wrestling / Columns

Top 7 WWE DVD Sets

December 19, 2021 | Posted by Steve Cook
Paul Heyman ECW, Rob Van Dam, Mick Foley, Steve Corino Image Credit: WWE

WWE is going to stop producing DVDs at the end of this year. There was a time where I was going to try and rank VHS tapes in this column since that’s what people from the time period before I was active used to access all the wrestling they could. Me, I was a little too late for the video tape craze. I taped a lot of things in the late 1990s, but that was after the period where VHS tapes were really a thing.

I have way too many DVDs in shoeboxes. Many of them are WWE DVDs. It’s time for us to look over the most magnificent WWE DVD sets of all time. If you have different opinions, we invite you to include them in the comment section.

7. The American Dream: The Dusty Rhodes Story (2006)

I was not a huge Dusty Rhodes fan when I started writing wrestling columns on the Internet. Most of my personal memories of The Dream involved either his WWF polka dot run or his commentary on WCW shows. Nothing that went against the narrative about Dusty perpetuated by online wrestling critics of the late 1990s & early 2000s. I admit it, I totally bought what they sold me about Dusty being a fat old hack that couldn’t work and kept himself on top because he was the booker man. He was also responsible for a period of TNA Wrestling that I wasn’t a huge fan of, so Dusty Rhodes wasn’t somebody I counted among the top legends of wrestling history.

Then I watched this DVD set & became more acquainted with the Dusty Rhodes of the 1970s & 80s. I saw one of the best talkers of that or any other time period, someone that was a master at getting a crowd behind him. He could also go in the ring, much more than given credit for. All it took was three discs to turn me from a Dusty hater to one of his biggest defenders.

6. The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior (2005)

It’s pretty amazing. We’ve seen some great hit pieces on people over the years. There have been plenty of shoot interviews with the likes of Jim Cornette, Ole Anderson & whoever else had a bug up their butt that day burying everybody under the sun. Corny especially has stuck a ton of people six feet under. I’m still not sure I’ve ever seen a bigger burial than this DVD, put out by WWE in the mid-2000s. You know, back before they welcomed Warrior back into the fold & then he died.

At this time, Warrior was touring college campuses and giving controversial speeches about hot-button issues. He was getting some bad publicity, and when people would write or talk about him, they would mention his previous affiliation with WWE. WWE wanted people to know that they had a very low opinion of Warrior, and produced a documentary where pretty much anybody with a bone to pick with Warrior from back in the day had at it. Bobby Heenan, Jim Ross, Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase, Sgt. Slaughter, Vince McMahon himself, they all had things to say. It was funny because guys like Edge, Christian & Chris Jericho that didn’t really know Warrior put him over, while Heenan talked about Warrior like the guy shot his dog.

Warrior wasn’t happy. Perhaps the most notable thing to come from this: Bret Hart ended up making a deal with WWE to produce a DVD. He saw the Warrior set and was concerned they’d do the same thing to him.

5. Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story (2014)

Speaking of hit pieces, if you saw A&E’s Biography on Randy Savage, you saw a pretty big one on the Macho Man. Somebody behind the production there decided that the best way to make a good Biography was to get all the people that didn’t like Randy Savage to talk about him. It stood out from the rest of the WWE/A&E productions, which largely served as hagiographies for their subjects.

WWE did it better back in 2014 with one of the best produced wrestler documentaries they’ve done. It was a more balanced look at the life of Savage that looked at every aspect of his career including most we’d forgotten about. How he came up with his persona & rose through the ranks, the end, pretty much all of it. Not everybody was the staunchest Savage defender of all time, but Bubba the Love Sponge wasn’t on it either.

4. Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen (2007)

It took some time after the Invasion for WCW footage to have some appeal. Once it did, WWE milked it dry. They knew that people had interest in the Four Horsemen. A few years later, they put out some best of Monday Nitro sets & Goldberg & NWO sets. They did pretty well.

What this particular set that Blake Lovell wanted me to put over did was put over the likes of Tully Blanchard. One of Chris Hyatte’s best columns told me that nobody remembered Tully Blanchard. Once Tully got featured on this thing, everybody remembered him. To the point where JBL drove him out of WWE because he had hurt feelings. Pretty ridiculous, but it kind of worked out for Tully in the long run.

3. Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (2011)

Bret’s first DVD set was released in 2006, and he slowly worked his way back into the WWE family afterward. When he returned to the company full time in 2010 was when he was able to make amends with Shawn, who was involved in an incident with Bret in Montreal. You might remember that one, it was kind of a big deal. This DVD set was a big deal too. Jim Ross got to interview Bret & Shawn about their history together, years after they’d managed to settle down and take things for what they were.

It was interesting to watch Bret & Shawn talk about their issues with each other. Both had obviously grown past them, though there were still hints of disagreement. Shawn didn’t have the best memory of some things. Bret will always still be a little bothered about what happened, though he’s learned to lean into the part of the story where he punches Vince. People don’t mind hearing that part.

I don’t know how often Bret & Shawn talk these days, but it was nice that they managed to mend fences before it was too late. It was also nice that we got a DVD set with a bunch of their matches on it!

2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts: Pick Your Poison (2005)

I’ve written before about how Jake was my first favorite wrestler as a young child. As it turns out, Jake has one of the most compelling, up & down life stories of any pro wrestler, and frankly it’s shocking that he’s still with us at the time I write this. He went through many different childhood traumas. He’s dealt with addiction for most of his life. Jake got the opportunity to tell us about his life on this DVD set, and it’s one of the more harrowing stories told on a WWE program.

There’s also a ton of extras, including a litany of Jake Roberts promos. Remember the ones with the Ultimate Warrior being put through ridiculous scenarios? They’re all here, and they’re all good. Some people go crazy for the discs of extra matches, but give me a disc of great promos from certain folks & I’m happy.

Of course, there were still more bumps in the road for Jake after 2005. We got some documentaries for those too.

1. The Rise & Fall of ECW (2004)

There was always something about the ECW brand. “Extreme” was the big thing in the 1990s, and Paul Heyman was smart enough to jump on it at the right time. The name, along with the television that was edgy & certainly a product of its time, gave it a coolness that WCW never really had (The NWO was a cool brand. WCW? Eh, not so much.), and the World Wrestling Federation did their best to co-opt when they showed some “Attitude”. ECW had a certain buzz about it that got people that never watched the show in its prime chanting “ECW” when things would get out of control at WWF or WCW events.

After the Invasion angle, interest in WCW as a company pretty well died off. Interest was still there for ECW though. WWE found out just how much when they released a DVD set featuring a 3 hour documentary and some of the company’s greatest matches. The “TV-MA” rating allowed ECW to tell its story, at least the story that Heyman and the people involved in the documentary wanted to tell. The set out-sold anything WWE had produced at the time, and generated so much buzz that WWE eventually decided to present an ECW event. One Night Stand did well, and led to a new ECW.

WWE buying up all the wrestling footage they did led to some tremendous DVD sets telling stories of old promotions. World Class, AWA, WCW & Mid-South Wrestling all got their story told, and I’ve watched them many times. ECW’s story felt the most true to life, which is why it tops this list.

Let me know via Twitter if I’m completely wrong!

article topics :

WWE, Steve Cook