Review for WWE: WWE 24 - The Best of 2018
WWE 24 is a collection of four of the best documentaries WWE have created specifically for the WWE Network. These tend to focus on one subject or one thing and these are four of the best that they have created in 2018.
The four included are The Hardys: Woken, Wrestlemania Orlando, Empowered and Raw 25.
The Hardys: Woken is a look at the careers of Matt and Jeff Hardy as they are set to re-debut at Wrestlemania 33. It was amazing to see some of the archive footage of them and some of the insane things the team were known for. You can see just why the two of them were burnt out by having to perform and do the things that the fans wanted to see. The drug issues are addressed and how bad it became. There is a horrible moment where in the middle of an interview Matt Hardy just falls asleep and the people around him like Christian and Big Show commenting on how awful it was.
Jeff Hardy's arrest on drug charges is gone through and it seemed like this would be the end of him. During that time, he worked for TNA Wrestling who made him a Champion when it was possible he could be jailed. Eric Bischoff and AJ Styles talk about how difficult he was to work with. This all came to a breaking point at TNA's Victory Road 2011 PPV. This was a match against Sting, which should never, ever have taken place. It was one of the worst moments in TNA and Jeff Hardy’s history. However, this became a wakeup call for him. Unfortunately, Matt Hardy was also spiralling out of control of drink and drugs which his friends and family had to intervene. This was all so sad to see and is just heart breaking to hear them both hit rock bottom. Jeff spent ten days in jail following his conviction and Matt ended up having to post a $1 Million bond to avoid jail and go into rehab.Both recovered and started a family which is lovely to see them both get out of this spiral of self-destruction.
Following this, both returned to TNA and this lead to the amazing Broken Matt Hardy gimmick which is one of the best characters in the last ten years. Jeff joined him as Brother Nero and lead to the amazing Final Deletion which if you have never seen you need to as it is one of the best things ever. This lead to Matt and Jeff becoming relevant and popular again rebuilding their reputation and notice to WWE and trying to keep their re-debut a secret by working for Ring of Honor. When they did appear this was arguably the biggest pop I have heard in many years. It is amazing to see the crowd reaction and just how surprised and happy everyone was.
Soon after Jeff was injured and that allowed Matt to bring the Woken gimmick to WWE and although I don’t think it was as good as the TNA version, it was still very entertaining. His feud and subsequent teaming with Bray Wyatt which included The Ultimate Deletion was crazy. Sadly, Jeff was once again arrested for drinking and driving which was a shame to see, but he again seems to have had another wake up call. While this is going on Matt went from strength to strength with a win at Wrestlemania 34 winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. Jeff Hardy returned the Raw after which was a good way to end the episode with both in good places which shows that you can recover from the depths of darkness with the right support.
It was surprising to see footage from TNA and I do hope that this is something that WWE will do more with those who have come from there. Included is the full tag match from Wrestlemania 33 which, pop aside, is still a great match and when you compare this to their earlier matches at Wrestlemania 16 or 17 the two of them are just as good as they ever were. Also included is the Ultimate Deletion match between Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt which is just as insane and as wonderful as I remembered it. Both are worth a watch and definitely make their episode feel complete.
Wrestlemania Orlando is a look at the build to Wrestlemania 33. Now I will say first up that this really should have been included on the Blu-ray for that Wrestlemania as it is odd to watch the build up to an event nearly two years old. That is not to say it is not entertaining. The episode follows a number of Superstars on their way to the event.
Naomi had suffered an injury and may not have actually worked a Mania in her home town. You can feel from the whole section just how much it meant for her to be there. Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair discuss their history. Bliss is surprised and happy to have her face on one of the stadium chairs. Seth Rollins returned after an injury and you could tell he was happy to be back. Hall of Fame is shown with the return of Kurt Angle. This was great to see as was the return of The Hardy Boyz which was the biggest pop of the night.
The Miz and Maryse against John Cena and Nikki Bella was fabulous especially the spoofs of Cena and Nikki. I wish they had included more of them or had them as extras. Seeing John Cena and Nikki Bella together is a bit weird especially with their subsequent split and the big deal that was made of the proposal. The very idea that Nikki did not know it was going to happen is ridiculous.
The Undertaker discusses his match and I do feel like this could have been all this needed to be about was him and Roman Reigns preparing. This episode was almost like watching what would happen if someone with ADHD edited something. It jumped from one person to the next to the next. There is no focus throughout and though I like the idea of variety just a little focus would have made this more enjoyable.
Included for this episode is the Smackdown Women’s Championship match which was a great match and though the outcome was obvious, it was still great to see.
Empowered is a look at what lead up to the first Women's Royal Rumble in 2018. The revolution or evolution of the Women's division in the WWE has been astounding. We see the women from the past and the present coming together before the event and it was amazing to see all the faces.
