As a collector of professional wrestling DVDs since 2001 it was rather earth shattering to read that WWE will stop releasing DVDs after Survivor Series 2021.
I have pretty much kept my cards close to my chest on this topic but I truly believe that as sad as the news for collectors or serious collectors rather, WWE and some fans have only got themselves to blame. Once I finish explaining how I started collecting and the thrill of it, I will explain why towards the end BUT first let me explain how I became a collector.
Going back to 1985 and the foundation of Coliseum Video, WWE would really put a lot of thought as to what they would add to their “tapes” and it is evident on many of the earlier Coliseum Videos and even later that they were packed with hidden gems which hadn’t seen the light of day in many years. They were a treat for those who were fortunate and able to purchase them, they were pretty pricey but the content within them made them worth every penny and to this day go for high prices.
Due to the nature of these gems if you will is how I watched the Main Event to the first ever WrestleMania between Hulk Hogan and Mr T vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and ‘Mr Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff. It was on the WrestleMania’s Greatest Matches VHS which my Father bought my brother and I. The other matches on this tape were the NFL / WWF Battle Royal from WrestleMania II, The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana vs The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis from WrestleMania III and The Honky Tonk Man defending his Intercontinental Championship vs Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake at WrestleMania IV. The tape is hosted by former NoDQ.com interviewee Sean Mooney.
I didn’t have many Coliseum Videos growing up but over the years I have been able to obtain and watch more of these gems and they truly are fantastic.
The rise of DVD came into the fray in 1999 and WWE would follow suit and started releasing some new documentaries (They were also available on VHS). The first two releases were WrestleMania XV & Hell Yeah.
Looking back at the advent of the DVD releases, they were some fantastic releases and it made us the fans see the Superstars in a different light, they were being themselves. Some more than others though, admittedly. It was great and refreshing to have some content in what was then the highest of resolutions.
On my 13th birthday in 2001, I got my first ever WWE DVD as a present from my brother. Royal Rumble 2001 and what an initial first one to have. The PPV in itself is a classic and admittedly after watching it a few times, it left me wanting more and rightfully so. I remember making a pact with my brother though that we would ONLY purchase the PPV’s that we weren’t be able to watch. Sky Box Office was too expensive for us and then we proceeded to purchase the WrestleMania’s too as we already had the first 15 on VHS.
As the years went by and thanks to the always amazing WWE Tagged Classics our collection grew and to this day luckily I still maintain that collection.
What is the point I am trying to make? Two reasons.
1. After a while it seemed WWE became very lazy with their releases and weren’t too bothered about what they included as the bonus content. Some documentaries in recent memory are fantastic and even some from when the releases were hot are also grand BUT it is more of a case of WWE not following up on Volumes. They released a WWE Unreleased DVD with many rare matches from 1986-1995 in 2017. That set was a good treat and included some amazing rare encounters that we probably didn’t know existed! As mentioned above, it is sad we will never get a second volume.
2. WWE Network – What does the WWE Network have to do with this? A LOT if I’m honest. I remember once the Network launched in February 2014, I knew of many fans who sold their collections and that amazed me. Everytime I would mention maybe to one that I was going to watch say for example the Eddie Guerrero DVD from 2004, they’d say oh but that’s on the Network and yes I am sure it is on there but owning it as physical media is more symbolic as it is yours to keep forever!
Now with the news that Survivor Series 2021 will be the last official release by WWE Home Video in North America, it remains to be seen what happens to future releases in Europe. We should hear more about this in the new year or maybe before if we’re lucky.
There is nothing like having a WWE or better yet a Professional Wrestling Blu Ray / DVD Collection and I am glad to have a rather extensive one.
Word to the wise to long time collectors.. DO NOT sell your collections!