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
[after viewing the footage of his children during his "I Quit" match with The Rock]
I felt very guilty all of a sudden. Like... really like, uh, you know, my priorities were out of order. I can't... I feel like a bad dad, and I've never felt like that ever before. Right then I just felt like... like... like I was a bad person. And I don't... I don't ever want to see my children like that again.
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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 »
The DVD edition of Beyond the Mat has several minutes of deleted footage, plus audio commentaries by Mick Foley & Terry Funk See more »
I am not the biggest wrestling fan as I was when I was a little kid, but I found myself amazed with the inner workings of what it actually takes for a wrestler to make it in whatever venue. I can still remember a long time ago on Sundays watching Wrestling at the Chase with Larry Madisick (The ringside announcer). Then, it was Crusher Blackewell, The Von-Eriks, and other various names that seem to have long been forgotten. Now, it's Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and women wrestlers like Chyna.
It was amazing to see the transformation from what it was into what it is. It was also sad to see the self destruction of Jake the Snake Roberts and to a certain point Terry Funk with his refusal to retire.
What was also interesting was the fact that the heads of the wrestling groups (like Vince McMahon)the movie did profile did not make light of what they did or even how they promoted it. This is sports entertainment plain and simple. They have tapped into a market not to be out done by any other mass marketed item except for PokeMon.
The only problem I had with this film was the fact that I did see it at the movie theater. Now after the fact, I believe that a documentary like this should have gone to video instead. It didn't diminish the quality of the subject, but it was just something not meant for the big screen.
None the less I did enjoy this film and I would recommend it for just about anyone who has the slightest interest in wrestling.
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