A Match Made In Heaven
Behind the glitzy facade of bright lights, larger-than-life personas and show-stopping athleticism, professional wrestling has always hidden a darker side away from the cameras. From power plays and glass ceilings to questionable work ethics and immoral treatment of women, if you dive a little deeper into this, wrestling really isn’t as glamorous as it first appears.
Dark Side of the Ring is a 6 part documentary series set out to explore some of these subjects, with the first episode depicting the tumultuous relationship between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and his wife (and in-ring manager) Miss Elizabeth. Across the space of 45 minutes, we see a comprehensive history of this charismatic man, beginning with his roots in ICW through to him joining WWF with his wife Elizabeth.
As the episode continues, we see her mistreatment at the hands of Randy and the true extent of their marriage blurring across onto the cameras as a feud with Hulk Hogan causes friction backstage. This ultimately leads to Randy doubling down on his controlling grip on Elizabeth to the point that she leaves him. The episode then continues through various twists and turns to the premature deaths of both athletes.
Most of the episode is taken up through dramatic re-enactments, with blurred imagery and silhouttes used throughout to obscure the actors used. There’s also a fair few former wrestlers and executives interviewed, along with other federation managers and family members which helps to paint an accurate portrait of what this man was really like.
Of course, with it being a wrestling documentary, a lot of the terminology is specifically geared toward those already familar with this industry to some extent. Terms like heel and baby face are used throughout along with prior knowledge of who Vince McMahon is and different feuding wrestlers, including Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Even if you don’t know who these people are though, there’s enough here to make for a really absorbing and in-depth look at the subject regardless.
Dark Side of the Ring is certainly one of the better documentary series released this year. With the promise of some very controversial topics explored and plenty of scope to dive deep into the ugly side of wrestling, it’ll be interesting to see where this one goes from here. In the meantime, the first episode gets this series off to a great start but whether it can keep this level of quality up is still up for debate.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!