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What is "Civil War"? (Originally written January 25th, 1996)

      You are holding in your hand Book One of the saga that is known as “Civil War”, although the war doesn’t actually start until Book Two...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

WWE Live in the UK April 2013 - DVD Review

We're heading off into WWE territory as we take another pick from the pile of DVDs sent to me by the good folks at Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity. This time around we're heading back in time to April 2013 and merry old London for the two disc Live in the UK.

The Matches:
Match #1 saw R-Truth taking on Antonio Cesaro.

The first match of the night actually began with Cesaro trying to match Truth's lyrical stylings with some good old fashioned yodelling, and when the action finally began the man from Switzerland controlled the early going.

His control only lasted a couple of minutes though before Truth made his comeback and took the win after what could be described as a face-front slam.

Match #2 saw Brodus Clay, accompanied by Tensai and the Funkadactyls, going up against Damian Sandow, accompanied by Cody Rhodes and that damn moustache.

This one was even shorter than the opener. Clay did his power thing early on before our intellectual saviour tried his hand at a chin lock. The big man managed to get out of this particular predicament, but when Rhodes jumped onto the apron for the distraction Sandow rolled his man up and grabbed a handful of tights to help him get the pin.

Match #3 saw Chris Jericho taking on newly-crowned World Champion Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston, in a non-title match, with the stipulation that if Jericho won he'd be added to the World title match at Extreme Rules.

So with all that to play four these two put on a pretty decent encounter. Both guys put in good performances, with Ziggler desperate to show off after his recent title win.

Of course the champ did get a little help from his friends at ringside, particular when Langston punched Jericho in the face when he went for a lionsault, and when A.J. jumped onto the ring apron to complain a couple of times, but the biggest distraction came near the end of the match.

As Jericho locked in the walls his rival Fandango's music and video played. The distraction gave Ziggler time to escape, and it also gave him the opportunity to take his man down with the zig zag for the winning pin, keeping his title match at Extreme Rules a triple threat encounter.

Match#4 was the second of the Rhodes Scholars/Tons of whatever encounters as Cody Rhodes took on Tensai.

I never thought I'd say this, but I actually enjoyed an A-Train...I mean Tensai match. It began with Rhodes using his speed advantage to good effect as he peppered Tensai with jabs, but it wasn't long before the big guy got hold of him and used his power and size to good effect.

Rhodes put up a good fight later on, but when Damian Sandow tried to give his friend a helping hand Brodus Clay headed him off at the pass, and a few moments later it was all over after Tensai took Rhodes down with his double handed choke bomb and running senton for the three count.

Match #5 saw Big E. Langston's second appearance of the evening as he took on Zack Ryder.

The last time I reviewed a match featuring the esteemed Mr. Langston I received a rather aggressive e-mail telling me off for calling him Biggie.

So what we had here was essentially an early squash match for Biggie. It was more or less power all the way, and although the internet's favourite got in a couple of moves Biggie took his man down with the big ending for the winning pin after just a couple of minutes.

Oh, wait. Did I just call Big E. Langston Biggie again? Looks like I'll be getting another one of those e-mails!

Match #6 was the big six man match as the Undertaker joined Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan of Team Hell No in taking on the Shield's Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.

As the match began it looked like the Dead Man was going to have to go it alone after the Shield attacked Kane and Bryan earlier in the evening, but as the hounds of justice swooped on their prey the tag champs appeared on the scene, evening up the sides.

When the action finally settled down what we had were great performances from both sides. The Shield boys put in another great stint as they used Kane and Bryan as their personal punching bags. Everything they did just looked so crisp and so good.

Eventually Bryan managed to get the tag to the Undertaker, and after some proverbial house cleaning from the two brothers Bryan was tagged back in so he could put the finishing touches onto Ambrose while the others brawled around the ring.

Two obstacles were put in his way though. First Reigns crotched him on the top rope, and when he did eventually take to the air for his diving headbutt Ambrose rolled out of the way, taking the pin after Bryan crashed and burned.

Match #7 was the obligatory match for home country hero William Regal as he faced Fandango.

This particular encounter began with a dancing contest, with our William channelling the spirit of the great Morecambe & Wise (don't know who they are? Shame on you!) When the action began in earnest Regal got in a few shots, but in the end it was Fandango who took the win after taking the Brit out with a sister Abigail-like move.

The dancer's night wasn't over though. As he made his exit Chris Jericho attacked him from behind before sending him flying off the stage. He then enjoyed a brief dance with Fandango's young lady.

Match #8, the final match of the show, was the divas battle royal featuring A.J. Lee, Aksana, Naomi, Tamina Snuka and Layla, with the winner getting a shot at Kaitlyn's title.

Not really much to right home about here. A.J. tried to set up an alliance with Tamina early on but ended up getting kicked in her face for her troubles, leaving her laying in the middle of the ring.

This set up the somewhat interesting situation a couple of minutes later. Layla, having just eliminated Tamina, tried to push the prone A.J. through the ropes. Miss Lee suddenly sprang to life and kicked Layla through the ropes to claim the title shot.

The Segments:
As is often the case with these UK shows the somewhat skeletal crew only gave the fans a couple of things of note, Triple H accepting Brock Lesnar's cage match challenge for Extreme Rules, and the in-ring confrontation between Mick Foley and Ryback, with Foley proving he can still cut a damn good promo. Moments later John Cena saved his Extreme Rules opponent from a Shield attack, before taking the big man down with his attitude adjuster to end the show.

The Matches
Only one match on this show, with Mark Henry running the gauntlet. First up was Jimmy Uso, who got in absolutely no offence and quickly fell to the world's strongest slam.

Jey Uso was next. He had slightly more success than his brother, and he actually took the big man off his feet when he connected with a superkick. His offence was fleeting though as he also fell to the world's strongest slam.

Then it was Santino Marella's turn. Henry obliterated Marella early on, but when the Italian managed a few moments of offence it wasn't long before the cobra came into play. Henry easily powered out of the pin attempt though, sending Marella flying out of the ring. Marella then took to the air, only for Henry to catch him and take him down with another world's strongest slam.

The final man was the Great Khali. With Hornswoggle and Natalya supporting him at ringside, Khali gave Henry his toughest test of the match. They basically beat the proverbial out of each other, with the Indian unloading with those big chops of his before Henry took control by working over Khali's leg.

However, Khali quickly came back into the match and almost got the pin when he connected with his chop to the head. He then went for the Punjabi plunge, only for Henry to power out of the move and take his man down with the world's strongest slam. It wasn't as successful this time around though when Khali put his foot on the bottom rope when Henry went for the pin.

The back and forth action continued until Khali connected with another chop to the head. That was enough for Henry as he rolled out of the ring and headed up the ramp, giving Khali the count out win.

The Segments
Not really much to write home about here, with JBL interviewing Mark Henry at the beginning of the show to set up the gauntlet match, and Matt Striker interviewing Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger about the world title match at Extreme Rules.

The Matches
Match #1 saw Jimmy Uso, accompanied by his brother Jey, taking on the future Curtis Axel, Michael McGillicutty.

This was a pretty decent encounter with two good performances. McGillicutty looked great throughout as he gave us a sign of what was to come, while Uso showed that he was just as adept in the singles ranks.

Uso came out on top in the end though, taking his man down with a superkick before securing the win after a superfly splash.

Match #2 featured tag action as Divas Champion Kaitlyn teamed with Layla to take on Tamina Snuka and Aksana.

A short but not exactly sweet encounter here. Once again I was less than impressed with Aksana, although the other three put in good performances.

Layla's exchanges with Tamina were the best thing on offer here before she took the punching bag treatment, and when she managed to get the hot tag to Kaitlyn the champion cleaned house before taking Tamina out with a spear for the winning pin.

The Segments
Just a Raw Rebound with a look back at the Mick Foley/Ryback/John Cena confrontation.

The Matches
Match #1 saw Zeb Colter guy Jack Swagger taking on Alberto Del Rio in a no disqualification match.

This was a great way to open the show. Both guys came into this match with a taped up limb, and it wasn't long before they were beating the proverbial out of each other with fists and kendo sticks.

There was a brief foray to ringside where Del Rio took Swagger down with a suplex on the ramp and a flapjack onto a ladder, but for the most part they kept the action inside the ropes, with each man getting a little help from their ringside supporters.

Neither man could get the job done with their respective submission holds, and it was only after Swagger slammed the aforementioned ladder onto ADR and finished him off with a gut wrench powerbomb that he could get the job done.

Match #2 featured more Divas actions as Aksana faced Layla.

Well, Aksana certainly put in a better performance this time around. It was a pretty enjoyable match, with Layla looking pretty excited competing in her home country.

The action was brief, with the move of the match coming right at the end when Layla secured the pin with her arm drag into pinning combination-type thing.

