Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look at the two latest releases in the Iconic Matches collection, focusing on Becky Lynch and Paige.
The latest in an occasional series of budget releases, the Iconic Matches set returns with looks at Becky Lynch and Paige. Both are no-frills releases that aim to showcase, well, the Iconic matches from each women’s WWE careers. The only content apart from the matches is a brief hype package as an introduction. So these sets really do live or die on the action.
The Becky Lynch release goes 1 hour 20, with just three matches (all of which also feature perennial rival Charlotte Flair).
We kick off with the Triple Threat match from Summerslam 2018 where Champion Carmella faces her toughest challenge yet by defending against both Becky and Charlotte. The match is not the greatest but any attempts to lay that at the feet of Carmella would be lazy and unfair. This is arguably the best she’s ever looked in a WWE ring and the problems with timing seem to come from Flair herself. Luckily, I suppose, no-one was really talking about the match itself afterwards. Charlotte sneaking the win from her “best friend” Becky and for Becky to finally snap was a well-done storyline although if the WWE really thought that the post-match attack would turn Becky heel; the fans’ reaction shows that they were very much mistaken. At least the WWE would capitalise on this reaction in the months to come.
This is shown by their match at Hell In A Cell 2018. This is much better than the Summerslam match. Both women are crisp and on-form and there is genuine heat and emotion from the crowd almost throughout. Perhaps it would have been easy to be cynical at the time and think that “the chosen one” Charlotte would retain the title but that made the ending all the more welcome. It also led to what many would say was the “real main event” of the WWE’s first (and to date only) all Women’s PPV: Evolution.
For once the “Last Woman Standing” stipulation felt right. It did not feel like it had been tagged on because it’s that time of year and we have a PPV named after a gimmick; neither did it feel like an unnecessary short cut as a way to drag out a feud beyond its use-by date. You could quite easily lose yourself in the storyline and understand the hatred and animosity between the two and you could truly believe that either woman would do anything it took the get the win. It’s full of the usual bumps and set pieces but is perhaps best when the two are simply going at it with a believable hatred for one another.
The Paige release only just scrapes past the one hour mark, but includes five matches.
We kick off with the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament final from July 2013, as our hero from Norwich takes on Emma. It’s the kind of match that seems a little passé six years later when good-to-great women’s matches in the WWE are more of a “thing”. Whilst we’ve seen a lot better since that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a very good match and was part of an era when main roster women were still battling over the “Divas” Championship.
Which is where we go next as Paige makes her Raw debut on the night after WrestleMania in 2014 to issue a challenge to the then Divas Champion AJ Lee. The match itself is something and nothing, other than Paige’s shock win on her first night on the main roster. Quite why we need to see ALL of AJ’s pre-match promo (which goes on a lot longer than the actual match) on a one hour DVD focussing on Paige is beyond me, but there you go.
Including that becomes even more baffling when we get to SummerSlam 2014 – where AJ has claimed the title back in the interim. The salient points of the whole Paige confronting AJ affair are brought to us in highlight form as backstory for this match. For a five minute match it’s as good as you could expect, and the two take some big bumps but with its brevity it does little but remind you why “Give Divas a Chance” became a thing (that the WWE eventually had no choice but to acknowledge).
By the time we get to 2015 and WrestleMania 31, Paige and AJ Lee are teaming up to take on the evil Bella Twins. Again it’s relatively short (less than seven minutes) and for what it is it’s ok. And in an “old school” way the heels getting their comeuppance for all their dirty deeds leading up to the show does exactly what it should do. It’s not great, but it’s good fun.
We finish with a match from Paige’s return in 2017 as she takes on Sasha Banks on Raw. The match is almost an afterthought, with more focus on Alexa Bliss carrying out commentary and the arrival of Paige’s friends Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. It’s perfectly acceptable though.
And there you have it; in this day and age I suppose you could say that neither release is essential. That said, the Becky Lynch disc gives you three good matches out of three and there’s enough action on the Paige one to pass a fun hour, at a budget price too.
Format Reviewed; DVD
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copies of Iconic Matches which are out Monday 1 July on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here and here
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @IWFICON. Thanks for reading!