Long before there were DVD and Blu-Ray releases for everything related to wrestling, and years before you could find matches on YouTube or the WWE Network at the click of a button... there was Coliseum Video.
The official distributor for WWF video releases from 1985 until 1997, Coliseum Video produced dozens and dozens of titles for the burgeoning home video market, creating "Best of" complilations, theme videos and other titles for any fan who had a VHS or BetaMax to watch them on.
A few notes in compiling this particular list: this one is COMPLETELY based on my own opinion and not nearly as scientific as most lists. While I managed to rent (or own) pretty much every title in the series, there were a handful I remember not being available at my local Videoflicks or Jumbo Video.
Oh, and I've also disqualified any video that was simply a PPV (or large event) presentation, so you won't see any SummerSlam or Wrestling Classic-style events on this particular list.
So what's left? In counting down the Top 50 Coliseum Video Releases, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories considered the following criteria:
How much variety was on the title?
Were there a number of decent matches?
How rare were the matches (e.g. were they just copied and pasted from television tapings or Saturday Night's Main Event)?
How memorable is the title, decades later?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
Biggest, Smallest, Strangest, Strongest
One of the earliest Coliseum Video releases, 1985's Biggest, Smallest, Strangest, Strongest celebrates the WWF's circus atmosphere. In addition to Andre The Giant bouts and a quartet of midget matches, this also featured skits involving The Moondogs, Captain Lou Albano and Tony Atlas.
Not to be confused with the WWE DVD of the same name, 1988's Macho Madness looks at the babyface run of Randy Macho Man Savage in 1987 and 1988. This includes a trio of matches against The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, one against Wrestling Superstar Virgil, and Savage versus The Honky Tonk Man.
Most Embarassing Moments
While 1987's Most Embarassing Moments isn't really all that embarrassing, it does have a handful of rarities. This includes Paul Orndorff firing Bobby The Brain Heenan, Brutus The Barber Beefcake giving his former manager Johnny V a haircut, and Ted DiBiase forcing a young kid to dribble a basketball ten times.
The SuperTape concept was one that Coliseum Video introduced in the early 1990s, basically adding more content to a longer-capacity cassette. Among the matches on SuperTape 4 were a rare bout between Tito Santana and Koko B. Ware, Cooking Tips with The Bushwhackers and a spotlight on Big Boss Man.
Smack 'em Whack 'em
1993's Smack 'em Whack 'em had some absolute rarities, including Bret Hart's first WWF World Title victory over Ric Flair (which wasn't even shown on television). Hart also battled Shawn Michaels in a ladder match, fought Kamala and there was a rare match between The Undertaker and Razor Ramon as well.
Bloopers, Bleeps & Bodyslams (1986)
The very first Coliseum Video release was Bloopers, Bleeps & Bodyslams. While the video doesn't exactly deliver as advertised (no actual "bloopers"), it highlights Andre The Giant, Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas in matches and features dozens of wacky clips from the old Tuesday Night Titans (TNT) show.
The third instalment of the Hulkamania series, released in 1988, focuses on the most recent (at the time) developments of Hulk Hogan. This includes his WrestleMania III match with Andre The Giant (and everything leading up to it), and bouts against King Kong Bundy and The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.
Canadian Fan Favorites
Along the lines of Fan Favorites, the 1995 release of Canadian Fan Favorites were matches selected by Canadian fans. Home country bias aside, this video had rarities including a casket match between The Undertaker and Jerry Lawler, and Bret Hart & Davey Boy Smith against Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart.
History of the WWF Heavyweight Championship
Much like the previous video, 1987's History of the WWF Heavyweight Championship featured clips of most of the championship title changes to that point (the first few not being filmed), incuding Pedro Morales vs. Ivan Koloff, Bruno Sammartino vs. Billy Graham and Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik.
Rampage 1992 featured a mish-mash of matches between top WWF stars at the time. This includes a 40-man battle royal won by Davey Boy Smith, Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage vs. Repo Man and a rare match featuring The Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker against The Berserker and Papa Shango.
