|Image Source: Amazon|
Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 333 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: August 11 2014
The May 2014 tapings in London coincided with a strange time in WWE. We had all the hullabaloo surrounding CM Punk leaving WWE after the same Royal Rumble which saw Batista triumph at the expense of an excluded Daniel Bryan to mass fan protests, and even when Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania XXX, the same night saw the end of The Undertaker’s Streak at the hands of Brock Lesnar. The after-effects of Mania were still being felt in London, but this fresh, unfamiliar feeling led to a strong atmosphere and some new storylines which evolved during the London shows.
Raw doesn’t have a great match, but Seth Rollins (still in The Shield, for two more weeks anyway) vs. Batista is good, as is John Cena vs. Luke Harper (this is much better than I remembered it at the time), and the Intercontinental Title Number 1 Contender Beat The Clock Challenge has its moments. An announcement about the future of the injured titleholder Bryan doesn’t reveal much (he would end up having to vacate the gold), Sheamus vs. Cesaro is a strong match, and an angle involving Adam Rose and Jack Swagger saw the London audience go crazy, in a humorous way, for Rose. This continued in the post-show angle, which is included on the DVD, of Rose, Bad News Barrett and Triple H generally larking around to entertain the crowd. From an entertainment standpoint, the show and the untelevised capers are well worth watching.
Main Event is mostly filler, with Paul Heyman and Cesaro building heat at Mark Henry’s expense and a bafflingly long match between Damien Sandow (playing the role of Sherlock Holmes) and R-Truth. Superstars is filler once more, although Jack Swagger vs. Cody Rhodes is boosted by the crowd hilariously chanting along to Swagger’s theme tune like it was a football anthem. Finally, SmackDown features a cameo by Hulk Hogan (I attended Raw because it fell on my birthday of May 19, a major coincidence since this was the only time since, well, ever that WWE films its spring UK shows in May rather than April, and once Hogan was advertised, I was heading to SmackDown too), a decent bout between Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio and an enjoyable Usos/Wyatt Family tag bout (another match which was held on consecutive UK tapings). We also get a pretty good No Holds Barred battle between Batista and Dolph Ziggler, and as a DVD extra, Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage from London in 1989 is a rare gem. Other extras include Pre-Show and Post-Show moments from the Network shows of the same name. Oh, yes: the WWE Network, which was still in its infancy at this point. The Network has more relevance when I cover the subsequent UK tour.
This is a very entertaining two-disc set with a number of highlights (and it’s the first with the new WWE logo on the packaging). The matches are good at best, but there’s a couple of bouts that are worth watching. And, best of all, you can join in with Bray Wyatt to sing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” at a time when The Wyatts were cooler than the other side of the pillow (insert a Family Guy cut-scene here). Don’t expect a lot of great matches, but you can expect to be thoroughly entertained.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good