In my lifetime, I’ve seen the pro wrestling industry under a microscope multiple times whether it be the steroid trial in the 90’s, Owen Hart’s tragedy, the Benoit murder-suicide and even if it was a real sport or not. I’ve been a wrestling my entire life, I’ve written about wrestling since 2004 and I’ve helped setup and promote independent shows in my home state. Dark Side of the Ring premiered in April 2019 on Vice TV with some of the biggest stories in pro wrestling being detailed for the whole world to see. As someone who’s experienced different aspects of pro wrestling, I find the show to be very compelling and intriguing. However, not everyone feels the same way as I do about the show. I’ve seen many reactions from fans and wrestlers alike and their emotions are all over the place.
The fans of professional wrestling always want to be a part of the show. They want to feel like they’re included and involved. In the age of social media and technology, wrestling fans feel like they know more than they ever did back before the 2000’s. Personally, I loved the days of Kayfabe and things not being spoiled for me. I loved the days when Faces and Heels would be in separate locker rooms and they wouldn’t be caught near each other outside of the building. It made the product much more believable for me as a viewer. I believe Dark Side of the Ring does everything it can not to insult the fans intelligence because they want the fans to have the realist story possible. These stories are loaded with so much info that some of it becomes hard to comprehend. The question has to be asked, are these stories really doing the industry any favors?
I follow a lot of wrestlers on social media, whether it be on the independent scene or the national level. The vibe I have gotten from their reactions are that the show is doing more harm than good for the industry. Mark Ross, an Independent Wrestler who has made a name for himself in Florida and Michigan had this to say on one of his social media accounts. “Unpopular Opinion: Dark Side of the Ring is doing worse for wrestling than it is good. I know you guys feel like you’re a bigger part of wrestling by watching it, but you’re not.” A lot of wrestlers feel that it exposes the business and paints it in a negative picture. The only episode where I really felt the business was completely exposed was “The Slap Heard Around The World,” which featured the story of David Schultz and reporter John Stossel. That episode opened the floodgates of how the business use to be and what it eventually became today. That was the one episode that drew the most anger from those who competed in the ring. It almost seemed like the bitter and jaded prostituted themselves out to sell the secrets of professional wrestling. Most of the episodes focus on the wrestlers personal lives and how the industry effected them during their time in it and after it. There are a lot of tragedies that leave you both shocked and saddened. There are situations that have you asking yourself, “what we’re they thinking?” I feel that way a lot when I hear Vince Russo speak on the show. That is probably the one thing I absolutely love about the show. The real life hatred between Vince Russo and Jim Cornette. They don’t pull any punches or hold anything back when it comes to their views of each other and the business.
I will continue to watch and support Dark Side of the Ring because I’m fascinated by the investigative reporting and storytelling from it. However, there have been a few episodes where I wish I wouldn’t have heard about certain things, because it’s wrecked my image of that person. The other thing that’s wrecked my image of various performers is how bitter, jaded and jealous they sound while giving their interviews for the show. It’s one of those things where I have mixed feelings about it, because I enjoy the no holds barred stories that don’t have any filters. On the other side of it, I wish it wasn’t all negative. After all, if some of these people wouldn’t have been in the professional wrestling business, no would know or care about them or their stories. Season Two of Dark Side of the Ring is starting to wrap up and their are reports that Season Three is already being developed. With more seasons coming, I leave you with these two questions. What topic do you Dark Side of the Ring to Cover? Does Dark Side of the Ring change your views on the pro wrestling industry?