Welcome to the latest WWE Blu-ray review as usual on release date. This week we take a look at NXT Greatest Matches Volume 1. This is one of the most highly anticipated releases over the past year or so ever since it was announced that it was part of this years line up of DVD’s and Blu-ray’s from WWE. The fact it is a highly anticipated release boils down to the fact NXT has seen a huge rise since it’s inception and it is known for producing the likes of The Shield, Paige, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, Kalisto and Kevin Owens as well as on the current product which includes Finn Balor a.k.a Prince Devitt, Austin Aries and soon to be Shinsuke Nakamura.
I myself was looking forward to this release but when it was announced and up to when I popped it in I was apprehensive as to whether the matches were the ‘greatest’ and also whether it would include other bits such as interviews!
Is it worth the purchase though for die hard NXT fans or just general fans and/or collectors alike?? Let’s find out!
First of all in terms of how it is laid out, it is the same as most WWE releases to include introductions before matches, stories about the evolution of NXT and footage from such places as the Performance Center giving anybody who has never seen NXT before a bit of an introduction and context. Interviews include Charlotte, Enzo Amore, Paige, Kevin Owens to name a few as well as of course the mastermind behind it all the current WWE champion and COO Triple H, I think that including him in the release is great as without it you wouldn’t be getting an imperative look at NXT as a whole!
All the milestones are of course covered to add to those interviews and the matches including the evolution of the women’s division, the Beast in the East special as well as of course Dusty Rhodes’ legacy a man who is known as well as HHH as a key figure in the development of the characters who we see on screen!
Match wise we start of with the first big match in NXT for the title including Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal, you could tell watching it then and now that it meant a lot as Howard Finkel who is only ever used for these sort of occasions ring announced and also we had superstars and divas from both NXT and Smackdown/Raw there to witness history and like Jim Ross said on commentary everyone can say where they were when the first NXT champion was crowned. I am glad they included an early recollection of the brand before it became what it is today instead of just jumping in, it all ties in with this idea of telling the NXT story. You could tell it wasn’t all in place at that point compared to now but to see it from humble beginnings is great!
Seth Rollins also faced off with another current main roster star in Big E Langston who I would say has come a long way even though it was just under 3 years ago from having a powerlifter persona I would say where he comes out and claps talcum powder and gets hyped up to now when he is part of what is easily the funniest stable in WWE of recent times the New Day, this was a great encounter and it was highlighted as Non-DQ when the Shield interfered but I think again it was on the disc to show the history element with of course Langston becoming the second champion.
Another success story from NXT was next in the form of Bray Wyatt taking on Chris Jericho. It was about this time I would say I started watching NXT fully after struggling to watch NXT Redemption, watching bits and pieces at the start and watching FCW most weeks years back. This was a great match rewatching it again now and will always stick out when I think of early NXT as this pot where these future stars are pitted against stars of the present or past seen in this case in Jericho as well as the likes of Rhyno more recently!
The next two matches are two of my favourites in NXT and I am glad they made it to this set. First up we have Paige vs Emma in the NXT Women’s Title Final. I remember this as being awesome back then and still is today, great back and forth contest that the crowd were majorly into. I would go as far as saying this match and Natalya vs Charlotte paved the way initially for the Divas Revolution which we see today. I would say just about it isn’t as good as their Arrival match but it shows how good these women are that they can further improve from their initial effort!
Sami Zayn vs Cesaro in their Best 2 out of 3 falls was next up and damn this was so good, both men tore the house down and this was one of the matches that really put NXT on the map as people were buzzing about this brands potential me included . Definitely worth being on the release!
Also the next match is another that is hugely talked about when you say about the best matches in NXT history and that is Cesaro vs William Regal and how damn good it is. Regal is a legend in the business and if this is how he goes out vs a potential legend in the business in Cesaro it is a great end. For anybody who hasn’t seen this either search it up, buy this release or use the Network to watch it as it is worth it.
Bo Dallas vs Neville in their ladder match from Arrival followed, many people slate Dallas especially when he did the whole BOlieve gimmick but I wasn’t in that camp I really enjoyed it especially in NXT, he was facing Neville who I have followed for many years from his days in the Indies to now. I marked out hugely when Neville won the title when I watched it live and even though the match wasn’t 5 star I was really satisfied then and now and it was the first ladder match that NXT did so it didn’t need to overkill.
Next we have the turn of the match alluded to previously Charlotte vs Natalya which is up there as one of my favourite women’s NXT matches and this continued to take the women’s division in NXT and WWE as a whole up to the next level. Ric Flair and Bret Hart in the respective corners really added a different dimension than just a normal wrestling match. Really enjoyable then and the same can be said now about 2 years later!
Sami Zayn vs Tyson Kidd was great and is a match I had forgotten about until it popped up on the release. Both men are great of course in ring so it was just meant to be gold and it sure was. It wasn’t on a TakeOver like most of the other matches but it just shows that even though they are limited to a 50 minute portion that they can still produce crackers and this is a case in point!
Another match with Sami Zayn followed vs Neville this time from REvolution which again I have a good memory but I only just vaguely remember this but like most matches on this set I thought it was great back then and was even better when I rewatched it recently on this set. To see Zayn finally win the title after the build up was great and the post match celebration was great and added to it even further.
