Most wrestling fans that watch the WWE assume that the life of a wrestler is all glitz and glamor. However, before most wrestlers get there, they have to survive the world of independent professional wrestling. The wrestlers in this world far outnumber those that you see on television. This documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at a world that most wrestling fans are unfamiliar with.
The world of independent wrestling is made up of a diverse set of characters. There are the up and cummers who are striving for their shot at wrestling glory. Some of these wrestlers have a real shot at making the big time. However, there are several pitfalls they must avoid in order to make their dreams come true. There are the younger veterans that have made a splash for the larger companies and are toiling in this world until they get a another phone call from either ">Vince McMahon
or Dixie Carter. There are also the legendary wrestlers whose glory days are behind them but still love getting in the ring. And finally, there are the people with no realistic chance of making it to the major leagues of professional wrestling. Sadly, most wrestlers on the indy scene fall into this category.
Format of the Documentary: The documentary has an approximate running time of an hour-and-a-half. The documentary follows several people at different stages in their careers. However, there are four stories that tie this DVD together. It must be noted that while the DVD was released in 2011, most of the scenes shot for it took place a few years earlier.
Kevin Sullivan: Kevin is a true legend in the business and has made an impact both inside and outside of the ring. Unfortunately, newer fans are most familiar with him for being the ex-husband of Nancy Benoit. His name was unfairly dragged through the mud by the shoddy reporting of Geraldo Rivera during the whole Benoit Family tragedy. While this DVD takes a look at his "current" life, this topic is not brought up. However, his saga on this DVD is very interesting. While it doesn't have a Randy "The Ram" feel to it, it is interesting to see a wrestler at this stage explaining why he still gets in the ring.
Johnny is an independent wrestling promoter. His insights into this world are very interesting and watching him deal with the issues that he does in putting an event together is some fascinating stuff.
Rhett Titus: There is a very good chance that one day you will be familiar with this man. He is currently a member of the Ring of Honor roster and has been trained by Austin Aries and Daniel Bryan. One of the most emotional scenes in this film is when his son doesn't want him to leave the house to wrestle.
Trent Acid: The saga of Trent Acid is a cautionary tale. He was once one of the top wrestlers on the indy scene and it seemed to be a matter of when, not if, he was going to make it to the big time. However, drugs first cost him his career and then his life.
Other Scenes: In addition to these four men, there are also the stories of several wrestlers in multiple stages of their careers. Most of these segments don't last long but are interesting to watch. You have to keep your eyes open during this film because there are several wrestlers you will recognize that make some brief cameo appearances. Of note, this DVD features the final interview conducted with the late Sherri Martel. I also think that you might get a kick out of watching Kamala and Paul Bearer at an indy show. When you watch the movie, make sure to watch the credits because you will get to hear Kamala sing.
Problems With the Film:
The biggest issue I had with the film is that many scenes seemed to be randomly put in the movie. While these scenes were interesting, it made for a disjointed viewing experience at times. I enjoyed the quantity of wrestlers and segments featured, but as a viewer I would have enjoyed a more in-depth look at all the major players in this film. In all fairness to Director Tim Disbrow, he had his plate full making this movie. In addition to being the director, he was also the editor, director of photography, and producer of the film. He is also the founder and president of Iron River Films LLC, the company that made the film.
Who Needs to See This Film? If you have written me and asked about becoming a wrestler, I highly recommend watching this film. Many people are under the impression that it is very easy to get a job with the WWE. The numbers don't lie. As the tagline of this film states: "There are thousands of active wrestlers in the US. Only a few hundred are signed to a contract at any one time. This is the story of the rest." Unless you are a celebrity, if you plan on wrestling for the WWE you will have to be a part of this world.
I hate to compare one film to another, but this is the independent version of Beyond The Mat
. Whereas that movie featured many scenes that are talked about to this day, this movie doesn't feature anything nearly as memorable. Part of the reason for that is because the film never goes as in-depth with any of the wrestlers as that one did. Even though the film is flawed, it is still worth watching if you are interested in this world. Please note that the film is unrated. If you are the parent of a young wrestling fan, you might want to watch this one with them or wait until they are a little older due to some adult subject matter in this film.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy