Wednesday, 3 November 2010

WWE Highest Flyers Disc 3 DVD Review By Shaun Nichols

WWE Highest Flyers - Disc 3

Shawn Michaels vs. Vader  ***1/2
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Sabu   ****
Kofi Kingston vs. Christian  ***3/4
Taka Michinoku vs. Pantera  ***1/2
Lita vs. Trish Stratus   **
Sabu vs. Rob Van Dam  ***1/2
Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga  ***1/4
Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero  *****
Juventud Guerrera vs. Billy Kidman  ***3/4

Disc 3 starts with a look at Shawn Michaels and his WWF title defence against Vader at Summerslam 1996. At the time this was considered to have been a bit of a disappointment but time as not treated this match badly at all. After the initial HBK flurry it's Vader that takes control for the majority of the match. Shawn makes short lived comebacks which every time lasts a little bit longer than the last one. Vader initially wins by count out after dropping Shawn on the guard rail. Jim Cornette as Vader's manager then demands that Shawn agrees to restart the match. Shawn agrees to this and the match runs for another few minutes until Cornette tries to interfere and Shawn uses his tennis racket on both Cornette and Vader. This causes the DQ finish but Cornette again demands that the match should continue. Shawn agrees again and Vader looks to have the match won until he fluffs a moonsault attempt and HBK immediately hits a moonsault press for the win. Considering the match restarts twice the fans are surprisingly into this. Cornette also must have broke a world record for the using the word 'stinking' into a wrestling promo.
Next is Scorpio who because his WWF run was so uneventful in his highlight package we get a lot of ECW clips and Scorpio dancing including  a clip of Vince dancing. His match is against Sabu at Cyberslam 96 for the ECW TV title, this is all action from start to finish. Within the first sixty seconds Sabu has used a chair and hit two dives, one of which was into the crowd. Match was full of insane dives and never showed any signs of slowing down. The highlight was Sabu doing his running jump from a chair onto the top rope and then doing a somersault onto a table located in the third row. Fans went crazy for it and then started to worry that he was seriously hurt but fortunately he wasn't. Scorpio kept his side of things by hitting a 450 splash and his tumbleweed legdrop. Match ended in a excellent 30 minute draw.
Kofi's 2010 match against Christian where the winner was supposed to win the IC title is the next match. Although Kofi can be pretty exciting to watch he does mistime a lot of moves in a match. This means that a lot of his matches that should be good end up as average. However Christian fortunately as the ability to get the best out of the majority of his opponents. Both guys wrestle as upstanding babyfaces and the fans react great to this. This as to be Kofi's best WWE match by a mile at this stage and is the best match that the WWE could have picked for Kingston.
The WWE then openly admitted that they were slow to pick up on the popularity of WCW cruiserweights. However they did have the very talented Taka Michinoku as their first lightweight champion. His main rival was Brian Christopher who popped by to do commentary with his old man. Hence much entertainment from Jim Ross telling Jerry Lawler to keep his son in line. At this time they were still not open that Lawler and Christopher were related. Match was absolutely fine but the commentary was top draw, after Taka wins with the michinoku driver it's time for the Lawler family to attack the champ. One dive to the floor from Taka and he's able to make a safe getaway while JR puts him over like a true star.
What was not entertaining was Lita, the positives were that at least the fans wanted to see the girls wrestle and I had forgot how great Trish was a heel. Lita hits a suicide dive which nearly causes her to break her neck and then to win the womens title she hits a nice moonsault for the pin. This really shouldn't have featured especially not on disc 3.
One of the great ECW rivalries was Sabu-RVD with the added intrigue being that both men were being managed by Bill Alfonso, it turns out that he doesn't turn on either man but RVD still kicks him into apparent unconsciousness. Match is all big dives, dropkicks and slingshot offence in front of a rabid ECW fans. Match was good but nothing amazing.
In an attempt to show Jeff Hardy how much the WWE Universe love him he features in the number two position. Strangely they show a cage match against Umaga from the run up to his WWE title match at the 2008 Royal Rumble against Randy Orton. Orton turns up to cheer on the Somoan Bulldozer. Umaga dominates most of the match including backdropping Hardy into the cage and then splashing Jeff into the cage moments later. Jeff makes his comeback with a twist of fate. He then climbs the cage to escape which Orton tries to block, Hardy then changes his mind and hits whisper in the wind from the top of the cage onto Umaga for the win. Visually the finish was very good and I'll give Orton a lot of credit for his performance on the outside.
Finally we get the match we've all been waiting for even though if you've got the Rey DVD set you will already have it. It's the Title vs. Mask classic against Eddie from Halloween Havoc 1997. Eddie as the classic heel is absolutely outstanding and they work the match slightly differently from what you would normally expect to see. From the start Eddie completely outwrestles Rey, which the commentary team put down to Rey having the pressure of possibly losing his mask. Rey does get the odd and always high flying moments of offence before Eddie once again cuts him off. Like the HBK match, everytime Rey gets a hope spot it lasts a little bit longer. It takes approx ten minutes before the match gets even closer to being a 50-50 match as they start trading big moves and setting up false finishes. Finish comes when Eddie is about to nail Rey with a Razors Edge from the middle rope, one huracanrana reversal into a pin and we get a new champion. This match is absolutely fantastic is fittingly saved until the end.
The extra is another very entertaining WCW cruiserweights this time from the World War 3 PPV from 1998 between champion Juvi and Billy Kidman. This PPV was the one where they had three rings and both guys take full advantage of extra options of springboard offence that they can deliver. Fans really liked it as well and reacted to Billy Kidman's title triumph.
Overall Thoughts
I do think that as a compilation it really is an excellent effort. Sure there are matches that should not have made the cut or wrestlers that should have had other matches chosen for them the main examples would be Evan Bourne, RVD and Jeff Hardy. There are also a few real hidden gems that would never have featured on any other WWE compilation. These included matches that featured Hakushi, Taka and a superb mat classic between Guerrero and Malenko. The only wrestler that I really objected to being featured was Lita who moonsault apart as very little to offer. But this takes up only ten minutes. I would easily recommend the Highest Flyers set as extras apart I've only rated three matches out all three discs less than *** stars.


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