Out of all of the Superstar Collection DVD’s that WWE is releasing over the next few months, there’s no question that the two August releases have been the ones I’ve looked forward to the most. Daniel Bryan has been one of my favorite wrestlers since I first saw him live at ROH Survival of the Fittest in 2004, and Sheamus has been one of my favorite wrestlers in the WWE ever since he moved over to Smackdown. Also, neither man has ever had a DVD released about himself, so we are getting a good number of matches that are new to compilation DVDs.
Ultimately, I don’t think either of these DVD’s disappointed. Because of the previous Cena & Ryder releases, I went in with a good idea of what I was going to be getting in terms of packaging and presentation. But because Sheamus & Bryan have been such great characters for the WWE over the past couple of years, I think these DVD’s both exceed those previous releases. And again, with such a low price tag (it appears they are going for 7 dollars from most major retailers), it’s hard to go wrong here. Each DVD is rated TV-PG, and is 90 minutes long.
“WORLD! HEAVYWEIGHT! CHAMPION!”: The Format
If you are curious to see my more detailed thoughts on the overall formatting of the Superstar Collection series, check out my review of the Cena/Ryder DVD’s under the Reviews tab above. To review the key points, though, the biggest problem with the Superstar Collection DVD’s are the packaging, the menus, and the short introductions. In these areas, you really notice that these DVD’s are budget DVD’s, and they come across as pretty cheap. The only advantage is that the boxes at least have the same overall artwork, and when they are all released, they will look good together on a shelf. The brief introductions to the DVD are pretty generic; they give a decent idea of who the overall character is, but don’t really give us any details of the superstar’s history. For Sheamus, they emphasize his brawling, warrior-like style, and for Bryan, they focus on his history and his submission abilities. We do get a few photos from the indy scene on the Bryan DVD, and it was cool to see the GHC Heavyweight belt on WWE DVD release, but still, the intros are fairly insignificant.
One of the biggest strengths of these two particular Superstar Collection features is that they chose the perfect matches to show the evolution of each superstar. In the case of the Sheamus DVD, they did an excellent job picking the 5 most important matches of his career from his debut through January of 2012. I honestly don’t think there could really be a complaint about the matches that they chose. Sure, a lot of them are PPV matches, but most of them are new to compilation DVD sets, which is what I consider important when it comes to matches being repeated on DVD’s. The only somewhat confusing aspect of Sheamus’s career is his switch from heel to babyface, which isn’t all that transparent. You can see the change in looking from the King of the Ring match to the US Title match to the Royal Rumble.
In regards to the Daniel Bryan release, I again felt that a lot of his biggest matches are included on the set. The only glaring omission is his Money in the Bank cash-in on TLC 2011. The biggest issue with this DVD is something that the WWE really had no control over: Daniel Bryan’s character has had a huge evolution since he lost the World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania XXVIII, and becuase of this, the DVD already feels a bit outdated. There’s no question that the YES! catchphrase has been the biggest thing to ever happen to Daniel Bryan, and this DVD mostly predates that taking off (although we get to see the early days of this version of his character at Royal Rumble 2012). Another weird choice for this DVD is that it includes a short video package showing the history between Bryan & The Miz. While I loved the inclusion of this video package since it helped show the evolution of the feud really well, it felt strange because there aren’t any video packages like this on any of the other Superstar Collections. It’s hard to complain about it because it is a good video package, it just feels a bit out of place.
“Celtic Warrior”: The Sheamus Matches
WWE Championship Tables Match: Sheamus Vs. John Cena (TLC, 12/13/09) – ***
A pretty standard tables match from early on in Sheamus’s career. The finish didn’t do much to help Sheamus get over as the new WWE Champion, but he still put up a pretty nice showing.
WWE Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: Sheamus Vs. Randy Orton Vs. Edge Vs. John Cena (Fatal 4-Way, 6/20/10) – *** 1/4
The most memorable part of this match ends up being the Nexus invasion at the end of the match, but up until that point, the match is basically a series of each wrestler’s signature maneuvers. Definitely a fun match to watch, but I was hoping for a bit more with such high level talent together in the ring.
