Wednesday 10 February 2016

WWE Best Of RAW & Smack Down 2015 DVD Review By Dave Adamson

So, the annual Best Of series is, at its essence, a selection of matches from across 2015, this time from the weekly Raw and Smackdown television shows.  Whether the many matches on show here would be a part of the “best of” list of the WWE Universe is open to opinion though, if Michael Cole’s commentary is anything to go by, the WWE Universe is a hugely positive place.
Some of these “best of” matches are better than others, but that’s the nature of having so much content available week after week - the collection avoids any gimmick or low-brow comedy, focusing on the bigger stories that WWE have told through 2015.  With it’s pretty much match-of-the-show approach, there’s plenty of content here, but very little context - video segments pop up every so often to give us a recap of other events, and the WWE Universe even get their say, but there’s far too little of it.  Thankfully, WWE have excelled at providing commentary that brings viewers up to speed, even if you do have to pick apart the disparaging remarks to find the story.
There were, however, some truly noteworthy moments - Sting appearing on WWE TV; Paige, Kevin Owens, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Neville making an impact and shaking up fan opinion; AJ Lee, Daniel Bryan and Tyson Kidd showing why the fans want them back so much; and many other special moments amongst the marquee names that the WWE regularly offers.
We dip into the stories of Rollins and Ambrose, Cena’s presence at the top of the tree and how passionate the fans are in his opinion of him, the appearances of Lesnar, Ryback’s wave of destruction, Sting’s appearance on WWE TV and touch upon The Undertaker.  We see New Day become something better, and the many familiar, safe hands of the WWE roster performing to the highest level.  For every Cena and Reigns, there’s a handful of others who stand out for their consistency - Cesaro, Kingston, Tyson Kidd amongst them.
Highlights across the three discs includes the NXT women eclipsing anything that many of the WWE Divas do, with Paige vs Charlotte for the WWE Divas Championship, as well as Paige vs Sasha Banks.  Sami Zayn’s match against John Cena for the US Title is another stand out, as is the resulting Kevin Owen’s appearances.  Brock Lesnar imposing presence is well represented, especially considering his relatively light work schedule, as is The Undertaker and departure of Daniel Bryan from active competition, albeit in through the “In Review” segments.  
Whilst it does provide a broad representation of WWE Raw and Smackdown, with almost eight hours of content across three discs, there’s only superficial depth to what is well presented in the customary WWE TV quality style.  Additional context is provided with the monthly wrap up videos and the alternate commentary tracks, but it’s a boxset really aimed at the casual WWE fan or the completists.
Taking into consideration that, even with the broadcast delay, all the matches from 2015 that feature on this three disc set are available as part of Raw and Smackdown on WWE Network, it’s almost as if The Best of Raw & Smackdown 2015 exists as a sampler set, albeit an unacknowledged one.

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