Review for WE: The Best Of Raw And Smackdown 2018
2018 was a great year for being a WWE fan and nowhere was this more evident than on their flagship shows of Raw and Smackdown. It was a year when we saw the debut of UFC Hall of Famer Rowdy Ronda Rousey who dominated the Raw Women’s division and also the rise of The Man Becky Lynch dominating on the Smackdown side. We saw Seth Rollins become a wrestling workhorse and make the Intercontinental Championship mean more than it has in years and most importantly the return of Daniel Bryan to active performance. This was a year that had many highlights and these three disks attempt to show a lot of the great matches and moments from the year.
Intercontinental Championship match between Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe which could easily be a PPV main event. There is also a great end to the US Championship tournament with a match between the Glorious Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal. Roman Reigns defends the Universal Championship against Finn Balor in a pretty good match from the two of them. Two great matches from Asuka against Sasha Banks and One against Bayley. Both were great at building up how dominant Asuka was.
A fantastic match between John Cena and AJ Styles again could have been a PPV match and showed how well the two worked together. AJ Styles against Daniel Bryan was a match they gave away for TV when personally this is definitely a match they should have protected for a PPV and I will come back to that later. Great as you can imagine though. He also has another phenomenal match against Shinsuke Nakamura which showed how great Nakamura became once he turned heel.
With the absence of the Universal Champion, seeing as Brock Lesnar could not be bothered showing up most weeks, this was the year when most Raw main events involved the Intercontinental Championship. However, it did mean we got amazing matches like Seth Rollins against Finn Balor which is just fabulous. Rollins also spent much of his year feuding with Dolph Ziggler and they include an excellent match from the two of them. Any match that features Seth Rollins is generally a great match as is a later match against Kevin Owens.
Despite such a big deal of coming to WWE, very little is shown of Ronda Rousey time, but a match with Alicia Fox in her debut match on Raw. This was a great showing of just how brutal Rousey is in a quick destruction of Fox. However, it is more brutal at how much she legitimately destroys Fox and ballet this ain’t.
Also included is the stunning moment when it was revealed Daniel Bryan was cleared to wrestle. One of the best moments of the year. He is then featured against Andrade ‘Cien' Almas (who also has an excellent match against Rey Mysterio) and of course they include Bryan's surprising and amazing WWE Championship match against AJ Styles which was a great match but once again this was a PPV main event calibre match which I don’t understand WWE giving away for free on Smackdown.
There is only one moment with Elias who is featured here in one of his singing moments with Kevin Owens and to be honest he was one of my highlights of the year and so I’m surprised they include a few of these or a montage of them. This was a pretty good one and great to relive it.
Considering how great Becky Lynch was in the latter half of the year she only appears once in a fantastic match against Charlotte. It is a shame more is not included they don’t even include the infamous brawl with Nia Jaxx which cost Becky her place in the Survivor Series, but was one of the most memorable images of the year. There is a great nostalgic women’s match between returning Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita teaming with Bayley, Natalia and Sasha Banks against Alicia Fox, Mickie James and the Riott Squad. A great match and in some ways better than the match they had at the Evolution PPV.
Bizarrely, they include the tag team match between Rollins and Ambrose against McIntyre and Ziggler for the Raw Tag Team Championship, but they front include the shocking and emotional speech from Roman Reigns regarding his illness and stepping away for treatment. Because of that, this match doesn’t have the punch it originally had. However, the ending was still the wrong time to do what they did. Including Ambrose’s later promo was great to turn everyone against him, but still in very bad taste.
Being brutally honest, the one thing that was obvious in 2018 was how many main event matches were wasted PPV opportunities. I don’t think I have seen this many PPV marque matches on TV since the dying days of WCW. This is not necessarily a bad thing as what was givenw as still fantastic, but there it is hard to get excited for a match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles on PPV, if you have already seen it twice on TV free already.
The Best of Raw and Smackdown 2018 is also one of those sets which for some reason ends in November, thus making anything that happened in December feel a little meaningless. However, despite this, the content of this set is excellent and I didn’t find myself wanting to skip matches and maybe if it had a few extra moments (leaving out Roman Reigns’ health speech is unforgivable) it could have been perfect, but that is not to be. If you want a look at some great matches from WWE this year this, along with the PPV set, are must-buys for any WWE fans.