26th Apr2014

‘WWE: The Best of RAW – After the Show’ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

Raw-After-Show-DVD

For over twenty years and for 52 weeks a year, WWE has presented “Monday Night Raw”, their flagship television product and the show that, much of the time, has defined WWE’s content. Beginning at one hour, moving to two and now clocking in each week at three hours long, RAW remains a popular focus for wrestling fans all over the world, to this day. This release is something very different, as we get to see some of the things that occurred in the Monday Night Raw ring once television audience had long since been cut-off. The Best of RAW: After the Show takes a look at matches and segments that were filmed by cameras after the events had concluded.

Hosted by the energetic and easy-on-the-eye Renee Young, this set is a fun one in many ways and offers something different than the usual “list” or “biography” release we tend to get from WWE home video. Young is likeable and down-to-earth and offers enjoyable links between segments.

The segments themselves are a mixed bag. On the first half of the release we get lots of Steve Austin beer bashes, we get lots of moments featuring The Rock hitting his finisher on unsuspecting heels and more. You might grow tired of Steve Austin drinking beer if you watch this in one sitting, but overall it is enjoyable and fun to see Austin having fun once the show has gone off the air. The standout moment in the early part of the first half, for me, is seeing Booker T, The Rock, Triple H, Goldust and Vince McMahon attempt to talk The Undertaker, during his “Big Evil” run, into doing a “spinarooni”. The look on The Undertaker’s face here is priceless and offer’s us a rare look at the man out of character. Vince’s attempt at the move is also worth watching, as it wasn’t exactly “on point”.

The second half of the release is different. The spur-of-the-moment segments where talent seemed to just go out there and have fun have stopped and much of the “after-hours” contest in the post-2003 era is matches, and the odd celebration of some point. Your enjoyment of the second part of the set will depend on your enjoyment of the current WWE product, and more importantly, your interest in seeing John Cena. Cena dominated the second act of this release, in matches and segments, and it can be hard going for non-Cena fans. As much as I enjoyed the first half of this, I struggled with the second half, for the reasons I mentioned above. Still, there are some cool matches and moments that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see,

The Blu-ray release features some exclusive content, the best of which is the 2013 “Bret Hart Appreciation Night” that was shown on the WWE App, but never on television. This segment, in front of a Calgary crowd, featured Jerry Lawler honouring Bret, before a selection of his peers come to the ring to say some words about “The Hitman”. Vince McMahon, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels and Pat Patterson speak highly of Bret, who appears moved by this moment. It’s a nice addition to the set and one of my personal favourite segments on the whole release.

The content:

  • Orlando, FL – 10th May 1999
    Stone Cold Salute to Shane McMahon and Triple H
  • Los Angeles, CA – 3rd April 2000
    Shane McMahon Smells What the Rock is Cookin’
  • Uniondale, NY – 8th May 2000
    Too Cool Dance with Dudleys / Jericho / Big Show
  • St. Louis, MO – 12th June 2000
    The Big Red People’s Elbow
  • San Antonio, TX – 10th September 2001
    The Rock and Sean Stasiak – Third Time’s a Charm?
  • Nashville, TN – 17th September 2001
    Stone Cold’s MusicCity
  • Miami, FL – 24th December 2001
    The Rock questions an Olympic Champion
  • St. Louis, MO – 22nd April 2002
    Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan Share a Cold One
  • Seattle, WA – 12th August 2002
    Under-Take-A-Rooni?
  • Toronto, CN – 24th February 2003
    Rock-A-Rooni
  • St. Louis, MO – 17th March 2003
    The Rock and Stone Cold Meet Again
  • Seattle, WA – 31st March 2003
    Rock Fan Smells It
  • Halifax, CN – 5th May 2003
    Stone Cold and Goldberg Confront Eric Bischoff
  • Greenville, SC – 19th May 2003
    Ric Flair Celebration
  • Montreal, CN – 7th July 2003
    Stone Cold Salutes Cameraman
  • Tuscon, AZ – 25th August 2003
    Stone Cold and Chris Jericho Verbal Exchange
  • Columbia, SC – 15th September 2003
    Moolah’s 80th Birthday
  • Cleveland, OH – 3rd November 2003
    Stone Cold and Goldberg Unite
  • Portland, OR – 9th February 2004
    Stone Cold Entertains All
  • Atlanta, GA – 1st March 2004
    Rock / Stone Cold / Mick Foley Reunion
  • Cincinnati, OH – 14th February 2005
    Triple H & Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels & Randy Orton
  • Montreal, CN – 15th August 2005
    Hogan Poses with Batista & John Cena
  • Charlotte, NC – 23rd January 2006
    Ric Flair Thanks North Carolina
  • San Antonio, TX – 17th July 2006
    John Cena vs. Edge
  • Boston, MA – 27th August 2007
    Triple H vs. Randy Orton
  • Worcester, MA – 2nd November 2009
    DX Joined by John Cena and…..
  • Boston, MA – 11th July 2011
    John Cena vs. CM Punk
  • Lafayette, LA – 3rd October 2011
    Triple H meets Zach Ryder
  • Miami, FL – 2nd April 2012
    Randy Orton & Big Show & Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane & Cody Rhodes
  • Detroit, MI – 23rd April 2012
    Jon Cena’s Special Day
  • St. Louis, MO – 23rd July 2012
    The Rock and John Cena Join Forces
  • East Rutherford, NJ – 8th April 2013
    Cha-Cha-Cha-La-La

The Blu-ray exclusive content includes a steel cage match between John Cena and Edge, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin & Lillian Garcia riding in an ATV while sharing a beer, Sheamus’s Birthday celebration in Las Vegas, Cody Rhodes and The Rock getting physical, the Bret Hart appreciation segment, and another Cena match against Ryback.

I applaud WWE for trying something new and different with this release, and allowing some of these segments to see the light of day. It was nice to see the couple of out-of-character moments that we otherwise wouldn’t see, featuring the biggest names in WWE history.

Definitely one to check out, this release was plenty entertaining, though at times a little repetitive. It is worth watching though, and features some fun matches and funny segments.

The Best of RAW: After the Show is available, through Freemantle Media, on April 28th 2014.

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