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WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW(2008-2010)
SmackDown vs. RAW rivalry's best moments from March, April, and May 2008.
For more about WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW and the WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray release, see WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 19, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, CM Punk, Edge, Glenn "Kane" Jacobs
» See full cast & crew
WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray Review
Buy a video game, get a Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 19, 2014
HD. New video game. Woohoo! Best of SmackDown vs. RAW is an exclusive Blu-ray disc bundled with a video game for the PlayStation 3 entitled, not so dissimilarly, SmackDown vs. RAW 2009. The two come bundled together in a somewhat gaudy but nevertheless collectible "steel cage" housing with the game's logo emblazoned on the cage which slides into a golden base with a large circular WWE logo in the middle. The game? Eh, no great shakes (and it doesn't even have trophies, which weren't implemented until the 2010 iteration), but bigger and better things are here and a-coming now that 2K sports has taken over the franchise from the now-defunct THQ (WWE 2K15 looks like it has potential). But the important thing here is the Blu-ray. As little more than an add-in to a video game bundle, it can't be all that, can it? Read on...
Best of SmackDown vs. RAW, hosted by Todd Grisham, bills itself on the title card as "2009," yet all of the matches come from 2008. In fact, they all come from within a a nine-week window between March 10, 2008 and May 19, 2008. Baby steps, WWE...baby steps. Nevertheless, and regardless of the flub, the program is basically two hours of early 2008 WWE matches that pit SmackDown stars vs. Raw stars, though they don't necessarily come from the SmackDown or Raw programs. In addition to the usual Monday and Friday night shenanigans, there are matches from WrestleMania and the now-defunct pay brands Backlash and Judgment Day. Viewers will enjoy a nice little cross-section of wrestlers, with Batista, Chris Jericho, and MVP all appearing twice in the span of eight matches.
The selection of matches, obviously, is severely limited, but that doesn't lessen one's ability to enjoy them. This represents little more than a snapshot of a time following the WWE's transition to high definition, and it often feels more like a technical highlight reel than it does a legitimate release (which, really, it isn't). It screams "fluff piece," and with so little connection between the matches beyond brand competition and dates on a calendar, it's easy to see why. Even Todd Grisham only chimes in to provide little more than HD comic relief for about three or four of the 120 or so minutes that comprise the set. If nothing else, this release might make for a decent companion to the Bragging Rights 2010 Blu-ray or any of the several RAW and SmackDown "best of year" releases, but don't count on this to be anything more than something to plop into the Blu-ray player on a whim.
The following matches are included as part of Best of SmackDown vs. RAW:
WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray, Video Quality
Best of SmackDown vs. RAW looks quite good considering its status as early WWE HD material. The 1.78:1, 1080i presentation isn't quite as sharp and well defined as the newest WWE Blu-ray releases, but viewers will be pleased with the level of crisp, accurate detailing and rich coloring evident throughout. Wrestler skin and attire alike reveal sufficiently complex details under the high definition microscope. The sharp, clear image reveals crowd signs and the individuals holding them with ease. The Grisham segments are a little fuzzy, however. Colors are stable and bright. Things kick off with Finlay's loud, yet accurate, green outfit and move on to reveal SmackDown blue, RAW red, and all sorts of other colors with general ease. Black levels satisfy, and skin tones appear accurate. Some compression issues are evident in the background, and there's a bit of banding to be seen on the JBL video that plays early on during the Finlay-Mr. Kennedy match. Overall, however, this is a solid effort from WWE.
WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Best of SmackDown vs. RAW's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation isn't particularly aggressive, but neither is it overly shallow. The dueling theme music that plays over the opening titles never feels fully energized, but it is nicely spaced and sufficiently defined throughout the range. Spacing across the front isn't an issue, and listeners will enjoy a minor surround support structure. Wrestler intro music, however, proves a little more viable and stable, spreading easily throughout the entire stage. Crowd ambience is strong, too. Dialogue is clear and well-defined, whether coming from ringside or elsewhere in the arena, such as when JBL rudely addresses Finlay early in the proceedings. Like the video, this is nothing to brag on, but it gets the job done.
WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
All that's included is Creating 'SmackDown vs. RAW 2009' (1080i, 17:46), a fun and rather thorough piece that looks at the processes involved in making the video game, including actor motion capture, wrestler facial scans and audio recordings, new features for the 2009 edition of the game, and more. Stars like John Cena and Santino Marella share their thoughts on working on the game.
WWE Best of SmackDown vs. RAW Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Even with so much WWE content on Blu-ray, there can never be enough, and Best of SmackDown vs. RAW fills a void not so much in terms of content but in terms of novelty. It's the fluffiest fluff piece the WWE has "released" so far, beating the full-on retail Greatest Superstars of the 21st Century as probably the most superfluous title on the market. But buying it does net a PS3 game and a collectible, though somewhat tacky, case. Plus, it rounds out any WWE Home Video Blu-ray collection. Featuring solid video and audio and a fairly interesting supplement, the release comes recommended to diehard WWE fans and wrestling Blu-ray collectors alike.
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