Wrestlers. From the right corner of the ring, an oiled-up baby face enters with a stone-cold glare and a juicy flex. From the left, a sneering heel climbs through the ropes under floodlights, only to be met with jeers and hisses from the darkness of the stands. What happens next isn’t just a fight; it’s a story. It’s Shakespearean drama. It’s bloody theater that also happens to be truer to life than you’d think.
Wrestlers, the new doc series from director Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U, Cheer) and BBC Studios Los Angeles takes you right to the center of the fight. It doesn’t only depict the brawls between ambitious athletes managing their stressful lives off the ring (though watching a rage-fueled fighter and a hardened vet go head-to-head in a violent, hair-pulling tussle is thrilling –– especially when you consider they’re mother and daughter). The fight at the center of the story is even more intense: Legendary wrestler Al Snow is attempting to keep professional wrestling league Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVF) afloat, navigating the brutal waters of mounting debt and the power struggles of new ownership.
The eight-episode series is intimate, emotional, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of professional wrestling, revealing the hardship and sacrifice that goes into creating this highly complex feat of performance art and athleticism.
As seen in the trailer above, Wrestlers heavily focuses on Al Snow, who purchased OVW in June 2018 from Danny Davis with Snow also serving as the promotion’s head trainer. Despite its success, it is running out of money as Davis admits Al Snow is not the best with money.
Once a proud finishing school for aspiring pro wrestlers, the gym has since hit hard times. Acclaimed wrestler Al Snow clings to an old school wrestling philosophy with a heavy emphasis on storytelling, but in spite of the love of a few diehard fans, the gym struggles week to week to stay relevant enough to keep its doors open. Things have become so dire financially that Al has to sell a majority stake to a group of local businessmen including Matt Jones, the most popular radio personality in the state of Kentucky. Matt and the new ownership group have infused the struggling gym with much-needed cash, but it still operates at a staggering loss. The new owners have given Al the summer to turn things around. Wrestlers chronicles the efforts Al and his band of aspiring wrestlers make as they struggle with their personal ambitions and each other while they attempt to come together to save this historic gym.
OVF is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and once served as a premiere training ground for aspiring pro wrestlers like Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Dave Bautista, The Miz, and Randy Orton. In recent years, OVF has struggled to keep its doors open, prompting Snow to sell a majority stake to a group of local businesses — one of whom is Matt Jones, one of the most popular radio personalities in the state of Kentucky.
Wrestlers premieres on Netflix on September 13th.