Reviewed: Top 10 Non-WWE Wrestling DVD’s of 2012

December 27, 2012 by Joe Israel

Wrestling Ring

While many of you here know me as the WWE DVD reviewer, I don’t limit my DVD watching habits to only the WWE.  I’ve been a big fan of independent wrestling for quite a while now, and I watch many DVD’s from across various areas of the wrestling world.  Most years, I feel that while there are some great shows and DVD’s from independent companies, the best DVD releases still tend to come from the WWE.  This year, though, many companies stepped up their game in terms of DVD production, from Smart Mark Video to Highspots to Ring of Honor Home Video, and for the first time, I don’t think the wrestling DVD of the year came from the WWE.  I wanted to spotlight some of this year’s highlights, hence the following countdown of my 10 favorite non-WWE wrestling DVD’s of the year!

Before getting into the countdown, I wanted to share a few honorable mentions and omissions.  First off, I did not get a chance to see Memphis Heat, which I’ve heard is excellent and look forward to checking out.  It will not be on the countdown though.  Honorable mentions include ROH’s Glory By Honor XI, ROH’s From Love to Hate: The Jimmy Jacobs Story, ROH’s Bryan Danielson: The American Dragon, Smart Mark Video’s Ultraviolent Beast: The Masada Story, and PWG’s DDT4 2012.

10) AIW Absolution VII

AIW Absolution 7 DVD

AIW is a smaller Cleveland-based wrestling promotion, and their biggest show of the year is Absolution.  The show had some great matches, including Adam Cole Vs. ACH and The Briscoes Vs. Irish Airborne.  What separated this DVD from others, though, is the great post-production work and video packages included to recap feuds.  Since this is the biggest show of the year for AIW, many of the matches are blowoffs to feuds, and we get some great video packages throughout this DVD recapping the feuds.  Between the great editing work from Smart Mark Video, some great matches, and a fantastic ending, this DVD is one of the best overall packages of the year.

9) CHIKARA Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur

CHIKARA Chikarasaurus DVD

A fantastic show from top to bottom, with no bad matches and great variance between the different match types.  The main event, between The Young Bucks and FIST (Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano) is one of the best CHIKARA matches of the year.  You also get a nice payoff to the Tim Donst/Hallowicked feud with a Mask Vs. Hair match, which are always exciting to watch.  If you’ve never seen CHIKARA before, this is one of the best shows to watch to check them out (but more on that later…)

8) Samoa Joe Vs. CM Punk: The Collector’s Edition (Buy It)

ROH Samoa Joe vs CM Punk Cover

The trilogy between Samoa Joe & CM Punk is legendary, and it’s great that we finally have all three matches on one DVD.  Putting this in a package with Straight Shootin’ with Samoa Joe & CM Punk makes total sense.  After watching the three classic matches, it’s nice to then listen to the two men go into detail about everything that went into the match.  The road stories they tell afterwards are simply a bonus.  Add in an early ROH match between the two, and you’ve got a fun package.

7) TIE: Mr. Wrestling: The Kevin Steen Story and Talk Steen Talk (Buy It)

Kevin Steen Mr Wrestling DVDTalk Steen Talk DVD

Both Smart Mark Video and Highspots ended up releasing shoot interviews with Kevin Steen within weeks of each other, but fortunately, they both were good and, more importantly, different.  While Smart Mark’s interview is much longer (around 4.5 hours), the one area of Steen’s career it doesn’t put too much focus on is his recent Ring of Honor run.  The Highspots interview, on the other hand, focuses heavily on this aspect of his career.  Both DVD’s also feature bonus matches from Steen.  If you only get one Steen interview, I’d go for the Smart Mark one (Mr. Wrestling: The Kevin Steen Story), but if you decide to get both, rest assured you won’t feel ripped off.

6) PWG Threemendous III (Buy It)

PWG Threemendous 3 Cover

Threemendous III was PWG’s 9th anniversary show, and in my opinion, it was their show of the year.  Everything on this card, from top to bottom, is great.  While PWG has always put on incredible matches, one of their biggest struggles has been storylines and storytelling within matches.  This show helps build up a lot of storylines in PWG, which is awesome to see.  Brian Cage and Willie Mack both cemented themselves as main event level guys here.  The main event, a three-way tag team ladder match featuring the Super Smash Brothers, Future Shock, and The Young Bucks, should have been a total spotfest, but actually told a really solid story.

