Friday, 4 July 2014

WWE WrestleMania XXX DVD Review

WWE WrestleMania XXX is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now, available from www.wwedvd.co.uk. Broadcast live on Pay-per-View (and the WWE Network) from the Mercedes-Benz Silverdome...erm...Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA on 6th April 2014, the show is main evented by Daniel Bryan's quest for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, first taking on WWE COO Triple H, with the winner tackling Champion Randy Orton and Royal Rumble Winner Batista in a Triple Threat Match, elsewhere Brock Lesnar steps up to challenge The Undertaker's 21-0 WrestleMania winning streak, alongside four other matches, as well as numerous segments featuring appearances from a number of WWE legends. The extra features are highlighted by the 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony, headling by the late Ultimate Warrior, as well as one more match and ten different segments. The commentary is provided by John Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.



 


For me personally, the main event of WrestleMania XXX was the opening contest, between Daniel Bryan and Triple H. Not only was it given the most time on the show, but it also set the tone for what was to come in the World Heavyweight Championship bout later on in the show. The bout picked up our Match of the Month Award for April (narrowly beating The Shield and Wyatt Family's bout from an episode of Main Event), and in this reviewers opinion the award was rightly deserved. Playing to both men's strengths, the bout is a story-driven affair, as Triple H dominates his smaller opponent, working the arm and shoulder throughout, with the crowd lapping up every moment. It's certainly the best match Triple H has taken part in in quite some time, even pulling out a Tiger Suplex, which of course lands right on the injured shoulder. Anyone who's read these blogs, check our Twitter account or spoke to me in person, knows that this the type of wrestling that I absolute love and therefore it was a treat to see it performed so well on the Biggest Wrestling show of the year. Special credit to Stephanie McMahon who was fantastic as Triple H's manager throughout the bout.




The story continued later on in the night, with the winner taking on Batista and Champion Randy Orton in a compelling Triple Threat encounter. At times, it verged on becoming overbooked, with a lot of intereference, but as all the pieces fell into place, including a terrific performance from Randy Orton (who probably doesn't get the credit he deserves). A nasty looking Batista Bomb into Leaping Neckbreaker from one announce table to another is perhaps the spot of the match, before a dramatic and tense ending that felt fitting for the 30th edition of the spectacular. It managed a strong joint 4th place in the Match of the Month poll. 




Beating this match into 3rd was The Undertaker putting his Streak on the line against Paul Heyman's Brock Lesnar. Whilst perhaps the match itself isn't worthy of such a placing, being a slow, plodding and at times awkward to watch affair, the finish of the bout which drew a very real emotional reaction from the crowd (and many people are still very upset about the whole thing), was perhaps one of the greatest moments in modern pro wrestling.



John Cena's contest with Bray Wyatt is an intriguing bout, with plenty of strong action from both men, although the story isn't quite as strong as it should of been and the sequence for the finish is awkward at best. 



 
The Andre the Giant Battle Royal is a well worked match, once the field of 31 participants has been chopped down, with a number of wrestlers getting an oppurtunity to shine, none more so than Cesaro. AJ Lee defending the Diva's Championship in what is dubbed as the "Vickie Guerrero" Invitiational against 13 other women, is as expected a bit of a mess, and whilst there are some nice spots, no one really gains anything from this one.





 The Shield's tangle with The Authority's Kane and New Age Outlaws is a swift bout, that makes a clear statement about WWE's future direction, perhaps the best that could have been hoped for.




In terms of segments, the opening of the show, is one that breaks all the rules of wrestling. It's way too long, there's a botchy Hulk Hogan promo, and no one is gains anything in particular, but I honestly couldn't care. Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock deliver one of those moments that,  you just can't take your eyes of, even on the second or third viewing. Elsewhere, two decent backstage segments, featuring past legends, the first featuring Ted DiBiase stealing toys from Jim Duggan, Ricky Steamboat and Sgt. Slaughter, before Ron Simmons delivered his catchphrase and the second featuring Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff putting their differences aside, twenty nine years later. Both were completely harmless and enjoyable segments, acting as effective buffers between the action. 

Special Features

As has become traditional over recents years, the entire 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony is present across the second and third discs. Originally broadcast on the WWE Network (and then in part on the USA Network) this is the first time the ceremony has been available in the UK. Perhaps one of the most memorable ceremonies to date, the show is headlined by The Ultimate Warrior's return to WWE, which since Warrior's passing a few days later is even more poignant. Elsewhere, highlights include Jake "The Snake" Robert's emotional no holds barred speech, talking about his problems with drugs and alcohol as well as his children, at times it is quite upsetting and it's difficult not feel for the former Intercontinental Champion. 

Former 4 Time Women's Champion Lita's speech is perhaps not many were expecting, going for what seems like a lifetime, as Lita gives her entire life story. Whilst the stories are interesting at times, it get's boring quickly and feels selfish as she eats into other wrestler's time. Notably Razor Ramon and Carlos Colon are quickly rushed along with their inductions and speeches, with Ramon getting hardly any time at all. Paul Bearer's induction is classy and appearances from Kane and The Undertaker before his real life sons take the stage, feels fitting. It is very difficult to speak about Mr. T's acceptance speech, I'm not sure whether it's the worst thing I've ever sat through or an absolute master piece, either way I know that he loves him Momma. An appearance from Bad News Barrett is perhaps unwarranted, but when looked  at alongside Hornswoggle and El Torito's run in, it's a work of art.

The Pre-Show contest featuring The Usos defending the tag team titles against RybAxel, Los Matadores and The Real Americans. Another strong contest, with each team putting in a decent effort, with plenty of exciting spots and a strong finish, complete with an angle that will be seen later on in the show. Swap this bout with the Diva's Invitational and WrestleMania XXX looks a hell of a lot stronger. 

The rest of the extra's are made up of content seen on the WWE Network's "WrestleMania Today" shows that were presented on the days leading towards the event itself. A presentation of WrestleMania 30 Greatest Moments is well produced, although breaks the rules a little too often, "WrestleMania Knockouts" counting as one moment is a bit silly. Hulk Hogan's WWE.com chat with Michael Cole, is a nice little interview, basically acting as promo for the WWE Network and WrestleMania itself, and one with John Cena has a similar feel. The set reveal by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon feels unnessessary after having watched the show itself. 

A pair of Booker T interviews with Randy Orton and Batista are solid and entertaining watches, with Booker really taking to the roll nicely. Looks at the careers of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant are nice addition, although attempting to fit everything into three minutes for each is perhaps a little ambitious, it's a nice starting point for the younger generation looking to know more about these two legends. Two promos for matches on the show are also included, both are of very strong quality, with the AJ Lee vs The World promo likely to have been cut from the show itself, which is a shame.

Overall, this is a very strong WrestleMania with a number of exciting and enjoyable encounters, none more so than Daniel Bryan's bout with Triple H at the start of the show. The special features are also strong, with the majority of the Hall of Fame ceremony being a pleasure to watch, managing to be both moving and funny at various points. A few of the other features are questionable, but for the most part still strong, however I would have like to have seen the inclusion of The Ultimate Warrior's speech on Raw the night after, as well as the aforementioned Shield vs Wyatt Family Main Event bout (although perhaps that's asking a little too much)

Either way, this three disk set would be a welcome addition to any wrestling fans collection.

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