Heads up to the UK fans, WWEDVD.co.uk are running a 24-hour only flash sale right now which is your chance to grab the “Double Feature: Elimination Chamber & Fastlane 2017” DVD for just £5!
Yes, only £5 for not one but two PPV events from last year’s Road to WrestleMania.
We hear that this is the first of many “Midweek Madness” flash sales coming each and every week in the UK. Plans are in place for several top WWE DVD titles to be heavily discounted like this one.
You have until tomorrow morning to get on over to WWEDVD.co.uk and take advantage of this offer. Plus, if you bundle it with another 2 titles you’ll benefit from a further 10% automatic discount.
The latest WWE DVD to hit stores looks back at the year that was on RAW and SmackDown with “The Best of RAW & SmackDown 2017”.
It’s an annual tradition dating back to 2011 (and before that, the single-brand Best Of DVDs from 2009 and 2010), and the set does its best to recap 12 months of action across both brands. Considering that we already get 5 hours of TV each week, and there are 52 weeks in a year, it’s a challenge to make sure that all of 2017’s best matches and segments from the flagship brands are included. So, it’s no surprise that many key elements of the year are either not included or are only briefly touched upon (Mick Foley’s firing and Kurt Angle’s subsequent hiring as RAW General Manager, Kevin Owens assaulting Vince McMahon, the return of The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan being revealed as Kurt’s son are not included whatsoever).
However, the line-up DOES promise plenty of exciting matches, during a year when WWE’s roster (arguably the best all-round collection of talent in company history) delivered one fantastic match after another, almost on a weekly basis, along with some of the year’s more memorable angles.
For the purpose of this review, I’m only going to focus on the matches rather than the segments, with 23 bouts spread out over the three discs that comprise this set. There are a wide variety of matches on offer, showcasing almost all of WWE’s top names and best performers across the heavyweight, women’s, tag team and cruiserweight divisions. That all being said, let’s get to the review!
SmackDown – January 3, 2017
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (C) vs. Dean Ambrose
Kicking things off, we have the first televised match of a feud which would last for much of the year, and cross brands via the Superstar Shake-up. It’s a good effort by both, and the shock title change (Miz was riding high as Intercontinental Champion at the time, as he would be on and off to the present day) begins the DVD on a strong note.
SmackDown – January 17, 2017
SmackDown Women’s Championship Steel Cage Match
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Becky Lynch
Next up, it’s the first all-female main event in SmackDown history. This sees the return of a name from the past to join the women’s division on Tuesday nights (Mickie James), but in hindsight, triumphing in this feud-ending showdown helped to establish Alexa Bliss as a real force amongst WWE’s female roster.
RAW – February 13, 2017
RAW Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte (C) vs. Bayley
The biggest issue with this match is not the action, or even the result, but rather the timing of Bayley’s title win. Not everybody can win their first main roster title at WrestleMania, but given how things would pan out for RAW’s females heading towards and at Mania itself, surely it would have made more sense for The Hugger to strike gold there, instead of what was otherwise a forgettable episode of RAW.
RAW – March 6, 2017
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Neville (C) vs. Rich Swann
It’s sad that neither Neville nor Rich Swann are wrestling for WWE anymore (Neville may yet return following his October walk-out, but it’s unlikely at the moment), because the two were capable of putting on tremendous matches. This may have been the best WWE cruiserweight bout in all of 2017, with searing crowd heat elevating the match to the next level.
SmackDown – March 7, 2017
#1 Contender’s Match
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
Chances are that these two will have an extended feud in the future, and I hope they do because this match, whilst enjoyable, seemed a mere snapshot of what the two are capable of; they could put on a classic rivalry, if given the opportunity to do so. Best spot of the match is AJ feigning a leap into a Phenomenal Forearm, only to stop short having realised that a mid-air RKO was coming his way had he attempted to pull the move off, fooling Orton in the process.
SmackDown – March 21, 2017
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
American Alpha (C) vs. The Usos
A forgotten gem of a match, this would prove to be the first of many fantastic doubles matches for The Usos in what ended up being a career year for them. As for American Alpha, their sudden title loss here marked something of a last hurrah for the combo; while Chad Gable remains in the tag ranks alongside Shelton Benjamin nowadays, Jason Jordan’s year would of course take a complete 180 when he was revealed as Kurt Angle’s son in July.
