1985: It Was a Very Good Year. Part Two.
Originally published at Canadian Bulldog's World
No discussion of 1985 would be complete without discussing the advent of wrestling videos. Wrestling videos became a way for promoters to bring in extra revenue as well as to spread their product to a new audience. By 1985, video cassette recorders (VCR’s) were affordably priced, and while VHS cassettes were still pricey, people could rent tapes at an affordable price. In some cases, people hooked up two VCR’s together and copied the tape, saving a fortune on tapes (although there were copy protections in place, some people were able to bypass them just as they do today).
The WWF in particular released a number of home videos through distributor Coliseum Video. The first title was Wrestling's Bloopers, Bleeps & Bodyslams, the beginning of a series that would see hundreds of releases ranging from “Best of” volumes, to videos profiling individual Superstars, and releases of PPV’s such as WrestleMania. Wrestling fans not only got to see PPV’s they missed for whatever reason, but they also got the chance to explore the WWF’s rich history. Eventually, retrospectives such as The History of the WWF Tag Team Championship would be released, offering fans unparalleled access (at the time) to wrestling content.
The WWF was by no means the only promotion producing wrestling videos for home viewing. Memphis wrestling’s Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler were always on the cutting edge of the wrestling industry, and they released a VHS compilation of the promotion’s top attraction Jerry “The King” Lawler. A number of promoters contributed footage to a VHS produced by Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) magazine. The result was NWA Pro Wrestling Illustrated Presents Lord of the Ring: Superstars and Superbouts. PWI editor Bill Apter and legendary wrestling broadcaster Gordon Solie hosted the show which featured clips of famous bouts such as Kerry Von Erich’s world title win over Ric Flair and Starrcade 83’s Dog Collar Match between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer Valentine. JCP got in on the action and released a video of their summer supercard The Great American Bash, a supercard we shall look at next time as we look at the incredible year that was 1985.