Terminators 1996 was almost a "Best Of" video for that particular year, including the four-team RAW Bowl match, Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker, Diesel vs. Yokozuna, Jake The Snake Roberts vs. Tatanka, Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett and Bret Hart, Savio Vega & Razor Ramon vs. Yokozuna, Owen Hart and Hakushi.
The final chapter in Coliseum Video's Hulkamania series was 1991's Hulkamania 6. In addition to chronicling Hulk Hogan's WrestleMania VII feud against Sgt. Slaughter, this also chronicles The Hulkster battling Stan Hansen in Japan, plus matches with Randy Savage, Gen. Adnan and King Kong Bundy.
Rowdy Roddy Piper's Greatest Hits
While WWE did a far better job of this in their Born To Controversy DVD, 1985's Rowdy Roddy Piper's Greatest Hits is representative of Hot Rod's body of work to that point. The video chronicles his feuds with Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Superfly Jimmy Snuka, as well as several Piper's Pit and interview segments.
Another WrestleFest video (not tied to a single event, as per our criteria), is WrestleFest 1994. This video has Randy Savage vs. Rick Martel, an absolute rarity featuring Rick and Scott Steiner against Bret and Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon and Men on a Mission giving their "WrestleFest Rap."
Undertaker... His Gravest Matches
Although relatively early in The Undertaker's legendary WWE career, 1993's Undertaker... His Gravest Matches contained a wide variety of matches. The Phenom was in action against Bam Bam Bigelow, The Berzerker, Kamala, The Mountie, Ric Flair, Razor Ramon and many others that weren't normally on TV.
The Ken Patera Story
One of the first biography-style Coliseum Video Releases, 1987's The Ken Patera Story talked about Patera's early WWF fame before being sent to prison. It also showed Patera's return to society and subsequent feud with The Bobby Heenan Family, as well as matches against The Honky Tonk Man and several others.
Tag Team Champions
The 1986 release Tag Team Champions advertised six years of tag team title matches, including most of the title changes during that period. Included are The British Bulldogs (no relation), Toru Tanaka and Mr. Fuji, The Valiants, The Moondogs, The Wild Samoans and the duo Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo.
Best of the WWF Volume 11
1987's Best Of The WWF Volume 11 was one of the better ones in the collection. It featured a rare six-man elimination match featuring Randy Savage, Harley Race and Adrian Adonis against Rowdy Roddy Piper, Junkyard Dog and Ricky Steamboat, plus a tribute to Piper, who was retiring
World Tour 1991
The following year, Coliseum Video released World Tour 1991, another solid compilation. The headline match saw Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior team up against The Undertaker, Sgt. Slaughter and Gen. Adnan. Plus, the video showed Hacksaw Jim Duggan against non-WWF star Kendo Nagasaki.
Best of the WWF Volume 19
1989's Best of the WWF Volume 19 was also the second last volume in the Best Of series. Matches included Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jake The Snake Roberts vs. Andre The Giant and Rick Rude, a Randy Macho Man Savage vs. Bad News Brown streetfight, Bret Hart vs. Ted DiBiase and Jesse Ventura vs. Tony Garea.
The second of four SuperTape offerings was released in 1990, and features a handful of rarities. The Rockers take on The Powers of Pain in a tremendous contest, Demolition vs. The Orient Express, The Rockers vs. The New Dream Team, and Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake battle Mr. Perfect and The Genius.
Best of the WWF Volume 3
The first VHS cassette I ever purchased was 1986's Best of the WWF Volume 3, so it holds a special place in my heart. There's a Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper strap match, The British Bulldogs vs. The Hart Foundation and a classic between Ricky Steamboat and Cowboy Bob Orton.
The second instalment of the Hulkamania series was released in 1986. Here, Hulk Hogan teams up with the likes of Hillbilly Jim, Paul Orndorff, George The Animal Steele and The Machines in various tag team matches, and battles Orndorff, Kamala, Randy Savage and King Kong Bundy in one on one competition.