RAW – April 3, 2017
The New Day vs. The Revival
The Revival, erm, arrived on the main roster here, making an immediate impact against The New Day and kayfabe-sidelining Kofi Kingston (which I completely forgot about until I revisited it here). In some ways, this marked the peak of their year, as injuries would seriously harm their momentum for the remainder of 2017. Perhaps a title challenge at WrestleMania 34 will reverse their fortunes and make 2018 a better year for Dash and Dawson?
RAW – May 1, 2017
#1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match
The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor
On paper, this seemed like just another RAW main event. In practice, though, it’s a terrific match, and one of the best TV bouts held on any brand in 2017. Judging by recent booking, we may be getting the same bout (this time with the IC crown on the line) at this year’s WrestleMania; based on the action on display here, that wouldn’t be a bad thing!
SmackDown – May 2, 2017
United States Championship Match
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Kevin Owens
The long-running storyline involving Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens ends here, with Owens regaining the title that Jericho had defeated him for two days earlier at Payback. The post-match attack by KO writes Y2J off WWE television, bar two future appearances (one of which comes later in the DVD).
RAW – May 29, 2017
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
There’s another topnotch RAW clash up next, as Roman and Seth renew hostilities in a back-and-forth battle that keeps the crowd engaged throughout. It’s hard to say that this match truly stands out from others on the DVD (we don’t see anything here that we wouldn’t normally see in other bouts involving either man), but judging it from bell-to-bell, this is a blast to watch.
RAW – June 26, 2017
#1 Contender’s Gauntlet Match
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma vs. Dana Brooke
The final week of June may have been the biggest of the entire Women’s Revolution, as RAW, SmackDown and NXT were all headlined by female matches. This Gauntlet bout was the first women’s main event of the week, and though there have been better RAW women’s matches, this one still does a good job of putting over Sasha Banks for her forthcoming title challenge against Alexa Bliss.
SmackDown – June 27, 2017
Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Tamina
Next up is the Money in the Bank Ladder rematch, following the controversy at the PPV itself. To me, the second version was better than the first, and not just because of the finish; every participant gave it their all, and Carmella would win the match properly this time to earn a briefcase that, as of this writing, she has still yet to cash in. Asuka vs. Nikki Cross under Last Man Standing rules would end the women’s week on a high note the following night on NXT.
SmackDown – July 4, 2017
AJ Styles vs. Chad Gable
At the time, this match seemed to suggest that Chad Gable would have a thriving future as a singles act. And that could still happen, but with Gable re-entering the tag team ranks a few weeks later, this clash with Styles (no pun intended) is merely a sign of what could have been. Still, getting the chance to put on a thriller with The Phenomenal One is never a bad thing.
SmackDown – July 25, 2017
United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Kevin Owens (C) vs. AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Remember I said earlier that Chris Jericho would briefly resurface? Well this was the night when he did so, surprising everybody by showing up and participating in a three-way with KO and AJ, which to me was the highlight of the entire Styles-Owens feud. Fun fact: Jericho was only backstage to film scenes for Southpaw Regional Wrestling, but was coerced into lacing up the boots in the main event. Maybe SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan overheard Jericho discuss wrestling and had a brainwave?
RAW – July 31, 2017
Triple Threat Match
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe
Three-quarters of the (exceptional) SummerSlam main event come together here in a major RAW match. It’s not as good as the subsequent PPV headline attraction would be, but it’s still worth watching, and occurs at the center of the spectacular rivalry between Roman and Strowman. And if anybody can match up well to two big bulls going at it hell for leather, it’s the Destroyer, making for a fun brawl.
SmackDown – August 1, 2017
#1 Contender’s Match
John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I’m not sure if WWE necessarily “wasted” this match by holding it on free television, considering that Cena is a part-timer these days. If anything, this match was the first sign of the “old” Nakamura – the man who tore it up in New Japan and later NXT – coming to life on the main roster, and the result is a feather in Shinsuke’s cap. The less said about Cena’s neck almost being snapped just before the finish, the better!
