WWE – Christmas Collection (Cert 12)
1 Disc DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 170 minutes approx.
It’s the WWE DVD collection you’ve all be waiting for, admit it!
Every year when the festive season arrives the so-called WWE Creative team racks their brains to find the best way to celebrate this colourful holiday while simultaneously humiliating the wrestlers on TV with a lame apposite themed match or segment. This set contains nearly three hours of such yuletide related memories for you to cherish in one go.
Hosted by self-confessed Christmas fan Mick Foley and his aptly named daughter Noelle (who you will pleased to know takes after her mother in the looks department), the links are filmed at Santa’s Village as the Foleys enjoy the onsite delights whilst in search of Santa Claus himself! His links are largely inconsequential and the humour is limp wristed at best but he got a free day out at Santa’s Village so why should he care?
Foley himself is featured in the first clip taken from an episode of Smackdown from December 1999 before the show arrived in the UK. Under the guise of Mankind, he was due to face Santa in a Boiler Room Brawl; amazingly this was post-Russo WWF but still rather daft. This is followed by Foley playing Santa to JBL’s evil Santa at a Tribute To The Troops show in Afghanistan, the first of many Good vs. Bad Santa matches.
The infamous Xanta Claus match from 1995 is here, a one off gimmick featuring an Evil Santa who wore black and red and hated Christmas! Trivia note – Xanta would resurface in ECW a few months later as Balls Mahoney while the jobber Scott Taylor later became Scotty 2 Hotty! Yet this is not the most outlandish Santa related segment to show up in this collection.
That honour belongs to a 20 man “What I Want For Christmas Battle Royale” from Smackdown in 2011 and I kid you not, 90% of the participants no longer work for WWE! Watching this makes four years seems a long time ago. Anyway, the winner gets to ask Santa for a wish and the pay-off was a cute creative decision to get themselves out of a hole with a certain comic relief character.
Some matches have no real Christmas relevance other than they appeared on the festive edition of the RAW or Smackdown, such as a tag match pitting Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix vs. John Cena & Trish Stratus. Similarly a short match between Kofi Kingston and Tyson Kidd is featured purely for Kofi donning a reindeer mask for the finish!
Obviously this isn’t a release to be taken too seriously so to complain about the legitimacy of the match choices is rather churlish. Yes, they are downright silly but they are meant to fun and the fans in attendance treat them as such, which is just as well as many here are arguably long forgotten, even by loyal viewers such as yours truly. Anyone else remember Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango in a Present on a Pole Match from 2013? Neither did I even after watching this.
The oldest complete footage comes from 1989 when Bobby Heenan dressed as Santa tried to ruin Christmas for the all the young kids watching Prime Time Wrestling. Saving the day and defending the magic of the season is the late great Rowdy Roddy Piper in a series of skits which shows you just how far wrestling has come in the past 25 years and how today’s PG product is far less pandering to the kids as it once was.
Christmas also means exploiting the Divas by having them dress up in skimpy Santa outfits yet only one of these matches makes the cut here, from 2014 featuring Paige, Cameron and Summer Rae vs. Naomi, Emma and Alicia Fox. At least we were spared the dreadful and considerably more demeaning Egg Nog match from 2001!
One regular tradition which seems to have slipped under the radar of most fans as an anticipated annual event is the “Miracle On 34th Street Fight”. Yes there have been a few over the years, three of which are included here, which are basically a plunder match with presents and festive accoutrements doubling up as weapons. First is Randy Orton vs. David Otunga (apparently still employed by WWE!) from 2011 and last is Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt from 2014.
In between is the Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio iteration from 2012. This was odd timing as Del Rio had turned face just a week before and was now put back in the nominal heel role. The set up was that Del Rio – still doing the car entrance – had run over Santa (Foley again) and Cena was avenging Saint Nick. It’s a Cena match so you know the score already but it does contain a humorous highlight when Del Rio unwraps a teddy bear for a weapon.
We can’t really fault the WWE for wanting to get into the festive spirit with these shows, especially knowing their audience will be traditionally low depending on how close to Christmas Day RAW or SD will air. The only real problem is that the hokey stuff has to appeal to Vince McMahon’s sense of humour which, as demonstrated over the years, is more often than not a quantum leap away from that of the rest of the world.
Therefore we must offer our kudos to the home video team for coming up with a fairly competent collection of matches and skits to represent the fun side of the WWE’s holiday output, a Herculean task when one considers the amount of effluvia they’d have to swim through to find it!
Perhaps not the most demanding or essential of the WWE’s themed archive releases, Christmas Collection being is a budget price offering makes for a perfectly fine stocking filler for the WWE fan in your life!
Rating – ***
Man In Black