Friday, April 28, 2006

Best of Raven - Nevermore

Raven is a bit of an enigma in professional wrestling. He has unquestionably left an impact upon all of the major American federations of the past decade. Offensively, he's no trendsetter; and on the opposite side of the spectrum, he's notorious for putting his hands up and blocking weapon shots, but his facials and sells aren't half bad. His biggest contribution is likely his character, as he's been involved in some historical angles and cutting edge storylines. This DVD, put out by TNA, is a collection of matches all pre-Orlando when they were still operating out of Tennessee.

Disc #1
1. vs. Sandman - House of Fun - 3
2. vs. AJ Styles - Ladder Match - 4
3. vs. Jeff Jarrett - 3
4. vs. Shane Douglas - Hair vs. Hair - 2
5. vs. Vampiro - Gallows of Retribution - 3
6. vs. Father James Mitchell - Last Man Standing - 1
vs. Abyss - 2

Sandman and Raven had the epitome of a sloppy hardcore brawl, that was great fun to laugh at hysterically as it occurred. The end was a riot, as Raven sprayed Sandman directly in the face with a fire extinguisher, then Sandman got thrown off of a balcony through six tables with a white face. I had forgotten how Styles used to act cocky, even though back then he really had no clue how to actually put together a match. I thought him and Raven doing ladder bumps would be the cause of much celebration, but it was actually a flop. The match versus Jarrett started out surprisingly good, but then got more convoluted than a Quentin Tarantino script as all kinds of people interfered and mayhem ensued, ruining any chance this had at being halfway respectable. The match with Douglas was absolute shit, and I mean it, this was disgraceful. Douglas gets sick in the middle of the match, and pukes at least three times all over the place. No, I'm not kidding, this actually happened. He was totally out of it, and in no wrestling shape, although, some would say he hasn't been in 8 years. After the match, when they're shaving Raven's head they're being rough and shaving his scalp, too--that part was good, the match itself sucked. The match with Vampiro was essentially a dog collar match, where you had to hang you opponent over the top rope to gain a victory. They said it'd be bloodier than the famous Valentine/Piper dog collar match, which was an utter lie, as this match doesn't compare to that classic on any level. Vampiro's offense is so bizarre; he almost looks foolish, fumbling through this uninspired match with fellow idiot Raven. The match with Mitchell can be summed up as follows--Mitchell's blades, bleeds, and bumps poorly in this waste of time. The match with Abyss could have been good, but it followed the tradition set forth by other matches on this compilation by being ruined by sloppy inconsistent work and interference galore.

Disc #2
1. vs. AJ Styles vs. Truth vs. Abyss - 5
2. vs. AJ Styles vs. Truth vs. Chris Harris -7
3. vs. Sonjay Dutt - 2
4. vs. Sabu - 4
5. vs. Chris Harris - 4
6. vs. AJ Styles - 4

The second disc is by far much better. The first four-way is good, it's a bit chaotic, but good regardless. The second one, features some kind of gimmick where two guys start it, then every 5 minutes the next participant joins. It's the best match on the entire DVD, and I'd suggest seeking it out and procuring yourself a copy, as it's that good. The match with Dutt is a poor excuse for a squash, and completely forgettable. The match with Sabu is entertaining, although not either's best work, and full of some seriously sloppy spots. The finish is botched, too; which may or may not be a bad thing. The last two matches were bonus features, and include commentary by Raven and Terry Taylor. The commentary sucks, though, because you can't hear the noise of the action or crowd response. So, I have a feeling both matches were better than the grades they received, but were rendered nearly unwatchable as they were.

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