temporary so far.

Bloodletting in Wrestling: I’ve never been a fan of blading. Its funny, cause the Sheik was the master of blading. The Original Sheik he bladed everybody, he cut everybody up. I have never been a fan of that, thats not what I like about the business. However when I am busted open hardway, I’m proud. Because, one I think its good for the business, and two, I am out there to show how tough I am, and thats why for over 20 years, I have been wrestling the same style, taking those DDT’s on my head, and those crazy bumps. I have been taking all that for so many years, I feel like its my position professionally to show how much punishment I can take, cause that’s one of my strengths.

WWE Departure: I was pretty much burnt out. It was nonstop travel. Going town to town to town to town, and the meaning behind it faded for me. I needed time away. So I took it. They had burnt me out, way past the point of being burnt out. It was something I knew I may never recover from. The thought about going back to that full time schedule hurts my chest thinking about it.

Arrival in TNA: I was excited to be there. I liked the business end of it. I wouldn’t have gone unless we worked out a deal that was cool for me. Which meant more balance in my life then I had with WWE. It was a big deal that I was there. As I was ready to make my debut the fans were chanting RVD while they were waiting to enter the building.I was glad to be back I was ready to get some exposure. I was wrestling a lot over seas, and the fans in the states hadn’t seen me. I knew getting back on TV would be good for me.

TNA Leaving the Impact Zone and if its a plus for TNA: I think that remains to be seen. Its a optimistic, hopefully adventure. The bigger crowds look much better on TV. Hopefully TNA hitting all these towns with bigger promotion then they do with the house shows, the live events, hopefully that will help the brand recognition get out there more. Its a lot more expensive to run shows on the road, then it is in the studio. Its more work for us, a lot more travel, we had routine. I love my flight from LAX to Orlando. I love the routine. Now, we gotta go places, where its cold and snow. Flight connections to the smaller cities, few hundred mile drives. There are a lot of different ways to look at it. Being a traveler, I am looking at it like that. Hopefully it will get the brand recognition out, it will look better on TV. So we shall see.

About finishing his career in TNA: Not necessarily. I really don’t look that far ahead. I go with the flow. I don’t know, when I will be completely finished and where I will be when I make that decision.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

WWE DVD Review: Hell In A Cell 2012

WWE DVD Review: Hell In A Cell 2012
Hell In a Cell has evolved from being a one-off gimmick match to becoming the star of its own pay-per-view. The match itself is a fun, involving and exciting one. This DVD offers us the opportunity to take home the 2012 event. The question is is it worth doing so?
Well we will leave that decision up to you. But how about we let you see what you missed, or remind you of what you saw live on the night.
In the main event WWE Champion CM Punk defended his gold in a thrilling encounter with Ryback. This was perhaps one of Ryback's longest bouts to date and he held up well against ring veteran Punk. The HIAC environment certainly suited the storyline and the grapplers in question really did build the action perfectly. This was a perfectly enjoyable cage match and one that was well worth a re-view in our opinion.
The World Heavyweight Championship was on the line as well. Here we had title holder Sheamus face the mammoth Big Show. Big Show may be running down his in-ring career these days. But when presented with the right opponent he can still cut it. This encounter is a fine example of the big man on top of his game.
The tag team scrap between Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara and The Prime Time Players had it moments too. However a mishap involving Cara left Mysterio fending for himself for a while.
Elsewhere Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio had a fun battle. ADR worked Orton's arm over thoroughly throughout this fine addition to their feud.
The dysfunctional team of Kane/Daniel Bryan defended their Tag Team Titles against The superb combo of The Rhodes Scholars. This one had its ups and downs and unfortunately fell a bit flat at times.
The rest of the card saw The Miz battle Kofi Kingston over the Intercontinental Championship. 
We also had Antonio Cesaro put his United States Title on the line against Justin Gabriel and a triple threat Divas Championship war between Kaitlyn, Eve and Layla. 
HIAC 2012 was an event that had its fair share of ups and downs. However when things worked they really worked and there are a few surprises awaiting the viewer as well.
Hell in a Cell is available now from all good retailers and www.wwedvd.co.uk
RRP £17.99 DVD, £19.99 Blu-ray
Extras: DVD (interview with Sheamus), Blu-ray (interviews and a match from Smackdown)
By Phil Allely