Sasha Banks is mainly featured in the next match where she faced Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley the other 3 horsewomen and of course won Charlotte’s NXT Women’s title. 3 out of the 4 have made it on the main roster with Bayley expected soon I should imagine and apart from Becky all the women have won the title at some stage. I would like Becky myself to win the Divas title at WrestleMania as she is my favourite diva but people may have other opinions. This match just goes to show how far they have come from a 4 way in NXT TakeOver : Rival to the grandest stage of them all in WrestleMania this year!
Sami Zayn faced Kevin Owens on the next match from the same show as the previous in one of if not my favourite match ever from NXT up there with Bayley vs Sasha Banks. I was hugely into this and was on the edge of my seat from the start and like most matches on this set it was as good now as then. Really good addition to the set and deserved for sure! Of course referee stoppage was used which was different and really showed Owens to be this unstoppable monster. One word to describe it to end off awesome!
A great un-seen match between Neville and Cesaro followed, this was taped apparently for this DVD specifically. It was originally Zayn vs Neville but Zayn was off ‘injured’ which means Cesaro replaced him as a on par or even better replacement! There was no commentary to it which is the only criticism but apart from that great match which for something which wasn’t originally built up was better than I thought it would be!
Also another un seen match follows between Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze which was filmed on arena cam which adds a different dimension to a match, it had build up about the atmosphere before hand which was great unlike the previous match and it made me who had never seen the match before look forward to it and to see Hideo hit the GTS was great. For me Hideo/KENTA has always been great so to see him injured is a shame and hopefully he won’t get too lost in the shuffle when he returns.
Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady and Carmella vs Blake, Murphy and Alexa Bliss followed which isn’t an amazing match considering how good the others are but in my opinion that isn’t what it is on the set for. It is to highlight one of the best creations from NXT, Enzo, Cassidy and Carmella! I am looking forward to hopefully them going up to the main roster soon as a bit like Marmite you either love them or you hate them and i’m in the former camp. Their entrance is great especially I would say in the early days and even though their matches aren’t five stars it brings an element of fun to NXT something you need amongst the big matches!
The next two matches that follow it and kind of end everything off apart from the extras and the Dusty Rhodes Memorial Final are the Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor title match from Beast in the East which is really exciting and special and to see Balor win the title in a venue where he spent most of his NJPW days really adds something special like alluded to, to the whole experience. I would say though that having watched it three times (after the event, BITE DVD and this) it wasn’t as enjoyable but still a great match nonetheless.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley followed in literally one of the best women’s matches in years for me and one of if not the best match in 2015 in my opinion, most people have seen it so i’m not going to run through it but if you haven’t search it out and watch it immediately. Finally on the main feature we have the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic final between Finn Balor & Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin and Rhyno. It is only fitting this is last, Dusty Rhodes will always be one of the main men who pioneered NXT and is a massive legend, I don’t ever really tear up when a wrestler passes away but for Dusty and also for Roddy Piper I did.
It wasn’t as a match better than the semi’s but to see the presentation at the end including Cody out of the Stardust persona and Goldust in a similar fashion was the reason why it was the obvious choice but a good one at that! To continue Dusty’s legacy every year in this fashion shows how much he meant to the industry and to the guys and girls down at NXT
Bluray extras wise it includes Apollo Crews defeating Tyler Breeze at TakeOver : Respect in a great match and one of the final ones Tyler was involved in. Sasha Banks vs Charlotte from NXT late last year was also involved in a match like with Zayn vs Kidd where it stole the show on the TV show and didn’t need an hour. It also showed how far both women have came from their debuts to this point to finally WrestleMania capping off a journey! My two favourite Diva’s as well are featured in a dark match before Fatal Four Way Takeover in Paige and Becky Lynch, not amazing by any stretch but these two women together in an unseen match deserves to be on the bluray for sure!
The first two on the Blu-ray are older in terms of NXT and include CM Punk and Seth Rollins vs Cesaro and Kassius Ohno a.k.a Chris Hero in another un-seen match. This being un released is a crime as it is a cracker of a match. Add to it the commentary stylings of Ross, Regal and Saxton you have a hidden gem, worth checking out if you have the chance!
Finally there is a great Best 2 Out of 3 Falls match between Neville and Corey Graves. It is a shame for me as I think if Graves hadn’t had the concussion problems he would of either still been battling away on NXT maybe even as champion or been on the main roster (probably the latter) so to see him in this great match brings mixed emotions as it shows how good he is but also how sad it is that he never reached his full potential in WWE but also he never lied down and stayed in the business which is really admirable!
Rating 10/10 – First full score of 2016 and as far as i’m aware ever, great set from top to bottom which I recommend highly! The matches are great and most if not all are deserving of being on here and the added interviews really gives it a really finished edge which some WWE DVD’s/ Bluray’s lack! Go out and purchase it if you can that’s all I will end on!
I am looking forward to my next WWE review and you can find out when the next one will be by going to :
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/BritishWrestlingRevival
Twitter : @BritWresRevival
Instagram : @BritWresRevivalBlog
Finally I would like to thank WWE Home Video and Fetch Publicity for their continued support of myself and my reviews! So please go and Support WWE Home Video : https://www.facebook.com/WWEHomeVideoUK?fref=ts and @WWEHomeVideoUK