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The end of WWE releases on physical media?


RicFlairLegend
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According to wrestlingdvdnetwork.com, WWE releases on physical media, at least in North America and Australia, are finished. Freemantle will release a couple next year in the UK possibly but after that who knows...

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It’s with a very heavy heart we must pass on the news to our readers that WWE DVDs and Blu-rays will no longer be offered in the United States beginning 2022.

WWE Home Video has had a physical media presence with DVDs since 1999, dating back further with VHS since 1985 (taking into account Coliseum Video). Over the years WWF/E would release their content on physical media via several formats; VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray and even UMD.

The update sadly means 2021 will have been the last year for WWE Home Video in the home market, which includes Canada too since those releases were closely aligned with the US.

As for reasoning behind the move, while specifics haven’t been stated to us, the why is probably the obvious and in the end will boil down to revenue, coupled with the company putting less emphasis on DVD and Blu-ray in recent years and more of a focus on new content for the WWE Network and Peacock, whereby WWE content is streamed online.

The final releases
The first WWE DVDs ever released were WrestleMania 15 and one on Stone Cold Steve Austin.

As it stands now, Survivor Series 2021 will be the final US WWE DVD release, which will be available on December 28th. Drew McIntyre’s DVD is also still to come this month, which will mark the last Superstar-themed DVD release in the US, scheduled for December 14th.

Australia
Unfortunately, no more US offerings means the same for fans in Australia. Like Canada, the Australian WWE DVDs closely followed the US; WWE in the US produced assets and carried out authoring for both the domestic and Australian DVDs, which we hear will not be taken on by the Australian licensee.

Madman.com.au will be releasing the remaining PPV DVDs of 2021 though — Extreme Rules in December, Crown Jewel in February and Survivor Series, Australia’s final DVD, in March.

In the UK, however…
There is a glimmer of hope in this otherwise not-so-festive December update — the UK appears to be carrying on alone with new WWE DVD titles in 2022, until March at least.

As we’ve reported, Fremantle have new PPV DVDs scheduled beyond Survivor Series, including Day 1 and Royal Rumble. That hasn’t changed. It’s unclear what happens after those, but potentially due to better performance of WWE DVDs in the UK and Europe, we may be seeing a situation whereby WWE Home Video actually continues on in that region (at least this is the hope).

Sad to see this, I've never gone down the network route, not least because they can pull anything they like, where as my physical media is mine to play for years to come. I have no interest in the current product so I haven't watched a PPV for years (since Wrestlemania 24 probably!)

Be ironic if we outlast North America, but if they end up sticking the network on our Peacock the writing is on the wall I guess.

 

 

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It is sad to see. Although I'm no great collector of WWE DVD releases (I really have no inclination to watch, let alone re-watch, most of the PPVs they churn out these days) I have picked up some of the sets such as 'Unreleased' and those on specific stars such as Warrior and Savage. I also get the Wrestlemania set each year too, mainly as its a pretty good package with the HOF included. 

I'm just glad I've kept my hundreds of DVD-Rs of years and years of wrestling from all sorts of different promotions - my own unedited network.

It'll be strange if it all just stops considering for many of us home video releases were what fanned our wrestling fandom (cue the Silvervision memories) 

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There was a phase where they were putting out a load of great DVD sets and I did pick up a lot of them.

There did come a point though where they had exhausted the library of what would sell to the general/causal fan and were left with having to sell more niche stuff to hardcore collectors. Things like Legends of Mid-South Wrestling or The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol.3 were only ever going to appeal collectors, whereas that years Wrestlemania would usually be one of the years top sellers.

The times they are a-changin’ though, and since the launch of the network, where they’ve got virtually every iconic moment or major wrestling event thats ever occurred in North America just a few clicks away, the release of those sets did decline both in quality & quantity, and the ones there were releasing were getting things with a lot of repeats from previous sets

I think the only one I buy each year now is the Wrestlemania BluRay

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In hindsight I wish I'd never parted with my Tagged Classics when the Network launched. I get that it's a first world, arguing with convenience type thing, but the only way I'm interested in engaging with WWE nowadays is through the memories.

Having a nice, finite stack of discs is a lot nicer in my mind nowadays again than having them bill me monthly for the 2% of content on it I will watch. The same 2% that is most prone to theme edits and would be the first 2% to go tomorrow if a buyout dictated an internal audit of the available archives. 

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I had everything up to a few years ago. All the individual PPVs. Superstars. Tagged Classics etc. Then we moved house and I just didn't have room for a massive collection anymore especially with things moving to streaming more and more. I'd still have them if I could as it was always enjoyable to collect them. I'd been doing it since the early VHS days and then moved to DVD and then Blu-ray. But hey, priorities change and I never had as much time to watch things anymore.

I do think there's a place for physical media still but I can see why some of these decisions are being made. It's a shame though.

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19 hours ago, RicFlairLegend said:

Over the years WWF/E would release their content on physical media via several formats; VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray and even UMD.

I didn't know they ever put stuff out on laserdisc, a post on reddit suggests just 4. https://www.reddit.com/r/wrestlingmemorabilia/comments/6hbqkd/the_complete_coliseum_video_wwf_laserdisc/

Also did WWE pump anything out on HD DVD or was it dead before they moved from DVD? 

I'm still a big fan of physical media because it's always available somehow even if it's out of print. I think it's something of a shame that games, films, wrestling shows, TV shows, et cetera all could vanish on a whim or failure of a business without any evidence left they existed. 

Take that Warrior DVD, if that was network only it would have been erased from existence completely, stuffed in a memory hole in the basement of titan towers. 

Perhaps it's just me and Bob Monkhouse on that one.

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2 hours ago, Tommy! said:

 

Also did WWE pump anything out on HD DVD or was it dead before they moved from DVD? 

I believe that Wrestlemania 24 was the first thing released on BluRay (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) so that would’ve been mid 2008 when that was released. HD DVD looks to have been disconnected around March of that year, BluRay having already won the war and were simulcasting on HD DVD players

Edited by WyattSheepMask
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I know bix isn't everyone's cup of tea (including me), but he did a quite interesting podcast about this a few years ago here (available on other platforms too, just search for the show title), it includes interesting stuff like bootleg Japanese wrestling TV shows being on sale in Japanese shops in America. This shouldn't really come as a big surprise, other than the vinyl resurgence the marketplace for physical media is in major decline, CD album sales in America have dropped by 97% since peaking in 2000.

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19 hours ago, The Reverend said:

(cue the Silvervision memories) 

Oh no, I’ve told my John Menzies story once this week, you’re not getting it again.

THE BEST OF WWF AMERICAN WRESTLING! WrestleMania! SummerSlam! Survivor Series! Royal Rumble! UK Rampage!

 

….. one of these things is not like the others.

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Bit of a shame, the unreleased collections they were putting out on DVD and stuff like the Attitude comps, the territory comps like the Mid South one, all really good and a ton of weird rare odd matches for cheap. Thinking about it, the Warrior ones werent bad either. Guy was a bollocks and all but if you're in ignore mode those two Warrior blu's just had tons of crap jobber matches, promos and all the essential stuff (mostly).

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1 hour ago, WyattSheepMask said:

I believe that Wrestlemania 24 was the first thing released on BluRay (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) so that would’ve been mid 2008 when that was released. HD DVD looks to have been disconnected around March of that year, BluRay having already won the war and were simulcasting on HD DVD players

We were literally debating in the Silver Vision offices which HD format to go as Microsoft announced discontinuing HD-DVD. WrestleMania 24 was the first sports Blu-ray release in UK / EU. 

US were slow to take up Blu-ray but we could justify Royal Rumble 2009 in the UK and they never got it. I quickly got bored of telling Americans they couldn't run region B. 

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I bought probably around 50% of the DVDs released each year pre the Network arriving in the UK.  Since I got the Network in 2015, I haven't bought a single one, and have only ever watched DVDs from my collection on maybe a couple of occasions when my internet was broken.

Convivence and cost of the Network killed any need of mine for DVDs (especially as most that I bought were PPVs).

I still can't bear to throw out my collection of VHSs and DVDs despite the space they take up and the fact I know I won't ever watch them again.

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