King of the Ring Finals: Sheamus Vs. John Morrison (Raw, 11/29/10) – ***
A great TV match that, for me, turned Sheamus into a star after his 2 WWE title runs that came too early in his career. Morrison & Sheamus both look good and at the same time make each other look good. Unfortunately, the guest ring announcing from Miss USA is dreadful.
US Championship Match: Sheamus Vs. Daniel Bryan (Raw, 3/14/11) – ** 1/2
A very short TV match. After Extreme Rules 2012, we all know what these two are capable of in the ring together, so it’s hard to not look at this match as a disappointment. Still nothing terrible, though.
Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, 1/29/12) – N/A
As expected, this match is joined in progress at the point Sheamus entered (#22). Fortunately, this still allows us to see the highlight of this Rumble: the final sequence between Sheamus & Chris Jericho. I am a huge Rumble fan, and have seen each one multiple times, and this may be my favorite final 2 sequence in the history of the match (it certainly would fall in the top 3).
“I Paid to See Daniel Bryan”: The Daniel Bryan Matches
Daniel Bryan Vs. Chris Jericho (NXT, 2/23/10) – ** 1/2
Yes, at one point there was a memorable match on NXT. Although this match is relatively short, Jericho & Bryan have as good of chemistry as you would expect. A fun, short match.
US Championship Match: Daniel Bryan Vs. The Miz (Night of Champions, 9/19/10) – *** 1/2
Daniel Bryan & The Miz end up playing off each other well, bringing out the best in each other. This is a very well done match between the two men, and the first match from Bryan in WWE that proved he wasn’t just an “indy guy”.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Daniel Bryan Vs. Cody Rhodes Vs. Wade Barrett Vs. Kane Vs. Heath Slater Vs. Justin Gabriel Vs. Sheamus Vs. Sin Cara (Money in the Bank, 7/17/12) – **** 1/4
This Money in the Bank ladder match is loaded with great in-ring workers, so you get some excellent spots throughout this match. Each wrestler is given an opportunity to shine, and they put together one of the stronger Money in the Bank matches.
Daniel Bryan Vs. Mark Henry (Smackdown, 9/4/11) – * 1/2
I feel the only reason this match was included on the DVD was to show some build-up to the next match featured on the set. The match never gets out of first gear, and is very short. Bryan & Henry did what they needed to in this match, but it clearly is more of a storyline set-up.
World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan Vs. Big Show Vs. Mark Henry (Royal Rumble, 1/29/12) – ***
For what it was, I thought this match was very well put together. Both of the big men look really good, and Bryan gets a few opportunities to show he deserves to be in the main event. It is a bit slow because of the limitations of the two big men, but it still is a fun match. I also really enjoyed the finish with Bryan & Big Show.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!”: Overall Thoughts
I’ve read from various people all over the internet that these Superstar Collection DVD’s are “garbage” or “a total waste of money”. At least in the case of these Sheamus and Bryan DVD’s, that could not be further from the truth.
I enjoyed each of these DVD’s a great deal, and for $7, they are a total steal. Although they are short, I think the 90 minute length works very well in one sitting, and you really get to see the evolution of each man’s career. You get some very strong matches on each set as well. I’m sure down the road, we will get more detailed DVD’s looking at the careers of Bryan & Sheamus. At this time, though, these DVD’s give a great spotlight on the first couple of years of these two superstars’ careers. Looking over the match listings for the rest of the Superstar Collection DVD’s and having watched the first two released, I feel confident in saying that the Sheamus & Daniel Bryan releases are the 2 that should be the highest priority to pick up. Please don’t dismiss these DVD’s as only being for the casual fan; they deserve a spot in your collection as well.
The UK will not be getting the Superstar Collection DVD series, but they are also available in Australia. Fans down under can get hold of them at WWEDVD.com.au first.