WRESTLERS: Why wrestling fans need to watch it!

After a long week I finally got a chance to sit down and binge watch NETFLIX wrestling show Wrestlers. It’s a nearly one-hour long eight episodes of wrestling action, behinds the scenes and drama that I say whole heartedly; it’s the best damn wrestling show ever made about the wrestling industry.

I have watched WWE documentaries, Dark Side of the Ring, The Wrestler, Beyond the Mat and even Tales from the Territories. This show is better than all of them and it’s a must watch for not just wrestling fans but especially IWC and AEW fans who need to see what the wrestling business is all about.

With that said let me get to some of the finer points of the show and why it’s a must watch for people who love wrestling, or like wrestling or who don’t know or think they know wrestling.

1) Al Snow is the star of this show.

Well let me get straight to the point and say that the wrestling industry needs more Al Snow’s. The former ECW/WWF/TNA star is the owner of OVW where he trains and runs a wrestling promotion. He is the perfect guy to run a promotion as he is a guy who is a stern but loveable father figure. You can see early in the show that he treats this like a business but also is legitimately trying to teach his wrestlers the finer points.

He also admits that he wishes he knew better in his prime years on how to approach matches. For the record Al Snow was a fantastic worker, nobody says anything bad about him and he is one of the nicer people in the industry. But he is a realist, and he understands what makes good wrestling and what it takes to tell a story. We see that during the show as he goes over matches, explains his process, and shows fans and the viewers everything. And as close as he is to his wrestlers, who all view him with love and respect, he makes sure to keep things separate. He doesn’t go out and party or have drinks or socialize with them after the show. He doesn’t treat them as his friends. He is the head guy in charge and at times knows that he must bring the hammer down when they misbehave.

It shows why Dixie Carter, Tony Khan and many others got it wrong as no matter what, you can’t be a boss and their pal.

2) Wrestling is a grueling lifestyle.

The main wrestlers featured are Impact Wrestling’s Mahablai Shera, HollyHood Haley J, Ca$h Flo, Maria James, Freya the Slaya and Luke Darkstorm. And like every documentary reality show you see their aspirations and dreams they want fort themselves in and out of wrestling.

And you also see the darker side of wrestling in what they have gone through not just physically but also mentally in their journey.

The show shows how badly some of these men and women have lived to get to try to achieve their dreams. Shera is a mountain of a man who talks about leaving India to become a star in wrestling. He talks about the difficulty of mentally being away from his family, losing family members, having to learn a new culture.

He also goes into detail about his WWE NXT release and how at one point he considered committing suicide because he got released.

Its heavy stuff and many of the others go into problems with the law, problems with drugs, detoxing and ever abusive relationship.

Even though OVW is based in Ohio, for many of the talent it is a constant hustle. They have real day jobs as well as traveling to wrestling shows all over Ohio Valley area. Jobs range from bartenders, delivery drivers, fitness trainers and other jobs that you can set your own hours but not what you would call long term careers.

There are also deep issues with many of them either involving broken down families, drug dependency or past addictions, abusive relationships, and other problems. In many ways it is par for the course of most wrestlers, boxers, and MMA fighters. A lot of these athletes got into their profession because it was a way to escape their rough livelihood or to escape their own demons.

You realize and appreciate right away how sometimes your own life is better than theirs.

3) It’s all about the business

Already one of the stories going around is the James Storm “600 dollars for 60 tickets” statement which is too broad and easy to explain the full story. OVW is a regional promotion that faces the issues that everyone outside the WWE faces. That they must find money and rely on steady streams of investments and revenue.

Fans never understand that running a promotion cost and early on we see that with the way they must string along a shoestring budget. Al Snow is not just the owner and booker but also helps with producing scenes, shopping for costumes, doing camera work for vignettes and anything else. A few other wrestlers help as road agents and assistant producers.

Meanwhile the owners are trying to find ways to make a profit. And like AEW’s Tony Khan, they are right now paying for it out of their own pocket. Every small business owner will testify that nobody can afford to go broke. Its why sometimes hard choices need to be made not just by the owners but also by the wrestlers.

One scene involves Matt Jones, one of the new owners, and Al Snow with AEW. Matt is willing to do anything to get in with AEW (which the show was shot in the summer of 2021) while Al Snow is more hesitant of appearing “desperate”. It’s a stressful situation that causes tension among not just the wrestlers but also owners and staff.

The James Storm incident is just a stark reminder of how frugal the owners must be. Even though Storm (whom is friends with Snow) agrees to wrestle for the promotion at more than likely a reduced rate, for the promotion every dollar is precious when it’s your own money.

It’s why too many companies in the past have crashed from the territories to WCW to even TNA in a sense; they started losing money and ownership either closed it down, sold it or downsized the company.

In Wrestlers, you see just how precious money is and how every dollar is spent.

Bottom line is every wrestling fan should watch this full series as you get a better understanding of the business. The sacrifices that are made in front of the camera and behind the camera to tell the stories. The physical and emotional toll it takes on the wrestlers lives to get to just this point, let alone the national stage.

It’s also a show that showcases why Al Snow is one of the best things to happen to pro wrestling. No he is not the star that the Rock or Steve Austin or even his best friend Mick Foley is; even he would say it’s not even close. But he is that rare breed of man who genuinely cares and tries to help other wrestlers out.

He could easily be in AEW or WWE as a trainer or producer as his knowledge and understanding of the sport is to the Nth level. His wrestling shows are full of emotional drama, characters and telling the story in the ring. And you see in the show that despite treating this as a business he genuinely cares about his wrestlers. It’s the same way a high school coach would care about his athletes in wanting them to be responsible but also looking out for them.

But instead, the former WWE champion bought OVW, has taken on the headaches and stress of being an owner/promoter and is teaching the new generation two things that every wrestling fan, writer, blogger, and even other superstar wrestlers could use more of.

Accountability and professionalism. And the wrestling world is lucky to have someone willing to do that.

You can check out more interviews with athletes and sports reporters on www.lastcallpodcast.com or Follow me on Twitter.com/LastCallwChrisC