Match #3 saw Fandango taking on the high-flying Justin Gabriel.

We had a brief dancing contest at the beginning of this one before the woefully under-used Gabriel got in a few brief moments of offence before Britain's favourite ballroom dancer took control.

Gabriel then got in a few more moves before Fandango cut him down with a kick to the bread basket as he came off the top rope before sealing the deal a few seconds later with a top rope leg drop.

Match #4 saw Sheamus and the Big Show renewing their long-time rivalry.

This may not have been on the level of their World title matches but it was still a hell of an encounter. The Irishman controlled the early going until Show slowed the pace down and proceeded to beat the proverbial out of Sheamus, stopping him in his tracks whenever he tried to build up any momentum.

Eventually the tide turned after Sheamus connected with white noise, but he failed to seal the deal when Show rolled out of the ring just as he was about to connect with the brogue kick. A few moments later, when perched on the top rope, Mark Henry came down to provide a momentary distraction, giving Show the chance to connect with a knockout punch that sent him crashing to the mat, allowing Show to get the win.

Match #5 was the second obligatory appearance from William Regal as he faced fellow Brit and Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett.

Sadly what could have been a corker for British fans only lasted a couple of minutes. There were a couple of quick exchanges before Barrett connected with the bullhammer elbow for the pin.

Match #6 saw Randy Orton taking on Mark Henry.

Henry tried to finish it early when he went for the world's strongest slam, but Orton managed to slip out of the big man's hands. From there these two put together a nice little back and forth encounter, with Orton getting the better of the action after a hangman's DDT.

Henry opted to head for the hills instead of taking the RKO though, but when he returned to the ring Sheamus came down and took his rival out with a brogue kick, and as the referee called for the bell to give Henry the disqualification win Orton took the big man out with an RKO.

Match #7 featured the Undertaker as he took on the Shield's Dean Ambrose.

I think short and sweet would be the best way to describe this one. Ambrose tried to attack early but quickly found himself on the receiving end of the Dead Man's strikes. Undertaker kept one eye on Ambrose's ringside companions, although it wasn't long before the Shield boy took control.

Ambrose looked pretty decent in there with the legend, and when it looked like Undertaker was going to take him down with a chokeslam Roman Reigns provided the distraction so Ambrose could connect with the low blow.

It didn't get the job done though. A few moments later Undertaker applied the hell's gate submission, with Ambrose tapping within seconds.

The hounds of justice then attacked, and the Undertaker managed to hold his own against them until Reigns speared him through the ringside barricade. Then the three Shield members joined together as they powerbombed him through the announcer's table.

The Segments
Once again it's not much to right home about, with the Shield promising to destroy the Undertaker and another Raw Rebound look at the Foley/Ryback/Cena confrontation.

The Matches
Match #1 saw Santino Marella going up against 3MB's Jinder Mahal.

It's your basic Marella match here with his usual comedy stylings. Mahal controlled the majority of the action before the cobra made an appearance, giving Marella the winning pin.

Match #2 featured tag team action as Randy Orton and Sheamus took on the Prime Time Players, Titus O'Neil and Darren Young.

This was another quickie for the early risers, with Orton and Sheamus controlling the early going before the PTP used Orton as their personal punching bag for a few minutes. The Viper then managed to get the hot tag to Sheamus, and after he took Young down with white noise Orton tagged back in and finished the job with an RKO.

The Segments
Slightly more to write home about this time around, with General Manager Mick Foley making the Marella/Mahal match before joining in a duet with Sheamus. Not really my cup of tea, so I'm guessing I'm not really this show's target audience.

You'll find the sole extra on disc two of this collection, and it's a blast from the past and a previous trip to these shores with Kurt Angle challenging Chris Jericho for the WCW title in 2001 at Rebellion.

In conclusion: Those of you with good memories will probably know that I don't exactly go out of my way to watch WWE's TV shows these days, mainly because I'm not really a fan of three minute matches.

But with that being said I did find most of the matches on this collection quite entertaining, varying from okay to very good as far as quality goes.

As for my match of the night I'm not going to give an award for each show, maybe because one of them only had one match, but for an overall award I'm going for the six man tag on Raw between the Shield and Team Hell No and the Undertaker.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this collection the thumbs up.

With thanks to Fremantle Media and Fletch Publicity for supplying a copy of this release. WWE Live in the UK April 2013 is available to buy online at www.wwedvd.co.uk.

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