The WWF's Most Unusual Matches
The 1985 release The WWF's Most Unusual Matches was an opportunity to show off several stipulation matches on one tape. Greg Valentine, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper and others battle in Lumberjack, Strap, Tornado and Best Of Five Falls Matches, plus there are Mens and Womens Battle Royals here.
Released in 1986, Grand Slams had a little bit of something for everyone. There's Andre The Giant vs. Gorilla Monsoon in a boxing match, three Battle Royals, Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik, Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage and a tag team match featuring Ricky Steamboat and Junkyard Dog against Terry & Dory Funk.
Brawl In The Family
1995's Brawl In The Family focuses on a No Holds Barred match with brothers Bret and Owen Hart, thus the family aspect. The tape also has some rarities, such as Razor Ramon vs. King Kong Bundy, Lex Luger vs. Bob Backlund and Owen Hart teaming with his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart against Men On A Mission.
The Life & Times of Captain Lou Albano
One of the first biography videos (and certainly of a non-wrester), 1986's The Life & Times of Captain Lou Albano features some black and white footage of Albano as a writer, but mostly focuses on his role as a manager, including some of the teams he led to the WWF Tag Team Championship back in his heyday.
The concept behind 1989's Fan Favorites was that fans picked the matches they wanted to see. Although it's hard to quantify how that worked out, the video did include The Ultimate Warrior and Hacksaw Jim Duggan against Rick Rude and Andre The Giant, as well as Jimmy Snuka vs. Ted DiBiase.
The British Bulldogs
One of the first videotapes I actively sought in video stores, 1986's The British Bulldogs featured a variety of Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid's best matches to that point, including contests against The Dream Team, The Hart Foundation, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd and a video of their workouts.
Brains Behind The Brawn
1989's Brains Behind The Brawn was focused on WWF managers, with portions that highlighted the good and the bad behind the likes of Bobby The Brain Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Slick, Mr. Fuji and Miss Elizabeth. While most of the matches are in clip form, the video contains some memorable segments as well.
Bloopers, Bleeps & Bodyslams (1994)
The following decade, Coliseum Video released a different Bloopers, Bleeps and Bodyslams, this one actually having production bloopers from the likes of Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon and Todd Pettengill. Matches include The Steiner Brothers vs. The Headshrinkers and Randy Savage vs. Jerry Lawler.
Bruno Sammartino: Wrestling's Living Legend
The first WWF video dedicated solely to Bruno Sammartino, 1986's Wrestling's Living Legend features a handful of Sammartino matches from the 70s, including bouts against Nikolai Volkoff, Ken Patera and Killer Kowalski. It also highlights Sammartino's rivalry with Rowdy Roddy Piper in the mid 1980s.
History of the Intercontinental Belt
1987's History Of The Intercontinental Belt video featured almost all of the Intercontinental Title changes that had taken place up until WrestleMania III. This included Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana, Don Muraco vs. Pedro Morales, Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage and, of course, Savage against Ricky Steamboat.
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat was a 1986 Coliseum Video release that featured the WWE Hall of Famer in a variety of matches, including against Brutus Beefcae, Davey Boy Smith, Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji. It also featured The Dragon battling ninjas in some sort of training segment that has largely become lost to the annals of time.
WWF's Explosive TNT Show
Even with access to Tuesday Night Titans via the WWE Network, this video is worth watching today. Among the segments on 1986's WWF's Explosive TNT Show are hilarious skits featuring Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco, Bobby Heenan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Nikolai Volkoff, Captain Lou Albano and Adrian Adonis.
Battle of the WWF Superstars 1992
Battle of the WWF Superstars 1992 was another release that had a ton of rarities you wouldn't be able to see on pay-per-view. For example, Hulk Hogan & Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair & Sid Juctice. Plus there was Tatanka vs. The Warlord, and The Nasty Boys & The Mountie against The Natural Disasters & Bret Hart.
