After much complaining about the sparse DVD extras from WWE releases, I have finally been given Blu-Ray review discs. I must say that this is a much better way to evaluate the product as they put so much more effort into the Blu-Ray option. However, we are still dealing with the problem of incomplete episodes of Raw and Smackdown. The disc features a selection of highlighted promos, segments and matches from the preceding weeks of the television product to showcase what led to the Pay Per View but some of the choices are still baffling.
However it is more enlightening than the 30 second interviews that are classed as ‘bonus features’ on the DVD release and reliving past shows is extremely enjoyable, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much.
Now, in regards to the main feature we have a very fun show. The nice thing about TLC is that whilst it is a gimmick laden show the gimmick isn’t repeated or used in every encounter. We have a Tables match, a Ladder match and a Chairs match, then we have a combination of the three in a TLC match where all of the aforementioned weapons are legal. Too often gimmick Pay-Per-Views play out the spectacle by overuse, but WWE use it sparingly and creatively and in regards to this year’s Elimination Chamber PPV, barely at all.
Sheamus (now out of his never-ending feud with ADR) and Big Show demonstrate great ingenuity in making the least interesting of the three weapons matches into an enthralling encounter. Del Rio on the other hand has had a change of heart on this PPV and out of nowhere turns babyface. The change makes sense but it seemed out-of-the-blue and in a good use of the bonus features, they do show his follow-up match the night after on Raw to show that it was a permanent change of heart.
The Ladder match features more jeopardy than just a nasty fall as Dolph Ziggler’s beloved Money in the Bank Briefcase containing his guaranteed Title match contract hangs from the rafters as he takes on John Cena. This is a good match that keeps you guessing as the outcome doesn’t feel clear and the match has it’s fair share of close-calls.
The Tables match is between two of the best Tag Teams that WWE has to offer as the Lucha greats Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara take on the excellent combo of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow (The Rhodes Scholars) for a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships. This is, of course, an innovative and exciting match and features twice the danger as four men are involved.
The TLC Match should have ended the show as the unlikely team of Kane, Daniel Bryan and Ryback take on Pay Per View debutantes, The S.H.I.E.L.D. Surprisingly, this was not only the best match of the night but one of the best matches of 2012. It is absolutely thrilling. The SHIELD certainly set out to prove thier worth and work beautifully together, their opposition is perhaps (barring the exceptional Daniel Bryan) not instantly the people you would consider to be Match of the Year candidates but it just goes to show that a well paced and booked match which shows each competitor to his strengths will almost certainly result in a good match. This night it resulted in a fantastic match and the main reason for buying this release.
Brodus Clay’s back up dancer Naomi shows her credentials in a fun and exciting Divas match, though her opponent Eve has since left the company and Naomi hasn’t wrestled since, which is a real shame. The match the results from ADR’s change of heart is fun too as is Antonio Cesaro and R-Truth’s US Title match. The undercard is strong yet different enough to not detract from the main attractions.
Even though WWE Champion CM Punk is out of the show with a knee injury, he isn’t really missed due to the great card, which is testament indeed to the quality of the event that the presence of a Champion of over a year and of the calibre of CM Punk wasn’t really necessary.
It’s definitely a recommended purchase 8/10