WWE Survivor Series and WWE Royal Rumble
Two of the main events in the over the top world of wrestling are released on DVD and Blu-ray
You already know if you like WWE. If you don’t like wrestling this won’t change your mind. But if you enjoy the over the top presentation, physicality, pomp and ceremony of massively muscled men grappling for your entertainment WWE are still the top dogs.
Survivor Series ●●● is over two hours 45 minutes of brawling. The warm up bouts are fairly pedestrian, some tag team match-ups, some WWE Divas action then Sheamus (the ‘Celtic Warrior’, surely the palest man in the world) and Big Show (a 7ft, 440lb man mountain) fight it out for the World Heavyweight Championship. The main event is a Triple Threat Match as CM Punk faces off against John Cena and the monster that is Ryback (and his catch phrase ‘Feed Me More’). Solid wrestling entertainment but no more, no less.
Now The Royal Rumble ●●●● is more like it. Even the opening match with Big Show, this time facing Alberto del Rio, is packed with chairs, tables and dirty tricks. There’s a Tag Team Championship bout featuring Team Hell No (the big red machine Kane and ‘flying goat’ Daniel Bryan) vs Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, who’s special move is the ‘elbow of disdain’).
The thirty man Royal Rumble itself is a fantastically orchestrated non-stop smack down of epic proportions that teeters on the edge of farce. The announcers wittering inanities throughout (you’ll hear the phrase ‘strange alliances’ about a million times) it goes on for ages but is continually exciting as each wrestler can only be eliminated if they are thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the floor. Unsurprisingly the lesser names go first leaving the big hitters to square off in the last few minutes.
And the final title match between CM Punk and The Rock is pure theatre. CM Punk has rapidly climbed to the top of the grappling world while The Rock (‘the people’s champion’) is perhaps the most charismatic wrestler of the modern era. A 30 minute back and forth tussle that takes a few unexpected twists and turns towards the end.
It’s ridiculous, absurd, outlandish, but it’s supposed to be. WWE exists is a world beyond reality. It’s almost a pure distillation of action entertainment: good guy vs bad guy, now fight. But fans are in on the joke, they’re not foolish imbeciles swallowing these warrior’s words as gospel truth. And that’s what critics of wrestling forget, it’s funny on purpose, it thrives on exaggeration and pantomime. We all know it’s not real but that doesn’t mean you can’t be awed by the sheer physical showmanship and thrilled by the theatre of it all. That’s not taking anything away from these ‘sports entertainment’ stars, they continually prove their athleticism and their ability to take pain for the sake of spectacle.