Wednesday, December 06, 2023

End Of An Era For WWE Physical Media

There is another apparent casualty following the merger between WWE and UFC.

It was announced yesterday that World Wrestling Entertainment DVDs and Blu-rays will no longer be produced across the globe.

Fremantle - the company which currently distributes the media form over here in the UK and other European countries - made the following statement.

With great sadness, we must announce that WWE have taken the decision to withdraw from the Home Video category. No licensing deals will be renewed worldwide after 2023.

This means the very last WWE Home Video release from Fremantle will be CROWN JEWEL 2023 (2 Disc DVD) on 18th December (UK) and 22nd December (Germany).

WWE Home Video have been releasing VHS, DVD and Blu-ray for 36 years, the last 11 years through Fremantle in the Europe, but this will come to an end on 31st December 2023 with no further WWE DVD stock manufactured.

Everyone at WWE Home Video UK would like to thank all our collectors and fans for many years of support and passion

It truly is the end of an era.

For the rest of today's post, I'm going to just randomly through out some memories (in no particular order) I have from buying WWE media over the years.

Just to keep things on track, I'll write 'WWE' even though it may have been the WWF on most of the occasions
  • The first WWE videotape I bought was of WrestleMania VI. I didn't end up owning it, though. My video recorder had bad tracking issues and it just wouldn't work properly despite how many times I tried. I eventually gave up and took the tape back.
  • I would end up buying WrestleMania VI again, though. It was when I had a VCR in my bedroom which had auto-tracking so it wasn't as fiddly as the earlier VCRs we owned. The Mania VI I then owned came in a huge boxset of Manias 1-15
  • The first WWE DVD I owned was the 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin 'Hell Yeah'. I was given it for my birthday in 2000
  • There was a group of lads a couple of years older me at high school who brought their WWE videos to school and watched them on break. I walked by the room one day and saw a Hulk Hogan match on the television. I walked in only for the pipsqueak of the gang to tell me I wasn't invited and I had to leave. It wasn't the first time I've thought about this kid in 2023. I might have something to say about him on Christmas Day (that's a teaser)
  • It's twenty-five years ago today since WWE had its Capital Carnage event from London. I went there live and I appear many times during the event because my seat was in view of the camera. I own this film on VHS. It's regarded as one of the worst WWE PPVs in history. I shall pat myself on the back for being a very small part of history. I was also at No Mercy from the Manchester Evening News Arena a year later and that one is even worse. I own it on VHS, too.
  • I've just realised I have more Stone Cold memories from my video collecting. The video of 'Cause Stone Cold Said So was big back in the day because it had a cover of Austin with blood dripping down his forehead (from the Mania 13 match against Bret Hart). However, when it was on the shop shelves, it had a generic photograph of Austin. I recall seeing it in Woolworths and thinking it looked lame compared to the grittier image. I believe you could flip the cover over when you got home and have the bloody one. I bought my copy direct from Silver Vision and it was with the blood cover
  • Oh, and my friend and I had a drinking contest where we'd down drinks every time Austin 'swore' on that tape! I forgot all about that until just then
  • Here's another one.. a few years after that, I was coming home from a night out with that very same friend and we were both drunk (again). A car sped up at me when we were walking across a street and I jumped out of its way, landing on the ground. My friend ran over to ask if I was okay and my reply was 'I have to buy Survivor Series 1999 in the Silver Vision sale' (or something along those lines). The reason why I thought of Survivor Series '99 is because that was the event where they wrote Austin out by having him run down outside the arena. As usual, I recorded the event when it aired on Sky. However, my tape didn't record properly so I had to get the original copy 
  • At the time I was nearly Austin'd by that driver, Silver Vision was selling off all of its titles in a fire sale following the World Wildlife Fund's win over the World Wrestling Federation over the usage of the WWF initials. Silver Vision had until a certain date before it could no longer sell anything bearing the WWF logo. I ended up buying a lot - and I mean a LOT - of VHS and DVD titles in that sale. I still have a lot of the cassettes still in their polythene packaging and I have been asked if I ever wanted to sell them
  • The answer is.. NO!
  • The first WWE Blu-ray I bought was a Royal Rumble from the mid-2010s. Cannot remember which one, though.
  • I won four competitions over the years. I won WrestleMania t-shirts in 2004 (twice) and then - in 2010 or a little afterwards - I won a YouTube competition. My prize was a t-shirt signed by Santino Marella and Maria Kanellis. I gave the t-shirt away to someone who needed it more than I did. 
  • The fourth competition story is funny. We used to get the Silver Vision Mega Mail leaflet delivered to my home and - on one of those occasions - there was a contest to win the latest video of The Undertaker. My father asked me if I was going to enter and I replied along the lines of 'nah, there's little point, I never win' so he said 'enter in my name then and see if I can get it'. So, I put my dad's name on the entry form and I vividly recall answering 'because The Undertaker is my favourite wrestler' in the bit where it asked 'why do you want to enter this competition?' on the form. Well.. my dad ended up winning! The tape arrived in the post a few weeks later.
I could possibly throw out a lot more random memories, but it's time for me to his the 'Publish' button and get on with the chores. 

It truly is an end of an era.

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