Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes at look at the latest DVD release, Best Main Events of the Decade 2010-2020.
You can be as down on the WWE as you like. If you’re reading this chances are you’ll either be one of those who is constantly taking to social media to tell everyone how “bad” WWE currently is or you’ll be one of those rolling your eyes at those said people. The fact remains that the WWE are the biggest game in town and when they get it right they can still deliver the big matches and the big events like no-one else.
This 2 dvd set brings together one match per year from 2010 to 2020 exclusive which the WWE apparently regard as the best of that year. Of course there is, as ever, the usual political games to play (although they don’t always play them the way you’d think on this set) and a desire to mix and match the names will mean that fans won’t always agree on the choices. And one point to note here is that my memory for what matches took place where isn’t always the best. So I will just treat the compilation for what it is, rather than looking to pick holes in what else could have been included.
We kick off with a match that is definitely highly regarded, WrestleMania XXVI’s Streak vs Career match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. You couldn’t have a best of this decade without including this match. It still stands up today as a classic and even when you know what is coming it’s a work of art. It’s not just one of the “best main events” of the decade, it’s one of the best WWE matches full stop.
2011’s match comes from Money In The Bank and pits WWE Champion John Cena against CM Punk. It is one of the most famous storylines and matches of the decade for sure and still has a visceral power that sets it apart today. I do feel that this match’s significance has grown in importance over the years beyond it’s actual worth. It changed nothing, the WWE ruined the storyline when Punk came back two weeks after this match and within a couple of months Punk’s insider promo’s were shining examples of the law of diminishing returns. But still, this match was an excellent slice of “sports entertainment”.
2012’s pick is the SummerSlam main event between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. Well, you didn’t think HHH would be left of this did you? Joking aside though it is a very strong effort, which is psychologically sound to say the least. And it has an ending you don’t see every day. It’s also a lot better than 2013’s offering, the WrestleMania 29 main event of The Rock and John Cena. If you’re keeping track this isn’t the “once in a lifetime” match but the one after that. If we’re being kind it’s a great stadium match but it is most certainly not one that stands up to repeat viewing. Shaving a third (or more) off the running time would have helped but for what it was (and for what it could ever hope to be) it was fine
Much better is Payback 2014’s No Disqualification Elimination Match between The Shield and Evolution. It’s an absolute cracker and what made it for me is that it was treated like the epic grudge match the storylines said it was. The six men just went at it with an utterly believable hatred. As I said in the introduction, when the WWE get it right they take some beating.
Whether they got it right at WrestleMania 31 is one for debate. Seth Rolling cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE Championship in a match that involved Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar certainly made for one of the most memorable moments of the decade. But what it did for Roman Reigns is another matter. Of course it didn’t really derail him because wins and losses are largely ineffective in WWE in terms of what happens next. By Extreme Rules 2016, Reigns is champion defending against AJ Styles in an Extreme Rules match. This is another excellent effort; and whilst it’s tempting to place the praise for that at the feet of Styles, don’t fall into that trap. Reigns is an excellent wrestler too and plays his full part here.
The Universal Championship is on the line at SummerSlam 2017 as Brock Lesnar defends against Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe and, yes, Roman Reigns. This is absolute chaos…and I love it. It’s just a really fun brawl that effectively showcases all four men. There’s even more Brock Lesnar for 2018’s match, his champion vs champion match against Daniel Bryan from Survivor Series. I recall some fans at the time hating this, arguing that it cut Bryan off. And it’s true he’s on the defensive for ages, but that sets up the believable comeback after a low blow perfectly. Even now, you can watch and think Bryan is going to win. The eventual and inevitable defeat doesn’t hurt him one bit.
WrestleMania 35 saw history made as the women headlined for the first time. Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch were the women given that spot and in terms of storylines it was certainly warranted. The action itself is a little disappointing and the ending still baffles to this day. But it probably deserves it’s inclusion here for its historic merit. We end with WrestleMania 36 and Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre. It does what it does and with the constraints of the format (and we presume Mania was the cut off point for production) it makes sense to have it here. And it’s a match I enjoyed too.
Putting aside whether this does or doesn’t represent the complete best of the WWE main events of the decade, this is a very satisfying set. Every match is very watchable and there are some belters on here too. It’s a little disappointing that this is a dry release, in the sense that it’s just the matches, but you can’t argue with the action on display.
8 out of 10.
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
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