Welcome once again to the latest WWE review, this time we have the return of a yearly staple which is the Best of Raw and Smackdown DVD’s which like the name suggests profiles the best bits from the whole year on both programming. Last year was a year which included the Draft and Goldberg returning and these DVD’s as I say every year are usually good history lessons for me as I don’t watch the television product and don’t really keep up with it and so to see certain matches and moments I may have missed is always good!
Now onto the DVD and I will be telling you about the most noteworthy parts on each disc as if I went through every match it would last ages and also with a run time of 9 hours there is plenty of content I won’t be discussing!
First of all we get Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler speaking about a new era for Raw and Smackdown and cutting to a part about the Divas title and this was in January so before the split and we get a good match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte to start proceedings off and it shows the change between the start of the DVD and the end of the DVD where Divas are now thought of rightfully so as Superstars in their own right and they are no longer seen as different or just as sex symbols which may have been the case in the Attitude Era and growing up with the Divas and Women’s titles I am glad they now have two belts and even though they still have separate divisions they no longer have a tag.
We get highlights of January which had two massive moments as part of it being of course Daniel Bryan’s retirement from the ring which those especially who read a lot into the industry know was happening for some time but it did bring a tear to my eye after watching him as Bryan Danielson/ The American Dragon and knowing he will never wrestle again makes me sad especially being a fan of him for so long!
We also of course got Shane McMahon returning which is another moment I really loved and popped for even though when I watched it I already knew it was happening due to reaction from the internet but in my opinion it’s moments such as this that keep people coming back and if this didn’t happen it may make the product become staler so it’s always good when WWE pull something out of the bag to make the viewer intrigued. We also got certain matches on here like AJ Styles’s start to his feud with AJ Styles in January and him forming the team called Y2AJ in February and as you can tell this release will be mostly focused on Styles as he had a great 2016 and has had a great 2017 so far.
Disc 2 started with Apollo Crews’ debut, having seen Apollo live when he was on the Indies literally months before his departure this was a very pleasing moment and he faced another NXT wrestler who had bridged the gap to the main roster Tyler Breeze and is someone who has not really had a great time on the main roster and may get repackaged soon I reckon but like I say it was a brilliant feeling to see him debut. We also saw to start the disc off a great match between Zayn and Styles from RAW which could have seen Zayn become a joint number 1 contender and be part of a 3 way at the next Pay-Per-View so it was worth being on this DVD for that alone. I am a big fan of both men so really liked this match after not previously watching it.
We then got the May highlights which was a month where John Cena once again returned after a hiatus, I have never been a staunch Cena fan but I have never disliked the guy and I really enjoy watching him in the ring so some people may have different opinions on him but he will always go down as one of the best there has ever been so it was worth a spot as one of the highlights.
In June we got two 12 man tag matches which in my opinion which in the first instance was used to be a segway to Money in the Bank where there was in fact the same match but in Ladder match form between The New Day, Enzo & Cass vs The Club & The Vaudevillains. This was around the time when The New Day were really over and you could really see that when they came out and that was the main reason I watched it at the time that they were really popular as I found them entertaining not so much now though
The other was Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn & Cesaro vs Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio which was another MITB segway as they were the 6 men facing off in the ladder match and this was the month where it wasn’t as classic as the following month July which was full of thrills and spills including first of all the WWE Draft which was an episode I definitely watched in full due to loving the Draft so much growing up but it wasn’t really that good in my opinion as I remember it as having loads of thrills and spills where you had for example Cena drafted to both brands in one night and also you had as a result one of my favourite PPV’s every year Bragging Rights. The first match was between WWE champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, both men were drafted to opposite brands and so this match was to determine which brand would have the main title and of course this was SmackDown as Ambrose retained and RAW got the Universal title. Speaking of titles we also got Charlotte after being drafted to RAW losing the Women’s Championship after 113 days which was a historic moment in the context of the year which was diminished slightly by the fact that the title changed hands multiple times over the coming months culminating in the first ever Womens’ Hell in a Cell main event on a PPV but at the time it was pretty shocking. Finn Balor’s ascent to his first main roster gold also was documented through his #1 Contender Match with Reigns which he won to beat Rollins but unfortunately had to relinquish it due to injury.
Disc 3 the final disc started with the RAW and SmackDown debuts of Bayley who like Apollo Crews faced another previous NXT member in Dana Brooke in her debut and American Alpha a team that everybody who watched NXT wanted to debut and they rightfully did debut against Breezango the team of Tyler Breeze and Fandango, this section was called Opportunity Knocking and s a result we had Big Cass a usual tag wrestler and not seen as a contender at all interjected into the WWE Universal Championship match and if he would of won it would have been a big shock but would have shown that if given the opportunity he had taken it.
We got rightfully so a match from the new Cruiserweight division showcasing 4 of the talents being Gran Metalik, Rich Swann, Brian Kendrick and Cedric Alexander and of course this was off the back of the Cruiserweight Classic which of course I watched and loved. I haven’t wached any of the 205 Live yet but will probably do so from now on as it’s a show I really want to get into but overall great to see the Cruiserweights showcased.
Of course October was highlighted by Goldberg returning and once again this was in a pretty cold month for WWE and so bringing him back brought the ratings right back up and I would definately say that July was the best month last year for WWE in terms of content.
We ended the year off with a focus on the Women of WWE with Alexa Bliss winning the SmackDown Women’s title and Sasha Banks winning the RAW Women’s title and so a pretty good end to the yar for WWE.
Rating – 7/10 – These DVD’s are either hit or miss with the Best Of’s but a good little watch especially for someone like myself who doesn’t really watch RAW and SmackDown every week. In my opinion what would really amp these up and this isn’t the point of them I know but having a highlights package or a match from each Pay-Per-View as it would really make sure the people watching would know what is happening all year round but overall I would recommend it!
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