For many fans of pro wrestling, there are items that one must own to feel like a real fan.
Things like t-shirts, action figures, replica belts are among some of the common things that a fan will own and may even show off to fellow fans (especially the action figures, admit it you have).
But as fans know, especially older ones, being a fan of pro wrestling can sometimes make you friends or coworkers look at you like you're the kid who ate glue in kindergarten.
So for fans who know that they can't show off their wrestling figures to a member of the opposite sex, DVDs are another way to remain a fan.
At the same time it's a way to be intelligent about a show you enjoy and love, or be discreet if you don't want to be mocked.
This list is designed to give tips on the must haves for a growing wrestling DVD collection.
Let me also state that there will not be any DVDs focusing on one particular wrestler like the many biographical DVDs that have been released over the years.
In most cases, these DVDs are the subjects way to spin the events in history in order to make themselves appear better and everyone else was wrong (anything about Hulk Hogan or in some cases Ric Flair).
I will tell you about the DVDs and what they offer, including any extras and matches shown. So after reading this list you will hopefully go out and get these DVDs if haven't already got them.
Another plus is that many of these are under $10 online, perfect for the fan on a budget.
Starting off this list is a look back at the good times of Monday Nitro. A recent release by the WWE, it is a three disc set that showcases some of the best matches and most memorable moments of Nitro.
The collection is hosted by Diamond Dallas Page who gives his insight to some of the moments and matches. Matches include Jushin "Thunder" Lyger vs. Brian Pillman, Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero, and the final main event in Nitro history between Flair and Sting.
Some of the moments include Scott Hall's first appearance, Hogan's promo the night after forming the NWO, and the backstage assault on WCW wrestler's in which Kevin Nash threw Rey Mysterio like a dart. Unfortunately, the main problem with this collection is that there isn't enough backstory into what is offered on the discs.
This is more bothersome as you have a guy like DDP who was there for the majority of Nitro and he isn't used as well as he should have been. If you weren't a die hard fan of the Monday Night Wars, not a fan of wrestling at the time, or too young to remember, you may not recognize that all of the contents on the discs are in chronological order.
You will also notice the best of moments peter out a bit near the end of WCW's life, likely in an attempt for the WWE to not completely dance on the grave of their former competitor.
Now while it is not the best expression of pro wrestling, it is one of the most wild and fun to watch. Wrestling Society X was a short lived wrestling promotion on MTV that gained a cult following due to its roster of wrestlers and cartoonish and exciting matches.
While only a WSX World Title was defended on the shows, there were hints that a tag title and X-Division type title would be created if the show had been renewed. The roster includes some veterans from the bigger promotions including X-Pac, Teddy Hart, Tyler Black, Evan Bourne, and New Jack.
Matches include stipulations such as a Piranha Death Match and Exploding Steel Cage Timebomb Death Match. Also included are numerous deleted scenes and web matches. This collection is meant more for just having fun and not investing in a storyline. It makes you just sit back, watch, and enjoy the carnage.
Up next is an essential for lovers of ECW. Bloodsport is a two disc collection of what it says, ECW's most violent matches. This collection is not for the faint of heart. Every match pushes the boundaries of extreme and show why ECW had such a devout following.
Matches include the gruesome Taipei Death Match between Ian and Axl Rotten where they taped their fists, then covered them in glue and broken glass, and then beat each other bloody. Another match was the barb wire match between Sabu and Terry Funk.
The match ended with both men getting so tangled up in barb wire that Paul Heyman himself declared that there would never be another match like that in ECW. This collection is a must own for anyone wanting to see non-PG matches that are oozing with excitement and action, among other things.
It is also a great collection for fans who want to reminisce about the prime years of ECW.
Next on the list is The Rise and Fall of WCW, the first collection on the list with a documentary attached to it. Along with that are two discs full of great matches from WCW's history.
Matches include Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A. in the $10,000 challenge, Rey Mysterio vs. Dean Malenko, and Goldberg vs. DDP in the infamous Halloween Havoc World Title match. The reason this DVD is so low on the list is because of the documentary itself.
The length of the documentary is around 1 1/2 hours which isn't nearly enough time to cover the life of an organization like WCW. For the bulk of the documentary, it covers the history of Jim Crockett Promotions, when it peaked and then fell from grace eventually being bought out by Ted Turner.
It then goes into how Eric Bischoff came into power and the beginning of the Monday Night Wars, the Rise of WCW really takes up the bulk of the documentary, while the Fall is more of an afterthought. It would have been nice to go more in depth in the bad of WCW like they had done with the good side.
Especially so since the WWE had done so much in the documentary about ECW, it's odd that WCW's history was shown so sparsely. Besides that issue, this collection is great and the documentary is worth watching.
At number 6 is The Best of Saturday Night's Main Event, a three disc collection with over 25 matches. Now while there isn't any documentary there are quick interviews with superstars about their favorite or memorable moments from the show.
Also included are memorable moments like Uncle Elmers wedding, the Oktoberfest edition of SNME, and Vince McMahon and Jessie Ventura trying to do commentary while on horseback. Matches are in chronological order and include the cage match between Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff. It became famous for the match having to be restart as both men touched the floor at the same time.
Also included are the Snake Pit match between Jake "the Snake" Roberts and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Randy Savage vs. Ted Dibiase, and the Rockers vs. the Hart Foundation. This would collection would have been higher on the list if it had a full documentary rather than just intertwined interviews with wrestlers.
While the interviews are nice and show the wrestlers as fans along with being wrestlers. This is also a great collection for those wanted to reminisce about the WWF when it was about just having a fun show to entertain the fans, rather than focus solely on storylines.
Coming in at 5 is Starrcade: the Essential Collection. This three disc collection has a short documentary about the start of the event and how it evolved into the biggest show for WCW, akin to Wrestlemania.
From there, there are 25 matches spread out over the discs, but instead of them being in chronological order, they were ranked according to a poll done of WWE fans. The matches are introduced by "Mean" Gene Okerlund in order to give insight about the stories leading into the matches.
Matches include Sting vs. the Great Muta, the Road Warriors vs. the Brain Busters, triple threat ladder match with 3-count, Jung Dragons, and Jamie Noble & Evan Karagias. One of my all time favorite matches; the Steel Cage "I Quit" match for the US title between Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard.
The matches and the documentary are very well done and "Mean" Gene's intros are the right touch to keep fans in the loop for what they are watching. The matches chosen were some of the best in WCW history and feature memorable feuds. Any wrestling fan would be remiss if they did not get this collection.
While The Rise and Fall of WCW brushed the surface of the event, the Monday Night War DVD goes fairly in depth. It gives a little insight to the origins of Nitro and how it went up against Raw.
The ninety minute documentary talks about the lengths both companies went to to put the other out of commission. The documentary includes Bischoff giving away Raw's results, the Billionaire Ted Skits, and WCW buying some of Raw top talent.
If you're looking for a DVD that talks about the fall of WCW, this is it as it goes more into the final years of WCW. The main drawback of this documentary is that some of the WWE guys tow the company line when talking about their former competitor (looking at your Gerald Briscoe).
Other than that, it's a really good look back at one of the most exciting times in pro wrestling history. There are only a couple matches on this DVD, including DX taking on the Legion of Doom, Chris Benoit vs. Booker T on Nitro, and Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan.
Other extras include a Jim Cornette tirade, Ric Flair returning to WCW, and members of DX talking about when DX invaded the arena that was hosting Nitro. So other than some company cheerleading and some missing incidents like the Fingerpoke of Doom and the Montreal Screwjob, this is a really interesting look into the battle between Nitro and Raw.
There isn't a movie in Hollywood that best displays the dark side of pro wrestling, or pro wrestling in general, than The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke. The movie showcases how a wrestler who may have been a top draw in his heyday and then lose everything dear to him.
It also resonates with fans who can see a bit of their favorite wrestler's in the main character. For those of you not familiar with the movie, Mickey Rourke stars as Randy "The Ram" Robinson. He is a wrestling superstar from the 80's who is now trying to make a living wrestling at indy shows when he isn't working on the loading docks of a grocery store.
A shell of the man and wrestler he used to be along with a heart condition, he tries to reconnect with an estranged daughter. At the same time, he tries to regain some of his former glory by taking on his greatest foe in a rematch of their main event from decades ago.
Even for non-wrestling fans this is a good movie as you see a man try to resurrect the good part of himself. Yet for wrestling fans they see a harsh reality that many of our favorites from yesterday face today; like wrestling for peanuts in high school gyms or bingo halls, or selling their photos at "fan conventions" for half off.
While hard to watch sometimes, The Wrestler is a great story that is brought together by Mickey Rourke in the performance of his career.
As far as any WWE documentary goes, it doesn't get any better than The Rise and Fall of ECW. Now when my I said my main complaint about The Rise and Fall of WCW was that its documentary was only 1 1/2 hours long, this documentary is three, yes I said THREE hours long.
It goes in depth from the beginnings when it was known as Eastern Championship Wrestling to its evolution into the land of extreme, to its first PPV and its time on TNN. Along with that, the documentary goes into all of the biggest stars in ECW: Raven, Tommy Dreamer, RVD, the Dudleys, and many more.
ECW is also shown as one of the first real casualties of the Monday Night War. Eric Bischoff admits he plundered the ECW roster while Vince McMahon mentions his attempt to help the company by co-promoting the company and even having ECW matches on Raw.
The documentary is chocked full of so much I would have paid full price for the DVD, though now you can find it on Amazon in good condition for about $5. The second disk has seven matches like the dog collar match for the tag titles between the Pitbulls and Raven & Stevie Richards and Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow.
Also included are deleted interviews with Stevie Richards, Taz, and a hilarious interview with Chris Jericho about how Paul Heyman got wrestlers plane tickets in order to make a show. Also, this was released before the PG era, so there is very strong, uncensored language and lots of blood and violence.
The only drawback is that it's only two discs so there aren't that many matches, but the WWE has since released more ECW DVDs which fill the void nicely. And now for the number one wrestling DVD that you should own....
Be honest how many of your guys' hearts just stopped thinking about this horrible movie?
You had to know this was number one. Beyond the Mat is beyond a doubt, the best documentary about pro wrestling ever made. There isn't any other documentary that shows the hardship that these people put themselves through in order to make it big in the wrestling industry.
It focus mainly on the WWE, but also follows ECW as they gear up for its first PPV. It then focus on Mick Foley, Jake Roberts, and Terry Funk as they are in different parts of their careers. It is to documentaries about wrestling as The Wrestler was to films about wrestling.
Some fans have even made comparisons to Jake Roberts in the documentary to what Mickey Rourke was like as Randy Robinson. The documentary shows the highest of highs as Foley fights against the Rock in the WWF, to the lowest of lows as Jake Roberts wrestles in indy shows and gets high in his hotel room.
Now depending on the version that you buy you will get different extras which range from commentaries to a dinner with the legends. All in all, every fan who wants to have DVDs on wrestling that they can go back to again and again, Beyond the Mat is a must own.