5) CHIKARA King of Trios 2012 Night 3

KOT Night 3 Cover

First, I need to admit a bit of bias with this pick, because I was at this show live, and it was the best live wrestling experience I’ve ever had.  Watching this show back on DVD, though, it is as good as I remember it.  The show features what might be the greatest comedy match of all time, one of the greatest women’s matches I’ve ever seen, and a very emotional final match.  Plus, Demolition Vs. The Powers of Pain was a thing that happened on this show, so it has to earn points for that.

4) Chris Hero: Interviews with a Hero Deluxe Edition

Chris Hero Interviews with a Hero DVD

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not a 6.5 hour shoot interview with Chris Hero can remain interesting over the whole run time, I can tell you that it certainly can.  This is a great shoot interview, with Hero running through his entire independent wrestling career.  I will admit that if you aren’t already an indy wrestling fan, the interview may not resonate as much as it did with me.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, though.  The Deluxe Edition features 2 extra discs of bonus matches against opponents like CM Punk, Super Dragon, and Claudio Castagnoli.  I watched this entire DVD set, which runs about 10 hours, in only 2 or 3 days.

3) Kevin Steen: Descent into Madness (

Kevin Steen Descent DVD

As great as this DVD is, it is also the most poorly marketed wrestling DVD of the year.  While this DVD does show Kevin Steen’s “descent into madness” in ROH in 2010, it also recaps the entire feud between Steen & former tag team partner El Generico.  Almost every match on this DVD is related to that feud in some way.  ROH really should have made this more clear in their advertising.  The feud between Steen & Generico is one of the greatest wrestling storylines of the past ten years (and probably the 2nd greatest storyline in ROH history), and it’s great to be able to rewatch the whole feud in one go.

2) The Summer of Punk (Buy It)

ROH Summer of Punk DVD

I mentioned above that the Steen/Generico feud is the 2nd greatest storyline in ROH history. Here’s the one that’s better.  After getting signed to the WWE in the summer of 2005, CM Punk won the ROH World Title on what was supposed to be his final night in ROH.  What followed is now known as the “Summer of Punk”.  All relevant matches and promos are included here.  There are some great matches, and Punk delivers some of the best wrestling promos ever.  If you are at all a fan of CM Punk, and want to see where the WWE likely got the idea for last year’s “WWE Summer of Punk”, do yourself a favor and check out this DVD as soon as possible.

1) The Last of McGuinness (Director’s Cut)

Last of McGuinness DVD

This may be the greatest documentary about wrestling ever made, and is easily the best wrestling DVD released in 2012 (sorry, WWE).  The documentary follows Nigel McGuinness (who briefly wrestled in TNA as Desmond Wolfe) on his retirement tour from wrestling.  Ultimately, the doc is about Nigel coming to grips with the fact that he never made it to the WWE, and thus never achieved his dream he worked so hard to reach.  It’s rare that a wrestling documentary has such a powerful message.  The Director’s Cut features about 2 hours of bonus material cut out of the documentary, which includes a lot of extra stories and funny moments from along the tour.  This documentary goes beyond just “if you’re a wrestling fan, you need to see this”.  This is something that everyone should see.

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  1. JakeFrankie says:

    Joe vs Punker dvd is amazing, There matches were out of this world. Really put these guy’s on the map and helped ROH.

  2. rohfan81 says:

    and jeff just outted himself as a wwe fanboy and mainstream sports entertainment fan thats why this section is called the best NON wwe dvd release site but im assuming your still in the first grade since you seem to be a wwe and tna mark and thats the audience wwe caters to

    • jeff copeland says:

      hey rohfan81 really u watch a shitty ass company that has no tv deal there wrestlers are more spotty then a damm dog and u are gonna bitch to me HAHAHAHAH get alife u roh butt lover go watch some shimmer crap or something TNA 4 LIFE TNA TNA TNA TNA TNA TNA TNA

      • Anonymous says:

        ROH has a tv deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group. If it is not in your market you can watch it on their website. And what’s wrong with SHIMMER? They have an incredible roster. Quite a few MOTYCs have been produced by SHIMMER in 2012.

