It’s perhaps something of an interesting juxtaposition in the WWE world that this DVD/Blu-Ray is released in the UK not long after Vince McMahon essentially sounded the death-knell for the traditional pay-per-view model of business with the exciting news that the WWE Network was finally on its way.
Still if 2013 was the last year under the “old system” it certainly had it’s fair share of highlights…many of which are on this release. The matches are tackled chronologically, although they do stop at October’s Hell In A Cell event. In a nice bonus, for me anyway, the lovely Renee Young presents/hosts.
We kick off with the WWE Championship match from the Royal Rumble pitting CM Punk against The Rock. In the ring this was a disappointment, with The Rock clearly not being in “wrestling shape”, but it’s also clear why it is present on this collection. If only for the heat from the crowd alone, this deserves it’s spot. My real problem with it is the quick way that The Rock dispatches Punk after the re-start, but this match/feud was never about CM Punk.
From there it’s Elimination Chamber and a thrilling Six Man pitting the Shield against John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus. It could have been seen as a brave statement making one half of your ‘Mania main event do the j-o-b at the preceding event, although it’s not Cena’s shoulders pinned to the mat and the post-show RAW didn’t really acknowledge that Cena was part of a losing team. Still, taken away from the context of all that it is a sterling bout.
Double duty from ‘Mania is up next. The Rock vs John Cena HAD to make the list for inclusion here. It’s not a great bout but the WWE were never going to leave it off. Luckily the other match from the biggest show of the year here is the very good Undertaker/Punk match. I disagreed with the nature of the build-up (largely because I didn’t think it was very good) but on the night the two excelled and ‘Taker went out of his way here to allow Punk to be showcased as an equal.
Extreme Rules pulls double duty too. The Randy Orton/Big Show match seems likely to have been included to add a bit of variety in terms of participants as it’s not exactly mind-blowing. But whilst the Triple H – Brock Lesnar feud probably should have reached its natural conclusion a month earlier, their Steel Cage match is ten times better than their ‘Mania match with the added bonus of the fans actually reacting to it this time around.
Payback was an exceptional show and gets THREE matches here. As strange as it may sound the best of the three may well be the WWE Divas Championship match pitting AJ Lee against Kaitlyn. It’s the best WWE women’s match in years…hell there is an argument that it’s the greatest WWE women’s match ever. It’s believable, heated and perfectly executed. The Triple Threat Intercontinental Title match between Wade Barrett, The Miz and Curtis Axel was a match I enjoyed more now than I did at the time even if as 2014 rolls around things look bleak for that particular trio now. The World Heavyweight Championship Match between Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio never really gets going, despite both men’s best efforts. It’s also a sad reminder of just how far Ziggler has dropped since.
The World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank Ladder match is chosen to represent that card and despite the lack of genuine star power compared to the other match of its type on the card, this was the better of the two and deserves its place here. Then we get to SummerSlam and arguably two five-star matches, CM Punk Vs Brock Lesnar and John Cena Vs Daniel Bryan. The first was marginally the better of the two in my eyes but both are just as good now as they were at the time. From here it is a little downhill though.
Alberto Del Rio Vs Rob Van Dam from Night Of Champions is fun, but pales when compared to the two matches that preceded it on the compilation. Mind you, the inclusion of the Fatal 4 Way Diva’s match from the same show, involving AJ Lee, Natalya, Naomi and Brie Bella must be someone’s idea of a joke. We’ve seen worse from the Diva’s division over the years, but there is no reason why it should be highlighted here.
Thankfully things pick up with the excellent Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns Vs Cody Rhodes and Goldust match from Battleground. If you think that the WWE has lost the knack of great dramatic storytelling, watch this. You’ll soon see that the magic hasn’t been completely lost. The DVD concludes with two matches from Hell In A Cell. The Alberto Del Rio/John Cena match is a tough one to swallow and is the sort of match that gives the Cena haters all the ammunition they need against him. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan once again assemble a great wrestling match only to be let down by the extra-curricular activities at the end.
I’m not a great one for giving out the “star-ratings” to every match I see, but by my reckoning over half the matches on here are four star plus so there is certainly plenty of top-class wrestling action on show. Some of the other matches are here for star-power, which is understandable too, and there’s only a couple of matches that really have you scratching your head over their inclusion.
It can be a bitter-sweet viewing experience though when one sees the position some of the names on this collection were at various points in 2013 and see just how low down the totem pole they are as we hit 2014. Still, this is an excellent compilation which delivers a whole host of top-quality action. If you want what were (generally) the best of the WWE on PPV in 2013, you won’t be disappointed with this.
If you have the technology the Blu-Ray version is worth the extra few pounds as it includes 5 extra matches. The best are thrilling singles matches between Chris Jericho and CM Punk (Payback) and Alberto Del Rio and Christian (SummerSlam) plus two tag team matches featuring The Shield. The only real disappointment is the Kofi Kingston/Dean Ambrose match from Extreme Rules.
– By Matthew Roberts
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our copy of WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2013. WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches 2013 is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 13th January. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.