Wrestling fans are vociferous in their quest to learn about the behind-the-scenes secrets of wrestling and its stars. Here are seven great documentaries that dish that info but are accessible to wrestling haters, too!
Sure, wrestling itself is fun to watch, but the behind-the-scenes stories in World Wrestling Entertainment and its many rivals are what fans really can’t get enough of. Betrayals, heartbreak, and stories of redemption are fine to observe at shows like WrestleMania, but when the same sort of stuff happens backstage, that’s when we start to pay attention. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of documentaries that cover when wrestling starts getting real. From WWE-produced retrospectives to unauthorized backstage accounts, we’ve picked out the seven best documentaries ever made about wrestling. After you’ve read some of the best wrestling biographies ever put to paper, these films are a great visual accompaniment.
Heck, these seven films are so drama-filled and well-produced that they’re all must-watch for documentary lovers (check out our list of the best documentaries on Netflix). Here’s our top 7 wrestling documentaries and the reasons that each will appeal to hardcore fan and wrestling neophytes alike.
7- Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name Is Paul Heyman
What it’s about: It’s the feel good story of one of the most passionate and creative men the world of pro wrestling has ever seen. Be inspired by Paul Heyman’s rise from plucky, hustling wrestling photographer to one of the best talkers/managers/writers/mentors that sports entertainment has ever seen, as told by many of his best friends (and enemies).
Why it’s great: This film, in Heyman’s own words, lets the mainstream know what the hardcore fans have believed for decades: no one loves and appreciates this business more than Paul Heyman. And you get to hear Heyman refute or corroborate many of the less-nice things said about him, whether it’s Stephanie Mcmahon saying he was an uncooperative writer (wrong, he’s just a better writer than her), or Tommy Dreamer saying Paul lied to them constantly at ECW (true, but Tommy still loves him). When you see the decades of Heyman’s career, you realize any one era would’ve been Hall of Fame worthy. See all at once, you understand the living legend who announces “My name is Paul Heyman.”
Where you can watch it: It’s on the WWE Network, but I implore you to get the Blu-ray version of it. It has hours of interviews that didn’t make the cut, all of which are worthy of being a documentary of their own.-Henry Gilbert
6- GLOW: The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
What it’s about: At a time when the WWE rarely focused on women’s matches, GLOW reached an untapped audience by putting together a roster of the best (and most beautiful) women wrestlers with a show that highlighted their athleticism and personality in an uber-80s way.
Why it’s great: Wrestling fans will love how the documentary captures what the wrestling landscape was like in the 1980s, where outlandish foreign enemies and squeaky clean good guys did battle, but the style of GLOW which flowed between variety show antics and in-ring stories should appeal to folks fond of Troma, Canon, and other low-budget/high-entertainment options of the era. The reunion, which shows the middle-aged collection of gal grapplers in recent years is a heartwarming capper to the doc.
Where you can watch it: Formerly available on Netflix, GLOW can still be watched for as low as $3 on streaming services like Amazon Prime. Rent GLOW: The Story of The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling
5- The True Story of WrestleMania
What it’s about: While the WWE was growing steadily in the mid 1980s and probably would have still become the pre-eminent wrestling organization without their flagship event, WrestleMania helped the WWE become the pop-culture phenomenon it has been for the last three decades plus. This documentary goes year-by-year discussing the growth of WrestleMania (and WWE alongside it) from its Madison Square Garden beginnings to stadium-filling mega-events it’s been in the 2010s.
Why it’s great: It’s tough to explain to people how big WrestleMania is within the confines of the wrestling world; you can say “the Super Bowl of wrestling,” but even that doesn’t convey how it’s something EVERYONE in WWE works towards and puts their biggest effort into making successful. This nearly two-hour compendium on WrestleMania memories is chock full of the WWE stars themselves explaining just how big the show is with Keith “Nobody’s Fourth Ghostbuster” David adding gravitas to the descriptions.
Where you can watch it: This is one of the longest documentaries that the WWE has ever produced and you can watch the entire thing on the WWE Network.
The best wrestler biography in the world and documentaries WWE doesn’t want you to see await on the next page!