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Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 349 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: February 9 2015
The November 2014 UK television tapings were meant to coincide with the launch of the WWE Network in the United Kingdom. Meant to, but … approximately twenty minutes (twenty minutes!) before said launch, it was abruptly cancelled. Cue much disappointment and loud chants of “Where’s our Network?” to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon during their in-ring appearances. Even Vince McMahon made a surprise (and non-televised) appearance to chastise fans for their anger at WWE and its lack of Network presence in the UK. Oh, dear.
Back to the shows, though (which were in Liverpool again, meaning that I was present). Raw, to be honest, doesn’t include much in the way of must-see material. It builds nicely to the Team Cena vs. Team Authority main event for Survivor Series, and we see Damien Mizdow demonstrate why his stunt double gimmick was brilliant, but otherwise the show is no different to any other episode from the time. We do get to see John Cena call the Authority “w–kers”, which he may not have done had he known what that really means (he should since one of his signature moves is the “Five-Knuckle Shuffle”). But in these times before the likes of Kevin Owens, Neville and Sami Zayn, Raw was occasionally a slog to watch for three full hours (some still say it is, but at least we get better wrestling on a weekly basis than we did back in 2014). This isn’t a terrible edition at all, but it’s probably average at best.
Main Event has a fun Tyson Kidd vs. Sami Zayn match, a weird one since Zayn wasn’t called up to the main roster at this point. Superstars is “the usual” (that should be a catch phrase by now), and SmackDown includes a then-rare Chris Jericho appearance as he hosts The Highlight Reel with The Authority. The real highlight, though, and one of WWE’s best television matches of 2014, comes when Dolph Ziggler defends his Intercontinental Title against Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in a Triple Threat match. This is fantastic, a must-see match, and without question a career highlight for all three (Tyson Kidd actually agreed with my sentiments on Twitter). Superb. We also get the post-taping tag bout as Dean Ambrose and Jericho face Kane and Bray Wyatt, and The Rockers battling The Orient Express from UK Rampage 1991.
This is worth owning for the Ziggler/Cesaro/Kidd match alone. That is the best match held on any of the UK tapings in recent years, probably since the John Cena-Shawn Michaels clinic from 2007 (and it may be even better than that was). The rest of the content is less vital, but as an overall package, it’s still a pretty decent set to have.
And it would be the last one. After this release, WWE discontinued the Live In The UK series. By now, the Network had (finally) launched in the UK, so fans could go on that to watch recent television episodes, making a further DVD release unnecessary. It’s a shame because, although their existence initially felt pointless, they felt like a nice add-on if you’d attended the tapings, and looking back at what ended up being a whopping 15 LITUK DVDs, you tend to notice just how much WWE has changed since the mid-2000s.
WWE is now PG (well, it has been since 2008), Raw is firmly established in its three-hour slot (for better or worse), SmackDown has taken a big hit (which the forthcoming Draft will hopefully rectify), ECW has disappeared, the B-shows have never felt more insignificant, and NXT has debuted, flopped and relaunched to massive acclaim. We’ve seen legends disappear and/or go part-time, other icons return (again, part-time), a plethora of big names depart, but a strong collection of talent debut. We’ve seen “can’t-miss” names fail, and we’ve seen success come from the most unlikely of sources. And, through it all, from Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy in Birmingham to Ryback vs. Kane in Liverpool, through all of that … John Cena still hasn’t turned heel.
Plus, the UK tapings, once considered second-rate, are now on par with their American counterparts. The tapings held in London in 2015 and 2016 were very good, and whilst it was necessitated rather than planned, WWE did indeed officially announce on-screen that Seth Rollins was no longer World Champion in Manchester last November. Add to that the opportunities that the Network could provide (London hosted an NXT Takeover last December; could we finally get another proper PPV this year or next?), new avenues (Raw and SmackDown will emanate from Glasgow, Scotland for the first time this November) and the rising level of UK-based talent who could end up in WWE or on NXT someday, and the future looks bright for WWE in the UK market.
Unfortunately, as things stand that future does not include further Live In The UK DVDs. But it has been a lot of fun, if at times a struggle, to look back through years of WWE television held in England. And since the November 2014-based release marked the end of a mini-era, that’s one more reason for you to buy it.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good