Review for WWE: The Best of Raw and Smackdown 2016
The Best of Raw and Smackdown Live 2016 is a mix of matches and highlights from WWE's two top shows and I must say that this is definitely a year of change. From the end of the 'Divas'. the new split of the Raw and Smackdown brands, Smackdown going live, the emergence of new talent and new champions and the redebut of legends from the past. Over the three disks we get to see all the highlights from the WWE television year (apart from December as this ends in November) and it was one of the most enjoyable years I have ever rewatched.
The 21 matches are more or less equally split between the shows with 11 Raw and 10 Smackdown matches. There is a nice mix of matches, though oddly the intercontinental championship is forgotten about (with all other belts featured) which when you consider how great The Miz has been this year, this is a shame.
The focus on the Women this year was something that had its ups and downs. I personally didn't like the fact the Raw Women's belt changed hands seven times (between the same two people), but the change from Divas Championship to Women's and both brands having their own separate championships both are positive things. The division was dominated by Charlotte, Sasha Banks on Raw and Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss on Smackdown and their five matches features are all great. The two matches between Charlotte and Sasha Banks are great, if we ignore the constant hot potatoing of the belt. I would say the first one which sees Sasha's first title win is more satisfying, but their Falls Count Anywhere match is also pretty good, but should have been kept for a PPV.
It would be redundant to say that any match involving AJ Styles is 'Phenomenal', but it's true. This set features a fantastic dream match against Chris Jericho and one they would look to outdo at Wrestlemania. Their teaming up as Y2AJ against The New Day is also great. His matches against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are also great. He also features in the fantastic PPV-worthy 6-Pack Challenge which also featured John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin and Bray Wyatt. This is one of the best on the set and really showed just how great the Smackdown Live roster is.
His championship match against Dean Ambrose was also pretty exciting and as with any time AJ gets in the ring could have easily been a PPV main event. All of these are worth buying this set for and no doubt when WWE release their 'AJ Styles' set many of these will feature.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins is also a great match between these two rivals for the WWE Championship. It was great to see Rollins back after his injury and these two have an awesome chemistry in and out of the ring. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns was a great match and also the first time it felt that WWE were listening to the vocal backlash against Roman Reigns as 'The Guy'. It was great to see Balor and he looked amazing as always. It is however a shame that his injury had to lead to the Fatal 4-Way for WWE Universal Championship between Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Big Cass and Kevin Owens. That being said this was a fantastic match with an ending that I did not see coming, but
led to some amazing moments on Raw.
With Raw taking control of the Cruiserweight division they also featured some great moments from the Cruiserweights. The match between Gran Metalik, Rich Swann, The Brian Kendrick and Cedric Alexander was a great look at this division that could easily have been forgotten about and I do hope this is a trend that carries on in 2017.
Each month has a quick recap of highlights, which is nice and in some way I wish there was an option to just watch these as have always enjoyed these fast and effective video packages. As well as matches they also includes Daniel Bryan's retirement on Raw, the return of Shane McMahon, Draft Day, John Cena returning in May, The Miz's Homecoming celebration and of course the return of Goldberg. It is great that they include these, though I do wish that they had included more from Kevin Owens as his interaction with Chris Jericho has been the highlight of every Raw since they were paired up.
The Best of Raw and Smackdown 2016 is a pretty good set. The matches at times have been better than the PPVs and the Brand Split actually helped the company more than I thought it would. I expected the roster to be spread out thin and expose the problems within the company, but actually it showed that WWE are developing new talent, have focused away from the main event to help bring up the new stars and are willing to take risks with the women main eventing, the development of the cruiserweights and the bringing in of talent from NXT. I enjoyed watching most of the set and even the stuff that wasn't PPV quality it as still good enough to be on here. I can't think of any
major moments missed and though (like with their yearly PPV ones) I do wish they would allow the year to end before making it and not finish in November.
That being said, there is nothing on here that is unwatchable and alongside the 'Best PPV 2016' set this is a great way to relive the past year. I would say if you are a wrestling fan you will enjoy this and I would recommend it to everyone who wanted to relive an enjoyable and memorable year. Hopefully 2017 is even better.