16th Nov2015

‘WWE Christmas Collection’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

WWE-Christmas-Collection-dvd

If you’re a wrestling fan you’ll know just how much the WWE loves Christmas. Seasonal shows have been a staple of their television output for as long as I can remember going as far back as Captain Lou Albano reading Christmas stories on WWE programming; through the Attitude era, where the fun of Xmas was juxaposed with the more hardcore on-screen action; to more recent episodes of Raw and the likes of the “Good Santa vs. Bad Santa” match between Mark Henry and Damien Sandow in 2013.

The WWE Christmas Collection sees Christmas come early to the WWE universe as “The Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley and his daughter Noelle (side note: I’m sure Foley’s daughter takes after her mothers side of ther family…) as they go on a quest to find Santa Claus, all the while reminiscing about classic WWE moments and matches from Christmas’ past. Yes it’s a flimsy premise on which to hang what is essentially a clip show, but both Foley and his daughter have great charisma and it’s hard not to dislike anything Foley does anyway… Surprisingly it turns out the segments featuring Mick and Noelle Foley are, in some cases, even better than the matches shown!

The matches featured in this special vary wildly in tone and quality – there are some stinkers but hey, its probably harder to come up with a Christmas-themed match than you or I think. Especially considering a lot of these still have to fit into WWE programming and the storylines they’ve built up (though there’s nothing wrong with the random team-up). Matches in the WWE Christmas Collection go back as far as the mid-90s and the squash match between Xanta Klaus and Scott Taylor – which is little more than an excuse for Ted DiBiase to spout his rhetoric while “Xanta” beats the crap out of his opponent. Much better is 1999′s Boiler Room Brawl match between Mankind and Santa Claus, which turned out to be Billy Gunn and Triple H – featuring some more “hardcore” action from the Attitude Era and Mick Foley’s excellent feuding with HHH. There’s also no one but THREE “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” matches on this disc: Randy Orton vs. David Otunga (2011); John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (2012) and the most recent, Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt from last year.

Other matches in WWE Christmas Collection include: JBL vs. Mick Foley in a No Ho-Ho-Hold Barred Match; Taijiri Claus vs. Bubba Claus from 2001; John Cena & Trish Stratus vs. Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix from 2008; 2011′s Xmas match between Kofi Kingston and Tyson Kidd; “All I Want For Christmas” Battle Royal from 2011; the 2013 “Battle For Christmas” between Good Santa (Mark Henry) and Bad Santa (Damien Sandow); the awful Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango “Christmas Present on a Pole” match and the Santa’s Little Helper 6-Diva Tag match that saw Alicia Fox, Emma and Naomi take on Paige, Cameron and Summer Rae. Told you the matches varied wildly!

But this collection is not only about the matches. Oh no. There’s also a smattering of promo footage from many, many years of WWE Christmas programming – including the infamous Bobby “The Brain” Heenan rant from 1980s WWE show Prime Time Wrestling… You know the one. The one where he ruins Christmas for all the kids watching. If you’r not familiar with Heenan’s festive tirade then it’s worth buying this DVD for that alone. It’s both wonderful and awful at the same time. There’s also a collection of footage of WWE superstars reading the classic Xmas poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas”, some of which is INCREDIBLY cringe-worthy!

Definitely a mixed bag for fans and casual viewers alike – though you have to dig that Jerry “The King” Lawler artwork on the cover – the WWE Christmas Collection is out now on DVD from FremantleMedia. The special is also out in the US, under the alternative title of Ring in the Holidays.

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