Barry W. Blaustein
For anyone who utters the words "wrestling is fake", the film also provides ample proof that when it comes to competition, athleticism, perseverance and risk, it's only all too real. If you look around the major professional sports, I doubt you'll find even one athlete who can put up with the pain and destruction these guys inflict upon their bodies year-round and on a daily basis. Most football players would miss entire seasons with what wrestlers consider routine injuries and a few of these guys could probably beat up an entire basketball team with one hand tied to one ankle. Mick Foley's injuries reads like a grocery list and the punishment these guys go through in the name of entertainment is simply phenomenal. Admittedly, one of the turning points the sport went though was McMahon's final admission back in the mid-nineties that yes, the outcome of the matches is pre-arranged. It came as a surprise to no one but allowed fans and media to peer closer into the making of a match, revealing just how demanding it actually is. What other job on earth requires that you destroy yourself and someone else while putting on a show, talking on the mike, and keeping all the storylines in place? Blaustein's documentary is just another testament to how much respect these guys actually deserve. He walks you through all these things from a never-before-seen perspective and collects honest feedback from the central figures themselves. Billed as "The Movie Vince McMahon Doesn't Want You to See", it's also an indictment of the sport's current mastermind while at the same time justifying his actions as necessary for survival. This is a brilliant documentary for wrestling fans and non-fans alike. A touching, sometimes shocking look into the lives of men who go the distance to entertain others, while all too often, disregarding their own selves.
Even more interesting is the follow-up feature, Dinner with the Guys (16 mins.), in which the three men sit around dinner (it’s actually a bit distracting since they’re eating) and touch more on the state and evolution of wrestling. Foley and Ventura actually have diverging points of view on many things and I was hoping the elbow drops would start flying, but the closest we came to violence was when Ventura was trying to take a bite of his salad and Blaustein kept asking him questions... Dude, when Jesse “the Body” Ventura wants to eat, let...him...eat...
The other feature is a full-length audio commentary with Blaustein and the legendary Terry Funk. I think one of the most stunning revelations I got while watching this movie was how a guy like Funk, whose matches were legendary for their violence and sheer brutality could be such a soft-spoken, modest fellow. Blaustein has said that this film would never have been made without Funk’s participation and it definitely gave it some of its most poignant parts. The commentary is in line with the Funk you get to know during the documentary: smart, entertaining and funny.
In addition, you can access the theatrical trailer, some production notes and biographies of some of the wrestlers who appear the most in the film.