WWE – Live In The UK – November 2014 (Cert 12)
2 Discs (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 325 minutes approx.
And so we come to the second of the WWE’s bi-annual trips across the pond to our fair shores, which saw the weekly TV output being recorded over two nights in November 2014 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, so expect lots of Beatles and Liverpool FC references, along with the obligatory black cab, red telephone box set.
Ironically, one the more newsworthy events from these shows came off camera. Vince McMahon came out during the Smackdown taping to berate the crowd for not being lively enough and likened Liverpool to Ebola. While this was supposed to be an “in character” work to galvanise the fans, it backfired – as much of Vince’s ideas of late have – and had the opposite effect. It didn’t help that the WWE Network failed to arrive on its announced date – due to issues with SKY TV over broadcasting rights since they are the sole provider of WWE TV in the UK – and the fans were rather vocal in their displeasure, which also irked Vince!
To the shows and RAW was first up taped on Monday 10th of November and was only really notable for the show long angle revolving around the recently returned Ryback, who had been out with an injury. He left a heel but came back a babyface, his run with Curtis Axel as the Rybaxel team now history. With the Team Cena vs Team Authority match now set for Survivor Series the story was who would be on Team Cena, with the current personnel being Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Big Show with original member Jack Swagger taken out by Seth Rollins.
Ryback was considered the hottest free agent and was given the chance to pick a side. He was put into a match against Cena on this show to help him decide, receiving visits from the members of the Authority to try to sway his choice. Which way would Ryback go? We found out at the end of this show.
Elsewhere a wrong from the May UK visit was righted here and homeland heroine Paige avenged her loss over Alicia Fox, although the Divas title was not at stake. That was because AJ Lee was the title holder at the time and she faced off against Brie Bella who was working as a slave to her sister Nikki, who had the title shot at Survivor Series. Sheamus got his US title rematch against Rusev and Adam Rose had a falling out with the Bunny.
Over to Smackdown and we kicked off with a bonus treat as Chris Jericho returned to host a special Highlight Reel with The Authority and closed with the main event of Kane vs Ryback which was as dull as you’d expect it to be. The real highlight of the show however was a great Triple Threat Elimination match for the IC Title, in which champion Dolph Ziggler tore the house down defending against Cesaro and Tyson Kidd.
Following this match Mrs. Tyson Kidd aka Natalya had a fun but short bout against Layla although psychologically this was blighted. The problem is that both Nattie and Tyson use the Sharpshooter as a finisher and after seeing Tyson create some drama in trying to apply it in the previous match, seeing it all over again here lessened its impact.
Tucked away between these shows are a largely missable edition of Superstars and Main Event, which didn’t air on TV in the UK. It’s notable for two things: first Alicia Fox and Cameron botching the finish of their match then a cracking match between NXT’s Sami Zayn vs Tyson Kidd. They were given time and delivered a fun match and unlike the US crowds, we Brits knew who Zayn was and gave him a good reception.
As before the vaults have been raided for the DVD bonus features, this time revisiting the UK Rampage show from 1991 for the tag match pitting The Rockers against Orient Express with a special guest in the Rocker’s corner. A little more up to date for the second extra feature sees Y2J and Dean Ambrose team up to face Bray Wyatt and Kane in a post show dark match following Smackdown, which was captured on the hard camera and thus has no commentary.
If these release serve any purpose it is to remind us just how fast things are moving in WWE – and wrestling in general – today. The content is only three months old yet it feels like a lifetime. Survivor Series has since been and gone and we’re now heading to Wrestlemania 31 and so much water has passed under the bridge since then that I had already forgotten most of the angles and situations which took place just a few months ago.
Sadly it also reminds us just how little some of the talent and these storylines have advanced since November, with the current angles featuring to the same old guff with the Authority making life hell for Cena, etc. – Groundhog Day indeed! But at least the WWE Network has finally arrived in the UK!
Forgive the repetition but the conclusion is the same for this release as it is for the previous UK only compilations – if you were there on either night this is a fine memento of that experience otherwise only hardcore collectors need seek this title out.
Disc 1 Only:
UK Rampage 24th April 1991 – London Arena
The Rockers w/ Andre the Giant vs. The Orient Express
Smackdown After The Show – Fan’s Eye View –
Chris Jericho & Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt & Kane
Rating – ***
Man In Black