- LIVE IN THE UK NOVEMBER 2012
WWE UK television tapings have been a regular occurrence since
the first one back in 2004. The benefits of this for the company
are obvious: fans know that the WWE are only in the UK twice a
year, so turn up in droves and always provide a vibrant atmosphere.
This makes for more exciting television, makes the wrestlers look
like bigger stars and encourages the wrestlers to put in better
performances. Now, we get this DVD package which brings together
the episodes of Raw, Smackdown,
Superstars and Main Event that
were taped in the Birmingham LG Arena last November.
Firstly, the positives: there are a lot of matches spread over
the two DVD’s. While some of these are pretty short and
inconsequential, you do get some really good bouts for your money.
The Raw match between the Miz and Sheamus is
given plenty of time and builds to an exciting finish, whilst
Main Event offers Sheamus again, this time in a hard-hitting war
with villainous Brit Wade Barrett (who is given hero status from
the crowd). The Smackdown show, meanwhile, presents a falls-count-anywhere
bout between Randy Orton and the always excellent Alberto Del
Rio, who battle all over the LG arena. Add to these a pair of
solid bonus matches from previous UK tours (The Rock/X-Pac from
1998, and Randy Savage/Ultimate Warrior from Summerslam 1992)
and you certainly get a good selection of in-ring action. Plus,
there is some amusement to be had seeing porky comedy wrestler
Brodus Clay getting booed out of the building by a partisan English
crowd when he takes on Barrett on Raw.
However, it isn’t all good news. Outside of the wrestling,
you do have to sit through some pretty tedious angles and interviews.
It’s highly unlikely that anyone who sat through the AJ
Lee/John Cena love scandal storyline back in November will want
to relive it here, never mind having to sit through the recap
videos that plague Smackdown and Main
Event. Also, several matches do have gaps in them where
commercial breaks would have been slotted on the original broadcasts.
This affects some matches more than others – the Del Rio/Orton
match goes to break with the wrestlers fighting in the crowd,
then comes back to find them back in the ring. It’s a distraction,
and one which only serves to highlight the biggest flaw with this
The problem is, you can’t really shake the feeling this
is a bit of a cash-in job. What you’re being asked to pay
for, in essence, is one week of WWE programming that just happens
to have been filmed in the UK six months ago. The storylines are
already in progress, and any storyline that does draw you in will
stop for you without resolution when Smackdown
finishes. For example, there is a significant development in the
saga of rogue referee Brad Maddox, as company chairman Vince McMahon
offers him a $1 million contract if he can win a match vs. the
monstrous Ryback the following week. Does he win? You’ll
have to go online to find out – this isn’t a match
that is going to see a DVD release, as is the case for the regular
episodes of Raw. As a souvenir for those in attendance, this collection
will do a fine job. For those of us who weren’t in attendance,
it does feel a bit pointless.
IT NOW (UK)