Everything about this DVD appeals to me from the beautiful cover art that is designed to look like olde time fight posters to the lovely presentation, but mostly for the match selection. 2012 was a fantastic year for in-ring action for WWE so they were spoilt for choice when selecting which of it’s numerous PPV matches should go on this generous DVD set.
The helpful thing about this is that it genuinely includes all the best matches of last year so for the princely sum of a twenty pound note, you can bypass buying full PPV DVDs and just have the pick of the litter in one release. Of course, if you collected all the WWE DVDs then you can save twenty quid by not buying this as you already own all the footage. It’s the best of both worlds.
I own the best of 2009/10 on DVD and watch it with regularity although I do find myself skipping a match or two. I own The Best of 2011 on Blu-Ray and it is one of my most viewed Blu-Ray discs. So I have no hesitation in owning this on Blu Ray even though I have the DVD Review discs because I know I will wath it time and again, and I feel that this is the way most people will treat it too. As always, if ou have the means to play BR then invest an extra £4 and have the few extra matches, interviews and superior video and audio. Although if you are still in the DVD age, there are no complaints there either. This set is stacked and it looks wonderful.
This is presented in chronological order which is good because the world of the WWE moves so quickly that it helps form a sense of narrative which wouldn’t be possible if it was in a random order. We begin with a storyline based match which is really quite excellent as WWE Champion CM Punk takes on Dolph Ziggler with Johnny Ace as guest referee. Then we get the absolutely scorching Smackdown Elimination Chamber followed by WWE’s Match of the Year from Wrestlemania 28 (Undertaker vs HHH with HBK as guest ref). We’re three matches deep in a 3 DVD set and you need a break, the action is incredible and it’s hard to understand where they can go from here. Thankfully they continue in high style and it never really lets up as we go onto disc two.
I do enjoy the little segues by Scott Stanford that (although short) help to jog your memory as to what led to a match and what was going on at the time. It also helps to give a breather between the matches as it’s too much as a thing when you go from one match on one show into another a month later with no respite. It’s paced very well.
The next match is the Rock/Cena encounter from WM28 which was another MOTY candidate on WWE.com. To give us both of the marquee matches from the biggest event of the year, back-to-back really puts into perspective just how voluminous this set is. We rather bizarrely get Layla vs Beth Phoenix which isn’t a best match of 2012, but it’s nice to see the divas represented and in terms of Divas matches, it is one of the better ones. It shows that the loss of Beth Phoenix has been a blow to the Women’s division.
Lucha Review’s blue-eyed boy Cody Rhodes is against Christian next in an excellent bout from No Way Out in June. I’m really pleased that every facet of WWE’s roster is represented on this release as the marquee matches are genuinely world class but are so easily remembered, it’s within these excellent mid-card scorchers that the point of the set is really brought to the forefront. It’s the workhorses that prop up the main event, who may in turn be headliners themselves in a few years that make WWE so thrilling. Watching them progress will mean that in a few years when you rewatch this set, you will see the start of what made them big (in Cody Rhodes) and the talent that mainstays like Christian had in making people look good on their ascent.
They use the next segue to explain the Summer of AJ Lee, where she was in the thick of everything, from love triangles to moderate mental illness and it needs explaining as it’s difficult to remember every single thing she did in those few months. It’s also a very clever tease (as I pointed out on my Money in the Bank review) because she referees the match between her two love interests, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, which begged the question “Who will AJ side with?” and then she absolutely calls it down the middle to the surprise of everyone and to the benefit of the brilliant match.
Onto the final disc and it begins with an introduction to the animalistic Brock Lesnar which in turn leads to his encounter at Summerslam with Triple H. For my money, his match with John Cena was a lot better and should have been the one included to showcase the Minnesotan Monster. It’s also amusing to hear that WWE have sweetened the sound at the end, long gone are the “Na na na, Goodbye”‘s and the “You Tapped Out”‘s that actually met Triple H’s attempt at a Legend’s pop post-match and instead we hear cheers. The match was ok, but I found it rather boring, Lesnar won though, which was important after his loss in his comeback via John Cena.
I skipped the next match, not because I didn’t enjoy it, I did. But because I only reviewed Night of Champions two days ago, so it is fresh in my mind. It is Dolph Ziggler vs Randy Orton. In a match without a title at the PPV famed for it’s Championship defences. Oh well, it’s a fine match that showcases each man beautifully. It wasn’t the best match of that pay per view, but it was good so I can’t quibble it’s inclusion.
Next up is the best match of that Pay Per View as Cena faces World Champ CM Punk in a match that is fantastic, innovative and has a very clever ending. I sat and watched this despite only seeing it 48 hours previously as it really is that good. The last match is Big Show taking on World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus at Hell in a Cell in October. A decent inclusion since the two men have fantastic chemistry but that’s when it all goes awry.
We’re done. What? It’s October and we’re finished? What about Survivor Series? What about TLC? They either didn’t exist or weren’t worthy of inclusion, I guess. But since they did and they were I can assume but one thing… in a mad rush to get this released they started production before the end of the year. How can it be a best of 2012 when two important months are missing? It’s a complete disgrace. An absolute scorcher of a DVD set, on par to get a solid 9 out of 10 from me has dropped points because it is incomplete. Ridiculous.