  3. jeff copeland says:

    go figure all roh crap and other indy shit

    • Mark Markson says:

      The shows are less flashy than WWE. But the in-ring product in the indies, is superior to WWE. At least I think so, which is why I’ve stopped following WWE.

      • JasonGoldsmith says:

        I still follow WWE to keep up with the product even though Vince doesn’t want to be associated with wrestling but you’re right–a lot of these Indy shows do have better in-ring stuff and I went to an OVW show early in the year and loved it so I started following them through DVDs and actually a lot of their storylines are better than WWE as well.

  4. Mark Markson says:

    Threemendous III was such a great show. The best wrestling show since ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII.
    The Summer of Punk was great, I really liked WWEs CM Punk set too. Mainly for the awesome documentary.
    Other than that, I think ROH release the best DVD sets. ROH tends to make sure, that matches released on their DVD sets, are matches that haven’t been released on other sets.I really wish WWE would do that as well. I’d buy many more WWE DVDs and blu-rays, if they did that.

    • Joe Israel says:

      Totally agree with how great the ROH compilations have been this year. To be fair, though, WWE FINALLY realized this year that they shouldn’t repeat matches on their compilation sets, and have been much better with that issue.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Being a Horseman by Kayfabe Commentaries is my pick for best non WWE DVD. Clash, rock, 50 greatest finishers, Brock, and attitude era are easily the top 5 wwe sets of 2012 (in that order).

  6. rohfan81 says:

    the punk vs joe dvd was amazing ive been on the fence about the summer of punk dvd ROH has put out amazing dvds this year but man theyre expensive the price is only 20 but once you figure in taxes and shipping and handling it adds nearly 6 more dollars on the price so your paying nearly 30 dollars for a two disc set i try and wait for sells o and the bryan danielson american dragon set was the best release this year its worth the cost for the danielson vs aries 75 minute match absolute epic on every level and as a added bonus theyre match the month before is added to,not to mention matcehs with paul london aj styles samoa joe homicide and others its a amazing dvd from top to bottom

  7. Anonymous says:

    Not one TNA release, I just lost some respect for this site.

    • Anonymous says:

      TNA only released PPVs, not comps. I could see Destination X maybe making the lower end of the top ten or an honorable mention, but that’s about it.

    • Daniel Bee says:

      Wait, you lost respect for this whole WWE DVD News website because a TNA DVD was not mentioned? Hmm.

      • Shank Hill says:

        Because a TNA DVD wasn’t mentioned on a NON WWE list. Think.

        • Daniel Bee says:

          How’s that reflect on the whole WWE DVD site then? This is a one off article not about the main topic of the site, and one author’s opinion (which all reviews are).

          • Shank Hill says:

            Didn’t say it reflected on the whole site, but to act surprised because someone’s mad to not see a TNA DVD on a non WWE list is kind of ridiculous.

            Speaking of TNA, whatever happened to the TNA section this site used to have?

            • Daniel Bee says:

              I was responding to the original comment in which somebody said they’ve lost respect for this site because of no TNA being mentioned here in this article. Context, pal, context.

            • wrestlingfan says:

              You are not the only one wondering what happened to the TNA section… however I do love the site and how you can see the match listings in advance… it is better than buying a dud…

  8. I thought WWE was the only promotion. Hmmmmm . . . . I guess I need to get out more 😉

  9. Marty says:

    Interesting list, guys. Any opinions on Bloodstained Memoirs? I only ask just because I see it in stores all over the place near where I live.

    • wrestlingfan says:

      Bloodstained Memoirs is an average documentary… good interviews mixed with blah… like the mick foley segment is just him signing autographs… and the match with him and snuka ended in a countout in a lumberjack match.. yep…. it is the match Foley mocks in his own autobiography…

  10. wrestlingfan says:

    I see major dvds skipped here. Memphis Heat, History and Tradition of the NWA, Destination X was awesome. There were RF Video and Kayfabe Commentaries dvd releases that were skipped. Highspots has rereleased a ton of ECW releases with no edits on them. Major misses here..

