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André the Giant
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Abdullah the Butcher,
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This documentary focuses on the lives of professional wrestlers Terry Funk, Mick Foley (Mankind), Jake Roberts (Jake the Snake) and Darren Drozdov (Droz). As the film progresses, the story of their lives unfolds, as we also learn how the wrestling industry is not the plastic-weapons fake-slap sideshow that many have perceived it as. We are shown how moves, although not actually injuring anyone, are not fake, and extreme training is required to be able to perform the stunts without being harmed. We are also treated to interviews with the family of Mick Foley and what it is like for them to know their father literally puts his life on the line every week and how it feels to have other children call their father a "fake". Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, also makes a few appearances, responding to criticism on various wrestling situations, including, once again, his real athletes, very real organization being called fake by sources such as USA Today and various news... Written by
Since the release of the film, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) lost a lawsuit to the World Wildlife Fund and was forced to change their name from WWF to World Wrestling Entertainment. See more »
[after a match]
Barry W. Blaustein:
So where are you going next?
My daughter's. She's, uh, doing her master's in psychology. So she's a real freak.
See more »
Closing dedication: This film is dedicated to my wife, Lorrie and our children, Kasey and Corey, who have stood by patiently with love and support as I blabbed about wrestling for the last five years. See more »
Love them or leave them - misfit politicians, wayward spouses, and yes, professional wrestlers. Perhaps no other spectacle involves personalities as much as professional wrestling and Barry Blaustein's insightful "Beyond the Mat' explores those who thrill us with their lust for mayhem. Men and women with self destructive appetites are drawn into this entertainment venue - those who make a profit like the billionaire promoter Vince McMahon are called smart and shrewd, those who are swallowed up by their maladaptive behavior like the pathetic Jake'the Snake' Roberts are simply called mad. "Beyond the Mat" doesn't uncover anything we don't already know - the loud-mouth, hyped interviews, the staged choreography of flying bodies and colliding men against steel, and the spurting blood sacrificed in the name of violence. What we do see are the showmen who strut their stuff inside the ring, more dedicated to their brotherhood and craft than you can imagine. The battle wearied Terry Funk is a throwback to the self-managed, up-close-and-personal hero that Blaustein and a good number of his generation grew up with. The much younger Mick 'Mankind' Foley is a creation of the media driven World Wrestling Federation, a syndication leap years away from the Amarillo, Texas of Terry Funk. The deeply hurting Jake the Snake has fought so many battles in his long and troubled life that his only solace is crack cocaine and fighting in the ring. But the blood that Funk and Mick and Jake spill is the same blood of wanton brutality. It is the spectacle of harm and harming others. And yet in a cruel and twisted way, "Beyond the Mat" reminds us that wrestlers are as normal as anyone, just different. 'Mankind' and 'The Rock' can talk pleasantries before a match, before each tries to pulverize the other in front of their stunned wives and children. Terry Funk, as a gesture of forgiveness, repeatedly begs an old nemesis to referee his supposedly final match - a match in which he knows he will lose and will get brains bashed in. "Beyond the Mat' is a well made chronicle of wrestlers who care less if they win or lose (the promoters see to that) but more on how they play the game.
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