We look at the Charlotte against Sasha Banks main eventing the Hell in a Cell PPV in the first ever female Hell in a Cell match. The first Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match was next won by Carmella (Well technically James Ellsworth, but I will let that go) and it just felt that every opportunity the women were given they smashed it out of the park. The Mae Young Classic Women's Tournament was a great moment and I am glad that this is something they have kept doing.
These things were not something that anyone would have ever predicted ten years before and I think the main thing that really helped the women was development within NXT. Whereas previously the women were usually chosen for their looks and if we were lucky they could be trained to work such as Trish Stratus, Michelle McCool and if not we were stuck with people like Kelly Kelly and Maria.
Asuka is looked at, which is not surprising as she was clearly one of the best that NXT had, but they also had wonderful looks at some of the others such as Alexa Bliss, Ember Moon, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Paige is looked at, but I do feel that more could have been said about how important she was. Stephanie McMahon's role in pushing the Women's revolution is looked at. Love her or hate her, you have to admit that her desire to push this along with everyone else in WWE has been one of the best things she has ever done for the business.
The whole Royal Rumble is covered and it is great to relive how much the crowd loved to see people like Lita, Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix and even Vicky Guerrero. Naomi having the Kofi Kingston escaping elimination moment was great. In the middle of it all they showed the secret debut of Ronda Rousey which was hidden from everyone. Now, I personally thought she should have been in the match her entrance was a shock. I just feel it took a little away from Asuka's monumental win.
The documentary was great in its focus, though I do feel this is almost a 'Part One' and there will no doubt be another one to show the build up to the first all-female PPV at Evolution. Overall, this was hugely entertaining and if you want to see some great emotional moments then you will enjoy reliving this.
Included are two matches from Charlotte Flair. This is not odd, because it focused on her as she was clearly one of the highlights of the revolution, but her match against Ruby Riott at Fastlane 2018 is only memorable for the appearance of Asuka at the end and this could have easily been replaced with another match. Including Flair against Asuka at Wrestlemania 34 was a good choice of match and though I didn’t agree with the ending I can’t deny it was a great match. It is a surprise they did not include the Hell in Cell match between Flair and Sasha Banks, the first female Elimination Chamber or the Ronda Rousey debut teaming with Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Raw 25 probably should have been included on the DVD set released a while back. This is again a look at the history of Raw and a look at the build up to the special to celebrate this. It was actually interesting to see the behind the scenes in the production meeting and I do wish they would do more of this. We see the logistics of presenting the event in two arenas: at the original Manhattan Centre and Barclays Centre.
How significant Raw has become is gone over, with some of the most amazing moments over the years such as Mankind winning the title, Hogan and Rock confrontation and of course the Beer Bath. It is amazing to see all the people who have appeared at Raw. Over the days leading to the show we see people like The Undertaker, X-Pac, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon reminiscing on the Manhattan Centre and how it was more or less the same. The work the team had done to make it look like it had done in 1993 even including the iconic ICOPRO signs. It is also nice to see Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross talking about how much Raw meant to them.
People like The Miz, John Cena, and Finn Balor are shown as they prepared and what being on Raw meant for them and their careers. This includes Chris Jericho's surprise appearance and hilarious interaction with Elias. This was followed by an amazing match between Roman Reigns and The Miz which I really thought they would have included. Also included is his appearance later on at the Manhattan Centre, which was even better.
Much like the Wrestlemania, this episode felt a little it needed some focus. It could have easily been two or three episodes focusing on a few different people as they prepared. Instead, it just felt like they didn't know what to focus on.
For some reason they include the first match of Raw which was Koko B. Ware against Yokozuna. Why would you do this? This was a horrible match. I personally would have included a ten-fifteen minute montage of some Raw highlights. Instead, this was a three minute squash... literally. Thankfully, within The 'McMahons Give Thanks' section we do get a simply amazing montage of all these moments the extended McMahon skit was worth it just for the appearance of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
This set is such a mix bag I am not sure what to make of it. Personally, I feel that these all could have easily fit somewhere else. Empowered could have been part of the Evolution set or included as an extra on the Evolution PPV as an extra. The Hardys: Woken could have been added to their Twist of Fate set covering them and the Raw 25 could have been part of that set, as could the Wrestlemania one. The four together feel like they will appeal to everyone and no one. If you are a wrestling fan there is enough variety on here to keep you entertained, but I really doubt whether you will watch them more than once. The Hardys and Empowered one I could probably watch again, the other two, probably not. That said, this is a great set for those who may not have the WWE Network and maybe if they kept them to be included in specific sets then they would be enjoyed more.