DVD Review: WWE Live In The UK: April 2012

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 251 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: August 6 2012

The April 2012 UK tapings were held at a time when WWE had finally given up on its brand extension. Sure, SmackDown talent had been appearing weekly on Raw since August 29 2011 (besides the Liverpool tapings, funnily enough), but it was done under the proviso that the rosters would remain separate. By this point, though, it was clear that the split was pretty much over, meaning that anyone could appear on either show and it wouldn’t raise eyebrows.

Therefore, you would assume that these latest tapings in London would be the best yet, but – ah! – you’d be wrong. Raw is largely uneventful, albeit entertaining: CM Punk vs. Mark Henry under No Disqualification rules is surprisingly enjoyable, and there’s good interplay between Punk and Chris Jericho afterwards. Brock Lesnar (pre-taped) and John Cena cut strong promos to hype their Extreme Rules match on PPV (Lesnar’s return bout in WWE), and Daniel Bryan renames his finisher the Yes Lock to a huge pop from the fans, who despite his heel status were quickly joining what would be known as the Yes Movement. Otherwise, though, the show feels a bit blah, including the Cena-Tensai Extreme Rules main event. NXT is not much better, and it lacks a standout match like Trent Baretta vs. Tyson Kidd from Liverpool. This would be the last NXT taping (in its original form) to be taped in the UK, as the show would be revamped in June 2012 and largely based out of Orlando, Florida; I think it’s safe to say that this decision paid off.

Superstars is unmemorable, and by this point the show is barely worth watching or even worth WWE taping because it is so inconsequential. WWE would be better off saving its money and making these dark matches before TV tapings instead. SmackDown is (obviously) better with an entertaining six-man tag team main event, but with the brand extension now a thing of the past, SmackDown was starting to feel more than ever like the B-show to Raw, especially since SmackDown’s top names (Sheamus, Daniel Bryan etc) appeared on Raw, but Raw’s top names (Cena, Punk, Y2J) didn’t appear on the blue brand taping. The bonus match is Shawn Michaels vs. JBL from a November 2005 Raw taping in Sheffield, England, which I recall had nothing else memorable outside of the inter-brand conflict (which was well-executed, incidentally).

The WWE product of early 2012 was much more interesting than that of a year earlier, and yet the London tapings on this DVD are almost uneventful. The best matches are only adequate as opposed to being on the right side of good, and since Lesnar doesn’t appear in the arena (for the only time during his comeback month), and Chris Jericho’s comments are away from the ring too, it adds to the feeling that the UK shows matter (or mattered) less than the US versions. It’s far from offensive and you’ll get a kick out of various matches and segments, but this is not a vintage WWE DVD whatsoever. Oh, and skip NXT.

Overall Rating: 5.5/10 – Above Average