SmackDown – August 22, 2017
Bobby Roode vs. Aiden English
Bobby Roode’s debut on the main roster was “GLORIOUS!” Well, maybe not, but he does get his SmackDown career off to a good start with a quick win over Aiden English (who at the time seemed like a sure-fire contender to be released; what a difference a few months can make). His SD debut being in a babyface role confused some, but while he has a theme tune that fans sing along to, it’s hard for Roode to be truly booed, which perhaps explains why he was cast in that spot. Ironically, fewer fans chant along to the song these days than they did during his heel run on NXT.
RAW – September 4, 2017
Steel Cage Match
Braun Strowman vs. Big Show
Have we seen the last of Big Show? I don’t think so; the giant is likely to pop up again in the future, even if only for appearances in Battle Royals and Royal Rumbles. If we HAVE seen his final bow, though, then this Cage match opposite Strowman is a good way to go out. Incidentally, Show played an underrated role in getting Braun over as the new monster of WWE.
SmackDown – September 12, 2017
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Sin City Street Fight
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day
It speaks volumes as to how good The Usos vs. The New Day matches were in 2017 that this really exciting Sin City Street Fight isn’t in the top two bouts that the teams had (it may not even be in the top three). That’s not to take away from this match, though, as all combatants give it their all; it’s just a sign of how damn good their PPV encounters were, in one of the best tag team rivalries in recent WWE history.
RAW – September 25, 2017
Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose
This segment consists of two matches in one, as a quick bulldozing of Curt Hawkins is followed by a “proper” match between Strowman and Ambrose. It felt like a weird combination at the time, and though the action is fine, it doesn’t feel like the two meshed very well together. It’s another big win for Strowman, though, who had an unforgettable year in 2017; could 2018 even bigger for The Monster Among Men?
SmackDown – November 7, 2017
WWE Championship Match
Jinder Mahal (C) vs. AJ Styles
What does it say about Jinder Mahal’s six-month reign as WWE Champion that this is his ONLY match on the DVD, and that it’s his title-losing effort at that? On the bright side, it was his best WWE match yet, and Styles capturing the gold to a huge reaction – in the first ever WWE Title change on British soil – made for one of 2017’s best moments.
SmackDown – November 14, 2017
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Natalya (C) vs. Charlotte
Some might say that Natalya and Charlotte have never recaptured the magic of their NXT TakeOver clash from 2014, but they came close here. Plus, Charlotte’s title triumph, followed by a celebration with Ric Flair (having recently recovered from major health issues) made for some very emotional scenes. This one tugs at the heart strings. Woooo!
RAW – November 20, 2017
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (C) vs. Roman Reigns
Finally, the DVD ends as it began: with The Miz losing his Intercontinental Championship to a former member of The Shield. This time, it’s Roman Reigns who comes out on top, as he becomes the latest Grand Slam winner in WWE history. The action is good, and the response is overwhelmingly positive to Roman’s title win.
“The Best of RAW & SmackDown 2017” is a really strong collection of matches. Many are of a high standard, and there are memorable spots, returns, title changes and more amongst the selection of bouts included here. Combined with the non-match segments (in particular Braun Strowman’s awe-inspiring destruction of Roman Reigns), there is plenty of entertainment to be found here.
Given the familiar nature of even the best RAW and SmackDown matches, I’m not sure if this is necessarily a DVD that you would need to watch more than once; chances are that you’ll pick out a couple of your favorite bouts, and skip over the rest of them. But this is still a very entertaining compilation, and probably the best of the RAW/SmackDown annual retrospectives to date!
Grab a copy of WWE’s “Best of RAW & SmackDown LIVE 2017″ DVD…
– USA: RIGHT NOW! Get the new RAW/SD 2017 DVD right now here on WWEShop.com.
– UK/Europe: RIGHT NOW! Get the new RAW/SD 2017 DVD here on Amazon.co.uk.
– Australia: March 21st. Your pre-order opportunity is available over at Madman.com.au.