Beyond The Mat Review

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This documentary takes a look at the men behind the spandex, both in and out of the wrestling ring.


For those of us for whom wrestling means memories of Kendo Nagasaki grappling in front of salivating grannies on a rainy Saturday afternoon, the World Wrestling Federation, with all its attendant camp hooplah, may appear to be a "sport" populated by lunatic egomaniacs intent on enacting bizarre S&M fantasies in front of an audience of whom a fair proportion are bedding their own cousins.

But Saturday Night Live writer Blaustein's sensitive documentary reveals the human beings behind the brawling, a set of alternately desperate, damaged and, in one case, surprisingly well adjusted performers who, like the stars/victims of the old Hollywood studio system, swirl round the edges of celebrity after the ruthless machine that is WWF slams them to the mat for the last time.

An unexpected little gem.