Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Sunday, 24 March 2013
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
Monday, 18 March 2013
Saturday, 16 March 2013
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
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Saturday, 9 March 2013
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
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
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
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