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WWE: Royal Rumble 2013(TV) (2013)
As WWE kicks off the Road to WrestleMania with the 2013 Royal Rumble, the Rock returns to the WWE Universe. Plus, dozens of superstars compete in WWE's historic over-the-top-rope main event.
For more about WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 and the WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray release, see WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 30, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: The Rock, John Cena, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Alberto Del Rio
» See full cast & crew
WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 30, 2013
Every second counts.
The WWE's annual schedule seems overflowing with high-profile events. Even now, Monday Night RAW feels like a special event. The entire professional wrestling universe has become huge -- at least as huge as ever before -- but no matter how much goodness comes on cable television on Monday and Friday nights, it's those Sunday night pay programs that really define the WWE. WrestleMania is, of course, the undisputed king of them all, the most important event on the WWE calendar, this year, last year, next year, and every year before and each one that's to come. The rest of the Pay-Per-View schedule sometimes goes through minor revisions and corrections, but a few of the well-established events come around almost like clockwork. If there's one that probably sits in importance right behind WrestleMania, it would have to be Royal Rumble, a signature 26-time Sunday night crowd pleaser that sandwiches a few matches around the title event, a thirty-man, last-Superstar-standing free-for-all brawl that's so exciting it sometimes overshadows the "main event" to follow. Not in 2013. For as awesome as the Rumble may be, it's not everyday, or even every Pay-Per-View, that pits a WWE legend back from retirement against one of the most popular Superstars of all time, never mind the Superstar who has held the Championship belt for well over 400 consecutive days. It's the sort of stuff that would headline WrestleMania, so this year's Rumble may just be remembered as 2013's finest Pay-Per-View.
2013's Rumble featured four events, a singles match for the World Heavyweight belt, a tag match, the Rumble, and the big kahuna of the evening and, maybe, the year, the clash between WWE legends The Rock and CM Punk. As always, it was a brilliant display of wrestling from the first match to the last. The event was defined by the usual glitz and glamour of the WWE and populated by a cross section of the sport's brightest stars, from the heavyweight Big Show to the acrobatic Kofi Kingston (who pulls off another brilliant maneuver in the Rumble match, which is almost becoming a tradition). The first two matches went well enough; they're entertaining but serve to only draw out the anticipation for the evening's final pair of clashes, the thirty-man Rumble and the Punk-Rock (maybe there will be a Country-Western clash in the future) confrontation to close out the evening. Neither disappointed. While the Rumble match followed the same usual bit of script -- the identity of the last handful of participants is hardly a surprise (read: the biggest stars in the event, for the most part) -- the match proved diverse and hard-hitting, very well put together and resulting in a pleasing outcome. CM Punk's battle with The Rock surpassed it, though, on technical mastery, raw entertainment value, and the high stakes of Punk's lengthy, 400+ day reign as champ. It's not a streak like The Undertaker's, but it will certainly be fun to see Punk take on the Dead Man at WrestleMania XXIX.
On the technical front, WWE's 2013 Blu-ray release of Royal Rumble delivers, basically, nothing other than the program with added content listed under the menu's "Special Feature" and "Blu-ray Exclusives" tabs. Yet unlike some other sports-related programming ported to Blu-ray -- the unimpressive college football bowl game discs come to mind -- the WWE at least offers a polished presentation, and after 26 years of putting on the event and three additional Blu-ray Royal Rumble discs, that shouldn't be much of a surprise. The event flows well and offers just enough in-between content -- interviews, promo videos, and so on -- to keep the audience up to date or to jog the memory as to why a match is important, but there's little here beyond character intros and the wrestling. And in this case, that's a good thing. It feels complete, not half-hearted or released just to sucker in unsuspecting fans. It would be nice to have a little more content -- there's really nothing beyond the week prior's RAW and SmackDown highlights in the bonus section (perhaps an equal amount of fallout clips from the Monday and Friday following?) but nevertheless it's a good, well-rounded yet still basic presentation that should delight fans.
The following four matches comprise the 2013 edition of Royal Rumble.
WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray, Video Quality
This is another dependable WWE transfer. Royal Rumble 2013 looks pretty much the same as its fellow recent releases sourced from brand-new HD video material. It's very crisp and nicely defined all around, with some problem areas to be sure but, generally, it's a solid image in every regard. Some of the darker backdrops exhibit light-to-severe blocking effects, and some of the graphics show a bit of shimmering and jaggies, but otherwise viewers will find strong details and vibrant colors throughout. WWE's transfer reveals perfectly defined facial and clothing textures, showing every crease in skin and detail in what clothing there is. Kane's mask, Cena's T-shirt, Ziggler's hair, Bryant's beard, and The Rock's tattoos all show good, intimate detailing in close-up shots. The resolution and clarity reveals crisp details even far back into the stands. Colors look fantastic; the electronic signage really pops through the myriad of hues around the stadium and on the big entrance board that showcases pretty much every color under the sun throughout the program. There's a haziness to some shots, but it seems left over from some of the pyrotechnics. All in all, this is a very good, reliable, nice-looking transfer from WWE.
WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Royal Rumble 2013 follows the standard WWE Blu-ray soundtrack formula, featuring a top-shelf lossy 5.1 soundtrack (the Spanish language announce table track is also included in a two-channel configuration). Though the English 5.1 presentation does sometimes sound just a hair muddled, there's a strong, basic clarity evident in the entire presentation. Most of it takes on a big, wide, aggressive posture, throwing music and effects out of every speaker but in a balanced, enjoyable fashion. Whether overlaid music accompanying video highlights or the sounds pumped through stadium speakers, the track delivers all with equal vitality and clarity. Alberto del Rio's entrance music in particular comes through very naturally in a sort of way that almost effortlessly places listeners in the arena. Ringside commentary and backstage banter both come through clearly and accurately from the center, only rarely really forced to compete with the most aggressive sonic moments. The basic sounds of wrestling -- slams onto the mat, screaming combatants -- comes through nicely enough. For a lossy presentation of a live event, this one's quite good overall.
WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Royal Rumble 2013 contains the following supplements. All but the first are denoted as "Blu-ray Exclusives."
WWE: Royal Rumble 2013 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Anyone who owns previous installments of Royal Rumble on Blu-ray should already know what to expect. Royal Rumble 2013 is basically the same thing -- the Rumble PPV and nothing but beyond what's in the "extras" tabs -- which means there are no surprises but which also means there is no reason to have any reservations about the disc. It's straightforward but well put-together, offering high quality video and audio (for a WWE release) and, for fans, plenty of replay value. The extras are good, but a little more depth by including the aftermath and not only the RAW and SmackDown lead up highlights would be appreciated for next year's release. Still, this comes recommended to casual fans and it's a must own for wrestling enthusiasts.
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