Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
flyonthewall2983

Dark Side of the Ring: Viceland docu-series

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, C.S. said:

Interesting article about a non-Moolah women's wrestler who seems to have had a very long and successful career.

http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Wrestling/GuestColumn/2019/05/08/22797484.html

Beverly "The Hammer" Shade probably wasn't famous, but then again, Moolah wouldn't have been either if not for the '80s and '90s WWF comebacks. 

I highly recommend Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy's book, "Sisterhood of the Squared Circle." I don't remember if they covered Shade, but they wrote about many of her contemporaries like Evelyn Stevens, Ann Casey, etc. These women had real careers and fascinating stories to tell. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally got the chance to watch the Moolah doc.  Definitely one of the weaker ones in that some stuff felt like it was glossed over and needed more time (The entire Sweet Georgia Brown segment could've been its own documentary and it feels like even with its extended length it was glossed over) and that weird "Fight for Moolah" dude was... the hell was that all about anyway?  Also the documentary spends the last five minutes just rapidfire shoving in clips of various women's wrestlers denying the allegations and I think that's why people think it slants in favor of Moolah.  The end of the documentary definitely gives you the impression that the documentary folks want you to doubt some of the allegations.  Wendi embellishing the Screwjob was really offputting too.

Totally unrelated but one Moolah thing I'll never forget is when Ken Resnick was promoting a house show tour after Wrestlemania 2 where Moolah was doing rematches with Velvet McIntrye.  Resnick asked her how she'd prepare herself and Moolah's response was basically "well I beat her in 30 seconds at Wrestlemania so I don't think it even matters, does it?" and just buries the fuck out of Velvet for no reason whatsoever in this promo meant to promote a long series of house show rematches.  Sell those tickets, Moolah!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone been watching The Wrestlers on VICELAND? Compared to Dark Side of the Ring, it has zero buzz. I bought the season when it was 99 cents on Amazon but I haven't watched it yet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started watching The Wrestlers last night. I am hesitant to compare it to Dark Side of the Ring too much, because it really is apples and oranges.

I've only seen the first episode so far - Gabe Sapolsky and EVOLVE - and it's a fun look at some up-and-coming young talent like Darby Allin, Austin Theory, Fred Yehi, and Ethan Page. Drew McIntyre and I think Keith Lee were in the background for some of it. A.R. Fox was also featured as a trainer. Whether these wrestlers are as good, "groundbreaking," "revolutionary," blah blah as the documentary paints them to be, I can't say, but it was still a fun sneak peak into their characters, methods, and lives. 

The show almost lost me with a couple of big whoppers at the beginning. I only remember one of them: referring to EVOLVE as the #1 independent wrestling organization. If they're not counting TNA, ROH, and even the NWA as indies (and I do consider them indies), then yeah, maybe. Otherwise, no. 

That aside, I thought it was an enjoyable hour. The fan narrator actually does a pretty good job. (If he's supposed to be someone famous, I have no idea who the hell he is. But he looks like the average wrestling fan, so I doubt it. Either way, I like him - at least so far.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's also a die hard fan and has done quite a few Viceland docs on wrestling, notably the one about CZW and the TOD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He did wrestle Kerry the night before, but the details are way off.  Just seeing the excerpt and not listening to the interview, that's not too far off from what aired on the Von Erich episode regarding how/why he did what he did and how Fritz handled it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched the second episode of The Wrestlers last night, comparing a wrestler at the end of his career (MVP) to wrestlers now starting out (Sami Callihan, even though he's been around a while, and Shane Strickland). Damian does a really great job as a narrator and observer. In this case, it helps that he and MVP are actually friends.

MVP has a similar story to Booker T (who also appears in this episode and was a mentor to MVP), and we get to see where MVP grew up. It's really compelling stuff. It also goes into the "generation gap" of wrestling, with old-school wrestlers and fans decrying the new style of Callihan, Strickland, and others - much like a typical PWO thread. ;) 

(I thought Callihan was the drizzling shits when I saw him in NXT as Solomon Crowe, but I probably need to sample a larger body of his work - even though his facials and persona still remind me of a cross of '99 mugging Jericho and The Blue Meanie.)

I disagree with the poster who says this isn't as good as Dark Side of the Ring. To me, it's much, much better. While Dark Side was hit-or-miss from one episode to the next, this has been consistently strong so far.

The next episode is about Japanese women's wrestling, so that should be good too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, C.S. said:

 (I thought Callihan was the drizzling shits when I saw him in NXT as Solomon Crowe, but I probably need to sample a larger body of his work - even though his facials and persona still remind me of a cross of '99 mugging Jericho and The Blue Meanie.)

