Despite the almost continual moaning from some quarters I find that generally there is more than enough about Raw and Smackdown that is entertaining and more on a regular basis, even if it doesn’t always consistently hit the high spots. There’s certainly enough to make the prospect of a 3 disc DVD set of the best of those shows from 2013 not an unpleasant one. The question really is whether or not a less than vintage year for the WWE in television terms (in some respects, at least) can shine in a nine hour or so setting.
Things start off with what I thought was a very thrilling CM Punk/Ryback TLC match for the world title. Now I know that Punk couldn’t drop the belt here due to his upcoming feud with Dwayne, but Ryback is so over here you can only class his de-push over the year as a frustrating missed opportunity. The crowd want him to win the title and are clearly frustrated when The Shield’s interference blocks this. Still it’s a match I enjoyed again.
From there we go to another gimmick match (is this TNA?) as Alberto Del Rio and The Big Show clash in a reasonably entertaining Last Man Standing match before the Rock/Punk/Cena triangle comes into focus. A verbal segment between Punk and Rock sizzles, the Punk Vs Cena match for the right to fight Rock at WrestleMania is a very good effort and the banter between Rock and Cena is entertaining too. Not having to watch the disappointing PPV matches that resulted from all this is actually a bonus.
As someone who thought the build up to Punk Vs Undertaker was terrible I wasn’t that enamoured with seeing some of it again at the start of disc 2, but then again Punk’s delivery is top-notch. From there it’s as if there is an intention to open up the field a bit as we see a handicap match pitting Alberto Del Rio against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter (which is here for the post-match Dolph Ziggler cash-in of course), a Kofi Kingston Vs Fandango match and Sheamus & Randy Orton teaming up to take on Mark Henry & The Big Show. None of that trio of matches are irredeemably bad, but they are by no means must see. Even the Ziggler cash in, which popped HUGE, seems rather pointless know when you know the state of his career one year on. Luckily the Kane, Undertaker & Daniel Bryan against The Shield match is next and whilst that is no 5-star classic, it does come across as an historic match (if only for novelty value) and this collection wouldn’t have been complete with out it. Memorable segments of Brock Lesnar destroying HHH’s office and Mark Henry “retiring” are mixed in with a Curtis Axel/Chris Jericho match (which I didn’t care for) and a stirring Streetfight between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton (which I did care for).
For DVD viewers, disc 3 seems to be a little more segment/angle heavy. Some I liked, some seemed incongruous on a “best of “ collection. The matches are a better selection. There’s a number of entertaining bouts featuring Cody Rhodes & Goldust and The Shield including a No DQ match for the tag team titles and one where Daniel Bryan teams up the with Rhodes brothers to take on all three of The Shield. Bryan also teams with CM Punk to take on the dastardly trio whilst a bit of variation comes from Randy Orton vs Rob Van Dam and Santino Marella vs Antonio Cesaro. We end with the “Championship Ascension Ceremony” which almost seemed to lessen the appeal of the Title Unification match rather than boost it.
The set is an entertaining collection of moments from TV in 2013 although at times you might wish for a bit more variety in terms of the names showcased. But that could just about sum up the general feeling about WWE TV anyway. There’s not too much that you could label “must see” and neither is there too much that will live too long in the memory. Still as an overview of the year, it won’t disappoint too much.
The Blu-Ray adds a few more matches, including a John Cena/Dolph Ziggler Steel Cage match and a three way Intercontinental Title match between Wade Barrett, Chris Jericho and The Miz. As ever, it seems worth the upgrade if you have the technology.
– By Matthew Roberts | @IWFICON
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