WWE: The Best Of Raw And Smackdown 2018
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(Feb 11, 2019)
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2018 was a wild year that saw the Superstars of RAW and SmackDown Live break new ground. Rivalries began, new faces emerged, champions were crowned and the WWE Universe witnessed matches that will be talked about for the rest of time. Relive the RAW debut of RONDA ROUSEY, the return of DANIEL BRYAN, the dissolution of THE SHIELD and many more unforgettable moments. So sit back and experience one of the greatest years in WWE history with The Best of RAW and SmackDown Live 2018.
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Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe - The DVD kicked off with this Intercontinental Championship match. If Roman Reigns lost he would lose his Championship. The match was very good. Samoa Joe was dominant for the majority of the fight, with Roman just getting in small flurries of offence. He was resilient enough that it never felt like he wasn't in the fight. It had a decent finish and some good near-falls. It was the match their Backlash 2018 match should have been.
Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal - This was the final match of a tournament to crown a new United States Champion. This match was more enjoyable than I expected. Jinder Mahal is a very boring wrestler and Roode is usually quite methodical so I didn't think these two would go together well. It still wasn't really one of the best matches of the year but it wasn't boring. Mahal worked over the ribs of Roode for most of the match while Roode tried to make his comeback. The finish was decisive and the match leading up to it was decent.
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks - Asuka was still undefeated at this point and was coming off her Royal Rumble win. It was a fantastic match. They went all-out and this was easily a Wrestlemania worthy match. The action was great from start to finish with plenty of drama revolving around each woman's signature submission holds. Both wrestlers took pretty dangerous bumps to the outside which made the match feel even more important when they just kept going. The finish was great and so was everything else about this fight.
Asuka vs. Bayley - This was from a week later with Sasha's best friend now getting a shot at Asuka. It was another great match. Not quite as good as Sasha's match but it still wouldn't have been out of place on Pay-Per-View. The action was great throughout and I think both women came out of the match looking better than they went in. There were some very close near-falls and a strong and decisive finish. great stuff.
AJ Styles vs. John Cena - If John Cena won this next match he would be added to the Fastlane WWE Championship main event. It was yet another great back and forth match. It was teh quality you'd expect from these two. The action was constantly entertaining. There were a load of near-falls and exciting counters building towards a really good finish. There was some good storytelling too with Cena's desperation to make it into the Fastlane match really showing in both his actions and reactions.
Ember Moon and Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James - Before this next match we see Daniel Bryan being finally cleared to return to the ring in a great moment. The next match was Ember's WWE main roster debut, the night after Wrestlemania. The match was fairly short. It was a dominant performance by Ember and Nia. As a match it's nothing special but it was a memorable debut by Moon.
Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella - This wasn't much of a match really, more of a moment. It was the Smackdown debut of the IIconics who interrupted and attacked Charlotte Flair who was the Smackdown Women's Champion. Carmella then cashed in he Money in the Bank contract. For some reason this really confused the referee even though it's been a thing since 2005. The match was nothing but it was a good moment.
AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan - This was a dream match at the time and it was just as good as people thought it would be. They had a really good back and forth wrestling match that was entertaining from start to finish.. It had a disappointing non-finish which was a shame but that couldn't take away from how good the action was before that. Luckily we got more great matches between these two later in the year which had more decisive finishes. Overall this was a great match that lived up to the hype.
Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor - This match was for Seth Rollins' Intercontinental Championship. It was another great back and forth match. The two men were clearly very familiar with each other by this point so had plenty of counters and reversals ready to go. The action was fast paced and exciting throughout and the closing stretch was great with so many near-falls and counters. The finish was strong and decisive and it was just a brilliant match.
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens - This was a Money in the Bank qualifying match. It was given more time than I expected. Braun was dominant for most of the action but Owens did find his openings and managed to do a decent amount of damage to his much larger opponent. I liked Owens' strategy of trying to get the win however he could including by trying to get Braun counted out. It was an entertaining match with a strong finish.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura - The winner of this next match would get to choose the stipulation of their WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank. It was another great match between these two. They had a load of counters to each other's offence and it made a very good, competitive fight. Thankfully the finish was better than their Backlash or Greatest Royal Rumble finishes. It was creative and I really liked it. The whole match was really good and entertaining..
The New Day vs. The Miz and The Bar - This was a very good six-person tag match. It had a fast pace throughout and all the action was entertaining. There wasn't much riding on this match but it was definitely fun. The finishing stretch was exciting as you'd expect and it was a very enjoyable match from start to finish. It also had a good, strong finish.
Big E vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev - This was a gauntlet match to find the next WWE Championship contender. It was a great match with plenty going on. It was booked really well and remained exciting throughout. Daniel Bryan and Big E started the match off with a very good back and forth match. Samoa Joe was out next and had a great fight. Miz was opportunistic as always and Rusev closed out the match with some entertaining action. From the first match through until the finish this was all fantastic.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins - The WWE Intercontinental Championship was on the line here which Dolph had won from Rollins a week earlier. It was such a good match. I wasn't that bothered about re-watching this match because these two had faced off so many times in 2018 but that changed when the match started to build. It was full of exciting, competitive action. It was filled with counters and there were so many convincing near-falls. The finish was unsatisfying as we didn't get a result but the action up until that point was great.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy - This was Jeff's rematch for the United States Championship. It was another very good fight. Jeff managed to make it far more competitive than their first match at Extreme Rules. The two felt very evenly matched here with lots of reversals and counters. The action was always entertaining and it was a very enjoyable match. The finish wasn't a satisfying one which was unfortunate. After the match we see Randy Orton's brutal assault on Hardy that you'd want to avoid if you're squeamish.
Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns - This was an Extreme Rules rematch and it was to find the next number one contender for the Universal Championship. It was a surprisingly good fight. I wasn't expecting much because I really don't enjoy Lashley but this turned out to be a very good fight between two powerful men. There were some good near-falls and reversals and a strong, decisive finish. Definitely one of Bobby's best matches of his career.
Ronda Rousey vs. Alicia Fox - This was Ronda's RAW in-ring debut. It was a strong debut although Alicia got a little too much offence in. Nothing as special as Ronda's Pay-Per-View matches, the match itself won't be remembered long after seeing it, but it was still worth including.
The New Day vs. The Bar - This was the finals of a tournament to find the next number one contenders for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. They had the kind of exciting, competitive tag team match that Smackdown's tag division always delivers. The teamwork was great by both teams, the action was fantastic and the finish was satisfying. They had so many near-falls and last minute saves and it made such an exciting fight.
Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor - Roman put his Universal Championship on the line here in another great match. Roman had the size and power advantage which he used to gain control but Finn stayed in the fight with his speed and agility. The action was exciting with plenty of reversals and near-falls leading up to a strong finish. After the match Braun Strowman attempts to cash in Money in the Bank which leads to a surprise reunion.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day - The Bludgeon Brothers were defending the Smackdown Tag Team Championships here in a No Disqualification match. It was another really exciting match from the New Day. They took advantage of the no DQ rules right away with out of control brawling around the ring and introducing a few weapons. The Bludgeon Brothers dominated most of the match but New Day were able to use their teamwork to stay in the match and keep it competitive. Another great match here.
Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens - This was for the Intercontinental Championship and was yet another great match. The action was fantastic from start to finish. Owens focused on the arm of Seth for part of the fight, not really looking for a submission but simply to weaken him. There were some great sequences, counters and near-falls throughout the match but especially as they reached the finishing stretch. This was such a great match with a moment following it that could have been pretty big if it actually led to anything.
Daniel Bryan vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas - Another really good fight next. It was competitive throughout and made Andrade look like he belonged in Smackdown's main event scene. The action was fast paced and always entertaining with a good, clean finish. I'd have loved to have seen a longer fight between these two but what we got was very good.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev - This was a United States Championship match. It was a very good back and forth fight. They hit some good reversals and counters and had a few decent near falls. The action was always entertaining although it could have been a little longer. I think these two have had better matches but this one was still good. The finish wasn't completely clean but I didn't mind it and it lead to a memorable moment after the match.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre vs. The Revival - This was a match for the RAW Tag Team Championships. It was another really good match. I'm glad the Revival didn't just get easily beaten here because they deserved a good showing. They worked well as the underdogs of the match and they got a lot of offence in with some very good tag team wrestling. There were some good near-falls and last second break-ups and a strong finish.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair - Before this Smackdown Women's Championship match we see a promo with Elias and Kevin Owens. If Becky got disqualified she would lose her championship. It was a great match as these two so often deliver. It was a match full of really good, competitive wrestling, plenty of reversals, counters, near-falls and dramatic submission attempts. The finish wasn't satisfying but it did progress their rivalry and the aftermath of the fight kind of made it worth it. Overall great stuff.
Big Show vs. Randy Orton - This was a qualifying match for the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel, an event I think most people would like to forget ever happened. It's a decent back and forth match. It's not really one of the best matches of 2018 but I still enjoyed it. It didn't go too long and I always felt like it was entertaining. It had a good finish and while it's not on the level of previous matches on this DVD I don't hate it's inclusion.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins - This was for the RAW Tag Team Championships. It was another great back and forth match. It was exciting from start to finish with fantastic tag team action. There are a load of near-falls and last second saves, especially as they built towards the finish. There is some outside involvement by Braun Strowman towards the end but it doesn't harm the match as it leads to a great moment in the finish. There's also another extremely memorable moment after the match is over that I'm glad was included.
Trish Stratus, Lita, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Natalya vs. Alicia Fox, Mickie James and The Riott Squad - This is a pretty good ten women tag team match. It wasn't anything too special other than seeing Trish and Lita back in action on RAW. The action was all good though, they had a decent amount of time to work with and it had a strong and entertaining finish. It was a fun, enjoyable match.
Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre - This was another very good fight. Kurt was clearly well past his prime here but he was still able to have a good match and make Drew look strong. It was a competitive match but McIntyre always seemed to be one step ahead of Angle. Drew got to dominate Kurt for quite a while as they approached the finish and the finish was strong and pretty unexpected. It's an enjoyable fight that felt very different from all the other matches on this DVD.
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas - This was really good. It had a fast pace and plenty of really impressive high-flying manoeuvres. There were some really good reversals and a strong decisive finish. I would have loved for it to have been longer than it was but what we got was entertaining from start to finish.
AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan - Before the next match we see a Dean Ambrose promo as he interrupts Seth soon after turning on Rollins. The match itself was for the WWE Championship. It was a really great back and forth wrestling match. It was just as good as their previous fight at the beginning of the DVD. Bryan worked on AJ's arm throughout the match and AJ went after Bryan's leg to set up for the calf crusher. There were plenty of reversals, counters and dramatic submission attempts. I enjoyed the finish too and it turned into one of the more memorable moments of the year.
This was a great DVD. These RAW and Smackdown DVDs are always filled with fantastic content and this one is no different. This one focuses on matches more than moments which I liked as there were so many great matches included. With WWE's television taking up so much time each week(mainly RAW's ridiculous three hour run-time) it's easy to forget just how many great matches we do get on their TV shows, this compilation really shows that off and I'd definitely recommend picking it up.