Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beyond the Mat


I grew up with 2 brothers, so being in a lady like environment was not going to happen. Instead of playing with other little girls and talking about our crushes, I watched wrestling and action/martial art movies. My older brother introduced me into wrestling when I was about 9 years old, and my mind was blown with these larger than life characters.

I was a huge fan of WCW, my favourites were Sting and Goldberg. Seeing them perform moves like the 'Scorpion Death lock' and 'The Spear' just made me feel so damn alive, and made me think these guys were untouchable and unbreakable. No matter how many times they got hit in the head with a chair, or jumped off a cage during a match, they got right back up. I never realised the seriousness of the injuries and the impact of what they do has on themselves and the close people around them...until I saw this documentary. 

You really get to see a candid look inside the wrestling industry and director Barry W. Blaustein, really conveyed the emotion and honesty, love and the hate for what these athletes feel towards wrestling. 

This documentary focuses on 3 wrestlers in particular. First you have Terry Funk, he is in his 50's, and is considered to be one of the legends in wrestling and is one of the most extreme wrestlers of all time. So you are probably thinking so what's the problem right? Terry Funk is suffering from arthritis in his knees, and he knows continuing on with this sport will effect his health, and disappoint his family. 

Then you have the man of the hour(remember this documentary was made in 1999) - Mick Foley aka Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love. He is one of the greatest wrestlers I have ever seen, and of course one of the most daring. He is married with 2 kids, and his family can see the injuries he takes, but he does this out of his love for the sport. And even though you will see him bleeding from god knows how many different places, the guy always has a smile on his face. WHAT A DUDE!!! And sure he loves what he does, but he also has to think is this a good example to leave for his children?

And finally you will meet Jake 'The Snake' Roberts. There isn't much you can say about this man, without thinking of the intensity that he would bring to each match...as well as his snakes too. We are shown an extremely dark side to him outside of the ring, a lot of which stems back to his odd relationship with his dad and a very estranged relationship with his daughter. While it is sad to see that side of him, he does act like a child at times, so he also does come across as being pathetic. 

Now in the midst of seeing these 3 wrestlers, you will also see some young guns trying to make it to the WWE, just hoping that getting this little taste will open up all the doors to their dreams. And we also see current wrestlers trying to break out of the industry by auditioning for some acting roles. 

You all need to see this documentary, it will open your eyes. Sure there will be some people out there saying that wrestling is fake. Sure the matches are pre-determined beforehand, and it is choreographed but things can go wrong. Don't believe me? That's fine, you live in your fantasy world...but maybe you should check out Mankind Vs The Undertaker Hell in the Cell match from 1998 in full, and you will see what kind of serious shit can happen. 


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