There are still people out there that complain that wrestling is “completely fake”; I am always compelled to argue that wrestling is in fact not fake. In many ways the performers that wrestle give up their body and health to entertain. In Bret Hart’s case, it he gave up his livelihood, his self respect, and his family. “Wrestling with Shadows” is still a pretty sad and shockingly mesmerizing tale of one of the biggest athletes of the 1990’s and the incident that shook his world and nearly tore him apart.
In 2001, Joanie Laurer had departed her precedent-breaking reign in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF – later to be renamed WWE) under the name of Chyna and was hoping to start a new career in movies. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, she acknowledged she was not going to give Meryl Streep a run for her money.
When you think of WWE, you immediately think of the wrestling ring. But the company has also been an active participant in the movie world, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of its foray into cinema.
In the city of Juárez, Mexico, women fight every day of their lives to simply survive as the high murder and assault rates only seem to go higher. Some of them take back the power to feel like they can be fighters by becoming Luchadoras, showing strength in physical, mental, and emotional forms.
Long before America accepted the Luchadore as a part of modern wrestling, Lucha Libre has been an immense force of the wrestling world. It’s broken so many barriers and allowed the culture to seep through, even integrating what’s known as the “Exótico.” Cassandro is a kind of luchadore who mixes the art form of drag along with the art form of professional wrestling. Often times Cassandro is no different than Gorgeous George or Ric Flair, but he’s different in the way he embraces his homosexuality so openly and absolutely without apology.
While wrestling waned in popularity in the past decade, it’s experienced a slow comeback with the introduction of new wrestlers, new angles, and new federations like the AEW. The new Wrestlemania show premiered last weekend to mixed reaction from fans, meanwhile WWE has been making its mark on Netflix. They premiered the family sitcom “The Big Show” about the life of the former wrestler, and today released “The Main Event,” a kids’ sports comedy about a kid who enters a wrestling competition in the WWE to become the next superstar.
As an on again, off again fan of the sport since I was old enough to walk, I thought I’d list five great wrestling movies. These are of course fictional Wrestling films, as we have enough exploitative documentaries about the rise and fall of various superstars.
What are your favorites?
The original documentary “Fighting With My Family” was the stuff that underdog tales were made of, so when it was turned in to a feature film, it wasn’t too surprising. Stephen Merchant has a knack for creating very funny, human tales, and this adaptation does a good job of taking from the documentary and creating a very good adaptation of the story of Saraya, a young wrestling fanatic who would become Paige, one of the most influential female wrestlers and Superstars for the WWE.