If you don't like his mugging then you'll probably not enjoy most of his work, but if you're into frenetic and chaotic bombfests, deathmatches, and brawls? He's right up your alley. He also had a few killer matches with Finlay, which is why he got a shot at NXT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎6‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 1:30 AM, SirEdger said:

A bit related to Dark Side of the Ring; has anyone seen that interview from Black Bart about the last days of Kerry Von Erich? Let's say that it doesn't exactly put Fritz in a flattering light at all.

https://lordsofpain.net/black-bart-reveals-shocking-details-about-kerry-von-erich-death/

Isn't Black Bart notoriously full of shit though?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Al said:

Isn't Black Bart notoriously full of shit though?

Yeah, it's been years since I watched his shoot interview but I'm sure in that he claimed he was considered for being The Undertaker in WWF!

I remember posting on another board at the time about what a great interview I thought it was and then someone (who I have a hunch was Tony Myers) said to take whatever Bart says with a pinch of salt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Laz said:

 If you don't like his mugging then you'll probably not enjoy most of his work, but if you're into frenetic and chaotic bombfests, deathmatches, and brawls? He's right up your alley. He also had a few killer matches with Finlay, which is why he got a shot at NXT.

I can't stand his mugging, but I do enjoy wild brawls and Finlay. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, GSR said:

Yeah, it's been years since I watched his shoot interview but I'm sure in that he claimed he was considered for being The Undertaker in WWF!

I remember posting on another board at the time about what a great interview I thought it was and then someone (who I have a hunch was Tony Myers) said to take whatever Bart says with a pinch of salt.

If you are a fan of shoot interviews where the subject is very obviously full of shit but the bullshit stories are at least entertaining so you are along for the ride, the Black Bart shoot is incredible.

He was supposed to be the Undertaker.

He sat down next to Invader in a Puerto Rico locker room after the Brody murder and told him "you ain't the only one that knows how to use a knife."

He was there when they found David Von Erich's body, which had been rotting for a full week by the time they found it according to Bart.

The Desperados skits started because WCW had an agreement to spin them off into a prime-time FOX Network sitcom.

I dont believe any of the above things that Black Bart said and its still one of my favorite shoot interviews of all time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched Episode 3 of The Wrestlers about Japanese women's wrestling - STARDOM, in particular.

"Impenetrable" is the word Damian uses to describe the Japanese culture to outsiders, and I felt the same way as a viewer - even though the show did its best to "crack the code," so to speak. 

Man, the owner of STARDOM is a real cold fish and pretty much buries his talent on the show. For whatever people have said about Vince, this guy makes him seem warm and fuzzy. But I guess he's okay because he has a bitchin' collection of Lucha masks? Yeah, no. Kudos to Damian though for at least trying to show more than one side.

The American representative on this show is Kris Wolf, and it's kind of heartbreaking that she still feels like an outsider even after years in Japan.

One of the Japanese wrestlers had an incident with policemen, which was reported in the newspaper, but the documentary didn't go into any detail. I'm torn between whether that was the right thing to do, to protect her privacy, or if they should've explained what she was referring to because it's apparently already public knowledge. (Note: I haven't looked it up, so I don't actually know what happened.)

The 14-year-old wrestler selling "revealing" photos of herself to nerd fanboys was unsettling, as Damian himself admits, but the fans apparently claim there's nothing sexual about it. Is that true? I have no idea. The wrestler's mother seemed okay with it, so either she's the worst stage mom ever or Japanese culture is completely different. Maybe both? The owner of STARDOM came across like a total sleaze too, talking about how she's not as popular because she already has the face of an adult and acts more mature than her age. Ugh!

A weird episode, but very interesting too. Japan really is an entirely different world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also just watched the Stardom episode and I thought it was great. The parts with Iwatani and Kyona were very interesting, but halfway through I was worried that it would just be an ad for Stardom. It's good that they didn't shy away from criticizing some of the sleazier sides of their business, and they didn't even talk about the idol photobooks and all that. Ogawa does come across as a creep and an asshole, but that's always the impression that I've gotten from him.

The MVP episode was also very good, thought his reaction was hilarious when he gets told he's going over Callihan at the MLW show.

I'll watch the DDT episode soon since it's a promotion I like a lot. I do wonder about the timeline,  I think it may have been recorded around the time of Takayama's accident. That could make it difficult to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/5/2019 at 4:15 PM, Laz said:

He's also a die hard fan and has done quite a few Viceland docs on wrestling, notably the one about CZW and the TOD.

Yeah, that one was just awesome.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, C.S. said:

One of the Japanese wrestlers had an incident with policemen, which was reported in the newspaper, but the documentary didn't go into any detail. I'm torn between whether that was the right thing to do, to protect her privacy, or if they should've explained what she was referring to because it's apparently already public knowledge. (Note: I haven't looked it up, so I don't actually know what happened.)

