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Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 297 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: May 3 2010
On paper, the November 2009 tapings sound like they would be very memorable. Ricky Hatton as Raw guest host (remember that concept?), DX vs. JeriShow with John Cena on commentary, William Regal challenging ECW Champion Christian in his home country and The Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho on television for the first time ever all sound like a vintage tour. But it wasn’t.
Raw was ailing at this point. Sure, we had John Cena, DX, Randy Orton and Legacy, the rise of Kofi Kingston and Sheamus and other notable faces. But the show had a seen-it-all-before feel to it, especially its headline feuds which for most of 2009 were all recycled. Add to that the more-annoying-than-entertaining Chavo Guerrero heel persona (in a dire feud with Hornswoggle for much of the year) and the guest show idea which had grown tired once annoying and disinterested figures began hosting proceedings, and the show was at a low point. It could provide some entertainment, but more often it was boring or frustrating.
This is demonstrated on this edition of Raw because, besides a mildly entertaining opening segment involving Hatton (who is awful on the mic), JeriShow and DX, and an okay main event between those two teams, the show is complete filler. Even Ricky’s “MMA” match with Chavo falls flat, partly because his “Blue Moon” theme is edited out. Add to that overly-edited crowd reactions at various points of the show, and it results in an entirely missable episode of Raw. The show just feels lifeless. Almost every episode of Raw in the last year has been superior to this one from 2009 (that being said, at least it doesn’t drag on for three hours like Raw does today). By the way, this was the last episode of Raw to feature the “To Be Loved” theme by Papa Roach, in a little trivia note.
ECW boasts the aforementioned Regal-Christian match but, otherwise, it is even worse than Raw. In fact, it cannot honestly claim to be main roster television, because much of the quality is so poor. Never mind the “ECW” name of the show; you could have called it anything and it would still be atrocious. No wonder ECW was cancelled a few months later. Superstars is better, as the matches are actually fairly decent. None are particularly memorable, but at least the show doesn’t reach the depths of ECW.
SmackDown is the best show on this DVD, but whilst the show had shone in the ring throughout 2009, this particular episode was just okay. Undertaker vs. Jericho is the best match, but it’s missing something to make it a classic TV bout. John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler is alright but has a poor ending. And segments involving CM Punk, Batista and Rey Mysterio are decent, but none justify purchasing this DVD. Finlay vs. Drew McIntyre is worth watching too, I suppose, but McIntyre hadn’t properly developed his “chosen one” character, so even this feels a bit lacklustre.
The best part of this DVD could be the bonus material. The wonderfully nostalgic 20-man Battle Royal from the Royal Albert Hall in 1991 felt massive at the time, even if it was barely acknowledged on television back in the States. A handicap match between Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman and Edge from Rebellion 2002 is surprisingly good, too. When this DVD was released, few could have imagined that Lesnar, at this point the UFC Heavyweight Champion, and Heyman, essentially barred from WWE for life, would ever return to the company.
This DVD does have its moments (Christian vs. Regal, Undertaker vs. Y2J and the bonus bouts), but on the whole it’s actually a fair portrayal of WWE television at the time; namely, it could have been a lot better. And the same applies to these particular tapings, especially Raw which just about reached the level of “run of the mill” (ECW was traditionally awful at this point, and with Christian-Regal, the episode here was arguably an improvement). Only get this DVD if you see it for a low price on eBay, but it might actually be worth watching to relive a time when the landscape of WWE was a lot less interesting than it is now, even if we’re hardly in a vintage era as we speak.
Overall Rating: 6/10 – Reasonable