Invasion of the Bodyslammers
Cute title aside, 1993's Invasion of the Bodyslammers featured some interesting matches from that time period. Included are a match between Earthquake and Yokozuna, Typhoon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, Kamala vs. Doink The Clown, The Undertaker vs. Papa Shango and a battle royal that was won by Razor Ramon.
Not to be confused with 1988's WrestleFest event (which was available via Coliseum Video), this was a best of video featuring segments from 1989 and 1990. Included are Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect, Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Randy Savage, The Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers and a segment on WWF's trucks.
Invasion 92 was another video that contained a random collection of matches, mostly from the year prior. Among the highlights were The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase against Tito Santana, Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair and The Undertaker and Jake Roberts against Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Randy Savage.
Best of the WWF Volume 1
The O.G. Best of the WWF was released in 1985 and featured a wide variety of old and new matches. This included Gorilla Monsoon battling Muhammad Ali, Black Tiger vs. The Cobra for the WWF Junior Heavyweight Title, Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Jimmy Snuka and Hulk Hogan "training" Mean Gene Okerlund.
Coliseum Video's second-ever WWF release was 1985's Hulkamania, which featured a brief collection of Hulk Hogan's greatest moments in his early WWF career. This included matches against Greg Valentine, Big John Studd, David Schultz and the contest when he defeated The Iron Shiek for the WWF Title.
Inside The Steel Cage
The 1986 release Inside The Steel Cage was the WWF's first (but not last) looks at one of its most common specialty matches. The content here includes Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd, Don Muraco vs. Jimmy Snuka, Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana and Bruno Sammartino vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper in a steel cage.
In 1990, Coliseum Video began a series called World Tour; matches filmed at various locations where the arenas had a different look and feel. The first instalment included The Rockers against The Rougeau Brothers and Hacksaw Jim Duggan versus The Honky Tonk Man.
World Tour 1992
The final instalment of the World Tour series was released in 1992, including Randy Savage defending the WWF Title against Shawn Michaels, Davey Boy Smith (with Andre The Giant in his corner) against Earthquake, Rowdy Roddy Piper against The Barbarian and Bret Hart against Rick The Model Martel.
The History of WrestleMania
While 1993's The History Of WrestleMania is obviously not as complete as later anthologies, this video packs quite a bit of action in. Matches include the main events from each of the first nine WrestleManias, plus Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude.
Grudges, Gripes & Grunts
1993's Grudges, Gripes & Grunts is another random compilation, topped by the dream match of Bret Hart & Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels. There's also Mr. Perfect vs. Papa Shango, Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake vs. The Beverly Brothers and Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Shawn Michaels.
Villains of the Squared Circle
The 1986 release Villains of the Squared Circle was the first Coliseum Video tape to focus exclusively on the heels. Rulebreakers such as Jake The Snake Roberts, George The Animal Steele, The Magnificent Muraco, Mr. Fuji, Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Iron Sheik and King Kong Bundy are all profiled in this one.
Even though the 1986 release Grudge Matches isn't comprehensive, the matches they feature are often quite brutal. This includes Hulk Hogan against The Magnificent Muraco, a pair of Junkyard Dog vs. Terry Funk matches, Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine (twice) and Bruno Sammartino versus Ivan Koloff.
Best of the WWF Volume 7
Best of the WWF Volume 7, released in 1986, is the undisputed champion of the series. There's a rare Dream Team vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff heel vs. heel match, an early Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage match, Tony Atlas vs. Ken Patera and a great tag team match featuring The British Bulldogs and Hart Foundation.
2nd Annual Battle of the WWF Superstars
While the title itself (released by Coliseum Video in 1991) doesn't inspire a ton of confidence, there are several hidden gems here, including a rare Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Mr Perfect match, Hacksaw Jim Duggan battling Sgt. Slaughter in a flag match, The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage, The Legion Of Doom & Davey Boy Smith vs. Power & Glory and The Warlord, and a surprisingly-good Bret Hart vs. Barbarian match.