    • Joe Israel says:

      I actually saw History & Tradition of the NWA, and I didn’t enjoy it all that much. From a filmmaking standpoint, it’s very poorly made. I don’t feel that the RF Video or KC shoot interviews do enough to really separate them from other shoot interview DVD’s. Destination X, while a solid show, is nowhere near the level of the other shows I mentioned above. I didn’t really consider the old ECW releases honestly.

      • wrestlingfan says:

        PWG has horrible production values.. NWA doc was fantastic, this list is a crapfest…

        • Anonymous says:

          Coming from someone named “WRESTLING” fan, you’re crying about production values. oh noez, i w4nt firew0rkz wtf is th1s h1gh sch00l gym bullsh1t!!

          Yeah, no. PWG is the best promotion in the world right now. Their shows are amazing. But, you DO apparently disregard the WRESTLING and cry about the production values so let’s just disregard the amazing wrestling in the ring and write PWG off because they don’t have fireworks. You WWE fans hurt my brain sometimes.

  11. JasonGoldsmith says:

    Not one TNA release or TNA even mentioned–imagine that.
    Feel the love for Vinnie Mac.

  12. Mark D says:

    No love for Kayfabe Commentaries? They had a year of fantastic releases.

    • Joe Israel says:

      I haven’t been able to see much from Kayfabe Commentaries because I find their DVD’s pretty heavily overpriced. A lot of their stuff looks good, I’m just not willing to spend 25 dollars plus shipping on it.

  13. SRB says:

    I have to say, my favorite non-WWE release of the year had to be Expendables 2, great movie with tons of old stars.

  14. Chris Smith says:

    Love seeing Chikara get some love. And that Chris Hero DVD was great!

  15. Billthedood says:

    Hi! Don’t have much to say here, although I did grab The Summer of Punk and loved it. I just wanted to mention, you might want to add that Nigel’s DVD is purchaseable at his website, . Being a McGuinness fan (his ROH compilation was really cool as well) I ran off to Google trying to find where I could grab the DVD. Looks really interesting and I didn’t know it existed, so thanks!!

  16. hobgoblin238 says:

    I actually heard the rumor that Wolfe was supposed to go to the WWE but opted to sign with TNA. If that is the case then it is his own fault.

    • Dave says:

      He was suppose to sign with WWE, but failed their physical. It turned out his biceps were messed up and the only way to fix was by surgery. Nigel said he opted surgery because it would be $5,000 he didn’t have and 6 months rehab without pay and no guarantee WWE would sign him once healed.

      Thats why he went to TNA…he said in the long run being in TNA didn’t mean shit, and was only a pay per appearance deal and had to get a second job just to get by.

      Feel very bad for Nigel, all he wanted to do was wrestle in WWE, and he was so close.

  17. Dave says:

    Summer of Punk is an amazing DVD…definitely worth checking out.

    Also Bryan Danielson: American Dragon is another good one. ROH have put out some amazing compilations this year. Danielson vs McGuinness complete set is another must have, these two had amazing matches together.

    As for PWG, Death to All But Metal was also a great show along with Battle of Los Angeles Nights 1 and 2.

    Also the Timeline History of WWF 1995 with Kevin Nash is another great shoot. Nash has a great mind for the wrestling business and always has great stories to tell.

  18. Out of all the DVDs mentioned here, I only got The Summer Of Punk from Ring Of Honor. Definitely consider that the best ROH DVD of 2012. TNA never had a DVD this year (except for PPVs)

  19. DAVID says:

    No love for RF Video? Did you get a chance to check out the Jesse Ventura shoot?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Joe-Punk trilogy should’ve been in the top 5 for the shoot interview alone. That shoot is hilarious.

    • Joe Israel says:

      I’m not disagreeing with you guys about the Joe/Punk shoot, I think that’s just how good of a year it’s been for indy DVD’s….

  21. indyfan says:

    Threemendous 3 was show of the year. WM what? PWg doesn’t even need angles to make their shows great.

    I won’t buy the ROH comps since i wown almost every ROH show. But i keep hearing about Jimmy Jacobs set and how good the interview part is.

    The one thing that indy sets have over WWE sets is dirt. I watched Rocks dvd and i will never watch that documentary ever again. Same with NWOs.

    Oh and Straight Shootin with Joe and Punksis fantastic!!!!!! Funny and interesting!!