 Basically the story is when she was a teenager Mayu rejected a guy's advances, and the police having to get involved tells you how well he took it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Kadaveri said:

 Basically the story is when she was a teenager Mayu rejected a guy's advances, and the police having to get involved tells you how well he took it.

That's awful. :( 

I think the documentary should have gone into slightly more detail then (while still protecting her privacy), because a viewer could easily be misled into thinking Mayu has a criminal past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watched the Stardom doc this morning and while I think that it asks a lot of interesting questions, it does a weak job on following up on them. The strongest part was the wrestler profiles. Jungle Kyona comes off as someone who is too sane for wrestling, while Mayu Iwatani is exactly the type of nut you would expect to meet. You could probably do a whole doc on Kris Wolf herself but it would have been nice to see an example of the cultural distance/isolated feelings that she had.

The Rossy interview is the biggest fumble to me. Why show that Stardom's audience is almost all older men then not ask the owner/promoter why he doesn't market his product to women/children? Does he think he can only make money from the male demo he currently targets? Are the boundaries set by an overly traditional Japanese society too much to overcome? 

Speaking of Japanese society, the doc mentions how wrestling is an escape from traditional roles of women in Japanese society and they decide to illustrate that by... going to an concert put on by an all-women rock band. Um, what?!? Why not keep it tied to the subject matter? If you can't get good answers out of anyone in Stardom why not try to interview someone like Bull Nakano or Kaori Yoneyama, who have tonnes of experience and likely a different perspective. 

In the end, I can see this being informative to people who have never heard of joshi before but for a wrestling fan with just a passing knowledge of it, I don't see the doc shedding any new light on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think the STARDOM episode simply focused on way too many people in way too short a timeframe. The owner, Kris Wolf, the 14-year-old wrestler, etc. could have easily each filled up their own episode, so cramming them all into a tiny 40-minute window meant that there simply wasn't enough time to go as in-depth as possible. 

With that said, I thought it was an interesting overview of Japanese wrestling and culture overall. In a way, it would've been the perfect pilot for a series dedicated solely to STARDOM and/or Japanese wrestling. Alas, that isn't what this show is. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Episode 4 of The Wrestlers was a pretty compelling defense of the infamous "Deathmatch." Terry Funk is cited as the father of deathmatch wrestling. Whether that's true or not, he obviously played a major part in it. The show does a good job of covering the style all around the world, interviewing Atsushi Onita, Danny Havoc, and others. They talk about how good deathmatch wrestlers are good wrestlers at their core and still know the fundamentals of wrestling.

Sami Callihan and Shane Strickland have "cameos" - with Strickland even saying he's wrestling a deathmatch because his generation can do any kind of match and he's doing it because no one would expect him to, and Sami saying there's no CZW without Danny Havoc (at least I think that was Sami).

Even the fans, which are usually the worst part of any wrestling documentary (like that weirdo Moolah fan on Dark Side of the Ring), are interesting here - because it makes sense for Damian to find out what kind of people are drawn to Deathmatches and  why.

I will say I walked away with a newfound respect for Deathmatch wrestling. Danny Havoc created architectural designs and storyboards for his "Viking Funeral" match, which is a lot more depth than I was expecting. While this isn't my favored style, I now wouldn't mind seeing a Deathmatch live, or even checking out some CZW or old Onita matches on YouTube.

P.S. I've finally figured out who Damian Abraham reminds me of - Toby from This Is Us (a show that, no doubt, absolutely no one on a wrestling forum is going to be familiar with).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, C.S. said:

P.S. I've finally figured out who Damian Abraham reminds me of - Toby from This Is Us (a show that, no doubt, absolutely no one on a wrestling forum is going to be familiar with).

I don't know, man, that show is pretty popular. I've watched a few episodes here and there with my wife, and I'm certainly aware of who Toby is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watched the STARDOM episode and I loved it. Of course, it's too short to really go deep into the issues. Still, it was super enjoyable to have different perspective, including from the gaijin girls. As an old ARSION fan, it was cool to hear Rossy Ogawa, although he came off like a cold-hearted bastard, but then again, it's only snipets.

The whole idol aspect was exactly like what I saw in a documentary about the idol culture, and honestly I find it creepy. As someone raised in a european and especially a latin country (because honestly, the puritanism of anglo-saxon culture turn me off a whole lot), I find this extremely unhealthy as far as men/women relationship. I know this had been the case basically since after the 80's and the Crush Gals era ended, but the fact 95% of the audience is older guys just doesn't sit well with me, I know I would feel absolutely uneasy in that crowd. Need some mix of gender and age. 

Hey, a Ni Hao ! concert, that was pretty cool although I'm not too sure how it really fit with the narration.

The training footage is always cool, as is learning more about the culture.

I'm very interested in watching the lucha episodes, especially the one about the exotico culture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×