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Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 424 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: September 10 2012
Released in 2012, this DVD is a bit of a strange one. The name Falls Count Anywhere suggests Hardcore-rules matches where, erm, falls count anywhere. And that is what we get. However, we also get Street Fights, No DQ matches and generally a range of different types of bouts where there are no rules. Therefore, the range of matches which could be included is vast. Unfortunately, though, while this DVD has its moments, it is not only lacking some of the best examples of this stipulation, but some of those that are included are questionable entries, thus weakening the compilation as a whole.
The first match on the DVD, which by the way is hosted by the always-entertaining Mick Foley, is definitely a worthy one, as Pat Patterson and Sgt Slaughter put on a truly classic, blood-soaked Alley Fight in Madison Square Garden in 1981; even if this was held today, fans would love it. The subsequent Atlanta Street Fight is a bit overcrowded, and post-match the man behind Ms Atlanta Lively (Ronnie Garvin) loses a ridiculous amount of blood, although this was perhaps an accident. Doom vs. Barry Windham and Arn Anderson was a really good Street Fight, especially considering the wrestling standards in 1990. Sting vs. Cactus Jack under FCA rules is tremendous, and for many years Jack (Foley) said this was his favourite bout from his career. The name Falls Count Anywhere is used for Randy Savage vs. Crush from WrestleMania X, but there’s a twist: after pins, the loser has 60 seconds to return to the ring. It’s something different, but I enjoyed it, and I remembered it from when I watched this at the age of 5 so I liked it being here.
This is followed by the low point of the DVD: Sting and Booker T vs. The Road Warriors in a Chicago Street Fight from WCW Uncensored 1996. On paper, it looks good, and it isn’t that bad, but it goes on far too long; almost 30 minutes in total for a bout which overstayed its welcome before the halfway point. Plus, this was 1996; why wasn’t Booker teaming with Stevie Ray, his Harlem Heat partner? There’s no context whatsoever, making this inclusion even stranger. Especially since Sting’s then-partner Lex Luger is shown backstage and gets involved in the finish. Bizarre at the time, and even more bizarre here.
Much better is The Legion Of Doom & Ahmed Johnson vs. The Nation Of Domination from WM 13 under the exact same stipulation, an underrated brawl in front of a white-hot crowd. We don’t see Hawk being hung over the ropes due to choking restrictions on released WWE content, which depending on your point of view is either a positive or a negative to this DVD. A memorable Raw brawl between Steve Austin and Bret Hart (which is more of an angle than a match) ends the first disc, and is short enough that the non-match aspect is not an issue. (By the way, the sleeve for this compilation shows Austin from this scrap, and it’s actually the only Austin match on the DVD which makes the image questionable. More notable is that we see HHH vs. HBK, which I’ll cover later, but their two Photoshopped photographs aren’t from the same match! Did anyone else notice that?)
Cactus Jack vs. Triple H from the 1997 MSG Raw is a good entry, especially for the pre-match sequence that is best seen rather than explained. (Oh, have mercy!) Tazz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow from ECW Heat Wave 1998 is a great ECW brawl, and is followed by the first spotlight of the WWF’s Hardcore division, in the form of the Al Snow-Hardcore Holly meeting from St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, featuring one of my favourite endings to a match from the Attitude Era. The Triple H-Rock Strap match from Fully Loaded 1999 is fine but doesn’t really cater to the FCA theme as much as other matches, and it’s been released a few times before, so this is a strange bout to use.
Better is the Greenwich Street Fight between Test and Shane McMahon from SummerSlam 1999, a great match considering that Test was still a newcomer at the time and that Shane wasn’t even a wrestler. Big Show vs. Kane is short and, whilst it’s worth watching, it definitely feels like filler. Crash Holly vs. The Headbangers is a very short example of the 24/7 Hardcore division and is very fun (this was actually my favourite 24/7 moment; if you don’t know what 24/7 is, it meant the Hardcore Title could be defended anytime, anywhere as long as a referee is present, and case in point, this match takes place in a children’s soft play area. Aah, the Attitude Era.), but Vince vs. Shane, whilst an unreleased Raw match from 2001, is duller than their exciting WM X-Seven showdown and, thus, we should have got the more famous match here. Disc two ends with Vince again taking on Ric Flair at Royal Rumble 2002 in a fun Street Fight.
Disc three opens with the DVD’s unquestionable highlight: Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H from SummerSlam 2002. Their Unsanctioned match is an absolute classic, one of the best bouts I’ve seen since I began watching the WWF in 1991, and considering that it was Shawn’s first in the company since 1998 due to injury, this is simply phenomenal. Definitely a great inclusion. I have a soft spot for the HHH-Kevin Nash Street Fight from InsurreXtion 2003 because I attended it (the show was in Newcastle, England), but it is actually a good brawl and is probably their best match together. Melina vs. Mickie James is a short FCA match from 2007 that has a horrific-looking end as Mickie falls off the top rope and nearly breaks their neck. It’s still good to spotlight the Divas here, although it’s disappointing that Candice Michelle’s bare knockers are blurred out when a towel is removed from her person. (Controversial to write, I know, but come on: who wouldn’t want to see Candice Michelle’s naked boobs? Even if I have already seen her topless in Playboy?)
Umaga features in the next two matches, both of which are Street Fights: a very good match with HHH from Cyber Sunday 2007, and a pointless meeting with John Cena from a 2008 Raw. I couldn’t remember the latter match when it began and, by the time it ended, I still couldn’t remember what happened. Case in point, this is filler too. The Submissions Count Anywhere match between DX and Legacy from Breaking Point 2009 is a sensible inclusion, although the crowd isn’t that re-active to the match itself which hurts it (they are loud beforehand which leads to a funny HHH line; it’s in Montreal, which should explain where it’s going). We finish with two SmackDown Street Fights between Batista and Rey Mysterio in 2009 and between Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes in 2011, both of which are entertaining (Orton-Rhodes is actually really good).
The Blu-ray has four extra bouts: Mankind vs. Santa Claus (really); Triple H vs. Sheamus; Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes; and Randy Orton vs. Kane. Only two were unreleased and neither are classics, so unless you’re feeling rich, I wouldn’t suggest that you need the Blu-ray version.
The DVD itself definitely has a number of standout matches. However, there aren’t half a lot of bouts which are short, pointless or just downright boring (some achievement considering the anything-goes theme). And, as noted earlier, some key matches of this stipulation aren’t here. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H from Royal Rumble 2000 is the perfect example. Another Raw match from the Hardcore Title heyday would have been nice. Austin-Rock from WM X-Seven was officially No DQ, so that should have been here, seeing as how it’s a classic and all. I’d have even throw in Austin-Bret from WM 13 since it was essentially a No DQ Submission match. You could pick out plenty of matches, and we definitely should have seen more bouts from ECW and other companies like WCCW and Mid-South. Plus, going back to ECW, why don’t we get any Extreme Rules matches from which you would have a ton to choose from?
This is a difficult DVD to sum up. The name suggests complete chaos, which the matches deliver to some degree. But weapon shots and pinfalls outside of the ring are only good if inserted correctly and if the combatants are building a great match around them, and a lot of the featured bouts don’t do that. This should have been ECW-esque for content; WWE’s answer to an ECW show, if anything, or at least an ECW-style compilation with contributions from various wrestling companies. Instead, we get a release that does have some highlights and a couple of great matches, but is overall a disappointment. I wouls still suggest that it’s worth a viewing, but I would only recommend buying it if you see it at a reduced price.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay