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  Tuesday, March 6, 2002



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

WWF DVD extras need work

By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling

For those of us who are old enough to remember, WWF video releases (there was no such thing as DVD back then) were something to look forward to. Coliseum Video did an bang-up job producing the WWF Volume series and a host of other wicked releases. The videos were chock full of never-seen-before matches shot at house shows or special events like The Big Event at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, special cards like WrestleFest and the WWF Wrestling Classic.

The contract the WWF had with Coliseum Video ended long ago and since that time the video and DVD releases haven't been the same. The WWF and the teams heading its home video releases don't go that extra mile. Instead of seeing those unique dark matches which were never broadcast on television, we get stale archival footage taken from the Raw and Smackdown! shows. With the WWF buying WCW, the possibilities are endless as far as future DVDs and videos are concerned but the WWF has yet to utilize the brand which they went to such great lengths to obtain. Except for historical snippets on television, the footage remains collecting dust in some WWF vault while fans wait in eager anticipation ready to spend their hard-earned cash if the chance ever presents itself.

The newest DVD releases from the WWF -- Vengeance, Survivor Series 2001, Rebellion 2001 are prime examples of such missed opportunities.

WWF Vengeance is the worst of the bunch as far as extras go as all there is a match-by-match selection menu and nothing more. A pretty poor effort to say the least.

Except for a special, in-depth interview with Edge about what personal sacrifices have to be made in order to be a WWF superstar (which might have been shown on a previous Edge, Christian tape), the extras on Survivor Series 2001 are all angles and no matches. There is the segments from Raw during which Paul Heyman, Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon were given the heave-ho by Vince McMahon. There is the beginning of the much loathed "kiss my ass" angle and the return of Ric Flair to the WWF.

On Rebellion, we've got the promo which was only shown to British audiences, a video package of Kurt Angle's defection to The Alliance and another of the history between The Rock and Steve Austin. The extra matches included are The Rock taking on Chris Jericho from a Raw Is War broadcast and The Undertaker in a handicap match against Steve Austin and Kurt Angle from Smackdown!.

As you can see, the extras on these discs are mostly nothing more than matches or angles which preceded or followed the particular pay-per-view. Footage that really die-hard WWF fans would have already taped from television for free. As major film studios have discovered, great things can be achieved through the DVD format. Lush menus. Interactive features. Biographies. Soundtracks. Picture galleries. Deleted scenes. Special interviews and commentary tracks. All of these add to the experience and create a product that fans are willing to purchase instead of rent. So far, the WWF hasn't really taken advantage of the DVD format and until they do, one suspects that their DVDs won't ever archive the sales or notoriety as their Coliseum videos did.

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